Long Shots

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Every fisherman has a secret fishing hole, and almost every fishing fanatic uses code words or secret directions to describe their most productive rural fishing resorts.

Those in fishing circles usually keep their numbers down to as little as two, in order to keep their biggest fishing secrets safe from possible leakage, when a bilge pump isn’t available.

One fisherman I know, who will remain nameless, has even gone so far as to make a secret map of the Marion Reservoir’s hot fishing spots. With the success I’ve had at the reservoir, it’s obvious I don’t possess a copy.

Nonetheless, I too, have a few secret spots.

There was a farm pond that I fished quite regularly several years ago that was easily the best fishing spot I have ever experienced. The only reason I’m divulging information about it is because I no longer fish there.

Almost “automatic,” the pond contained several species, including one- to two-pound crappie, which would make any fisherman happy.

On a cloudy day in late October, my buddy and I tied into a large school of crappie. We both left with a stringer full-and an appetite to boot.

The first day we fished the pond, which we stumbled onto by accident, my buddy and I joked that we had found the Mecca of ponds.

We cast our top-water lures almost simultaneously-and both lures were devoured on impact by two monster large-mouth bass.

We ended the day with a final count of 72 bass, taking home 12 total when all was said and done.

The biggest bass we took home was a healthy six-pounder.

It was fairly obvious that “Automatic” had been well stocked and very under-fished.

When I worked in the TV business, I produced and directed a half-hour show called “Goin’ Fishin’ with Rick Dykstra.”

My cohort and host of the show bragged that his area of the state boasts the best rural fishing waters in the state.

He took me to a small pond in the town of New Strawn called New Strawn City Lake, which is open to fishermen for a small fee.

The pond was barely an acre in diameter with aerators and fish feeders in the center of the water.

I remember thinking, “How could anyone catch any fish in this little thing?”

After my compadre pulled out a thick bass, a colorful rainbow trout, a crappie and a wiper, I was convinced this pond was for real.

A fisherman beside us pulled out a channel cat. It was obvious that New Strawn had a small treasure in the middle of town, and my host and I had a show.

Last spring, I had the opportunity to meet the legendary Jimmy Houston at the Governor’s Cup at the Wolf Creek Power Plant. Catching fish has netted Houston more than just fame, it’s also made him extremely wealthy and very friendly.

I wish I could make money catching fish. I’d even be OK with making money catching a cold.

* * *

Before I speed out of this week’s column, I would like to encourage you to keep our waters clean and free of debris-and to send us any information about your fishing or hunting adventures.

And if anyone out there wants to share any secret fishing spots with me, I can assure you that this journalist honors confidentiality when it comes to sources.

I’d gladly turn in my pen and paper for a fishing rod and reel-and a few secrets of the fishing game.

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