Saturday, April 16, 2011

Retention Pond Bass. What Are You Waiting For?

I wasn't too excited at first, when I noticed a lawn intruder sunning itself near our patio door just a few days ago. The big yellow flowered dandelion was a reminder to go buy some lawn fertilizer and get ahead of the weeds before they take hold.  Just another expense to add to an already dwindling bank account. With the price of gas what it is today, and everything else increasing in cost because of it, I'm not sure how much longer we will be able to make ends meet. I always try to look on the bright side of things, so after filling out a few more job applications on Monster, I decided to take advantage of the warmth of the sun and head out to the pond. If fishing wasn't so accessible to me, via a short walk or an easy bike ride, I probably would have lost my mind by now.

The algae was blooming again at the retention pond, not surprising to me, considering the giant weed I still had to remove back at the house. I started throwing my favorite Strike King spinner bait that has made many days fishing for bass seem too easy. Within a few minutes I reeled in a small 10 inch largemouth that just couldn't get enough of  that lure, and I knew I was going to have a good afternoon. It was around 4:30 and the warmest part of the day by far. Every few casts I would get bumped or see a swirl and I ended up with six fish after an hours work. I was having fun but was wondering, why they were all so small? Here is a photo of the biggest of the day.

The next afternoon I again returned to the pond and had almost the same results! Six fish in about an hour with most of them around 12  inches. I know that this body of water produces some hefty fish so I knew I would have to change my tactics to find a bass worthy enough to be considered "a good catch".

On the third afternoon, (aren't I lucky to go fishing three days in a row?) I started with a wacky worm instead of the spinner bait, hoping that the slower presentation would entice a larger bass. I knew that I was going to give up a few fish because the little bass were loving the spinner bait, but nothing in this world comes easy or without a price. Here is a photo of the wacky worm and hook I was using.

It was around 11:00 am when I made that first cast with the wacky worm and I got a few bluegills and small bass to grab it from time to time, but was only able to catch one 11 inch fish within that first hour. Was I doing something wrong ? Will patience win out over going back to the spinner bait? I decided to press on, confident that my angling knowledge of retention pond fishing for largemouth bass would prove itself again in the long run. A few minutes later I felt a good bass inhale the wacky worm and the fish was on. It was the first large bass that I have felt hit the bait while using fluorocarbon fishing line, and let me tell you it was quite a difference. I swear I could feel the mouth of that fish close on the worm. The battle was a good one with a few good runs and a scary moment when I thought she was about to jump...but she was really hooked solid! See for yourself...

After snapping a few good photos (self portraits are hard to do with a camera phone) I released her back into the pond to recover for the next encounter with her later this spring. I am still amazed at the size of some of the bass that are found in these retention ponds. I have fished a number of different ones and as long as fisherman release these beauties they will be there for others to enjoy. Some neighborhood associations treat these ponds with weed killers and other chemicals for mosquitoes and such. Please check with the local neighborhood association before eating any fish from these ponds!  As always leave the area in better condition then it was when you arrived and respect the property of the surrounding  homeowners and parks that are adjacent to these waters. If we all do that we can enjoy more good fish like this one....

Thanks as always for visiting Cappy's Pond and spending a few moments fishing with us. If you are on Facebook look us up at Cappy's Pond and also at The Fishing Headquarters. Post and share your retention pond fishing pictures. We'd love to see them. Remember you can't catch any fish if your line isn't in the water!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lady Luck!

Sunday started out like most spring days along the banks of the Fox river, cool and windy, but as afternoon approached the blustery winds brought warmth up from the south. I waited till after lunch to grab the rods down off the garage wall hop in the Trail Blazer and make my way down to the river. Smallmouth bass would be the target species of the day. The first stop was below the bridge on Spring St. in South, Elgin. I tied a white spinner bait to my new rod and reel combination and began casting the eddies and rock structure in and around the bridge pilings. Working this area for an hour or so, with no fish to show for it, I decided to look for slower moving water.

Returning to the car, I headed up river to Elgin, and took up residence on shore, near the Grand Victoria casino. The water was moving much slower there and I anticipated that I might have found some better structure and conditions that the fish might be relating to. Within fifteen minutes I had a good sized smallmouth bass grab on to a chartreuse spinner bait (the white one was now hanging off of the river boat's tow line) and make its way toward the surface. The fish exploded above the water and threw my spinner bait like the shooter throws dice across the craps table. I stood there for a minute and pondered the thought that it was a good idea I went fishing instead of gambling. For on this day luck was not to be on my side.

After another hour or so I returned home with no fish, no pictures, and only the memory of that smallmouth bass leaping in the foreground of the Grand Victoria casino. I played a little catch with my son, working on his pitching, and soon Shirley called us both in for Sunday dinner. As we walked in the house he turned to me and said; "Dad, I love days like today, when you go fishing and I play with my friends and then we end the day by playing catch together." It was those words, spoken from my nine year old son, that made me realize that just maybe lady luck is always on my side!

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