... pretty much anything else I can think of, at the moment.
My folks went out of town for a long weekend, and asked me to look in on their place today. Mainly just to ensure that the livestock were all where they were supposed to be, and that everything was secure.
Ever the opportunist, I decided to capitalize on the time/gasoline investment and haul the fishing gear along so the Mrs and myself could enjoy a nice afternoon in search of "the big one". It was a beautiful day, and one full of surprises.
Sunny Hill is a nice, quiet place. Great view from the house on the hill. Good pasture for grazing the stock. And a sweet little stock pond for fishin'. For those of you not familiar with the term "stock pond" (or "stock tank"), it doesn't necessarily mean a pond that has been stocked with fish. In my area, a "stock pond" just means a pond on a farm/ranch for the purpose of providing water to livestock for drinking.
Most ponds that hold water year round will eventually have fish, due to wading birds bringing in the eggs. However, the really good ones like my Dad's have been stocked by man. The pond at Sunny Hill is stocked with largemouth bass, and Channel Catfish. There's also a population of bluegill and some sunfish. This pond will come in handy, should we ever have to implement our zombie Apocalypse evacuation plan. A ready source of meat from the fish will be worth more in a disaster than gold.
Within minutes of arriving at the pond, on the first cast, I landed a nice channel catfish:
This is the perfect eating size for catfish, in my opinion. I mostly catch & release these days - for no other reason than I am within driving distance of the best catfish restaurant on the planet, and I hate to clean fish. LOVE catching them. LOVE eating them. HATE cleaning them. We occasionally catch a bunch and clean them all at once for family fish cook-outs... but for the most part I'd rather just have fun and throw 'em back.
Right after catching the catfish, my Wife landed this nice Largemouth:
We caught a couple of smaller bass, and then my Wife hooked this bluegill:
We were fishing with nightcrawlers (worms), and we'll often catch the small bluegill and sunfish instead of the larger bass/catfish we are trying for. Unfortunately, sometimes these little guys are injured when the larger bass/catfish sized hook is removed from their small mouths. This blue gill swallowed the hook pretty deeply, and was bleeding when we put it back in the water. It kind of fluttered around near the surface for a while, and then a dark shape came out from underneath the pier we were fishing on and zeroed in on the struggling bluegill. It was a large bass, and it swallowed the bluegill in one gulp and dissapeared back into the darkness of the water.
My wife and I both stood there with our mouths open...
My next cast resulted in this little guy:
Don't laugh... they can't all be wall hangers.
Anyway, I posted that picture to explain what I did next. I hooked this little guy through the top of his head and dangled him in the water out away from the pier. I gave my Wife the video camera, and told her to keep an eye on the baitfish.
Sure enough, the big bass came out again and struck the little fish three times - taking it on the third try. I set the hook and landed him. I was really surprised to see the end of the bluegill's tail sticking out of the throat of the bass when I looked down into it's mouth!
Luck was not with us, though, as my Wife had forgotten to push the "record" button on the video camera. We didn't discover this until too late :( We did notice, though, that this particular fish had an odd shaped pectoral fin on one side.
We put "Bob", as we had named him, back in the water and continued to fish - catching several more small to medium sized bass. Right before we left, though, my Wife yet again hooked into a big one. She caught it way out in the middle of the pond and fought it all the way back to the pier. When we pulled it out of the water, we were surprised to see that it was BOB !!!
The tell tale odd fin was there, as was the bluegill tail STILL partially sticking out of his throat. You can see both in the pictures below: