By: Curt Snow
It’s mid-March. You’ve spent the last several weeks getting your tackle boxes in shape, sharpening hooks, spooling on new line and watching hour after hour of fishing shows on TNN. The ice has been gone from the ponds for a couple of weeks. You can’t take it anymore. You just have to go fishing. The problem is this: almost every lake you know of is Trout water, off-limits until the middle of April. Where can you go in the meantime?
- No Trout Here…
- Wordens Pond… It’s 1075 acres of early spring paradise located in South Kingstown, R.I. If you can put up with the cool temperatures, and brave some stiff breezes, you WILL catch fish. Wordens Pond is alive with several different species to stretch that new line and test the drag on that new reel. Largemouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Black Crappie and slammer Northern Pike. You will need to decide what species you want to target before you head out onto the lake. This decision will dictate what tackle you will need to have rigged up.
- Black Crappie will need to be sought after with light or ultra-light tackle. Rods in the 5 ft. range spooled with 4 – 6 lb. test are ideal. Depending on the conditions, Crappie will hit anything from the typical, brightly colored mini-jigs to 4 inch worms. Colors will need to be BRIGHT. Whites, pinks, chartreuse, yellows, or any combination of these will draw strikes. Rig jigs in the 1/64 oz. to 1/16 oz. range under a slip bobber. Small gitzits in the 1 – 1 1/2 inch range will also work. Try swimming them at a slow, steady pace.
Chain Pickerel are usually caught while targeting other species, such as Bass or Northerns. The Pickerel at Wordens Pond, on the average, are bigger than those in other R.I. Lakes. These fish also like bright, flashy lures. Yellow seems to set them off. Erratic, jerky retrieves, especially when executed at a very fast pace, will cause them to lose their composure. They won’t be able to keep themselves from launching like a torpedo and slamming into your offering. Try spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps and Jerkbaits. Be sure to work the Jerkbaits very erratically. Another trick that I’ve found that works well here is to run a spinnerbait just under the surface, then give it a quick snap with your rod tip, causing the blade to break the surface. The pickerel sees this as a fleeing or darting baitfish and crashes into it with reckless abandon. Wordens Pond is one of the best Northern Pike fisheries in the state of R.I., especially early in the year. The former state record Northern Pike, which tipped the scales at just over 24 lbs. came from Wordens. The existing record, a whopping 35 lber., was believed to have migrated to its home territory from Wordens.
Think of the Pike as a big, overgrown Pickerel. This will put you on the right track with regard to lure presentations. Like their smaller cousins, Pike like things moving fast and erratically. Presentations of this type will usually trigger the small and mid-sized fish, such as those in the 3 – 10 lb. range, with an occasional biggie thrown in for good measure. Lures, though, should run larger and bulkier than those used for the Pickerel. Bright reds and pinks work well for jerkbaits, along with yellow and chartreuse. If you are after a truly big Northern, live bait is probably your best bet. Like any species of fish, big Northerns tend to get lazy. The easier the meal, the better they like it. Don’t even hesitate to try dead bait. Yes, I said “dead”. Go to your local Fish Market and get some Smelts. Set them up on a quick-strike live bait rig and toss them out there. The results may surprise you. Last, but not least, we have the most-sought-after species that calls Wordens Pond home, the Largemouth Bass. Wordens is one of the premier bass fisheries in R.I. The former state record of 10 lbs. 5 oz. was reported to have come from here. My own personal best of 9 lbs. 2 oz. also made its home here. Bass here are plentiful and very healthy. Early season bassers will score with a number of different presentations. Everybody and their brother scores with spinnerbaits. They are a very effective tool here. Cover a lot of water and you will put your lure in front of a lot of bass. Pick off the most active ones and leave the tough bites for someone who is more patient.
- Patience For Bass
- If you have patience, you will increase your odds of landing the better quality fish that reside here. Fish for them with slower-moving baits such as plastic worms or lizards in the 4 – 6 inch range. A Rapala original in the #9 and #11 sizes can also be a deadly tool. Use a slow, pull-pause-pull action on the colder days. Try twitching it on top as the water warms in the shallowest areas. Even a slow, steady retrieve will score in the right areas. Never leave out the Jig & Pig in 1/4 oz. sizes. With regard to color choices for bass; worms work best in dark colors – black, red shad, black /blue tail, black/chartreuse tail. Rapalas will draw strikes in Gold, Silver and Firetiger. For jigs, Black/Blue, Black/Red and Brown/Orange combinations will bag a Hawg. When working a jig & pig, be sure to keep the retrieve S-L-O-W. This bait will draw strikes from some quality fish when presented slowly enough. For spinnerbaits, White, Chartreuse, Black/White and Brown/Orange have all produced for me in the past. No color seemed to out-produce the others. Where you put it seems to be much more important than what color it is. Now, I’m going to give you the meat of the article, so pay close attention. The key to catching fish at Wordens Pond in the early spring is this; Look for the remaining weed cover from the previous year, most of which will be the old reed beds. These are the dominant cover for the fish before the new weed beds start to sprout up later in the spring. These won’t always be easy to find, but they’ll be well worth your effort. The winter ice cover usually shears them off below the water’s surface making them all but invisible to most people. You will have to intentionally look for them. Use your trolling motor or idle around with your outboard. Once you find one of these gems, fish it thoroughly. The fish WILL be there. It’s up to you to get them to bite. There are also a couple areas with some rocky cover, but the bite in these areas is sporadic. Check them a few times over the course of the day because you never know when the fish in these areas will be biting.
- Wordens Pond is accessible directly from Wordens Pond Rd., which intersects Rt. 110 at its East end, and Shannock Rd. at its West end. There is a double-width boat ramp to ease launching and loading, and a dock to tie your boat off while you park your vehicle. Space in the parking area is somewhat limited, but there is a cleared area directly across the road that is suitable for parking. Be sure to use caution when crossing the road in your vehicle and on foot due to a blind curve located here. Now that you know the facts, there will be no reason to sit home this spring season and mope around. Hook up the boat and get in a little early spring action at one of R.I.’s hottest lakes. To view a lake map of Wordens Pond, Click Here. Good Fishing!!