A Fishing Guy’s Best Friend

Minnesota has its 10,000 lakes; Missouri has 100,000 farm ponds, give or take a few thousand. And if diamonds are a girl’s best friend, a farm pond is a guy’s if he’s a fisherman. I am.

Many years ago our family was looking for a weekend place to get away from work, traffic and general stress. We looked at many, but none was right. And then a real estate agent showed me 30 acres with a cabin, woods that looked just right for turkeys, a convenient outhouse and a one-acre pond. And I said the one thing you probably shouldn’t say to someone who wants to sell you something: “I don’t care what it costs, I want it!”

The author in a float tube with a bluegill on the hook.

Since, that pond has served multiple purposes. We swim in it during summer, ice skate on it in winter, fish in it year-round. It serves as the “ground” for our ground source heat pump. It has furnished bullfrog legs for the fry pan. It has bass, bluegills and channel catfish (some of whom have become virtual pets because we feed them and they group up at the dock like a herd of cows at feeding time).

The bluegills are a near-constant source of fish fries, along with small bass which we thin to encourage the survivors to grow big and ornery. We keep the occasional 3- or 4-pound catfish, but the 15 pounders are old friends and hooking one is like tying into the back end of an interstate Peterbilt. They know the location of every Christmas tree we

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