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Goin' fishin' with a checkbook
Last Saturday the pond stocking fish folk were at the feed store. With last year's drought, a lot of ponds (aka "stock tanks") went dry and therefore are fishless, even though we have had good rains lately.
Now, the Pondstockers came down from Arkansas, and they didn't arrive with a few buckets and a net. NO, this was a full diesel truck (Peterbuilt for you truck aficianados) towing a huge flatbed.
On the flatbed were steel bins that looked like small dumpsters--the ones with the lift-up lid that you see behind fast-food places. There were four air cylinders on the back of the flatbed, and aerator pumps attached to each of the bins. On the sides of the bins were signs advertising the fish available--Channel Catfish, Coppernose bluegills (colorful little guys, copper and blue, too), bass, minnows (more about that later), grass carp, and red ears.
I had called Arkansas and ordered 50 fingerling bass. Between my Texas/midwest/allergy accent and her Arkansas accent, we still managed to communicate. The truck was to be at the feed store at 8 a.m. Figuring nothing was ever on time, we arrived at 8:15 and were at the back of a lo-o-o-ng line.
We were sandwiched between a farmer and a rancher. If you ever have to stand in line, try to get between a farmer and a rancher. We found out the current price of feeder calves, who bought a new tractor, the schedule for the agricultural agent's inspection of fields, where there was going to be a good farm auction, and whose wife just had a baby.
We got our three bags of fish--heavy-weight plastic bags filled with treated water and pumped full of air (that's why they had the compressors on the back of the flatbed). We walked off carrying three big see-through balloons with tiny fish swimming about in them.
When we got home we had a cup of coffee and thought it over. We had 50 bass, 200 coppernose, and five pounds of minnows. Locally minnows are called "minners". We even see signs "Bait--worms and minners". I can't bring myself to call them "minners". Maybe that was why the lady in Arkansas had difficulty understanding me when I phoned. Anyway, we knew we could just dump the "minners" in the pond, but we had to acclimate the bass and coppernoses.
So, the two of us, with three bags of fish, two buckets of appropriate sizes, and high hopes, trekked down to our pond. We put the minnows in the pond, put the coppernoses in the large bucket, and then filled the small bucket with pond water (did I mention we were wearing knee high boots and hoping that we didn't get stuck in the mud?). We added about a quart of pond water to the treated water the coppernoses were in, then another quart after about five minutes, then another quart. Well, you get the idea. After we did the coppernoses and released them into the pond, we did the same with the bass. It was a novel way to spend most of a Saturday morning.
The upshot is that, in about two years, with luck and rain, we will have bass that are of a size to be caught and eaten. At this point I'm so fond of the little guys I don't think I'd be able to swallow a bite of bass.
We wouldn't have had any luck fishing if we had left the checkbook at home!
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Sounds like an interesting experience, Jane. The place we went to get our last greenhouse (used one of course) and the man there does hobby pond stocking. I think he had 30 fish ponds. All fairly small ( as in narrow and long) to keep the species separate. we had quite and interesting visit with him, too. He does indoor fish farming, too. Another very interesting set up to see. Thanks for sharing your experience of the day.
I must ask... do you ever have a boring day over at RGF?
loved your story how fascinating
Now that truly was a good day fishing.