Back to Basics with Brad Whitehead – Part 2 – Farm Pond Fishing
By Phillip Gentry
Last time, B’n’M pro staffer Brad Whitehead reflected on some of the more basic fishing tips and tactics that he gets asked about when he gives speaking engagements. “Where’s a good public place to go fishing from shore?” was addressed in the first of this three-part series. In part 2, Whitehead tackles fishing in private locations, specifically, farm ponds.
“Farm ponds offer some of the best, and closest fishing opportunities of any body of water,” said Whitehead. “On their way home from work, some people might pass as many as three or four small ponds and they always wonder what kind of fishing they might offer. Here’s how you can find out.”
Whitehead said the first step in fishing a farm pond is to get permission from the owner to fish there. He said in his experience, most people do not mind other people fishing in their ponds if they simply have the courtesy to ask.
Obtaining permission to fish a private pond will be easier to obtain if you explain the purpose is to introduce a child or a new angler to the sport of fishing.
“Most people will give you permission, especially if you explain that you want to use the pond to show a youngster or another new angler how to fish,” he said.
Once permission is secured, Whitehead said he does a visual survey to try to break down the water and decide where the best fishing is. The first thing he want to look for is visible cover.
“An overgrown bank or a tree laying down in the water are almost always good spots,” said Whitehead. “If there is no visible cover, and that happens pretty frequently if the pond is used for watering cattle or storing water for agriculture, I have found most of the fish will hold right up next to the bank.”
Since most ponds are essentially round, Whitehead said he would start fishing in the corners first. Approach the corner quietly and stay well back from the edge to keep from spooking fish.
“I’ll approach the pond from a distance and stay back and make a long cast past the bank on my first cast,” he said. “From there you can work your way around the bank, assuming you can walk the whole thing.”
Another tidbit that the pro has discovered when farm pond fishing concerns those with aeration systems in them. The aerators are designed to keep the oxygen content up and keep the water from stagnating if it does not have a consistent supply of fresh water coming in.
“Ask the owner when the timer is set for the aerator to go off,” he said. “I’ve found fish really start to bite when the water is spraying. Seems like it starts the feeding cycle.”
Whitehead said fancy tackle is not a must when fishing a farm pond. In fact, some of his favorite rod and reel combos are some of B’n’M’s least expensive tackle.
B’n’M’s new Buck’s Graphite Crappie Combo comes in 5 ½, 6 and 6 1/2-foot lengths, making them ideal to transport and fish in a farm pond.
“My favorite rod for farm pond fishing, especially for a kid or a beginner, is the old style 5 ½ foot Sharpshooter,” he said. “Another good choice is the Duck Commander Ultralight combo. It has a trigger spin reel that is really easy to cast. Another favorite is the Buck’s Graphite Crappie Combo.”
Although ponds can have bigger fish in them than larger bodies of water, Whitehead starts off fishing with smaller baits. A curly tail grub is one of his top picks along with a 1 /16 oz Road Runner style spinner jighead. He fishes these on light line, 4- or 6-pound test and fan casts an area of the pond to cover all the water within reach before moving to the next spot.
Generally, sticking with smaller baits and smaller lines works well. In farm ponds that contain catfish, you might want to beef up to heavier line and one of B’n’M’s catfish rods.
“Now the one exception to my line size would be if the pond has catfish in it,” he said. “Catfish are not line shy so you can move up to 8- or 10-pound test, even 12 pound and be OK. You’re probably better off using live baits like nightcrawlers or red worms if you’re trying to catch catfish.”
Speaking of live bait, Whitehead said he is not a fan of carrying minnows when fishing for crappie or bass in a farm pond but will definitely add some spray on scent or a crappie nibble to his curly tail grubs. He said he cannot explain it, but year-round, using scent on his jigs catches more pond dwelling bass and crappie for him.
He wrapped up his advice on pond fishing with some great advice.
“When you leave, leave it better then you found it,” said Whitehead. “Pick up your trash and any other trash someone else might have left. Close the gate, if there is one, and generally treat the property with respect. That way, you’ll be welcomed back when you want to go fishing again.”
Wherever fishing takes you, B’n’M has been there. Check out our huge selection of crappie and panfishing rods by visiting our website at bnmpoles.com.