Rhodes Pond

About a week after  I moved to North Carolina, I drove past a beautiful lake called Rhodes Pond.  I was told it is private but has really good fishing.  That was 6 years ago.  About a month back I heard that the state owned it now and that it is free to fish.  So, last Friday, since I already had an errand on that side of town, I decided to try it out.  Before going, I googled Rhodes Pond to see if I could learn anything useful to help out with fishing there.  But there is absolutely no new information.  The most recent info I could find at all, was about the dam and dated to 2007, completely unhelpful to a fisherman.  So I’m writing this post about my experience just so there will be something useful as a guide for others.

Time & Conditions: We fished there on a hot day in mid-May.  It was the hottest day of the year so far.  The morning began heavily overcast, threatening rain, but became only partly cloudy and about 93° before we left.  We arrived about 9:00 am and left at 1:00 pm.

Your guide to the lake

The Lake: I kept reading the Rhodes pond is a “black water” lake, but I don’t know what that means.  (Although the water is very dark, so maybe that’s all it means)  It is an impound of the Black River and it is 461 acres.  (Here are the coordinates for use in your GPS or with Google Earth35.2293, -78.6517)  It has an excellent ramp, as good as any lake I know of that is limited to non-gas motors.  The lake is divided into two sections by a long peninsula.  The part with the ramp is unfishable because of the weeds.  Maybe I just don’t know how to fish in weeds, but that entire half of the lake has weeds growing up to within a foot of the top.  Not one cast came back clean for me.  (Much like Smith Lake on Ft. Bragg)

On the other side of the lake the water is quite clear.  There are cypress trees scattered in the main lake, fields of lily pads and dollar pads around the edges, and a forest of cypress trees inside the pads.

The fishing: Uhhh…there’s probably fish in there…maybe.  For such a beautiful lake with limitless cover, Neither me nor my co-angler got as much as a bite.  I fished my 2 standby baits, a Rapala super shad-rap (because I mostly fish shallow-water lakes), and a spinner.  I even threw a 4” tube around some of the Cypress trees.  Jack fished red worms trying to catch a bluegill.  There was one other boat on the lake but I couldn’t say if they caught anything.  And there were 2 people fishing from the levee in the other side of the spillway.  One of them said he had 8 crappie.

My final verdict: I don’t know of a more beautiful lake anywhere.  But I’m also not smart enough to fish it.  Too much backwater, too many weeds, too many pads and too much cover.  I would have settled for a grinnel.  If anyone reads this that had luck, let me know in the comments how you caught em.

After writing an entire article about Rhodes Pond does that make me a Rhode's [pond] Scholar?

A Very Weird Day of Fishing

Last Friday I went fishing, just as I do most Fridays, at the largest lake on Fort Bragg, Mott lake.It was a very strange day so I thought I'd simply share a story of what made it weird.

For starters, the night before, the weatherman said it would be very windy, and he was very much right.  When we first got to the lake it was about 60° and the wind blew consistently the entire time.  I was freezing at first, no jacket and shorts on.  By late morning it had warmed up, but it was seriously cold at first.  It doesn't make any sense to fish in crazy high winds because, for one, it becomes impossible to keep the boat where you want it to be, so you either work yourself to death on the trolling motor or you have to anchor all the time, and that's just impractical.  We fish out of a 10 foot johnboat and at the levee end of the lake the water was actually whitecapping by early afternoon.  It made fishing in the main part of the lake nearly impossible.  The wind was directly out of the northeast. Last time I was home and went fishing with my dad he had this little rhyme.  This is not it exactly but it's close:

Wind from the West, fish bite the best. Wind from the East, fish bite the least. Wind from the North, do not go forth. Wind from the South blows bait in their mouth

So anyone want to guess how fishing was on this day?   Which brings me to the second odd thing about the day...Tiny fish

It is not unusual [for me] to go fishing and get totally shut-out.  But it is unusual to go fishing and catch baby versions of what you are fishing for.  I'm pretty certain it is a healthy lake, but all we caught were these tiny jacks and bass.  By tiny I mean 6 inches or less.  Seriously we caught 5-6 apiece but they were all tiny.

I said at the outset that we were fishing on Ft Bragg.  It is not unusual on Ft Bragg to hear the rumbling and booming of artillery in the distance.  But on this day it was a non-stop cacophony of booms and machine gun fire from the nearby ranges.  The nearest impact zone to the lake is at least 3 miles away, but there were 3 booms in particular that made me flinch.  They were so loud and abrupt that it seemed like we should duck.

Another first for me on this day was the presence of a drone aircraft.  I have never seen one of these flying before but there were 3-4 flights overhead during the short trip.  It was a strange looking aircraft and made an unmistakable sound.  (It looked like the one in this pic the best I could tell.)  I tried to take a video of it with my camera, but it was too hard to find in the window with the boat moving the way it was.  So you'll just have to take my word for it, it was a strange-looking loud contraption.

Edit-  Here's a vid where you can catch a glimpse of it.  You can certainly hear how loud it is and also hear the wind -Edit


There were other strange things that day, there was a man there with an RC boat, which one time broke down and he had to swim after it, we also fished out 2 tennis balls.  I just thought I'd share my adventures with the readers of my blog

Guerrilla Fishing

You know you are really fishing when you come home all scratched up. I fish most of the time in a private lake between two neighborhoods. It is the middle in a string of three lakes. And it is the only one of the three I have fished.  The one above it is very small, and is located behind an apartment complex. And the one below it is huge and located on about 3 apartment complexes, 2 neighborhoods and one of the busiest roads in town.

At the eastern end of the lake is a fork. As you can see in this picture, Both lakes 7 roadit looks like a peninsula that reaches out into the shallow end of the lake. The guy I fish with, Jack, always calls it an island, and says that he has been all the way around it before, but I never quite believed him. We usually fish as far as we can go into the shallower of the forks, and it is one of our most productive parts of the lake. The other fork is much deeper, partly.  It is much deeper in a channel about as wide as the boat. The rest of that fork is about a foot deep.  That channel is the main channel feeding the lake. For some reason, Friday I said, “Why don’t we go under the bridge and see if we can get to the spillway of the next lake.” (That would be the upstream lake. The one on the left in the picture.) We didn’t know if we could make it, but it seemed worth a try, so we headed out. Immediately I learned a lesson. It is, in fact, an island. Island on Left, road on rightHere you can see the water on the back side.

So we proceeded under the bridge, we didn’t know which side to go up, and I was afraid of it having a concrete bottom, but we chose the right and headed out. Through Bridge with beaver dam blocking one side I was surprised that there were no bats under there, also that it was so easy to get through. There was one limb in the path, but we could put up the trolling motor and paddle past with no trouble. When we came out the other side I could see we chose the right side, because the other had a beaver dam blocking the entrance.

Also after we came through the bridge we were navigating a stream only about as wide as the boat. We moved along with the paddle and by pulling on low hanging branches. It forked several times, but we always took the path that seemed deepest. We were just getting the hang of it, when we were blocked, unable to make it to the spillway in the boat. We came to a place where we could see the spillway probably 50 yards in the distance, but we were blocked by a beaver dam. Stupid beavers. end of the road

We thought since we’ve come this far, we should get out and see if we can walk to the spillway. It was strange, I sort of felt like a 12 year old out “exploring” in the woods. Also I learned a lesson, though it is a lot lighter it is much harder to walk through the woods with a fishing pole than a gun. It’s longer and gets tangled on every stupid branch. So we tried working our way up the stream then had to turn back. We tried to go around the thicket but were swamped in by all the forks in the creek we didn’t take the first time.

It turns out, we went all that way for nothing. Then we had to figure out something that hadn’t occurred to us before. How do we turn the boat around? After taking the trolling motor off, and putting Jack in the boat, (to float up the front) I was able to stay on the bank and swing it around. Then I managed to get back in without falling in the water, and we paddled back. Back under the bridge, Back through the bridgeand into familiar home water. We caught nothing, but it was an interesting little adventure. So I thought I’d share it. Home water

Despite that detour, I had a good day fishing. I caught 2 bass and 2 jacks (pike) and I had a third bass hooked. In fact I had 2 fish on in my first 10 casts of the morning. (a topwater chugger with a 3 foot trailer) But I had to fight about 25 backlashes trying to throw that rig.

This post was kind of a rambling mess.  Thanks for reading.

My Life So Far

Today is my 33rd birthday. Birthdays have a way of making me take stock of my life, and even though I'm not freaking out today, I still like to look back. (BTW I really freaked out over turning 29.) I figure that, even with wishful thinking, at least a third of my life has passed. So, just for fun, I’ll break down my life so far into thirds and share some highlights.

Age birth – 11: I really accomplished a lot, relatively speaking. Mostly, like other kids, it’s learning stuff. Here’s a partial list that is in no particular order.

  • Successfully navigated the birth canalMe like 1 yo
  • Learned to walk
  • Learned to talk (possibly learned this one a little too well)
  • Inherited my brother and promptly, through regular beat-downs, established my dominance
  • Survived a bout with a life-threatening illness.
  • Learned how to use the toilet and clean up after myself (very important skill)
  • Learned to tie my shoes even though in the early 80s we all thought velcro would replace laces
  • Learned to ride a bike (this one took me a while)
  • Learned to read and write
  • Successfully passed Kindergarten through 5th grade (I turned 12 during the 6th grade)
  • Moved 10 times or so through 4 different cities (Franklin KY, Somerset KY, Bristol VA, Hopkinsville KY, Cerulean KY)
  • Became a Christian
  • Participated in a school play
  • Got pretty fat
  • Made it to the dice and bowtie (I can’t remember which is better) levels of Megamania

Age 12-22: Not so much about learning stuff, as accomplishing stuff or failing to accomplish stuff. This is obviously what I would refer to as my formative years. I am who I am mostly because of these 11 years. Again, here’s a list.

  • Managed to get through 6th-12th grade in one try (I won’t be saying that later on)
  • Survived the divorce of my parents
  • Saved the princess in Super Mario BrothersMy Sr. Picture
  • Saw my Dad become a Christian
  • Inherited a step family (which included 2 more brothers and a sister. Again I had to establish my dominance through regular beat-downs)
  • Actually went on a few dates
  • Played trombone in High School band
  • Totally graduated high school (again, it only took one try)
  • Lost a bunch of weight then got fat again
  • Moved away from home for college at UK
  • Spent a summer in Washington & Oregon as a NAMB summer missionary (This was life changing. If you are in college and want to be used by God, apply at
  • Spent a summer as youth director at the church I grew up in
  • Went to the 1997 final 4 and had great seats (Sadly, Kentucky lost)
  • Served as youth minister at Durbin Memorial Baptist Church
  • Flunked out of UK
  • Moved about 6 more times during this period
  • Worked for Universal Property & Casualty insurance company (I didn't live in Florida. It was operated by Kentucky National.)

Age 23-33: I realize that I'm just beginning my 33rd year, but I can talk about the previous 10.

Making that list was kinda fun. Hope you enjoyed it