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#11462644 - 03/08/16 12:44 AM Pond question.
kjwolvy Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 4481
Loc: Amarillo
My favorite community lake is about three acres, rocky bottom on one side, hard sand on the other, and fairly deep by the damn, but i don't know how deep. I've never seen spawning beds. I've never seen a crayfish or a minnow. The only vegetation is grass and some weeds but not untill very late spring or summer, and maybe three overhanging trees. During the warm months I can catch 20-30 sunfish, mostly green sunfish, on spinners and small spinnerbaits, but can't catch anything in the winter. Now my question is, are the fish actually spawning? I mean, there always some in there, and my other question is, what are they eating? Thanks.

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#11462658 - 03/08/16 03:27 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
jagg Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 3792
Loc: South Texas
If you are fishing near Amarillo, I would tell you the bluegill spawn will probably occur in May, maybe April. I would definitely look for spawning colonies on the sandier banks compared to the rocky bottom, although fine, sugar sand will not likely attract nest building males unless it is dotted by vegetation. particularly somewhat vertical growing veg. You are more likely to find nests in courser sand and/or gravel. Even fairly rocky areas will draw spawn hopeful males if there is a relatively soft-ish bottom that they can clean out and set up shop. That rocky side and sandy side have to meet somewhere and that is where I would look for nesting colonies first. If the pond sees a fair amount of fishing pressure, the sunfish will find more suitable cover for the spawn. Cover from predators (predators can be from the water, land or air) is the most important factor for sunfish when it comes to spawn time.

If there are rocks, you better believe there are crawfish. I would be willing to bet there are minnows even if the vegetation is fairly sparse and light, especially since you have caught sunfish on spinners before at that pond. Push come to shove, sunfish will eat young of the year sunfish and even fingerling bass. That being said, invertebrates normally top the menu for bigger sunfish this time of the year because there will be various hatches coming out of the lake bottom as the sunlight hours continue to get longer. Smaller sunfish will normally be higher in the water column feeding on the phytoplankton and zooplankton as they start to bloom as the Spring goes on. Minnows will be on the menu more and more as the plankton blooms.

There is a short window where spinners will work pre-spawn. Other than that, bring the spinners out starting around Late Spring. Focus on jig/plastic combos and split shot rigs. Tubes, mini-creatures, mini-craws, leeches and other small soft plastics. If you are going to fish a grub this time of year, make sure it's a triple tail variety. They don't lift as much on the retrieve and can be fished slowly and/or on the bottom more effectively. Gulp! Alive! baits tend to really shine this time of year and so does the often over looked marabou jig.

If you are not seeing a lot of activity from the bank, I would suggest trying out waders and a belly boat, jon boat, canoe or kayak to get away from the highly pressured banks. If you don't already have some, I would invest in some polarized sunglasses. Cheap ones can be had at your local sporting goods store. They help quite a bit when you're on the hunt for sunfish or their spawning colonies. Hope this helps!
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Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless His Holy Name!

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#11462661 - 03/08/16 03:37 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
kjwolvy Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 4481
Loc: Amarillo
Thanks Jagg. I was hoping to get an answer from you! thumb

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#11462664 - 03/08/16 04:08 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
jagg Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 3792
Loc: South Texas
No problem. One thing I forgot to mention, this time of year you can normally intercept sunfish when they are traveling from deep wintering holes to sun warmed shallows. The best, warmest shallows will typically be on the Northern shore of the pond. This first push into the shallows is not for spawning, it's typically just following the warm water and most abundant food supply. This time of year shade is not your friend. Don't fish shaded water and sunny days will typically out produce overcast days.
_________________________
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless His Holy Name!

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#11462764 - 03/08/16 07:15 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
crapyetr Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1070
Loc: G'twn
pond???...that's a bakyrd hole with a water pump...Texans have tanks 2 fish n

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#11462784 - 03/08/16 07:28 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
kjwolvy Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 4481
Loc: Amarillo
I know, I know. To me a "tank" is a man-made lake on a ranchers property.

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#11462992 - 03/08/16 09:02 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
banker-always fishing Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 37177
Loc: Universal City Tx.
Fish would have to spawn and being up in Amarillo I would guess late April and early May would be your first spawn dates. I would guess they would eat insects,snails,and some very small minnows that you may have not been seeing. Just my two cents. thumb



Side Note: During the winter time I would switch to live worms over the artificial baits. Use small pieces of worm fishing off the bottom and fish the deeper parts of the lake. coolio
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#11465215 - 03/09/16 06:05 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
kjwolvy Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 4481
Loc: Amarillo
I do see a lot of opened mussel shells along the shore. Maybe they feed on them?

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#11465891 - 03/09/16 11:33 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
charlief1 Offline
Angler

Registered: 08/20/15
Posts: 298
Loc: Hillsnowhere in Central Texas
Originally Posted By: kjwolvy
I do see a lot of opened mussel shells along the shore. Maybe they feed on them?


I've used them before and catfish will tear them up. I'm sure gills and bass will do the same if given the chance.
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#11467681 - 03/10/16 03:11 AM Re: Pond question. [Re: kjwolvy]
jagg Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 3792
Loc: South Texas
If you are seeing mussel shells along the shore, odds are there are raccoons eating them and discarding the shells. If you have Redear Sunfish in that tank, you better believe they will be around those shell beds. If you have access to a canoe/kayak or belly boat, the classic approach to finding those shell beds is to poke the pond bottom with a pole or paddle until you find crunchy bottom.

Most sunfish will eat the mussels, but few sunfish are physically equipped to make it a regular part of their diet like te Redear and to a lesser extent Redbreast. To try and catch the sunfish eating mussels, you have to find where the largest concentration of feeding sunfish are. The spot I have had the most success in a given water is where the water body is "funneled" or "choked". Even in a small pond, if it has a connection spot from a larger, deep spot to a smaller shallow spot, that connection point is normally the spot where you'll find Redears fairly consistently. Once you find this spot, use bottom techniques. If you use live bait, bait up with crawlers, red worms, garden worms, small crawfish or mussel meat. A split shot rig is the classic approach that still gets results. The drop shot rig is a very good rig to use on spots like these also. A rig that works quite well but is often over looked is a bobber rig. A fixed bobber is fine if the water is 5' or less, but the best way to go is normally a slip bobber. Just make sure you keep the bait really close to the bottom. If you want to fish the same spot with lures, you can use some of the same techniques but add jigheads to the list. Soft plastics is obviously the way to go; a lot of veteran Redear guys rave about the Gulp! Alive! line of lures because they make a scent trail and saturate nearby water with scent and are made to be fished slowly or stationary which is key for fishing Readears on shell beds. I tend to like fishing soft plastic craws, split tail grubs and beavertails on jigheads. I tend to fish them on 1/16th oz jigs and even 1/8th oz depending on how deep the water is or if the wind is blowing or if there is some current. Normally the slower you crawl that jig, the more likely you are to get hit. Once you find the sweet spot, it can be an absolute blast and very consistent. If you want your water body to continue to produce good sunfish, it is best to practice selective harvest and let the largest sunfish go. Hope this helps, boss.


Edited by jagg (03/10/16 03:15 AM)
_________________________
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless His Holy Name!

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