So Chad, my angler friend and I were hanging out on a cold, rainy Spring day watching one of the sports channels when a fishing show came on. Chad, a fisherman at heart immediately became excited. “That’s what we need to do real soon! The water will be warming up and the Bass will will be biting.” He was animated in his exuberance. Winter had left him stir-crazy and he was anxious to reel-in the big lunkers.
“We?” I asked teasing. “Do you have a minnow in your pocket?” The last time I went fishing with you, I’m the only one that caught anything.” “Yea, I remember. And you need to come pond fishing with me so I can redeem myself. I’ll show you how to fish the small ponds that have been there for decades. I know all the best ones. Trust me…” I knew what was coming. “I’ll catch fish?” I said with a wry grin. “You caught fish last time, even if they were small. Spring Bass are big enough for the grill.”
So that Saturday in Spring came when we loaded up his truck and headed to some farmland where there was an abandoned pond. It was small and the land wasn’t posted. Chad explained that there’s only a few things you have to know to catch nice sized bass.
Being a smaller body of water, ponds warm up quicker than larger lakes. Winds do not cool them as much and they’re more shallow. The bottom sediment is quicker to absorb and hold the heat of the sun. Vegetation growing in the shallow parts absorb the sun’s heat as well, so consequently, the smaller ponds get to the right feeding temperature early.
Bass, Chad explained, like to feed in water above fifty degrees and it will reach that in the shallows first. They won’t be as skittish as in the summer when they’ve been hassled by all the fisherman and being Spring, they’ll be hungry as a bear. They’ll be anxious to get into the warmer water early, so they’ll be feeding under the cover of trees in about twelve inches of water near the banks.
So we put-in with the oars this time and quietly paddled to the opposite side of the pond. There were some overhanging trees near the edge and that’s where Chad cast his first line. He used a small spinner lure and expertly placed it out from where he wanted it to end up. Quickly reeling, he brought it under the tree. “Fish on!” he exclaimed quietly but with enthusiasm. Reeling, he brought the fish to the boat. It was a nice sized largemouth big enough to feed both our mouths. I was impressed. Next, I cast a line and caught another bass, this one a little smaller, but definitely a keeper.D
We fished that pond and a couple others before we called it quits that day. We hauled in a nice catch and had fish on the grill for lunch. Serving it over rice and with a side of vegetables, we ate our fill and washed it down with a couple beers. I learned a lot that morning about pond fishing and Chad felt redeemed from the last time we went. With his pride mended and bellies full, it was time for a nap.
We cleaned up later.