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Dinks then no dinks. Puzzling!


BrianMDTX

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So I’ll start out by saying that, to me, any bass that’s 10” or under, or less than a lb., is a dink. 
 

So having said that, I’m puzzled that I have only caught one bass so far this year that I would classify as a dink. All the rest have been 1.5-2.5 lb’ers with a couple pushing 3 lbs. Which surprises me as last year I caught a lot of dinks. Mind you, I’m not complaining, but it makes me wonder if these are the dinks from last year or so, and if true, where’s the latest crop of dinks at? 
 

It’s a medium-sized pond that’s 100% C&R, and in ‘20 and ‘21 it was smokin’ hot, with several 5lb plus bass being landed, but last year was much slower and I didn’t hook a bass bigger than 3.5 lbs. Somedays it was a dinkfest all day long. I’m hoping this is a good sign but I’m not knowledgeable enough to know. 

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4 hours ago, roadwarrior said:

I’ve fished Lake Raven (not on their list, but it’s just north of Lake Conroe). But my small inflatable boat just won’t cut the mustard on big water. It’s definitely a small water craft for sure. 

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Maybe the bass are stunted and those bigger bass are more toward their end of life then they should be since it’s a pond. They could have died off.  Is there any predators to these bass there?

 

You also say it’s 100% C&R I’m willing to bet someone at sometime had kept something if it is open to the public.

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1 hour ago, Darnold335 said:

Maybe the bass are stunted and those bigger bass are more toward their end of life then they should be since it’s a pond. They could have died off.  Is there any predators to these bass there?

 

You also say it’s 100% C&R I’m willing to bet someone at sometime had kept something if it is open to the public.

I don’t know as they do appear very healthy and don’t show signs of being stunted. The only predators I’ve seen are herons (they frequent the pond) and once I saw an osprey. No gators in this pond. 
 

I’ve never seen anyone take fish but that’s not to say it’s never happened. This pond gets some pressure but it’s mostly casual anglers using live bait. There are quite a few catfish and bluegill which appears to be their primary target. Most of the “bass” anglers I see tend to not catch much, if any lol. I’d probably be in the same boat if it wasn’t for BR. I learned a heck of a lot on here that helped me catch bass I wouldn’t have years ago. 

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1 hour ago, BrianMDTX said:

I don’t know as they do appear very healthy and don’t show signs of being stunted

Stunting doesn’t always mean “sick” They just are growing at a slower rate because there is not enough forage for them to eat to get to maximum size. So they all get stuck around the same size.

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8 hours ago, BrianMDTX said:

I don’t know as they do appear very healthy and don’t show signs of being stunted. The only predators I’ve seen are herons (they frequent the pond) and once I saw an osprey. No gators in this pond. 
 

I’ve never seen anyone take fish but that’s not to say it’s never happened. This pond gets some pressure but it’s mostly casual anglers using live bait. There are quite a few catfish and bluegill which appears to be their primary target. Most of the “bass” anglers I see tend to not catch much, if any lol. I’d probably be in the same boat if it wasn’t for BR. I learned a heck of a lot on here that helped me catch bass I wouldn’t have years ago. 

Catfish in ponds are very bad juju for growing a healthy Bass population.    Pond Management professionals will tell you that unless you want a catfish pond to eat them, don't stock them if your primary goal is Bass fishing.

 

A shock study would likely show that many small Bass need to be culled, the catfish need to be removed, and then an annual stocking of threadfin to go along with a bluegill feeder or two.    That's the general recipe for growing big Bass in ponds.   That's the cheapest and easiest way to do it at least. 

 

If this isn't your pond, sounds like you might want to google earth some new ones to fish.   Not much you can do if big fish aren't prolific in the body of water.   You're in Texas, I'm sure there are countless ponds with DDs in them.       

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Ponds are a lot more complex than many give them credit for. Hard to say for certain ‘from the outside looking in,’ but very possible the 1.5-2.5 pound fish were your ‘dink’ year class, now grown bigger, and the bass had a poor spawn or following year class, so you’re seeing much fewer ‘dinks’ to take their place right now. 
 

As for the big fish, a lot of possible scenarios. Many could have died off, and/or ran into a resource partition. Many of them in there could be becoming accustomed to your presentations after having been caught, or even switched their feeding schedule, perhaps going nocturnal.

 

This is why I enjoy fishing these little bodies of water regularly, trying to see if I can figure out exactly what is going on in each from year to year. You can have two ponds right across the street from each other, and yet both can be totally different fisheries.

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13 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Ponds are a lot more complex than many give them credit for. Hard to say for certain ‘from the outside looking in,’ but very possible the 1.5-2.5 pound fish were your ‘dink’ year class, now grown bigger, and the bass had a poor spawn or following year class, so you’re seeing much fewer ‘dinks’ to take their place right now. 
 

As for the big fish, a lot of possible scenarios. Many could have died off, and/or ran into a resource partition. Many of them in there could be becoming accustomed to your presentations after having been caught, or even switched their feeding schedule, perhaps going nocturnal.

 

This is why I enjoy fishing these little bodies of water regularly, trying to see if I can figure out exactly what is going on in each from year to year. You can have two ponds right across the street from each other, and yet both can be totally different fisheries.

Have you ever ran the HOA pond route after dark? 

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3 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

Have you ever ran the HOA pond route after dark? 


Only once to try out a Musky Jitterbug I purchased. After I caught one, I stopped - lol. I fish til dark often, but not much after. Might change that up a little this year on those ponds that aren’t ringed by homes to see what I’m missing. Even bought some bug repellant over the winter ?

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Yeah, this one of about 40 community ponds. I’ve fished about 15 of them and this one is the best by far. 2020 and 2021 it was on fire. Caught my PB over 6 lbs. and several 5 lb’ers. Last year was a marked downturn and most were dinks. So far this year (and it’s early) it’s been mostly 1.5-2.5 lb bass. Which could be last year’s dinks. 
 

I’ve never tried fishing at night. I might give that a go. 

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Sounds almost like the bigger fish might be getting wise.

 

I fish a pond that has GIANT LMB.

 

I mean like I've talked to park wardens who can refer to the shock studies and the pond has quite a few 10+ lb bass.

 

I whole heartedly believe it because I caught my 9.1 lb PB out of there this February.

 

You go out there on a weekend and fish all day, you will not get a single bite.  

 

You will swear there are no fish.  It's the kind of thing where old timers walk up to you holding a rod at 7 am and say 'son, ain't nobody caught a fish outta there since the 70s'.  Literally, not even kidding.

 

There are TONS of bass in this pond.  I mean TONS.

 

From fingerling up to trophy with everything in between.

 

The fish are just VERY educated and have very specific feeding preferences and bite windows that evolved over many years of constant fishing pressure at specific times and with lots of specific baits.

 

I would recommend the hour before sunset and the hour before sunrise and fishing as quietly as humanly possible.  Plan to make ONE good cast and commit to it per area or you will scare schools away.  Move with each cast and only retry areas after 20 minutes or so have passed.

 

Just little things that seem to help me get more bites on the pond with no fish in it where I caught a 9 lber.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/27/2023 at 12:39 PM, AlabamaSpothunter said:

LOL, don't forget the Country Club pond route too ?

Reminds me of the time I was on Kuai staying at a golf resort in Princeville. A kid was walking down the perimeter road with a bass hanging from the rod and I asked him where he caught it. He replied that he caught it in the bay (salt water) and I told him that I'm pretty certain he was trying to feed me some bovine fecal matter. He finally cracked and admitted he caught it from the golf course pond on his one and only cast after getting skunked in the bay and he lied because he didn't want to get in trouble ?

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I'd say that the C&R of the pond probably also has to do with the decreasing size of the fish (in addition to the stocking of cats) - same thing happened at Squaw Creek when they reopened it back in october after two years closed. You'd catch a bass darn near every cast from the right boat, but 95% will be between 1.5-3lbs and none over 5. It's a regression to the mean for most bass populations; it relates to their strike speed and the speed/availability of forage. There are many factors that cause water to grow big bass, but removing competition can be one fairly straightforward and inexpensive avenue to that goal

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