By: Brooks Milling
The 2023 Spring, Turkey season has come and gone. While I am sad to see it go, there is something else that I have been looking forward to. The months of May and June seem to hold the best bream action on small ponds. If you have access to a pond during this time you are in luck. During these spring and summer months around a full moon, bream will be on their beds close to the banks in order to spawn. If you look for bream beds, they are easy to find by noticing the solid sandy circle under the water near the bank. My favorite way to go after these powerful panfish is to use a fly rod and a popping bug. It seems that anywhere you cast near the bank during this time of year, the fish will aggressively strike the bugs. If you aren’t familiar with fly fishing, this is how I would go about learning. I would first see if anyone you know has a lightweight fly rod they can lend you. If not, I would go buy a cheap one and about half a dozen popping bugs. Next, watch a video or two about learning how to cast it. Then, tie a bug on your leader and grab an empty five gallon bucket. Set that bucket out in the yard about 10 yards away. Once you start consistently casting the bug in the bucket, move it back farther and repeat. When you feel confident in your cast and aim, it is time to hit the pond. The only thing else to learn is how to work the bug. Some days the fish are biting so aggressively that you only need to put the bug in the right spot and let it sit. After the bug has sat on the surface for about ten seconds, slowly start stripping line (grab the line in between the reel and first eye above the reel and flick your wrist back to you causing the bug to twitch and move to you.). I usually will retrieve the bug until it is about twenty yards from the bank and then cast again.
Personally, I welcome this outdoor activity after a month and a half of driving myself crazy in the pursuit of gobblers. It is also a good way to get your friends back together and discuss the hunting stories of the Spring, Turkey season. The lowkey, but action packed float around the pond is a great environment for sharing and building freindships. After hammering Bluegill and Shellcracker for a few hours, my favorite thing to do is clean them up and help them find their way into some hot grease. There is no better way to kick off summer and change up the pace than to get a friend, a group, or just your dog and have some “laid-back” fun pursuing some firecracker panfish.
AGENT CONTACT INFO
Name: Brooks Milling
Photo 1: Bull Bluegill caught with “Poppin’ Bug” by agent’s father.
Photo 2: Agent with cousin and brother along with the results of a hot morning on the pond.