Showing posts with label Neighborhood Ponds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neighborhood Ponds. Show all posts

January 5, 2023

New Year, New Bluegill

The first fish of 2023...

Drumroll please...

Standard issue Florida retention pond bluegill!

Needed to knock that out before heading back to work this past Tuesday. Ugh, holiday breaks are far too short.

At least we're on the board! 

January 2, 2022

Bring on the New Year's Bluegill

Okay, let's get that first fish of 2022 out of the way...

A standard retention pond bluegill (actually more than a few) checked the box yesterday for the first of the New Year. Oh, and slightly larger than last year's Microbluegill™.

This catch was #nottenkara, rather muscled to hand with the Moonlit Lunar fiberglass rod, which happened to not be moon lit, but sunset lit.

Cue the obligatory New Year's pose... if there's a benefit to living in Florida, I guess it's the 80 degree January weather.

January 2, 2021

Getting Rid of 2021's Skunk

Oh yes my friends, oh yes... No skunk in 2021.

Moonlit Lunar fiberglass & Pflueger Medalist...

plus Microbluegill™ ...

equals kickass start to the year!!!

(Summoning New Year's Day 2014 vibes with this pose).

Plus, when I got back to the car and turned on the radio, Sirius was playing CCR / Susie Q. A killer song from one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time. Can I get a hell yeah? We're only one day in and it's already better than last year! 

Miscellaneous Ramble 

In closing, I'd like to tell another New Year's Day story from yesterday, only because I'll probably forget over time if I don't write it down type it out. 

My wife had some dead plants that didn't make it through the brutal Florida winter. So I told her I'd get rid of them, which basically means dump the dead plants over the backyard fence into the woods behind our house. You can see the fence and some of the trees in in the background of this photo I took of our bird feeders.

Well, when I did that yesterday, the remnants of the one larger potted plant landed with a rather big thud... and then all I hear is all this commotion... and squawking for like 20 seconds straight. Immediately thinking "WTF" I peered through the lattice of the fence only to see a big black rooster scrambling around in the ground cover moving from right to left and then quickly out of sight. Sorry no photo, but it was pretty much just like this: 

Now I live in a pretty suburban area, so I'm guessing it was a pet or something that got loose. You know, the kind people keep to lay eggs or whatever, but then realize roosters don't lay eggs and tell it to run free... even though I don't think our neighborhood allows for any of that. That being said, I don't think our neighborhood allows for coyotes either, but they've been sighted (and heard at night), so my guess is that said rooster won't last too long. But maybe he'll surprise me.

The end of ramble, and this post.

September 21, 2020

Slingin' in the Rain!

 I like fishing in the rain.

Maybe I'm weird... well, I know I'm weird... but for whatever the reason I really enjoy fishing in the rain. Now, I'm not talking about an all out downpour, or anything involving lightning, however if it's slightly overcast, a bit drizzly, count me in. Especially living in Florida where any respite from the heat is appreciated.

Yesterday provided an excellent opportunity to get wet.

With some time to kill on Sunday afternoon, I decided to head over to one of the neighborhood ponds with the fly rod and see what I might be able to dredge up.

I started by tossing out a small ant pattern. I have no idea where it came from. I usually fish foam ants, not epoxy ants, but whatever... it quickly caught a small fish. Ding, ding, ding!

While that was productive, I really couldn't see the fly all that well, so I decided to tie on a highly visible Booglebug. It was actually a Booglebug factory "second" that I bought in bulk on eBay. I don't know what's wrong with it, but you can see by the Sharpie over the branding, it didn't measure up to the standards of other Booglebugs.

That said, the fish didn't really care much. The fluorescent floater summoned some micro lunkers from the deep. 

Cast that bad boy out there, let it plop down, twitch once, then pause - it usually ended up with a hit. Either from a bass or a bluegill, the latter of which often didn't have a mouth quite large enough to accept my offering.

This continued for about two hours as I made my way around the pond in a clockwise fashion. The resident turtles were relentlessly following me around in a wolf pack, I suppose either thinking I was going to feed them in a direct (or indirect fashion). Fortunately, none of the fish I released appeared to get ambushed by the waiting turtles.

I will admit that it was fun casting a fly rod again. With all the tenkara fishing I've been doing lately, I was concerned I had forgotten how to get the job done. Sure, my line management skills were a little rusty, but I had no issues getting the fly out to where I wanted it to go. With no trips planned to trout water in the near future, I think I'll be doing a bit more fly fishing (with a reel) in upcoming weeks. Maybe even (gasp!) dust off the 8-weight.

In any event, this was a fun little venture. And in my book, the rain only made it better.

March 9, 2020

Let's Go Fishing

Look at this f'n pig of a bluegill. I had to alter the background so people wouldn't figure out where my honey hole is located.

Actually, that's a joke. It cracks me up when people do that online. I get it (maybe) if you're fishing a fragile native brook trout stream where a little bit of pressure could be negative for the health of the resource... but when people do it while hoisting mutant hatchery trout out of the water, it's dumb. They probably just followed the stocking truck anyway. But I digress...

I did get out on the water for the first time in 2020 yesterday (hooray)! Kept it local and hit some of the retention ponds at the neighborhood ball field. One pond was a dud, the other was pretty good. 

I walked to the park toting a Cabela's CGR fiberglass rod in hand. Wasn't going to be a fixed line/tenkara day, as I wanted to fish streamers and stripping line is more fun than twitching it.

Yes, it's shorts weather down here. Sorry. Not really.

Pond #1... the one with the obnoxious fountain in the middle. This isn't a great photo of it, but you kind of get the point.

This pond used to be really good, but now it sort of sucks. It used to be more wooded around the perimeter, with more structure near the banks, but they drained it two years ago in the name of development, made it a ton deeper, and largely barren. Maybe the fish hang out at the fountain in the middle soaking in some oxygenation, because they're not anywhere near the banks anymore. It's a shame, it used to be good for some largemouth bass. Peace out.

Pond #2... old standby.

I fish here a lot. There are lots of bluegill in this pond, and occasionally some healthy bass. Some of the largest bass I've caught in Florida came from this unassuming piece of water. This is also where I get harassed by the PETA lady who wants to know why I enjoy torturing animals. She didn't show up today. If she did, I would have faked a coughing fit, sneezed on my hand, and tried to touch her face.

Anyway, it didn't take long to get into fish here. Lots of bluegill and a random dink bass or two. Bluegill are honestly more fun to catch on a tenkara rod as the thing flexes like crazy and it feels like you have a big fish on even when you don't. The 4-weight fiberglass fly rod bent fairly often, but it just wasn't the same feeling. Maybe a 2 or 3 weight would have been more appropriate. 

Like I said I caught more than a few...

Bluegill aren't particularly challenging to catch, so I changed up my flies a bit to create a some variety. First a black leech, then a foam popper, might have even tossed some beadhead nymphs out there. It was one of those things where it was fun... until it wasn't anymore.  

Once that happened, I broke the rod down, packed it up, and walked back to the house. A good first day of fishing for me, although it was neither adventurous or strenuous. It definitely scratched the itch and got the skunk off of 2020 in a satisfactory way.

September 3, 2019

Just Waiting Around...

Hurricane Dorian can't seem to make up its mind on whether or not it wants to pay my neighborhood a visit. Originally, it was supposed to swing by on Sunday... then Monday... now maybe Tuesday night or Wednesday... man that thing is slow. I obviously joke uneasily, as I know it's unfortunately having its way with the Bahamas right now.

Locally, people have been in a bit of unrest since last Thursday. Runs on groceries and gas. Folks moving all their stuff out of harm's (& wind's) way. Don't get me started on the local news. Kind of put an odd damper on the long Labor Day weekend.

My daughter's school is cancelled through Wednesday. The in-laws and their two dogs are staying over at our house for an undetermined amount of time. They live a bit more coastal than we do, so evacuation was in the cards and we're happy to have them. We live a bit more inland, so while we'll get strong winds and rain, flooding shouldn't be an issue. Still, my office is closed through at least Wednesday as well... "working" from home likely being the theme of the week. We'll see how that goes...

C'mon Dorian, just make up your mind. As weird as it might sound, I just want it over with already.

In any event, since the hurricane appears allergic to "Florida Man" (which we should all be), the weather has been great, and I even snuck out for some fishing last night around dusk. 

Left the tenkara rod at home for a change, opting rather for a 9-foot 5-weight Fenwick and a Pflueger Medalist click & pawl reel. Really felt nice to shoot some line through guides. Boogle bugs were on the menu, and the local 'gills were happy to oblige.

April 22, 2019

Easter Sunday Big Bend

Now I'm not going to pretend, pond fishing for bluegill is not particularly difficult. Tie a fly on, toss it out, and you're almost guaranteed to catch something. Anyway, that was the plan for yesterday evening, to catch a few fish before the weekend ended and it was time to reboot the work week...

What set yesterday apart was the size of the copperhead bluegills that came to hand. Virtually no dink bluegill for a change. All were legit, the kind you can barely hold in one hand. All really solid and particularly strong fighters that put a nice big bend on the end of a fixed-line rod.

It wasn't just bluegills though, I also caught a few bass as well, as the fish were generally fairly frisky. Fortunately, the recipe was rather easy. Black woolly bugger... cast at about 10 or 11 o'clock... let it sink for a count of five... slow twitch it horizontally across your body (or along structure) back to the bank. Even when you couldn't sight the the fish while in pursuit, the swirl in the water a foot behind where your line entered the water was a dead giveaway to brace for an impending strike. 

It was a fun way to kill an hour and a half at sunset on Easter Sunday.

Gear Used:

February 24, 2019

Florida: Where The Winter Weather Doesn't Suck, But The Neighborhood Fishing Can Sometimes Be Questionable

Hit one of the neighborhood ponds yesterday morning. Broke out the Fenwick 5-weight and Pflueger Medalist reel and hopped on the bike hoping to get into a nice bass or two.

The weather was pretty glorious in the AM, apologies to rest of the country that is still dealing with the winter blues.

Now, I haven't really done any fishing yet this year. I went out briefly on New Year's, but didn't catch anything. So while I normally wouldn't take a photo of a dinky bream, this little one was actually my first fish of 2019. Man, it makes that small BoogleBug popper look huge.

I'll have to double check and see if February 23rd is the latest I've gone into the year before catching my first fish.

From there, the fishing was pretty slow. Unfortunately, I didn't get my first bass of the year. Instead, I caught a few more bluegill, and a mess of little crappie.

Those are crappie, albeit tiny ones, right? In the almost six years I've lived down here, I've never pulled one of these suckers from any of the neighborhood ponds. Caught a half dozen today. So that was a first, I guess...

I happened to like this photo of a different fish, because I unintentionally aligned the fountain feature in the pond with the top of its head, kind of makes it look like a whale spouting water. LOL.

Anyway, that was my Saturday morning. Messing around with panfish on a 5-weight, which honestly hardly bent under their extreme pulling power. 

Whatever... I was wearing shorts & a t-shirt in February. Still beats being stuck in the cold.

August 5, 2018

Glass (& Reels) Are Definitely Not Dead

"Pedal, pedal, pedal...
Man, this is taking much longer than it should... 
Are we there yet?"

There is this pond where I live that I drive by quite often. It's on my way to and from work each day, as well whenever I run errands that require I hop on I-95. It's a non-descript retention pond, "RP-79" I suppose is its android-like identity, and I've always wondered what sort of fish, be it species or quantity, lived there.

Passing it yet again on Friday after work, I finally made the resolution I'd go fish it this weekend. Decided to sneak the activity into my usual Saturday morning bike ride... about six miles to the pond and six miles back. No sweat. Until I started pedaling.

Sure, I go for rides more than double the distance regularly, however, they rarely have the anticipation of reaching uncharted (to me) water. Those six miles felt like twenty.

Finally reaching 79 at around 9:30 AM I found some shade, parked my bike, and strung up the trusty Cabela's CGR fiberglass 4-weight. It's on the short side for ponds at only six-and-a-half feet (I bought it for little trout streams), but it's one of my favorite rods to fish... especially when paired with a tiny Albright click & pawl reel that has also seen a lot of time on the water. I just couldn't leave the pair at home, they've both been with me since at least 2011.

See, I write about tenkara a lot on this blog, but I'm still a sucker for a medium to slow action fly rod and the sweet squeal of a stressed clicker reel. Glass & reels are definitely not dead to this fixed line angler.

Tying on my favorite "prospecting" fly, a tungsten bead black leech pattern, it took no more than a handful of casts to get into a nice Florida largemouth bass. It would prove to be the kind you should hold with two hands, as not to stress the jaw. If only I had planned the hands-free photo a little bit better. I should take some tips from Justin Carf... or perhaps not...

Working around the perimeter of the pond in a counter-clockwise fashion yielded quite a few more bass of the smaller variety, as well as a few bluegills & sunfish. It had been raining quite a bit the past week, so the grass around the pond was very high, and the ground was extra swampy. Cast... squish, squish, squish, squish... cast... squish, squish, squish, squish...

The far side of the pond was really quite messy, lots of weeds, algae, and other muck, so I decided to switch to a topwater "Booglebug" to try to sidestep the underwater hazards. A couple small bass fell victim to the fluorescent yellow popper.

While they say "slow and steady wins the race," it might not catch the fish. By 11:00 AM, with the sun high in the sky, the bite turned off pretty much for good. There was nothing I could do to coax any action at that point, which was a bit of a bummer, but could do nothing to take away from all of the earlier fun.

So with that, I disassembled the rod, stowed the reel and flies, swapped my trucker hat for a cycling helmet, and hopped back on my bike for the six-mile return that was ahead.

Satisfaction now replacing anticipation, the pedal home went by in a flash.


Fishing Fitness Footnotes:
  • Date: 8/4/2018
  • Current weight: 197 lbs ( -19 since start)
  • Today: Aforementioned 12-mile bike ride
  • Misc: Weight yo-yoed a bit during my recent vacation. Weighed 197 before I left, but 202 when I returned due to ample cruise-ship buffet & dessert lines. Took this week to get back to pre-vacation weight.