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Fly Rods And Farm Ponds

The sun had slipped behind a nearby ridge and daylight was beginning to drain away as my fly splattered the water with a satisfying “plop.” Frogs all along the farm pond I was fishing started their thrumming to welcome the impending darkness.

The fly at the end of my line—crafted of deer hair and bigger than a half dollar—resembled a frog itself. I slowly gurgled it along the bank, much as a frog might swim. I saw a slight bulge in the water. Then it was gone. I set the hook, and after a 10-minute battle, I had a chunky 5-1/2-pound farm pond bass in my hand.

Fly rods aren’t just for trout fishing. They’re an effective and fun way to fish farm ponds for bass and bluegill.

If you’ve got an old fly rod collecting dust in the closet, this is a good month to bring it out and experience a different kind of fishing. Start with the line on the reel. If it’s old or cracked, spend a little more and replace it with floating line labeled “weight forward.” This is much easier to cast than the cheap line marked “level” on the box. Even experienced anglers have difficulty getting good casts with level line.

Be sure to match the line to the fly rod. If the rod says “7-weight,” get 7-weight line. Having the wrong kind of line is the leading cause of poor casting. Finally, have a 7- to 9-foot piece of clear monofilament line between your fly and the fly line. This is called a “leader.” Many stores sell special leaders that are thick on one end and thin on the other. These make flies easier to cast.

A small popper is the number-one fly for farm ponds. White or chartreuse poppers with rubber legs resemble grasshoppers and insects. They’re irresistible to bluegill if you toss them near weedy banks and submerged branches. If you’ve made a good cast, let the popper sit for at least a minute before giving it a small twitch.

Many anglers tie a second fly onto the bend of the popper’s hook and let it dangle a foot or two beneath. Small, dark-colored flies such as the black gnat make great secondary flies.

When your casting skills improve, graduate to the bigger deer hair frog lures. Or fish underneath the surface with a baitfish-imitating fly like a Clouser minnow (available at fly shops or on the Internet).

While you might not catch that big farm pond bass, you’ll sure have a lot of fun trying.


Use the Internet to help you plan your next fishing trip. Go to, click on “fishing,” then “where to fish.”

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