John's Journal... Entry 103, Day 4
ONE HUNDRED BASS A DAY
EDITOR'S NOTE: Drayton Pruitt of Livingston, Alabama, considers hunting and fishing not recreations that he participates in but also the two outdoor sports he's passionate about. The fields, the land and the lakes where Pruitt grew up hunting and fishing as a boy he worked to buy as a man. Once he purchased the land and the water, he then set out to produce hunting and fishing experiences for today's sportsmen of the type and the quality that he knew in his youth. According to Pruitt, "In the old days, you could find 10 to 20 coveys of quail in a day of hunting. You could also catch many big bass in the farm ponds around Livingston. But as timber practices, farming practices and urbanization changed the face of the landscape, this region lost much of that rich hunting and fishing heritage. Through using the best wildlife-management practices available, we set out to develop a quail-hunting preserve and a bass-fishing program to rival any in the nation."
To grow bass fast, not only do you have to have a abundance of food, but you must also have structure and cover in the lake to provide ambush points. Then the bass can easily and effectively feed on the prey fish present in the lake. The less energy a bass has to expend to catch and eat food, the faster he can grow. Structure also provides target points at which anglers can fish where they're most likely to catch fish. P-Arrow Plantation built Coyote Lake with the structure fisherman in mind.
Why did you decide to build the Coyote Lake?
As the lake began to fill up, I bought 600 pounds of live crawfish and put those crawfish on and around those concrete structures. The crawfish could hide in those structures to escape the bass and burrow into the mud to reproduce. One thing you have to remember if you use crawfish as a food source for your bass is that you have to give the crawfish a place to hide from the bass to keep the bass from completely wiping out the crawfish and eliminating them from your pond. If you give your crawfish a hiding place, then you can keep a fresh crop of crawfish coming on to feed the bass. Once the pond was stocked with young bass and bream, we waited until the young bass were mature and then started stocking the pond with coppernose bream, tilapia and threadfin shad. The threadfin could survive in that deeper water that we provided by digging that deeper trench.
Phillips: We know that oxygen depletion in a lake
is a big concern of sport fishermen and commercial catfish growers. How
are you solving the problem of oxygen depletion in your bass ponds?
What are the tactics you're using to cause bass to grow bigger and feed
Phillips: How big was the initial stocking of
bass in the lake before you added the lunkers?
For more information on P-Arrow Plantation, you can write
TOMORROW: OTHER P-ARROW LAKES
AND QUAIL HUNTING