Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Max Factor

Prolog: At work I am known more or less as a fishing nut. One day Max stopped over at my office and wanted a few for a family outing at Lake McConaughy-NE. After a few scribbles on the whiteboard and some basics he headed off for vacation. On his return he exclaimed that he had little time to fish but when he did get the chance it was met with success. My tips panned out for him and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

A few months later he stops by and tells me that his family is house sitting for a guy that owns a sizeable spread of land that just so happens to have a 10-15 surface acre pond.  Moments later we penciled in a scout trip and hopefully could show Max a little bit more about the Mattsabasser fishing that I am always babbling about. March is a little early for bass fishing but the conditions were good. Then it snowed. We waited a few days for the lake to soak up the following warm trend and then reset the meet.

The Trip

I showed up on a Thursday afternoon about 5 PM. Air temp was about 55 degrees with 5-15mph winds. I had prepped three rods, medium action-seven foot length. My plan was to work a few basic patterns with Max and I having one rod with one as a backup to transition other baits. Hopefully I wouldn’t regret not bring a fourth rod.

Max walks out the front door to greet me with his daughter leading the way. She is about 7 and I immediately saw the life jacket and intent look in her eyes. This girl wanted to do more than simply cheer on the sidelines. No sir. This girl wanted to fish.  There goes the extra rod.
Reaching the edge of the pond I hand Max the rod with the jig combo. We walk out on the small dock and on the first cast he caught a fish. It was a 14-inch largemouth bass and put up a scrappy fight. Seeing he was well on his way my focus shifted to the bluegill hovering around the shoreline. At first I tried the jig and then went to my panfish setup. After a few tries I hooked up with one and then handed the rod to the fisher gal. On the second try she landed a bluegill.

From there she was catching one about every few minutes or so. These fish were suspending near the dock and the school was large enough to keep her busy for a few hours. One or two of them actually came back twice. The fish were not mobbing the bat like they do in summer. It took a bit of finesse and I was quite impressed.

Over the next few hours Max and I worked the pond and caught plenty of fish in the 14-inch range. You could cast to any fishy looking spot and get a bite. However, each fish would look almost identical to the last one caught. I explained that fish can overpopulate quite easy in private water. The overpopulation can cause various problems one of which is stunting and nearly all the fish will appear to be the same size. It may take years for the lake to recover naturally and will require some sort of natural die off. I offered some tips to improve things such as removing a substantial number of fish annually (if overpopulation was indeed the case). Max will have to take a few more trips during the year to gain more information. Of course I offered to join him whenever he wanted.

In conclusion: Huge thanks to Max and company for letting me get a taste of a pond that I have been curious about for some time. Not all private water is a glorious big fish fest. With a little effort, this body of water could jump into more of a trophy fish situation.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Daniel said...

Nice report, it is aways great to see people taking their kids out fishing.

bluecollarguy said...

Just caught up on your posts, enjoyable read - kinda ironic how in this situation they needed to keep some of those 14"ers and didn't even know it but on the public waters there's usually too many people already doing the same thing on lakes that don't need it!

It's been years since i had access to fish a private water, and now that i'm older I realize now what a great opportunity we had. The lack of trash or questionable people was quite nice and this one had a good mix of quality fish which made it even better for great memories.

I've helped a few youngsters hook some fish while i've been hitting the local ponds with my kiddo recently and it's great fun seeing the excitement on their face when they realize there's something yanking on their line! I make it a point to give them a kid level spiel on selective harvest as well!