Written/Photos By: Justin Dobson
The long weekend brought a few of us together for a bit of a change to our normal routine. A somewhat car camping style of fishing. It’s been a Memorial Day tradition for the last 5 years to gather at a local nursery farm pond with friends and enjoy several acres of nothing but trees planted in perfect rows and a couple small ponds filled with bass, bream and catfish who haven’t laid eyes on flies and poppers since last year. The car was packed up the night before with the essentials; sandwiches, some watermelon and few celebration brews. Pulling into the farm and locking the gate behind is like some sort of V.I.P. treatment. Being able to park a stocked vehicle right next to a stocked pond all day is like getting a room with all the incidentals covered.
Arriving in the morning with the sun just peaking up over all the perfectly placed ornamentals and crop of next year’s Christmas splendors you can’t help but want to ruin the calm with the ripple and chug of a big popper in hopes of creating a much more impressive top water explosion. The conditions of the ponds were far less than ideal. The area had received near 6” of rain over the previous weekend and sedimentation made the pond into a cesspool of turbid chocolate milk. It would have been easy to give up after over an hour of making long casts and stripping time after time hoping to spur some sort of bite just with the disturbance of ripping plugs all morning. We changed plugs and repeated the process without much success. If I was just stubborn enough, I would’ve stuck to what worked the last 5 years or what I thought should have been successful.
We changed tactics and scrubbed the bottom with dumbbell eyed streamers and a few crazy looking rubber skirted chenille worms. Dozens of small bass and some big bull bluegill later and what started as a dismal day turned out enjoyable. This is the third fishing day in the last 4 months that I began thinking the day would be a complete loss and have ended with some moderate success if not just a feeling of making the best out of it.
The catches weren’t trophies, except maybe for a few “titty bream” (This is new lingo I picked up this week from a seasoned southern angler who I shared my photos with and he informed me a titty bream was one so big you have to hold him against your chest to take the hook out). It was definitely evident these fish were as susceptible to sunburn as I was. The water being so stained these fish had very little, if any color. After 7 hours down on the farm, I feel I’ve added some much needed color to my own skin, even if it’s bright red.