Jim "Jimmy" Collins was a beloved friend and an active member of Malden Anglers for many years until his passing in 2013. He was an avid fly fisherman, fly tier, story teller and generous fishing companion . So when we learned that Jimmy left a written "tour" of Patkin Pond we were delighted to publish it for all to enjoy. To preserve the personality of the text, I have left virtually every word intact and only added some formatting. If you are only stumbling over the readability i.e grammatical correctness or spelling of this essay, you are missing the joy of this text. Like any fly fishing journey there are stones that trip us up along the way. Appreciate the history, for the grounds Jimmy describes have certain changed since Jimmy's time. Enjoy it as if you were with a close fishing buddy recounting a favorite fishing spot.
What is it:
Since there has been interest shown to acquire some knowledge about how to fish our pond I would like to acquaint some of our members with our pond and now to fish it. To begin with lets take a trip around our pond and see what we can find out. Exit the sliding doors and use the stairway on the right take an immediate left and proceed to the water. To the left we have bushes and a little brook and to the right we have the launch area. In this area the depth increases to the right and to the left flattens out. This area holds good spring fishing when the water warms, look to the left, along the shoreline and to the submerged tree for increased activity. Proceed counter clockwise around the pond. The next location we come to the point and the "Presidential Steps". Fish this area straight ahead (12 o'clock), to the left in the deep hole (9 o'clock) and then to the right (10 o'clock) and (3 o'clock). Moving again we continue on the path to the space in the trees and bushes. This is known as Pete's Cove. The water here tapers out and down. Fan cast this area.
Continuing on the path towards the cabin we come to Float#1. On the float facing ahead we have Pete' s Cove on left and trees on the right. This is deep water. Back on the path we come to Float #2. If we face out to the pond we have trees and bushes on the left and tree lined shoreline on the right. This water is moderately deep and should he fished with fan casts from one shoreline to the other covering the complete arc. Heading towards the cabin and the lawn stop at cabin cove. Roll cast can cover this area and fish are in this area all year long. If you are observant you will notice that this cove area receives a sort of wave action because of the prevailing wind at our pond. Leave this area and proceed to the large rocks in front of the cabin. The rock to the left is the indicator for another deep hole. The rock to the right is another indicator. Looking out into the pond from this area, to the left is the deep hole, straight ahead is a bar area and to the right is the start of a flat area.
Moving to the right is Float #3. This float area covers the flats area. The water here for the 180 degrees is about the same depth on a normal cast with the exception of the shoreline. Fish this area with fan casts and do not neglect to fish back on the shore. Lets move now to the beach area at the end of the lawn area and start of bushes and trees. Flats area to the left and a deeper water to the right. Up the trail we go to Float #4. This water is fairly deep. with the exception of the water on the right. This water beyond the cove with the big bolder continues fairly deep to the end of the small cove where there are some large submerged boulders. These boulders can be seen in low water and continue into the pond like a small reef. Continuing on the trail we come to Float #5. Then around the corner to Float #6. On these flats fan cast in all directions. Back on the trail and we are back to where we started. Now we have an idea, a pool table with three pockets, of the pond area.
Lets move into other aspects. A couple of helpful hints - observation and simple logic. You can't do without them.
- Question - How deep is the pond in the middle? Answer - about the same depth as outlined with the tour around the pond.
- Question - Why are the floats where they are? Answer - These were good spots before there were floats..
- Question - Why are the floats so long? - Answer possibly some people thought that the further you could cast the more fish you could catch. Now applying the simple logic, if they were good spots before the floats maybe I should shorten the casts and fish the banks Also the floats were also placed where they are so that bank and trail damage could be kept to a minimum.
We have defined our pond area somewhat; so lets move into the food chain. Our pond has midge, damsel, dragonfly, caddis, mayfly, minnow, and terrestrial life. Considering size color and shape a collection of 1000 to 2000 flies will cover most situations. Fortunately we do not have to have such a selection to catch fish. We have a pond where we put fish in and try to catch them. Our spring stocking covers spring to summer heat. Some trout can and have existed through the summer period. Our fall stocking covers the fall through ice-out to the spring stocking. Stocking consist of brown, rainbow, brook and occasionally some exotic type, 1.e. golden trout. Debates have occurred over the years as to what species is good. bad or indifferent. Nothing settled yet.
In the spring after the spring stocking the fish are considered green fish.. How long they stay green depends on us, and the life in the pond. The fish are not smart. There brain is the size of a B-B. Sometimes our is not much bigger. These fish were raised on hatchery food that was provided to them have to go through a conditioning period. Acclimation to their new surroundings, a new food supply and us,(the worst of all).
Spring fish will normally hit almost any fly as long as it is in the area of the fish. However we must consider temperature and the prior conditioning of these fish. Normally fish will be fish deep. (on the bottom), confused, swimming around the shore looking for an outlet, and schooling (a state they were raised In). Therefore we fish accordingly. Try different levels, using the count method. A fly is not on the bottom unless it comes back once are twice with weeds. Change the pace, if no action, by varying the count. Retrieval speeds can also be changed to present a different picture to the fish.
A general collection of spring flies should include but not be limited to:
- Woolly worms; black/black, yellow/grizzly
- Woolly buggers; black, brown, olive
- Hares ear nymph
- Muskrat nymph
- Blossems; white and chartreuse
- Marabous; yellow and black
We hope this has been of some help. If some questions arise; hopefully, we can answer them. In the meantime, we will try to work some thing up, on late spring and dry line fishing.