Our ponds and watershed lakes produce good bass fishing for several reasons. They in comparison to public waters receive far less fishing pressure. Our Association is for all hunting and fishing as opposed to game species specific membership. Allowing a fishing only membership option would simply allow a few members to pound the best fishing spots. In our system of allowing all members to hunt and fish a multitude of year long opportunities to pursue a variety of game allows only so much free time available in the hunter’s schedule. The challenge becomes how to best take advantage of what is available. For fishing it is largely a filler between other seasons.
The bass in our small ponds become very opportunistic on their food choices meaning they are not picky. It is frequent we here from experienced fishermen that the bass were hitting every thing. Occasionally from less experienced fishermen we here there are not bass.
Hot summer days and cool water strata makes for a lazy bass that once discovered around cover will typically remain there on each return to the fishing spot. Cover in a small pond is easily identified along its banks or rising above the surface.
The skilled bass fisherman will also rise up to the changing water temperature and sunlight conditions as winter turns to spring, spring to summer and summer to fall. Ponds lead the change with watershed lakes following shortly thereafter. Warmer waters mean lower oxygen and a higher sun provides deeper light penetration. What rig that worked yesterday on a watershed lake may not work today on a farm pond. For those that can react to these changes there are fish to catch. For those that do not understand that what worked last time is not catching fish now there will be far fewer fish to catch.
This picture is an attempt to show the extent of the fishing waters we possess. Notice the depth close to shore as shown by the fisherman. While this is a small pond it runs along a former creek bottom and contains a long narrow deep pool that produces a good number of bass each trip.
Some days you never know what you may catch. From three ponds over three fishing days. The comments from this fisherman was simply that you just need to get out there and see what happens.
via email: Thought I’d send a photo of a 23 inch bass I caught recently from a farm pond that has baffled me for the last couple of years.
I knew it had big bass, but they eluded me on several occasions, so I decided to change my tactics. I always fished from a small boat and noticed the further I threw my lures from the boat the better luck I had catching fish, since the water was so clear.
This time I decided to switch from a white to black spinner bait and quietly work the shallow water from the shore. I caught 4 bass within a short period of time and one felt like a really nice one, so I continued and caught and released this beautiful bass for someone else to have the opportunity to catch in the future.
Fishing is MAHA’s best kept secret! Allen G.
Joe Pace and son fishing a small farm pond. This pond was overlooked for years by those who drove by it on the road viewing it as “…not good enough…”
Joe on the other hand has the skill to recognize good waters resulting in father & son memories forever.
Larger watershed lakes have significantly more submerged undetectable cover. Many of the watershed lakes resulted from the CCC when strong back labor was more extensively used than machinery. This left behind many a stump while the trees many have been removed. A secondary affect of these older watershed lakes is since their construction many years ago tree growth around the banks has come full circle with blow downs toward the softer water’s edge. An advantage and disadvantage as the many limbs while holding fish retain many a hook as well.
Private, small lakes and ponds are quiet. The fish are not accustomed to frequent visits by surface slapping baits, shadows on the banks or from boats. Take advantage of sunlight directions and walking in quiet to bank fish before ever considering putting in a canoe or small boat. This makes the small impoundment the realm of the float tube. A quiet, low impact intrusion into the fishing environment.
The same junior sportsman as pictured above with his own float tube.
Slowly moving along in a tube over unseen structure too far from shore casting makes for a better day than those that drag and splash in a boat and motor around the surface making a wake where there has never been a wake before.
Smaller waters have more of the shallow water strata used by fish. Deep water reservoirs are good for city water supplies and flood control. They do very little for bass fishing as they are not of the suspended water variety. A large fish holding strata provides for more area of useful structure that will provide more fish over all. This is the advantage of watershed lakes and farm ponds, more of the water depth useful to the fish than large lakes.
Another one of our bass fishing ponds. Some of our new members shy from our waters we identify as “ponds” preferring the watershed lakes believing the larger the water the better the fishing. Continuing on through this fishing section will show many examples of why the “ponds” should be fished.
The other side of the equation of small versus larger water structure is the shore line. Smaller waters have the graduated water edge that provides the niche for microorganisms and larva that feed bait fish and frogs while as the water increases in depth the ecosystem changes to allow for increasing sizes of the fishery. Compare this to a reservoir where waves are constantly splashing ashore. The wave action will not allow for the amount of food chain development that a calm watershed lake or pond does. In theory the more food available makes for more predator species such as bass to survive for longer periods.
Catch and release is the rule of the day for bass fishing. The fun and satisfaction is in the memory of the catch. Being able to deceive the bass in his own environment where he has lived for a long time seeing everything there is to see and to be able to repeat the memories in the picture above will give a father and son common experiences that will be shared long after the child leaves home. These experiences will allow for common interest discussions on the telephone when the son is away at college. Or, a reason to spend more time together on vacations to see family when the son starts his own family rather than go lay on a beach somewhere distant. And, what better anti-drug is there than a child that enjoys being like dad rather than “hangin’ wit’ da boys” Make the child feel successful and that will give him or her a world of confidence to deal with any future challenges.
Non-resident hunters have thoroughly taken advantage of our fishing as a diversion from what they are accustomed to in their home state. There is just something about getting out to new water and testing one’s fishing skills to attempt to match and hope exceed past home state success.
Non-resident spring turkey hunters find the easier paced afternoon fishing a chance to recover from the early morning hunts. Fall deer scouting is tough to do walking every day or many days and a late morning of fishing allows the body to recover and mind to analyze the areas scouted as well as of course a chance to spend some family time together. A frequent rationalization used by many non-resident hunters to convince the wife that a summer week spent in Kansas would be better for the family than some theme park. If further excuse is required Branson with all of its wife attractions of shows and restaurants is nearby some of our best fishing.
Joe Pace, the father, with a good panoramic photo of a farm pond. Notice the apparent lack of fish holding structure. Also, recognize the shoreline with its abundant food chain value.
Joe was not fooled by calm waters.
For those that are real fishermen like Joe Pace and son above, the opportunity to do well is abundant. All it takes is the fishing skill and the willingness to get out-of-doors and have a go at it. Joe was in his third year as a hunter and fisherman in the Association when he sent in these photos.
Andrew has sent in so many fishing pictures over the years we started this second web page to hold them all as if we were to put them all on one page the opening time would simply be too long.
Andrew and his fishing buddy Robby are good fishermen as they always seem to have a great day on the water. Many others do as well as they do however, it is that Andrew takes pictures and sends then into us as a courtesy, a courtesy we certainly appreciate.
Andrew does share his fishing techniques, but not the places he fishes and we don’t ask. He is one of those spinner bait, artificial bait or casting rod fishermen (however the many descriptions there are to describe those that enjoy testing their skills against the fish) and he does so with light casts employing a multitude of lures until the right combination of size, color and action earns a strike then it’s to the wall with all of that variety. He also casts far fewer times than what many will see in fishing videos of pro fishermen attempting to find that elusive bass on public waters that may just get too much pressure. His boat is also not like the pros. Andrew’s boat is easily lifted into the back of his pickup truck. And, if the electric trolling motor battery should die (which it never has) then its an easy paddle to shore. He also says boat movement is to be at an absolute minimum. This I didn’t mind at all as it meant I could sit back, relax and watch the day go by without a care in the world at all were he placed us, not that I could tell one spot on this farm pond was any better than another.
Andrew doesn’t write much in his notes he emails, something we find very unusual for a lawyer, but he is easy to talk to and down to earth as much as any fisherman and hunter can be. He’ll openly talk about surface and subsurface conditions, sunlight, vegetation and temperature and can account though the early spring to late fall how the changing conditions, natural food availability and the water itself will change along with his fishing techniques. These talks are enjoyable to someone such as myself where a day’s fishing seems always to include a nap and probably because of that I never quite seem to catch on to the subtleties that Andrew sees. And, he can see these minor deviants of nature as readily as most mortals can read newspaper print. But, he doesn’t need the bi-focal glasses that most of us use to read the newspaper while he proved this day how most of us are blind at how he reads the water.
What is most enjoyable about his fish talk is the detail he presents that is completely unavailable or ignored on fishing videos that seem to believe all they need to show are frequent numbers of fish being pulled in the boat. The only problem with this beyond my bifocals is my memory cannot seem to capture all the subtleties and nuances he brings to fishing. It is these slight edge advantages that he has that makes him the one in the boat regardless of who the other may be in the other seats to be the one that catches the most and as we again see here today the largest fish at 7 pounds, 5 ounces on a scale. This was made even the more frustrating in that on this trip I left all my gear in the truck and mirrored Andrew using his rod, reel and tackle, some of which the $28.95 late lunch helped compensate him for, darn weeds. Now I’m not complaining that he can catch fish and I can’t, I did catch some. It is that when you are with someone like Andrew that has this seemingly mysterious ability to out perform mere men of flesh it just makes the rest of us feel hopeless and having to settle for second class status.
Now just not to tout Andrew’s horn too much he is also a very accomplished upland and waterfowl hunter that has one of them pointing dogs with a breed name that defies common English language pronunciation and that dog not only points pheasants and quail but has on more than one season broke ice to retrieve ducks and geese. Now with all of this and he being a lawyer on top of it all it just seems that some folks must just live better than others to deserve all this good fortune and makes the rest of us to wonder why not me?
Oh, by the way, all the fish that day were released. Even that hog of a bass as it was smaller than what Andrew already has on the wall. What was also enjoyable is that during this one late morning, early afternoon trip I saw more bass in that boat that was so small I could hardly answer nature’s call than I did during the last bass fishing tournament. If we had the fish that day in that last tournament we would have won in half the time it took those pros with their $30,000 boats and fine sponsor logo covered clothes to get done the entire day. Thanks Andrew for sharing the day with one of the lesser fishermen.
While Floyd has earlier deer and turkey pictures on his Association web site he mostly just fishes now and is one of the strongest supporters of MAHA by actively transplanting fish around the MAHA ponds and watershed lakes.
Lets put this picture into perspective. The man that caught this fish is 6 foot 2 inches tall. Now compare Andrew’s height to that bass.
This is Andrew Nantz, a frequently successful bass fisherman within his hunting and fishing .
He wrote via email:
As you know, I have been a member in the Club since 1994. When I first moved to Kansas City, I had no place to hunt or fish. I didn’t have any hunting buddies or fisherman buddies. Since then, I probably have more tAssociationhan I can handle.
My experiences with bird hunting, waterfowl and fishing have been exceptional. (I don’t even mention deer and turkey because its given). Last year, in what was known by everyone to be a “down” year for bird hunting. Quality habitat and the variety of locations in MO, KS, and IA helped my season be as enjoyable and successful as many from the past.
As far as waterfowl goes, my duck hunting has been great. I really appreciate the quality of the blinds that are built and the variety of good flyway locations. I have met many hunting buddies from sharing a blind over the years. In fact, I have been even able to convince some of these guys that there is “other” types of hunting besides waterfowl!
As you know, I along with some of my MAHA buddies have been avid fisherman on the property for years. The biggest problem is that I have too many quality places to fish and not enough time to hit them all. Whether it be a NC MO farm lake or a SE KS strip mine, I have had consistent success with fishing. It is not uncommon for me and a buddy to pull in 100 bass on a good spring day. I have put 10 lb fish back and I regularly catch fish in the 3 to 7 lb range. And Crappie, well I can’t tell you about that. All I can say is that there are a number of farm lakes that seem to have an endless supply of slab size crappie.
Anyway, I want to say thanks for your diligence in making sure that members have quality places to hunt and fish. I don’t think people realize how fortunate they are to have such a great gift of land. All you have to do is talk to someone from another part of the country or even someone locally about their access to hunting and fishing, and you will know how blessed we are to have a club like MAHA.
Mid-America Hunting Association fishing is catch and release for bass and retention fishing for crappie and catfish.
Our Association stocks a hybrid bass that is hardy and grows well. The Association overall is for the enjoyment of the tranquility of a good day a field and that is enhanced with many a good catch on fighting bass. It is the memory of the catch, not the meat in the freezer that is important. These hybrid bass provide this opportunity.
Successful catch and release requires treating the fish gentle, nothing new in this idea. Bass themselves can withstand some handling, but less is always better. Again this is not news. What maybe news is the information below that provides a framework to all that bass caught today to make more memories the next time those waters are fished.
Getting the fish back into the water as soon as possible gives several key survival advantages. The first is re-suspension of the gills. In the water the fish’s gills float suspended in the water with little to no affect from gravity. Once out of the water the gills collapse under the their own weight and the force of gravity. This gills collapse increases the chances of damaging them when a fish struggles out of the water. Once damaged the opportunity for infection and faster recovery may be lost. Fishermen will significantly increase the chance of the fish’s survival if as soon as possible after removing the hook the fish is held just under the water surface for the picture.
Barbless hooks should be used. Two reasons support this idea. The first is to get the fish back to water as soon as possible. A hook without a barb is certainly easier to remove and will get the fish back to water faster. Second, fish have very little blood in their bodies. Even what may appear to be a small loss of blood may be fatal to a fish. Again a barbed hook increase the chances of damaging the fish and causing blood loss.
Peak summer fishing stresses the fish two fold. Warm water increase heat stress on the fish, remember their body temperatures are on the low side in nature. And, warm waters contain less oxygen. This of course is a doubling affect. Not only will warm water fishing greatly fatigue a fish it will take longer to recover as well.
While many fishermen feel they have successfully returned a fish to the water for long term survival confident with how strong it swam away. The fish may still die. All that is required to kill a fish days after catch and release is to penetrate their skin, remove scales or degrade their slime cover. If anyone of these three fish body protections is lost the chances for infection have been greatly increased. This infection will result in a long death process.
Association fishermen practicing fast harmless catch and release on bass will always have more bass fishing.
Enclosed are a couple of pictures from the recent Youth Weekend prior to the regular Kansas turkey opener.
My fourteen year old Daniel and I went to [location deleted] where we were greeted by lots of pre-dawn gobbling from the moment we entered the property. We set up, and within a half hour after legal shooting time Daniel bagged his first tom Later, he had a great time catching and releasing a number of fine bass. It was just a fantastic day in the field to share with my son.
Daniel also got his first deer this past season also in [location delted]. Unfortunately, the photographs did not come out or I would sent one of those along as well.
When we first moved to the area, I took my oldest son hunting on public land. We had several less than pleasant experiences, both with the quality of the land and because of the inconsideration of other hunters. What a contrast to our experiences on Mid-America properties. Thank you very much for providing the opportunity for my sons and I to put together such great times and to create such great memories.
The original letter:
I wanted to let you know how the youth hunt went for my two sons, Steven and Daniel, this weekend,in search of that “first buck”.
Saturday morning found me in the stand with 13 year old Steven just moments before day light. It wasn’t five minutes before a young six point buck appeared on the other side of the field. Steven had his buck when my watch said 1 minute after sunrise! He was so excited, and is already talking about the big one he is going to hold out for next year.
Sunday was Daniel’s turn. Daniel has harvested some nice does, but never a buck. This weekend he passed on eight different does, wanting a buck. From nearly the same place a buck emerge to come into the same field. This one was an eight pointer that was content to stay on the other side of the field and eat. When it looked like his grazing my take him further away from us he went broadside and Daniel too had his buck!
What a weekend. While neither of these deer will make the record books, they are true trophies indeed to these young hunters and never will be forgotten. Now that the first one is under their belts they know only older, mature bucks will be harvested in the future, and I hope many will follow. But few will be so special. Two boys…two days…two bucks….one great club! Thanks for everything.
Joe, an admitted non-fisherman does well just going out and having a good time. Joe has done what many before and after him have. He tried all other options for finding good hunting settling on the Association as his last choice. He found it should have been his first choice. A common occurrence for most long time Association hunters and fishermen.
The brothers Falco sent in a bunch of photos and we selected two for the web page. Had we posted all of them it probably would look like a mass kill. What may be interesting to know is that neither of them ever fished this pond before and went there just because they saw water. Every fish they caught was returned to the water.
Then from some others.
We have the farm ponds and watershed lakes ranging from 1 acre to 30. All may be fished any time.
I thought I’d share a couple pictures of a nice bass that I caught (and released) this past weekend on MAHA waters. The weather was great, it was nice and peaceful and the fish were biting good! Couldn’t ask for much more than that! Again, thanks for all that you, Jon and the girls in the office do!
Wanted to send a couple photos from a recent fishing trip. With all of the rain, We’ve only been able to get out a couple of times. Hit several spots and caught a lot of bass between 2 and 3 pounds. Ended the day with 11 crappies, 4 -14″ plus. The largest was just under 16″.
While we have fishing members out on our waters probably half the weekends during the summer, fishermen are much like waterfowl hunters in they both rarely take cameras. The ones that do appear to have an overabundance of time both fishing and duck hunting. The reality is those that take pictures always take pictures and have for years. That volume of pictures from a few may make it look like only a few actually have as much fun as they do but there are more that have the same breakup to their daily work grind.
Same fishing trip for all three pictures.