Get Out and Enjoy the Farm and Pleasures

It’s cool to get out there on the big lakes and run around like everyone else—to throw a rooster tail high behind you and to feel the power pushing you with wind in your face. And a lot of people are attracted to the competitive aspect of what fishing has become.

But sometimes I’m overcome by the urge for solitude and the tranquil twinkle of a new day feeling its way across the surface of a farm pond where there are no roars, waves, or wakes, just crickets, frogs and fish.

Technology is everywhere and has invaded our pastimes and sports, but the underlying reason for all those blinking gadgets and whirling props is to outdo the other guy.

The competition for the best spots and the biggest fish permeates the ambience of public waters.

Getting away from it all
When I fish a farm pond (or similar isolated or ignored small water) I “own it.” It can seem like I own the whole world.

This drains the stress of living from my consciousness. Fishing for most of us is a way to “get away from it all.” A farm pond takes you about as far away from it all as you can get.

Unlike big lakes, farm ponds have no roars, waves or wakes, just crickets, frogs and fish. Photo: Ron Kruger
Unlike big lakes, farm ponds have no roars, waves or wakes, just crickets, frogs and fish. Photo: Ron Kruger

I picked farm ponds to make this point because I just got back from one and I’m still basking in the experience. The same applies to smallmouth and trout streams, wilderness lakes and the open ocean. When we get right down to it, “getting away from it all” really means getting away from all people.

I don’t do that very often, because most of the time I want to be around people and honk like a gregarious goose. I want to laugh like a hyena and prove I can catch fish like an osprey—it’s the animal in me.

But when I walk, wade, or paddle into places where no one can see—when it is just nature—I connect with something that is increasingly difficult to find and explain to the maddening crowds.

Farm pond fishing
People who write about ponds usually tell you how big the bass can be, but the truth is they rarely match the quality of fish in big waters. In general, fish in ponds are smaller, so I use smaller baits.

Instead of big worms rigged like they do in Texas or Carolina, I prefer Charlie Brewer’s Bass Sliders with 4-inch worms. Instead of big spinnerbaits, I use Mann’s Mini-Spins. And, I downsize my crankbaits to the models often trolled for crappies—my favorite fluke is just 3 inches long.

But the pinnacle of pond pleasures for me is the terrific topwater bite. Again, I usually downsize my surface offerings and often revert to old, time-tested baits like the Pop-R and the Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers and Baby Spooks.

Though it seems true, bass in ponds are not necessarily more plentiful. I think they are more eager, or at least, less educated. I think fishing in farm ponds can be so good simply because those fish live in places that are “away from it all” all the time.

Or, maybe it’s me. When I fish a farm pond, I tend to go much slower and notice more things. In big lakes, I believe the average angler rushes by more fish in a day than they’ll catch in a lifetime. In ponds, time and space become more confined to the moment and the perfection of the method. Maybe, the mood of the place and the pace of the placid water make me a better fisherman.

Besides, when I fish where no one can see, it’s much easier to lie about the big one that got away when you get back to the “real” world of fishing.

 

     Ron Kruger has been communicating the outdoor experience for over four decades. He has worked as a full-time guide for trout on the North Fork, for crappies and bass on Kentucky Lake and for smallmouths on the Current River. He has served as editor of three outdoor magazines, and owns a patent on a fly/lure called the Desperate Diver.