Well, really more like my side yard or my neighbor's side yard. My backyard runs along the shore of the Kennebec River and I fish there almost every day for more than four months but a quarter mile from my house is Center Pond. A fellow that I teach with at Bean's closes every fly fishing class with the advice to "fish your backyard"...the local golf course ponds that hold monster sunfish, the small brook that gets stocked with eight inch trout, the pond close to work that has never produced a state record for any species. After hearing his suggestion countless times I finally headed his words of wisdom. I'm embarrassed to admit that after living here for close to ten years I'd never fished Center Pond. The place is just down the road. I drive by it every time I go to the dump, to Popham Beach, to Anna's Water's Edge. I fetch the dog there with some frequency but I've never made a cast into that water.
I am very guilty of thinking that chasing brookies involves a trip to the Rapid River or a couple of days on the ponds between Jackman and Moosehead. I talk landlocked salmon with friends and it's always "when are we getting back to the West Branch of the Penobscot or going out to Grand Lake Stream". I'm trying to set aside a couple of days in late May to devote to smallmouth fishing and I immediately thought of Washington County instead of the Androscoggin River just up the road. A potential pitfall of living in a place with so many fishing opportunities is being mentally trapped into focusing on the "storied waters". I bite that bait every time.
I started this morning thinking about the items on my to do list - mowing the backyard, finish cleaning the shed, put away the tackle that currently covers every horizontal surface in the kitchen - while I waited for the coffee maker to brighten my day. After half a cup and a check on the Sox write up in the Globe I realized that I had rods rigged and ready to go from a pike and bass outing two days ago. Took me about four minutes to get out the door and down to the pond. About four minutes later I had an eight inch pickerel on the end of my line.
I ended up landing two nice largemouths, not huge, not lunkers, but decent sized fish that had me giddy. The town of Phippsburg recently rebuilt the alewife ladder into Center Pond. The run has not been very successful in past seasons but there must be some spawning alewives producing a forage base to fatten up a couple of bass. Hmmmm...might have to explore this place in my belly boat. I do have to go to the dump sometime today and the rods are still in the back of the truck.
I hope you make some time today to fish the body of water closest to your house.
Capt. Peter Fallon