Friday, March 30, 2012

Never Name A Pond...

...before you see it in person.

Yesterday my 2 year old son and I decided (well, I decided, and he tagged along because he had no choice) to go explore and find a new pond I had discovered from Google Maps. I love Google Maps!

On the way to the parking spot, and on the first hike in I was trying to think what I'd name the pond. Yep, I name ponds. Some ponds have names that are know, that I use, other ponds are only a few years old, have no official name that I'm aware of....and so I name those. I was trying to think of a good name for this pond before I had even ever seen it. 

The pond is only about 5 minutes by car from my house, but another 5 minutes through thick brush (likely hiding ghosts and outlaws) and you're at a pond that isn't seen from the road.

After a quick hike down the wrong part of the trail, and a quick "where the heck am I" question to my smartphone, we were back on track and heading to the pond.

We found it. There it was, a small pond only about 30 feet across, and 100 feet long....and no obvious signs of fish.

G at the pond


We fished the whole length of it...and were done in about 10 minutes, with no real clue that there are fish in it. I don't give up easy on a pond, because I know most have fish in them....but this one might just be empty. I'm still not giving up on it, mostly because the bigger pond just 50 yards away does have fish, and I can't imagine the small one was actually empty. It was however small and likely shallow, and that could be it's doom.

One cast across

What I did find that was encouraging, was some small....2 feet wide like small...trails through the cat tails leading to the bigger pond....but not really the bigger pond. See, "the bigger pond" back 100 years ago probably was much bigger than it is now but do to cat tail overgrowth (is there such a thing?), it's got sectioned off parts of the pond. These small access points through the cat tails give access to parts of the pond that are probably inaccessible from the main part of the pond....that has the boat launch.  I would dare say, that except for the occasional bird watcher, or duck hunter, this part of the pond rarely gets people in it. That will hopefully change. You see, I've got a disease that inflicts me....I HAVE TO FISH WATER THAT IS NEW!!! Although I've fished the bigger pond, the main pond, the same overall water, this part is new, and I've found a "simple" way into it. Simple in this case means a 1/4 mile drag of my kayak through the thick. I've done a little poking around the internet, and it looks like a deer dragging harness would work great....and they are only about $8. So, yes, I'm thinking of making this happen!

A way in?


My son had a great hike, a fun time fishing, and enjoyed the snack he packed in.

Snack time

And now about naming a pond before you've seen it. I think names should have some meaning, and you don't get meaning by looking at a map....usually. When we got only 100 feet past the car we started seeing spent 12 gauge shotgun shells along the path. More than one, more than two, more than a dozen....and this was just on the trail in. Once we got into the clearing we saw a nice "Please Do Not Litter Sign" and tons of busted up clay pigeons and litterally thousands of shotgun shells. Seeing this place is used for duck hunting, I guess I'm not completely surprised, but I was still somewhat surprised since I'm pretty sure it's not legal to target practice back there. So, after seeing the pond, the area, the mess....it's now know (if only just to me) as 12 Gauge Pond. I'm glad I didn't name before seeing it, or it could have ended up something less meaning full like Oprah's Pond Of Rainbows And Butterflies....and that would have been ridiculous.

12 Gauge Pond....the reason for the name.


Friday, March 23, 2012

The Bass Are Ready

I'm calling it the official start to bass season. OK, not technically "bass season" if you are a keep and eat it kinda fisherman....and not really even "bass season" if you are a catch and release kinda fisherman. NY a few years ago opened up bass fishing for all year....but keeping them for the table is still only an option part of the year.  ....but that's all a tangent....I'm calling it the official start to BASS SEASON!!! Meaning....it's worth your time to get out.

Either out of ignorance, or wimpyness, I've never really gone after bass until at least April. And even then I didn't expect much top water action. Well, this winter decided to play in my favor and was nice and mild. Heck, my wife and I only shoveled the driveway 3 times this winter. The lack of snow was a blessing considering we had bald tires on the van. Those tires are replaced and the weather in March has been fantastic....even bordering on too hot for a few days.

I took advantage of this great weather (although today was a bit chillier) and got out for one my famous 1 hour trips (1 hour-ish trips.) I met up with my longest surviving fishing buddy and hit Twin Rock pond. A nice little pond that I'd likely never tell you the location of even if you asked. See, I think as much as it's great to share fishing spots with people, and I often do, there are some that I'm going to keep for myself. Suffice it to say that this pond is easily found on Google maps, and even has an updated image showing the current shape and size of the pond. Like many of the ponds I fish it has houses surrounding it. See, I've already given away too much info.

We met up about 9am this morning and started having success! I hooked the first two before he started catching some.

Thanks for playing, Mr. Bass

Yes, top water bass in March
Using his go to favorite fly, the white foam ant (this one with extended legs) he found himself wrestling some bass, and a huge bluegill!

So tiny....nice try punk!

A decent sized blue
Before he met me at Twin Rock, he was fishing Lions pond. Using the Fishin' Clips from Grasshopper Outdoors that he won at the Guys, Flies & Pies fly tying party last month, he had an easy way to break down his strung up rod for a quick ride to the next pond. Notice (above) how easy the clips stored away on his pack while fishing.

Ready to rock, ready to roll
Although we only fished for an hour, it was a good way to get out of the house (full of sick kids...myself included) for a bit. I can't wait till the bass heat up even more!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Topwater Bass in MARCH!!!

I got out fishing today for an hour with my 5 year old son. We hit a pond we found a few years ago that has been really good to us. It's a simple retention pond in a fairly new neighborhood and I don't think it gets much pressure at all. I've only seen one other kid fish it....I think.

We started off close to the car and saw a few fish. After trying for a few minutes I was able to catch a bass on a fly I tied months ago.

First fish of 2012
"Dad! I gotta pee!" is never quite what I want to hear when we've only been fishing for 10 minutes....especially since we were right there in a neighborhood. So, we hiked around to the back of the pond where there is a dirt bike and snowmobile (for winters when we actually have snow) trail and he was able to find a little privacy.....then it was back to fishing.

We made our way around the pond to the smaller section, which was shallower, and saw some movement near the shore. I switch up to a gurgler and started casting. Immediately I was getting hits...likely from bluegill. Not many casts later however, I had a bass explode and take my fly! It was game on! For the first time EVER, I was catching bass on top in freaking MARCH! Not March after the official day of spring.....but March BEFORE the official day of spring! I was loving it! This is my kinda winter! Shovel 3 times and start bass fishing in March! Bring it on every year till the end of time! Thank you global warming!

My son got to reel him in
After that first bass we ended up catching 2 more on the surface, and missing 4 or 5 others too. Crazy they were hitting like that. I suspect the shallower water, close to the inlet from the runoff from the neighborhood, got that water to warm up and get the fish active.

Splash!
Besides catching bass on the surface, something else I never thought I'd be doing in March was kayaking....especially in Lake Ontario. A friend of mine brought up a second sit on top kayak 2 weeks ago and we went out. The temperature was in the mid 40's and I stayed pretty warm. It was great paddling again, especially in a comfortable sit on top....I definitely need to figure out a way to get one of those!

Miles and miles of open water

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vote for monoMASTER

Right now, Walmart is running a contest to get new products on their shelves. One of the companies that is in the contest is GFP long time supporter, the monoMASTER.

Do you use a monoMASTER? Then you might be thinking this has no benefit to you, but consider what Ian at Grasshopper Outdoors has said..."Walmart sells thousands of miles of monofilament each year.  In my experience much of the waste mono I find in the bushes and on the bank..."

Help support one of the events longest supporters by giving up some votes. Yes, votes, with an "s". See, it appears that "each person can vote for all three products in single day and then they can vote again every 24 hours." Keep in mind Grasshopper Outdoors has three products in the running, and you can vote for ALL 3 each day. Rumor has it you can even vote 3 times with texting and 3 times with Facebook....that's 6 votes per day...if the rumor is true.

So, although I hope you support our sponsors (who without, our event wouldn't be as much fun and successful) all year long, here is a great chance to help them achieve some larger success, which could only mean more awesome products could come out of Grasshopper Outdoors! Win, freaking win situation here!

Here are direct links to each items page for voting.

www.getontheshelf.com/product/3051/monoMASTER-Waste-Fishing

www.getontheshelf.com/product/3049/seatMASTER

www.getontheshelf.com/product/3526/Fishn'Clips

Thanks for helping out our sponsors!