SOUTHERN BASSIN NASSAU STYLE�
By Rich Johnson
Bass fishermen, are you bored with using light lines, small
grubs, tiny popping plugs & limber rods?
Sure it can be fun at times, but havent you thought what itd be like to hold
some real "lumber?" Howd you like to use real baitcasting
equipment, 17-pound test, large spinnerbaits, and catch larger bass through acres of
spatterdock? Dunk large plastic worms in open pockets between these pads.... right here on
Long Island? Smith Pond is the answer. Smith Pond in Rockville Centre looks like a typical
southern lake with spatterdock in such abundance, you wonder how anything can swim or how
youre going to get your plug back to shore.
TERRAIN. The area surrounding Smith Pond is a very wooded area with exposed
roots and caution is to be taken. If youre fishing from shore Id advise hiking
boots of some kind. If youre wading the lake, please, take my advice and stay close
to shore. The water can drop off quickly with some areas as deep as 11-foot. This
particularly true when wading the Peninsula Blvd. side, or the edge bordering the Rev.
Martin Luther King playing fields. The shallowest area of the lake is the southern end
where Smith Pond spills back into the head waters of Mill River, at the MTBA Bus Facility.
THE CATCH. Having grown up just blocks from Smith Pond, I can tell you its
always had a good history of producing larger bass than surrounding area lakes. Ive
found the numbers of bass caught to be lower than other area lakes such as Grant Park, but
the average size is much larger. Bass here tend to average about a pound and bass to 6
pounds are caught yearly from here.
In a call to Greg Kozlowski, aquatic biologist for the DEC/Long Island & overseer
of Nassau Countys freshwater fishery, some very interesting details were discovered.
For example, bass populations on Long Island are not as abundant as anglers think. The
average angler catch rate on Long Island (taken from the Cooperative Angler Diary Program)
is slightly higher than one-half a fish per hour. In a recent electro-shock survey
of Smith Pond (estimated 19 acres), 21 bass were checked and released in a span of 3-1/2
hours. On a per hour basis, 3.7 bass greater than 12 inches were put into the boat. Of all
bass in Smith Pond over 8 inches, 68% were larger than 12 inches and 26% larger than 15
inches. In Grant Park however, these numbers were 18% over 12 inches and only 5% over 15
inches! On a size per acre relationship, the clear winner is again Smith Pond, with four
(4) bass per acre larger than 12 inches compared to Grant Parks one (1) bass per
acre greater than 12 inches. Greg indicated this holds true as well for chain pickerel,
white perch and the bluegill population, lower numbers but larger size!
TACKLE. Save the northern style, light lines and finesse baits for the other
shallow water bath tubs on Long Island. This lake is where you need the heavy tackle!
Baitcasting outfits of 6-1/2 feet, spooled with 14 to 20-pound Berkleys XT line the
best way to go. Choose a baitcasting outfit like the Ambassador 5600UC or the Tournament
ARTIFICIALS. Keep in mind the water varies from dark to clear depending on rain
and run off. Dark meaning the water is stained as compared to clear water. This leads you
to larger lures and brighter color selections. When fishing stained water, lean towards
brass or copper colors over silver when it comes to spoons & spinnerbaits. Post spawn
is prime spinnerbait time. If you listened to Roland Martin on the radio show June 5th,
you heard him say many anglers use top large a spinnerbait. Try to keep the bait size down
some. When using spinnerbaits here, use Willow leaf blades. Whether single or tandem
blade, they give off more flash than Colorado or Indiana style blades, and again, go with
brass or copper. Yellow or chartreuse skirts are my favorite here, but white is a good
SPOONS. Theres only one real choice here and thats the Johnson
weedless Silver Minnow. Instead of using the standard silver finish, opt for colors like
gold, black, perch or even firetiger. Youll want to add a trailer such as pork
strip, plastic grub or small curly tailed frog. This is a dynamite lure in Smith Pond and
should one of the first out of your vest!
PLASTICS. The usual assortment of plastic baits should be offered to bass as
well. Berkley power bait tops the list with my preference being large worm baits. The
10-inch and 7-inch power worms in black, purple, June bug, motor oil and pumpkin seed the
perennial favorites. You may want to try a firetiger tail after a heavy runoff of rain
water clouds water clarity. Rigged either Texas of Carolina style, plastics catch good
numbers of fish. Drop these baits into pockets within mats of pads and work the edges here
as well. In clear water though, you may want to go smaller with four & six-inch worms.
So if youre tired of finesse fishing, want to hang out with the big boys or just in
the mood to battle larger critters, Smith Pond is the place to be. Its where I go
when I want a southern style bass outing, without going on vacation!
Directions & Parking: Smith Pond is
located in RVC (Hagstrom/map 14-area K29) along Peninsula Blvd. with parking on the north
and south side of the lake. For north side parking, if coming from south, make right or
from north make left on Maine Ave. Turn right into first parking lot, youre there.
For the southern lot, Sunrise Highway to N. Centre Ave. (Holiday Inn) turn north, make
left on Willoughby Ave., follow dogleg on Nassau St., lot is on right side.