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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,
Keith, thought I should post a thread about my pond so here goes......

I live on about a 3 1/2 acre lake, when we first moved into our house the lake was 100% lifeless except for frogs, snakes and tadpoles, not even a minnow was seen. I started stocking the lake just about 5 yrs ago, I contacted a stocking company here in Florida, who I found out later actually provides to other stocking companies and the FWC. The initial stocking was 300 pure strain Florida Largemouth, 500 blue gill and 500 shellcracker ( all fingerlings ). About 3 months later we stocked another 750 shellcracker and bluegill fingerlings and 300 channel catfish fingerlings. At about 1yr after the initial stocking of bass we started catching 1 to 1 1/2 pounders ( all catch and release ) things were going well. Fast forward to year 3, Keith can attest to the following. We could go out any time of the day, and catch dozens of bass on plastics, rattletraps, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, ect.. you toss it out, we caught em.. up to about 5 pounds. one after the other... it was fishing heaven. Fast forward to year 4, catch rates started to slow down this past summer, but I was still catching quality fish, PB 6.7 pounds and over summer and just into the fall had several 5+ pounders, I was still having pretty good success. But since the fall the catch rates have been pretty bad. We have not had a fish kill and there is no outlet for the fish, they are trapped in the 3+ acre lake, depth is to about 12 foot, with an average depth of about 6 to 8. Water clarity is gin clear with allot of weeds ( Richardson's pond weed ) but not choked. I also stocked last year 1500 threadfin, the bass hammered them, also 3 months ago put another 1000 bluegill fingerlings for feeder fish for the bass to get them through the winter, and 300 black crappie. I have a kayak and often just paddle around to see whats going on, and I see ALLOT of bass, so they are still there, and allot of BIG ones, the fish look very healthy, small ones and big ones. But they are not biting artificial lures anymore.. I used to do very well on chatterbaits, swimming jigs,ect also.. , they seem to be keyed on bluegill, I feed the bluegills every day - bread, and I see a few BIG bass come in close and hammer the bluegill, I have tried blue gill type baits even tried a Matt Lure's bluegill and the bass come up nose it at move on.. even have sprayed it down with different scents, lunker sauce, bang, ect.. no luck... I have resorted to catching bluegills and using them for bait.. so far I am not doing to well there either as I am not too good at live bait fishing..

Today I was attempting to catch a bluegill to place on another rod, and saw the oddest thing, 2 large bass everytime I would cast out the breadball and bobber , the 2 bass would shoot out from the bank to the bobber and wait for a blue gill to be caught, seems they have spooked the bluegill up close when they are around so I am casting furrher out, this did not work, since the bass were following the bobber, so I decided to move over about 10 feet on the bank.. these 2 bass followed me,, and they were only a foot or so off the bank, each time I moved, they moved with me,, I moved back to the initial spot I was fishing and they moved back.. what the heck is going on here..... smart bass or what.. they seem to have been conditioned to us feeding the bluegill and the kids catching them " ITS DINNER TIME " and they come in for a easy meal.. I spoke the fishery that I get my fish from and they stated that sometimes , very often in a pond or small lakes life, the 3rd or 4th year can be tough fishing, the bass get accustomed to the baits and will not bite.. Well thats were we are now,, I have fully stocked lake , enough tackle to put BassPro to shame and cannot get bit, just the occasional smaller fish... the dinks are not even aggressively biting anymore.. Another bait I used to killem on was a junebug senko.. I would go through a couple bags in a 2 hours.. that is how many fish we were catching and releasing...... Any thoughts,,, would be greatly appreciated,, also I have 1000 crawfish coming soon, maybe that will stir up some action.... but for now its like sitting in front of the tank at BPS and reading the sign NO FISHING PERMITTED.........
thanks for reading..
Brian
 
G

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Hopefully someone will jump in here with some more insight then I have given you Brian. I am at a loss myself.

But you have to tell the hotdog stories and marshmellow and Mickey Mouse rod thing. No way will people believe you but it is worth a shot.

Actually last year before I moved down to this part of Florida I lived in Jacksonville and fished Brian's pond several times. One time I brought my fly rod and was demonstrating how to cast it to Brian and I had a dry fly on. Well a little Bream hit it and instantly a 3lb+ bass nailed the bream and off to the races it went. Now, I have a 5 weight rod which is not very strong and this fight was awesome on that thing. However, the strain was too much for the old hook on that dry fly as the hook broke. That would have been awesome to land that fish on my fly rod.

I suggested to Brian to use real Bream since he and his neighbors have all hooked and caught bass on BIG Bream. I said to use a treble hook to increase your chance at hooking the bass. Seems Brian get's lots of bites on the Bream he is using but somehow the Bass keeps getting away. Yet, his neighbor caught one on a Mickey Mouse rod his son uses haha.

Any tips for Brian or anyone else fishing ultra clear (can see the bottom 10 feet down or more) water in a small pond that has huge Bass yet even the most natural lures (Mattlures Bream) doesn't fool them?
 

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I have still to read the rest of your post but I just read something that I know will be a huge problem for the pond... I actually have been battling the same in my pond... the addition of teh crappie. Thats bad news. They will compete with the bass for food as they eat the exact same stuff the bass do.
 

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Just my thoughts, but maybe there are too many bluegills. The crawdads should help I would think, maybe you should thin out your bluegill population a little as they reproduce pretty fast, this may apply to the crappie too. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, in regard to the crappie, I too read an artical on crappie in small waters, but spoke to the folks that have been assisting me in stocking my pond and they felt that the bass at this point have strong hold as the dominent preditor and should not be effected by the addition of the crappie, who knows, I have not seen them either,, maybe the bass ate them too.. LOL... anyway.. my neighbor ( i call him the bluegill king ) he fishes with his grandson all the time for bluegilll and I have seen him catch bass on bluegill ( by accident ) hot dogs, bread ect... even have seen him catch several big catfish,, all on a spiderman rod and reel,, and just last week he landed a huge bass on a rocket rod and reel this thing shoots the bait out like a water gun,, its more of a toy than a rod and reel.. its too funny..
 

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I spoke to DNR about my pond and they are who told me that the crappie dont mix with the bass due to forage competition. Since then I have been keeping every crappie i can catch. I have noticed the bass population getting better too. Though since you already have a good bass population I think perhaps it is true that the fish are just conditioned now. I think that perhaps the only way to go is light line finesse. Try some slug-gos. Not copy cats but the real deal slug-gos.. 4.5". The bass in my pond use to tear up all sorts of bait and now all I can ever catch them on is a slug-go finessed to death... tho I can also occasionally catch them on a buzzbait.. but it seems limited with that. At first the buzzbait would catch me a dozen fish a day now if I get one on a buzzbait, thats pretty much it for a week or so for the buzzbait. Its odd to say the least.

by the way my pond is pretty much the same size as yours. Its roughly 4 acres and deepest point is 12 foot. Its got grass, most lily pads in it. However it is not gin clear. The water in my pond is a greenish tint from algae bloom. Its also been established a lot longer. From my understanding the pond was built back in the 1950's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the tip on the sluggo, i used to slay em on watermelon zoom super flukes, and still once in a while still get em on those.. the killer bait was the junebug or watermelon senko,, now,, not so good a bait either.. I have been trying all types of baits to show them something different.. maybe I will hit on one they like now.. last yr the bass were bedding in 10 feet of water, as well as along the banks,, this yr the spawn seemed to be a little weak, which is probably a good thing at this point...
 

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I think the winning trait of the sluggo is 1. it's small 2. it's action is so random and erratic that you can fish it constantly and it will never appear to be the same bait twice if finessed well. :thumbup01:
 

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I've been involved for decades stocking little natural ponds in wetlands and what ya'll describe is very common in small ponds EXCEPT where harvest of caught fish is required. In that 3.5 acre well stocked pond there is no biological reason for C&R. It's easy to train bass to shun artificial lures in a tank, and it just takes a little longer in a pond that size. The bass have all the forage they need to grow by eating the gills. If harvest of gills stops the gills will grow to full size and not be used by bass. When that happens a terrific imbalance develops and both bass and gills starve, or at least severely stunt.

Secondly, given the ample forage situation no bass is compelled to choose artificial over live. Your pond has become a live bait only or pet pond. Only the real stuff will fool them. They have lost their fear of anglers because anglers with artificial lures are no threat now. In your case the angler leads the bass to easy forage. It's like fish in a commercial pond beginning to leap just hearing the feeding machines crank up. Before the nuggets fly the fish are already there with mouths open like little birds in a nest. In any fishery a bass getting a good long look at an artificial bait will easily pass on it, holding out for the most convincing. The slightest error in your bait presentation will tip them off, much more so in a pond.

You need a professional assessment of the pond to determine the growth rate of the bass and panfish. Free assessments are not good enough, as most of those state guys are not experienced enough. They can deliver the general information, but can't compete with a commercial pond manager. Once you learn how many pounds of bass are being produced per year the certain recommendation will be to either catch & release, or net and destroy that many pounds per year. If forage begins to dwindle because of too many panfish then some drastic measures would follow concerning reduction of those species. It might require release of hybrid carp that eat fish eggs. Of course that would affect bass eggs too, but at least you can stock fingerlings as needed.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jim,
Awesome reply , thank you very much for taking the time to respond. Do you know anyone in NE Florida that can take a look at my pond?
 
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That is what Brian needs to do is get someone to assess what he has there. Great info Jim and Jared.

Jim, do you think stocking Shiner in that pond would be a bad proposition for Brian?
 

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Brian's state fisheries biologists will know who to contact. A county extension agent will know.

I wouldn't stock anything else since that would just make all predators bigger. When stocking a pond with live forage a false sense of security arises, permanent populations get too numerous, individuals too large. Eventually no bass can eat any of the gills because the gills are all slabs. If the gills stunt then the bass are likely to be in the same trouble. I'd let the natural forage the pond can naturally sustain be more constant. Feeding the pond would DEMAND harvest of all species. If ready to consume 200-400 pounds of bass per year per acre from a healthy balanced well managed pond, get after it. You have a lot of netting to do. It's already known fishing can't account for needed harvest there.

Until getting a major plan going I'd make sure it's legal to net some fish for a community fish fry. Largest panfish should be taken every opportunity. Take a 100# sample, lay the fish out. If they are mostly mature bass then big bass should be taken regularly, certainly all that can be caught fishing. Very roughly speaking, if only 5-10 pounds are healthy mature bass, take 3-5# per hundred netted, or 10-15# if stressed. There are so many variables. If there are any poor and thin there are way too many fish of all species, or too many recent hatches of gills, too many immature bass, something will be way out of reason. If it's too many crappie and they are tiny, get them out and fertilize a garden with them.

Jim
 

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If you find you need to get some bluegills outta there just let me know. i have lots of freezer bags ready and waiting. i would be happy as a pig in well you know. to fill my freezer with those yummy fishies.
later
rich
 
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