The ecosystem of a small pond provides big lessons 

Published 12:33 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Spring comes to life in an exciting way around a farm pond. The first grasshoppers flush out of the grass with every step towards the waters edge. Panfish begin cruising the banks to feel the sun’s warmth in the shallows. But, my favorite sign of spring is light circles in the bottom of the pond. These circles contain the next generation of largemouth bass and are guarded by very protective parents. 

            

My son has caught plenty of fish over the years, but recently he has started going farther than an arm’s reach away. Long gone are the days where I hook a fish and ask him to hold my rod, acting like there is nothing on the line. He now plays that game with any younger kid fishing with him. No, he is chasing bass by himself. Learning first hand what works, not listening to dad.

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Any angler goes through trial and, mostly, error when they go out on their own. But some days, the stars align and catching is more appropriate than the term fishing. My son had never targeted bass on their beds and was amazed at the visual stimulus of a bass sucking up a plastic worm. 

             

Some anglers may not agree with targeting bass on their beds. I understand, and tend to not mess with them when they are tending to their beds. But, I too was once a ten year old boy on an April afternoon. I had no clue what beds were, but I learned that if I landed my lure in an exact spot in the circular bed, it would be sucked up like a Hoover Vacuum and the fight was on. 

              

This day was not about bass fishing ethics, it was about watching a boy stalk and catch so many bass, his thumb was raw from taking them off the hook. 

               

After a few hours, most of the bass in the pond had a dance with the Zebco 33. A couple hours in the warm spring sun brought my firstborn to the shade where I was watching. Reminiscing about the great fishing over a juice box and some beef jerky sure made a lasting memory. 

              

It’s easy to tell a kid not to litter. It’s easy to tell a kid to not pollute. The kid may learn a fact and repeat it to others. It’s a whole different story when a kid knows why not to litter or pollute. A healthy pond will make healthy fish to catch in the spring. Fishing this time of year makes a kid thankful for the whole ecosystem around a pond. 

              

A toddler may chase bugs in the grass, while his older sibling tries to catch frogs. A parent helps another child cast, while the oldest kid focuses on catching as many fish as possible. Many lessons can be learned around a small pond about life, family, and conservation. For that reason, when the bass are bedding in the spring, you can find our family breaking into the bass’ bedroom.