Farm Pond 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 feel the power pushing you with the wind in your face. But many are attracted to the competitive aspect of fishing. Sometimes I’m overcome by the urge for solitude and just the tranquil twinkle of a new day feeling its way across the surface of a farm pond.

Technology is everywhere, and it certainly has invaded our pastimes and sports, but the underlying reason for all those blinking gadgets and whirling props is to outdo the other guy. This competition for the best spots and the biggest fish permeates the ambience of public waters. And the bigger they are, the less you can escape it whether you’re registered in a tournament or not. It’s there all the time, even when you fish from the bank.

But when I fish a farm pond or similar isolated, ignored small water, I “own it.” This drains the stress of regular living from my consciousness. Fishing for most of us is a way to get away from it all, and a farm pond takes you about as far away from it all as you can get.

I picked farm ponds to make this point because I just got back from one, and I’m still basking in the experience. I’ve experienced the same thing on smallmouth and trout streams, wilderness lakes and the ocean. When we get right down to it, getting away from it all really means getting away from 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 to everyone I can catch fish like an osprey—it’s the human in me. But when I walk, wade or paddle into places where no one can see, it’s just nature and me and I connect with something that’s difficult to find and explain to the maddening crowds.

People who write about ponds usually tell you how big the bass can be, but the truth is, rarely do they match the quality of fish in the bigger waters. In general, usually the fish in ponds are smaller, so I use my smaller baits. Instead of big worms rigged like they use in Texas or Carolina, I prefer Charlie Brewer’s Bass Sliders with 4-inch worms. Instead of bigger spinnerbaits I’ll use Mann’s Mini-Spins. And, I downsize my crankbaits to the models often trolled for crappies. And my favorite fluke is only 3 inches long.

The pinnacle of pond fishing for me is the terrific topwater bite. Again, I usually downsize my surface offerings and often revert to older time-tested baits like Jitterbugs, Pop-Rs, Hula Poppers and Baby Spooks. Though it seems that way, bass in ponds are not necessarily more plentiful. I think it’s just that they are more eager or at least less “educated.” I think fishing in these can be so good simply because those fish live in places that are “away from it all” all of the time. Or, again, 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, though, 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 more 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.