How to Fish Farm Ponds and Other Freshwater

Local angling holes provide a valuable food source as well as hours of fun and fulfillment.

| July/August 2012

I can barely remember it, but to the best of my recollection, I was attaching a rubber tube jig to the fishing line of a Zebco 33 rod and reel outfit. I can say for certain that we were standing at the southwest corner of the family farm pond a quarter-mile from our 100-year-old farmhouse, about an hour before sunset.

That was how I learned to fish, standing alongside my mom — she taught me to tie my first fishing knot — and Homeboy, who taught me to work the jig. Homeboy was a family friend of unimaginable character — big beard, overalls with no undershirt, and one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known — who brought a whole new meaning to the term “free-range” chicken. The chickens at Homeboy’s were free to range about his place, in and out of the house, but would become that evening’s dinner at a moment’s notice, at which time Mom and Dad scooped my brothers and me up, and home we went.

We spent hours upon hours at that farm pond and knew that an entertaining, easy way to please our parents and feel proud of ourselves was to walk the gravel road home with a stringer-full of fish draped over our shoulders; I can still see the raised-eyebrow, smiling look on Mom’s face and feel the excitement it created to this day.

Whether you have access to farm ponds, lake water, freshwater rivers, or small lakes and ponds in an urban setting, fishing can supplement your diet and provide hours of fun in the process — and it’s an easy and inexpensive hobby to take up.

Waters of rural America

Whatever water source you fish upon, you need to start by seeking permission from the landowner and make sure you are equipped with an appropriate license. Some of the best fishing waters around the country are farm ponds, many of which no doubt get left alone all year simply because the landowner doesn’t care to fish them and no ones dares to ask.

Knock on a door, shake someone’s hand, explain that you’ll be completely respectful, and ask permission, just like in the old days. It may be met with rejection, but that’s fine. One simple tactic that may improve your chances for fishing access is to offer a portion of what you catch to the landowner, say one fillet out of every three you keep. And who knows, once you knock on their door a few times with fresh fish fillets, they might even come up with a couple of extra holes for you to try.

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