Having grown up around farms, it is a bit surprising that I’ve only fished farm ponds a few precious times in my life. The ponds on my family farm are silted and largely devoid of life, saving for bullfrogs, mosquito larvae, and sluggish beef cattle in the summer heat. The experiences I have had, though, have been very memorable. Last weekend, my friend, on furlough from the war in Afghanistan, took me to his relative’s private pond, 4-5 acres in the rolling Bluegrass hills of Clark County. His older brother joined us, and we fished several hours at the end of the day.
Between us, we caught close to twenty largemouth bass, ranging from 10 inch scrappers to a few in the 4-5 pound range. We also landed several decent sized sunfish, but missed the crappie the owner talked about.
I landed a 12 inch and a 10 inch off the bat using a silver/black Rapala floating 2” minnow. My buddy’s brother came well-equipped, throwing a Yo-zuri 3-D suspended minnow in a perch pattern—a lure he swore by from the time we arrived. It was obvious why after a few minutes, as he landed 3, 4, and nearly 5 lb bass, among others. The lures are hard to find (found them on basspro.com, after digging through results), and at $10-$15 a piece, they are a bit of a luxury. The price tag also inspires being very, very careful about your casting. Not too surprisingly, when a 10 pound snapping turtle snagged the lure, the three of us lined up for a showdown to save the bait—which we did eventually, after some drama with a mad (but okay) turtle.
Overall, it was an excellent day of fishing. If you get the chance to fish a stocked farm pond, go for it, and thank the owner for their generosity in sharing. We released all of the bass—take the fish out only if the owner says it is okay, and offer a portion of any catch you keep to the owner. And by all means, leave nothing but (gentle) tracks behind—pack out all trash, fishing line, etc., and carry out any cans or trash that you find. Not trying to preach, but fishing in someone’s private pond is a real privilege, and one jerk messing the place up could get the gate locked permanently for anyone else who might have had the chance.
(My family stopped letting people hunt on our farm decades ago because of the trash and disrespectful use of the property. Landowners are easily turned off by garbage and bad behavior. Be respectful!)