In 1999 I found my dream property, 75 acres in Spalding County with two small ponds on it. It was heaven and I bought it even though it was twice the price I had set as my limit. It was the best purchase I ever made!
I now have my ponds. Dreams of sitting on the bank catching huge bluegill, big bass and catfish were going to come true. In fact, the first time I fished there after buying it I caught a seven pound bass in one of them. My dreams were coming true.
It didn't take long for reality to set in. Ponds take a lot of work! Most of it is fun, like feeding the fish floating catfish food to make the bluegill and cats fat and to make them grow faster. Putting out lime and fertilizer is expensive and not quite as much fun.
I put in a siphon system in one pond and pulled the water down enough to build a dock on it. Digging the post holes was quite a chore, especially since I used old telephone poles for the post. Digging a hole big and deep enough to hold them with post hole diggers was backbreaking. But I love having a dock I can sit on and fish.
The biggest challenges are the bushes and weeds along the edges of the pond. Last week I spent several hours with chain saw, weed eater and pole saw trimming bushes around the pond and cutting limbs around it so I can fish from the bank and not get hung up on my back cast. It looks much better, but that is a never ending job.
I have also put in floating goose nest platforms and wood duck nests on poles in each pond. Building them was fun and floating the goose nests was easy, but trying to set a pole for the wood duck nests boxes was not easy. I used a big post driver to set tall cedar poles in the pond bottom to hold them.
Have you ever tried to stand on a ladder in a jon boat and drive in a post? I should have videoed it for America's Funnies Videos! I didn't fall in, but I came close several times. And wood duck boxes are heavy. Mounting them was almost more than I could handle.
I do love seeing the geese nest and hatch young, then swim around a few days before they leave. And having a wood duck hen with a dozen little ones following her around is a thrill.
Learning about the pond is fun. I now know where every stump, channel and brush pile is located in each pond. Some of the brush piles I made, others were there when I got the ponds. And I have learned exactly where the bluegill and bass bed.
All the work is worth it. I spend many happy hours sitting on the edge of the pond with a light outfit catching bream after bream. The biggest so far was a beautiful one pound, 12 ounce bluegill in full bedding colors. There are bigger ones swimming around, I can see them, but they have gotten too smart from my catch and release.
I do eat a good many fish from the pond but catch a lot more than I could ever eat. So they learn what a hook looks like. Crickets tend to tempt them better but I like to put a piece of the floating fish food on a hook and use it. No mess and the fish are used to eating it. The pellet of food fits exactly right in the crook of a #6 hook.
The peace and quiet there is amazing. The only sounds, other than birds, frogs and other natural sounds, is the occasional airplane flying overhead and the distant barking of dogs. And sunsets on the ponds seem to be the most beautiful I have ever seen.
All in all, even with the work, my pond is everything I dreamed it would be when I was a kid fantasying about having my own.