Time for a bite out on the pond

OUTDOORS

May 29, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

I managed to get away from work a little early one afternoon last week and forget my worries by casting around a familiar farm pond outside of Hampstead. Pond fishing is red hot right now.

The pond I fished covers maybe 1 1/2 acres and is pretty typical of many Carroll County farm ponds. It was loaded with fat bluegills, hungry largemouth bass and a resident grass carp or two. Casting is relatively unobstructed. A cold, spring-fed stream runs into the pond, cattail stands provide bass cover.

I used an 8 1/2 -foot graphite flyrod that throws a bass taper weight forward floating line and an assortment of deerhair bugs, streamers and even a sponge spider. The only order of the afternoon was to have a little fun and release everything I managed to hook. I managed to set the hook on quite a lot of fish.

These ponds are ideal spots to enjoy bugging for bass or panfish with a flyrod. Just about any outfit handling a 5-, 6-, 7-, 8- or even 9-weight line will do nicely. Delicate presentation, unlike the demands of trout fishing, isn't really necessary in this game, but you do need to be able to drop your bug or fly with accuracy and a minimum of water whipping.

Bumblebees, dragonflies, butterflies, minnows, crayfish, spiders and waterbugs, frogs and mice are a few creatures pond fish feed on regularly.

Good flyrod choices are big, fluffy deerhair moths, woolly worms, muddler minnows, deerhair crayfish bugs, gray ghost and similar streamers. If I spot bumblebees rumbling along the surface, a life-like imitation is tied on the end of my tippet. Popping bugs, which simulate small frogs, are top choices, but be sure to work them very slowly. Toss one out, let it sit until all the water circles are gone, give it a popping twitch, let it sit a while and so forth.

For pure bluegill fishing, lean toward the smaller streamer patterns and sponge spiders with long, limber rubber legs.

A spinning outfit probably will suit the most people because of its casting ease.

If all you are after are panfish, a 6-pound test line and light action rod and reel will fill the bill. I like small leadhead jigs rigged with plastic twistertails, Mepps spinners and crayfish imitations.

When bass are also on the list, an 8- to 10-pound line can be a wise choice. For early morning or late evening pond bassing I favor popping lures. The single best choice for all times of day and conditions is a 6-inch plastic worm Texas rigged.

Local fishing conditions

Some 10-pound striped bass are being caught in Liberty. Use shiners drifted in the upper 10-foot column of water 30 feet deep. Crappie action is sizzling at the Route 140 bridge area. Prettyboy is hot -- white perching is great in the middle portion of the lake and nightcrawlers are the bait of choice. Crappie fishing is good at Prettyboy in the shallows, around Georges Run and Prettyboy Cove.

Crappie action has slowed at Piney Run, but yellow perch and bluegill are more than picking up the slack.

Trout fishing on the Gunpowder is excellent, and the sulphur hatches are going on; use streamers and nymphs. Hunting Creek is producing great trout angling with March browns and caddis hatches.

Anglers may use live bait at Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy, provided it has been purchased from a certified bait dealer no more than 48 hours before fishing. A list of certified dealers may be obtained by calling the Department of Natural Resources at (410) 974-3061.

Events scheduled

* The Governor's Youth Fishing Derby, co-sponsored by the Freedom Optimists, will be conducted from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday at Piney Run. The derby is for children 15 and under, and lots of prizes and free gifts are in store for participants. Cost is $2 per child, and pre-registration is required. Call (410) 795-3274.

* Piney Run Park in Eldersburg will be the scene for beginner's canoe classes. The first is set from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday, and the cost is $20 per person, $30 for two. The second class will be June 28-29, and the last is Aug. 2-3. Call (410) 795-3274.

* The Seniors in Action Rec Council is sponsoring its third annual fishing tournament from 7 a.m. to noon June 8 at Piney Run. Participants must be 62 or older, and cash prizes will be awarded. Call (410) 795-3274.

* The Patapsco Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will meet at 7 p.m. June 9 at Greenway Gardens. Philip Crista, a guide on the Patapsco, will give a presentation on fly casting.

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