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Preytorien

Confusing Results

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It's not even springtime here in Indiana, but despite the cold weather I've had a little bit of luck this late-winter at catching a few when the weather permits. But in the process of doing so, I've noticed an odd thing, which in years past I've not given much thought about, but in my frustration and lack of action on Saturday had me scratching my head whilst standing there contemplating my choice to brave the cold wind. 

 

When it's windy and cold, I don't travel too far to catch fish. There are about 3-4 ponds near our house I'll walk the bank on and fish. They're all roughly 6-8 acres in size. For the most part, these ponds are nearly identical in water source, depth, cover (or lack thereof), clarity, forage, and species. I never snag much grass, I never snag any wood or any other cover for that matter. I've used my SonarPhone fish finder to roughly map and pinpoint cover in these lakes and it's devoid of anything discernible. They're neighborhood lakes, the kind dug out in subdivisions, they're notoriously bowl-shaped with equally few contour features. The pressure on any of them isn't outlandish, especially this time of year. I'll see some folks there from time to time, but nothing frequent, and definitely no one that appears too serious about their intention. There aren't really any of the 4 that have definable differences in each other other than 1 of the 4 has one southern shoreline that is more exposed to the wind and thus gets a good bit more wind action than the others. That said, I really can only count on catching fish at 2 of the 4 lakes. Given the fact that they're all within about 5 miles' radius of each other, and lack really any obvious difference to each other this leaves me completely confounded. I can't explain why the wild difference. I give each of them a good shake, but I can see in my log some massive differences in frequency of catches. This doesn't even seem to resolve with nicer more fish-friendly weather. I'm really scratching my head on this one.

 

Aside from a general assumption that the fish population may be greater in 2 of the 4 ponds, what else am I missing? 

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sooo many variables on even seemingly identical ponds -- maybe two simply don't have bass in them?

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6 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

sooo many variables on even seemingly identical ponds -- maybe two simply don't have bass in them?

This was my thought. Or at least they don't have very many and their skiddish

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Well, sort of dismissing fish population variance is no tiny detail, but fair on your part to examine other possible reasons for the differences.

 

Here is another often over-looked: We can never know what would have happened under different circumstances: different lake, different color plastics/lures. You are at one place, using particular tackle, you can't compare to the "other."

 

Where I see this a lot is in comments on what makes a fish bite. Often someone isn't catching and all of a sudden the fish just turn on. Or, the opposite. Clouds might have rolled over and they move off feeding deeper to more on the surface, a million reasons. So, when fish aren't biting, a lot of us give up on what we are throwing or change plastic colors, or sizes, or ,or, or. If for no reason related to any changes we make, the fish simply start or stop biting, we attribute it to what we have done.

 

This is a long way of saying that the day you caught several fish at one pond, you might have caught them on another lake that same day under the same circumstances. But, we can't be in two places at the same time to figure it out. Well, friends with walky talkies, I guess. Even then, it's a statistical "mess." If you and your friend compared your results flipping a fair coin 10 times, even though the "average" is 50/50, your outcome won't like be the same. But, in most anglers' minds, mine too, we relate it back to the angling choices we have made.

 

A great topic by the way. I did the math for another forum regarding the distribution of expected outcomes of two guys fishing the exact same equipment, standing side-by-side, how one catching more fish than the other, at least statistically means almost nothing.

 

Brad

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I like Brad's comments above.  I also think the obvious answer of population density that the OP mentioned should not be discounted.  Additionally, bodies of water with an overabundance of food for the bass can sometimes be more difficult.  If they already have enough to eat in the two ponds, maybe your lures just aren't that appealing.

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1 hour ago, Choporoz said:

sooo many variables on even seemingly identical ponds -- maybe two simply don't have bass in them?

To be honest that's the only thing I can think that might cause it. Too few fish, just a low population density. Maybe a fish kill or stock problem caused the dramatic difference in density or even the mortality of the population in those waters. I really don't know the history, which is a limiting factor. 

 

Like mentioned so far - lure colors and type are certainly a factor, but I don't typically use a wide arsenal of lures, and in almost every case I can catch *something* at each place with a Ned Rig - so if we used that as a control the fact still remains that I would catch FAR more at two of them than the remaining two. 

 

That's what makes me think there just aren't many fish in there, and there doesn't appear to be a stocking program associated with any of them unfortunately. It's a lot of factors - factors that I've probably overlooked, and in my quest to be consistent on them all I'm trying to get a better grip on the variables that I can control. They're very close to my house, and a place I can imagine taking my son when he's a little older, so I want to ensure I'm going to a place that will maximize my time on the water rather than fishing a place that could be a time-waster based on something as simple as low fish populations. Seeing the look on his big sister's face when she catches a fish is priceless, I'm hoping to see the same on his and be able to mix up our "secret spots" a little more.

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I think you've touched on the most likely scenarios. Most subdivision ponds don't get "intelligent" stocking, intentionally done and planned by a biologist. Instead, it's usually an angler or two that live in the neighborhood and bring some fish back from another lake or river in their boat a couple times. Each lake ends up with a different starting composition, then add in factors like depth, bottom composition, cover, available food sources, fishing/harvest pressure, water clarity, volume of water throughput, chemical composition of runoff, treated or untreated (weeds and algae), etc., multiplied out over a period of time, and you usually end up with a wide variety of fisheries, even within the same housing addition. It has been the case with most every retention pond I've seen.

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4 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

 volume of water throughput, chemical composition of runoff, etc.

I've always thought (with zero science, data or even intelligence) that this is quite a significant differentiating factor for all small waters near housing or farms...one guy simply using a different brand/amount of fertilizer or weed killer than another just a quarter mile away could make significant, and potentially lasting difference, I'd think

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1 minute ago, Choporoz said:

I've always thought (with zero science, data or even intelligence) that this is quite a significant differentiating factor for all small waters near housing or farms...one guy simply using a different brand/amount of fertilizer or weed killer than another just a quarter mile away could make significant, and potentially lasting difference, I'd think

I've seen entire housing ponds nearly 100% killed out by heavy rains that came through  shortly after farm field applications, as well as huge differences in algae volume based on home fertilizer use and runoff (frequently leads to summer kills).

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