I went out the Friday before Labor Day
day to a new pond. It is rare that
this gentleman allows anyone into his
pond. I had found his cattle out a
month before and not only contacted him
but helped him get them back in. He
called and asked if I would like to
try one of his ponds.
I got the key Friday night and went out
about 7:30 am. This is later than normal
but my wife was going to Tulsa to see her
sister and I wanted to spend a little time
with her. I got everything loaded into the
canoe and looked at the pond. It is almost
rectangular with a little bay on the west
side near the dam. There are a few weed beds
around the pond, where the water is shallower.
I made my first cast near one of the weed
bed edges. The fly had dropped about 2 feet
when I saw the line move and set the hook. I
knew immediately that I was into a large fish.
I paddled the canoe out into the middle of the
pond and the fish followed me. It took 35
minutes but I had a 22-inch channel cat on a
3 wt. Great fun and the fish is still in the
I had on a small black marabou leech and on
the other rod had a tandem rig of a popping
bug and a midge. I would cast with the leech
and caught several fish. I then tried the tandem
rig and caught more fish from the same area,
mostly on the midge.
I moved around the pond just because I was
curious about the pond and was catching fish
on almost every cast. The tandem rig worked
very well in the weeds where there was any
I could drop the popping bug in the opening,
with a decent cast, and then let the midge
drop. More than one time I had a gill take
the midge and then another would hit the foam
I used the marabou leech and some other flies
for gills, but the tandem rig was almost magic
I also tied into a few small bass, but they
were very thin. I decided to move out into
the pond and see if there were fish in the
deeper water. I cast out the tandem rig first,
just to experiment. The water was fairly clear
and I could see the gills coming up to look
at the fly. I was only casting about 10 feet
so I could watch what was going on. I think
they came up to look at the popping bug and
when they got closer they saw the midge. I
think that when they saw the midge they went
for it. I did not see the fish stop but they
would swim right up and take the midge.
I changed the other rod to a tandem rig with
a different colored midge and tried them side
by side. The color did not seem to make much
difference,the fish just swam up and took them.
I changed one rod to a midge with a hackle to
use as a dry fly in the surface. I caught a few
fish, but not nearly the same number as with
the tandem rig.
I made another change and tied two hackle-less
midges in tandem and cast this out and let it
sink. The flies had dropped a little when I saw
the fish come up and take the flies. Two 5 to 6
inch gills on a 3 wt is a ball. I did not do
this very many times as it was a royal pain to
get the first hook out of the fish. These small
midges are hard to see in the fish's mouth
and with the other fish moving around even
harder to get a hold of. I make sure to have
my forceps with me.
I had been having so much fun that I had not noticed
how many fish I had caught. When it started getting
hard to put fish in the basket, I knew that I had a
bunch. I knew that it was time to quit and head home.
I would be cleaning fish for a long time.
After I loaded everything and headed out I
went to the landowners home. He wanted the
key returned to him after I got done fishing.
He also wanted to know if I had caught any
fish in the pond. When I pulled in, he came out
and I showed him the fish. He told me that he
wished the gills were bigger as he did not like
to mess with the smaller fish. He also wished
that he had some big bass to catch.
I spent some time talking to him about what it
would take for that to happen. I told him that
a lot of gills would have to come out to leave
more food for the remaining fish and that the
large bass would have to be left in. He decided
that he would think about what I said and might
He did ask me to wait for a few minutes and he
went back and checked the pond where I had fished.
He came back and told me that they only way he
knew I had been in the pond was my tire tracks
across the grass. He had expected to find some
trash or gates not fully closed. I told him that
was not my method of operation. He then invited
me to come back and fish the pond again.
When I got home, I found that I had more than 300
gills in the basket. I did not know the basket would
hold that many. Took a long time to get them
all processed, but they made some good eating.
Sunday it rained and that surely changed things.
I got to another pond on Monday morning and tried
everything and caught four bass that were about 6
inches long. The ponds were muddy and it was hard
to see anything. I guess that made up for the great
time I had on Saturday.
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick