FIRELANDS OUTDOOR NOTEBOOK - Break out of the ho-hum fishing routine

There's little question that most Huron County bass fishermen are going to be plying their sport in farm ponds, and it can get a little ho-hum at this time of year after a long spring and summer of fishing. If routine is becoming a problem, I've a new way of enjoying your favorite activity. I call it "the farm pond walk around." A one-acre pond is ideal for this brand of fishing. You can do it in a half acre spot, though it's over then too quickly, or in a two- to three-acre little lake which might take more time than you have available. I try it a couple of times a year in one pond or another, and the basic idea is seeing how many bass I can catch (and almost always release) on the trip.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

There's little question that most Huron County bass fishermen are going to be plying their sport in farm ponds, and it can get a little ho-hum at this time of year after a long spring and summer of fishing. If routine is becoming a problem, I've a new way of enjoying your favorite activity. I call it "the farm pond walk around."

A one-acre pond is ideal for this brand of fishing. You can do it in a half acre spot, though it's over then too quickly, or in a two- to three-acre little lake which might take more time than you have available. I try it a couple of times a year in one pond or another, and the basic idea is seeing how many bass I can catch (and almost always release) on the trip.

Typically, I'll start at dawn and if the pond is alive, I open with a surface bait like a Pop-R. Beginners might not understand about a pond being alive or not, but if you arrive and bluegills are ringing the surface and there's an occasional surge or boil near shore, it means fish are active and feeding. A surface lure works wonderfully well then, and strikes on top can be spectacular. If it's dead still with no activity you might still try the surface for a few minutes, but it's wise then to go to Plan B.

At any rate, if the top water produces, walk clear around the pond casting in every direction and make a careful count of the largemouths you catch. Then, when you're back to your starting point, clip on a second lure. My usual choice is a pearl gray Roostertail spinner with checks and a white tail. It casts like a bullet and must look like a pork chop to hungry fish, because I've caught literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of fish on it, and not just bass. A walk around the pond casting this honey has more than once accounted for a dozen bass.

Back at the starting point again, I usually opt for a small spinnerbait next, maybe a white one or something with a skirt of chartreuse and white, and I prefer a single blade. Farm pond bass aren't used to something big and noisy, and a double blade might spook more than it attracts. Again, walk around the pond casting in all directions and keep count of your strikes.

By this time you've caught or lost most of the active feeding fish, so it's time to be creative. I might clip on a small green and white Lazy Ike, an old time lure that wobbles wildly, for my next walk. Or more likely a little crankbait that dives deep and imitates a crayfish. I like brown types with little red eyes for this. Or a steadfast killer like a minnow type in blue and silver. Or another favorite like a black and gray sinking Rapala. I've caught nearly as many bass on a Rapala as I have the Roostertail. I might use some or all of these, and walk around the pond until I've almost worn a path across the grass or weeds.

Now it's really tough. By this time I've caught as many as 25 bass on various walk around trips, and the remainder are well spooked by leaping, splashing fish, and know something is wrong. So, if the pond doesn't have a slimy algae bottom, I'll make one last try; a four- to six-inch plastic worm in black or dark purple with a twister tail. Again, around the pond I go, casting far out, letting the worm sink to bottom, then retrieving at a slow crawl. If I don't get at least one or two more, it's unusual, and often enough the worm produces my biggest fish.

It's a little different from your standard pond fishing, and if you keep score and try to beat your last biggest catch, more than challenging. Whatever your results, it's sure to be fun.

Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at richmart@neo.rr.com n Two public drawings will be held Sept. 22 at the Hebron State Fish Hatchery to allow youths to hunt waterfowl or deer on hatchery property. A total of 36 permits will be drawn for the youth waterfowl hunting, and registration begins at 9 a.m. with the drawing held at 9:30. To participate, a non-hunting adult must be present to register, and show proof of purchase of a 2007 Ohio Wetland Stamp, a signed Federal Duck Stamp and a current hunting license.

Youth age 17 and under are eligible to hunt deer in the hatchery when accompanied by a properly licensed adult. The drawing will be held at 10 a.m. with 16 permits drawn for hunting locations, and a non-hunting adult must be present with a 2007 Ohio hunting license and a 2007 deer hunting permit. For more information, call (614) 644-3925.

Squirrel season is now in and will continue until Jan. 31 with a six-squirrel limit, but hunters should expect numbers to be down a bit due to a poor mast crop last year. Squirrel numbers are tied directly to the production of acorns, beech nuts, hickory nuts and other mast. If the mast crop is good one year, then squirrel numbers should be up the next and vice versa. Even though numbers are down a little, hunters should have little trouble bagging a good meal of these fine eating animals.