BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Pond fishing as adventurous as being on big waters

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, April 21, 2018

As you have probably gathered from my many fishing stories … I love to bass fish.

In fact as I look back and evaluate my passion for the outdoors, I would have to consider bass fishing to be my first true love. It is a fact that I can’t remember the first bass that I ever caught. However I can’t remember not bass fishing. It seems that maybe I was born with a fishing pole in my hands.

Growing up in Texas has given me many opportunities to fish some great bass fishing reservoirs.  I have spent countless hours on Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend, Lake Fork, and  Lake O’ The Pines.  I have also fished many of the lesser-known lakes such as Naconiche, Welsh, Fayette County Reservoir, and Lake Gilmer. 

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When I fish these places, I usually fish out of an 18-20 foot bass boat rigged with a big outboard motor and the latest electronics on the market. There is nothing that makes me feel freer than showering down on the gas and feeling my boat get on plane as the wind blows through my hair. I love fishing these large bodies of water and find it especially challenging as well as rewarding. 

Sometimes I catch lots of fish, sometimes I catch trophy-size fish, and other times I don’t even get a bite. Nonetheless, I love dragging my boat all over the state chasing bass.

There is another type of bass fishing that is different, but equally fun in its own unique way.  This type of bass fishing is not on a big reservoir, doesn’t require a high-dollar bass boat, and is readily available to anyone who looks for it.

I am referring to what I like to call pond fishing. This would include ponds, canals, bayous, ditches, and even small oxbows.  Some of the places are public while others are private. 

None of these require a big boat since they can be fished from aluminum boats, two-man boats, inner tubes, kayaks, wading, or from the shore.

This is the way many of us were introduced to bass fishing. Very simple, very relaxing, and very inexpensive. Many times all that is required is a rod and reel and some tackle.

Here are a few tactics that will help increase your odds on your next pond fishing adventure:

• 1. Try using lighter line. When I fish the big lakes, I almost always fish 65-pound braid on a 7-foot heavy, or medium heavy action rod.  For ponds it is often desirable to use 15-pound monofilament or less. 

Sometimes a lot less. The lighter line will be more difficult for the fish to see which will likely lead to more strikes. When you use lighter line, you will also want to use a lighter action rod.  This will make it more exciting since even the smaller fish will seem to put up a big fight. 

• 2. Use smaller baits.

I have always heard the term “match the hatch” which basically means to fish with what the fish would normally be eating. For the smaller water bodies, I recommend a 4-inch ring worm Texas rigged as opposed to a 6- or even 10-inch that would be common in the big lakes. Try using a tiny torpedo for top water action, or maybe a small H&H spinnerbait. These small baits will trigger lots of bites and help you to quickly fill up your stringer.

• 3.  Use a small boat.  A kayak or “Bass Buster” boat may be just what the doctor ordered. 

A paddle or small trolling motor is all that is needed for power, and simply being in a boat makes it feel more exciting. Depending on the pond, you may be able to access areas that other fishermen can’t reach from the bank, and your lure will be presented differently than if you were casting from the shore.

• 4. Don’t be afraid to wade into the water. A pair of waders is nice in chilly water, but not necessary in the summer. Be careful for drop offs and under water obstructions, but don’t let those keep you from safely navigating fish infested waters.

Many small water bodies are relatively shallow and can be effectively fished in shorts and old tennis shoes.  This is a great way to keep cool as the outside air temps begin to climb above 90 degrees.

• 5. Take a friend. I have and will continue to fish alone simply due to the fact that I can not always find someone to tag along.  However, fishing is safer and more fun when you have a fishing buddy. 

If you find a pond with a dense population of hungry fish, then you have found the perfect place to introduce a beginner.  Fishing with a friend will help create strong memories and relationships that last a lifetime. Another benefit is that you will have someone to share the excitement and you can take each other’s pictures with the catch.

I hope these tips help make you more successful in your pond fishing efforts.  Remember, just because you don’t have a big boat or the time to drive to the lake, doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing.  Find a pond or canal locally and let the good times roll!

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of the Outdoorsman’s Church in Winnie, owner of and outdoors writer for The News.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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