FISHING

Outdoor Corner: Ponding Around

Lyle Johnson

Back when I was a kid, a lot of my time in the summer months was spent fishing with my brother Cliff and my cousin Jeff Bourque, among others. A lot of our fishing was spent in Bayou Francois and New River.

Every now and then, we veered off our regular fishing haunts and opted for fishing some ponds. Pond fish can sometimes be fickle and not as easy to catch as river fish. But sometimes, you just might tear them up.

I’m holding one of the double hook ups John Torregrossa and I had on a great afternoon of bass fishing in a local pond.

One pond was on Cornerview Road between Airline Hwy and the railroad tracks. It wasn’t very big, but it was hidden from view because of the overgrown weeds. That kept the fishing pressure down a bit, so we usually did OK there, catching a few bream and an occasional catfish.

Another one was a pond we named “Ninny” Roth’s pond. Nelson Roth Sr. had built a camp on a pond right off a newly constructed highway named Nicholson Extension, better known as Hwy 30. That was a while ago.

The camp was rumored to host a weekly poker game for some of Gonzales’ most influential leaders. Of course, we wouldn’t know about that as we were too young to be out at night.

The grounds were always kept mowed, so fishing around that pond was very easy to do. And if we needed a rest or got bored, we just went inside and lounged around. Nobody locked their doors back in that time. We usually walked from the house or rode our bikes on that new Hwy 30, with no traffic! It was just a great place to hang around.

Those two ponds are just memories, as both were filled in long ago. The one in Gonzales now has businesses built on top of it. The one on Hwy 30 was just before the hospital and is covered with concrete as well.

More of my pond fishing was around farm ponds that had been dug for keeping the cows watered during dry times. A lot of ponds were dug along the interstate to use for the roadbeds. Now, nearly every subdivision has a water retention pond or small lake dug that holds plenty of fish for the catching.

Allen Allred took advantage of the open Mississippi turkey season as he bags this gobbler with 1¼-inch spurs and a 10¼-inch beard.

Last week at work, I got a text from a good friend, John Torregrossa, asking me if I was interested in making a bass-fishing trip after work to a pond where he deer hunts. I’ve had the opportunity to hunt rabbits there for a couple of years, and saw the pond many times while hunting.

I often wished that I’d brought my rod and reel instead of my shotgun so I could fish after the hunt. Naturally I jumped at the chance, even though I didn’t have any of my fishing tackle with me.

That’s usually a bummer for me, as I feel like I left my pants at home when I use somebody’s else’s tackle. It’s not because there might be something wrong with it. I’m usually thinking about what bait I could be using that the other angler doesn’t have. If you know, you know.

We arrived at the pond about 4:45. That gave us a good two and a half hours of fishable daylight to see what we could do. The moon was nearly full, so afternoon fishing could work in our favor.

John started off with a crawfish-colored crank bait. I started with a seven-inch green pumpkin trick worm. John’s first two casts resulted in good strikes but no fish. A few minutes later, I set back on one and missed it as well. We weren’t starting off too good, if you know what I mean.

John eventually changed strategy and tied on a June Bug lizard to give it a try. A couple of casts later our first bass made its way to the boat. He kept catching bass pretty regular, and I went downhill on the green pumpkin. So I did what all beggars do. I asked for a June Bug lizard.

That’s when business really picked up, as the bite got better and better. We didn’t go very long without catching a fish or two every few minutes with a couple of double hook ups along the way.

About an hour and a half in I decided to try something a little bit different. I asked John if he had a baby brush hog in the same color. “Sure do,” was his answer as he handed me a pack.

As good as the bass were hitting the lizard, they really liked the brush hog a little bit better. The action picked up and lasted all the way until just before dark. When we decided to call it a day, this pair of bass anglers had caught about 50 bass on this pond fishing trip.

A few of the bass had crawfish whiskers sticking out of their stomach into the mouth. That’s not unusual for bass caught in a river system, but it is a little strange for a pond to have that big of a crawfish population. Sometimes you just live and learn.

I’d say we had a pretty good trip, that’s for sure. John tells me the pond has a healthy population of sac a lait there as well but he hasn’t had much success at being able to put a few in the boat. I guess that means another trip is on the horizon to try our fortune at catching some of them.

Spring has finally hit in full force as the woods are turning green again, the wind is blowing pretty hard just about every day. The cold fronts usually bring some nasty weather as that cold air and hot temperatures they push away don’t really like each other.

Turkey season is open in Mississippi and will open in Louisiana on April 2 in the parishes that allow turkey hunting. Check the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website to check your location for hunting them. Until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!

Outdoor Calendar

  • East Ascension Sportsman’s League Meeting: 7 p.m. third Monday monthly in the meeting room upstairs at Cabela’s. Supper will be served as usual. warrenh3@eatel.net
  • Turkey season: Area A: April 2 through May 1, Area B: April 2 through April 24, Area C: April 2 through April 17.
  • South Louisiana Highpower Club Match: March 27 — 7:30 a.m., squadding; 8 a.m. on the range, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Range, St. Landry Road, Gonzales. NRA match rifle or service rifle, 200-yard/50-rounds match course. Fee $12 members, $15 nonmembers, $5 juniors. $15 annual club & Civilian Marksmanship Program membership (allows purchases from CMP). Email Rick Mol: southlahighpower@hotmail.com
  • CCA Sporting Clays Classic: April 1–10 at Covey Rise Lodge, Husser. 100-target course, 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotshells provided. Call Nolan Reynerson (225) 952-9200, email: nolan@ccalouisiana.com or Pierre Villere email: pvillere@allenvillere.com
  • La. High School/Junior Qualifier/East Division: April 2—North Pass landing, Manchac. Call Tommy Abbott (504) 722-6638. Website: louisianahighschoolbassnation.com

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net