NOTE: While looking through all the pictures I have on my computer, I came to the realization that the majority of them are from fishing trips that I’ve never made a report on. Rather than let the pictures grow in age and the memories of those trips fade, I’ve decided to make reports on them.
In spring of 2008, I made a trip to Marianna Fl to fish Merrit’s Mill Pond with my dad and a long time fishing buddy. I had heard that the water in the mill pond was crystal clear as it’s fed directly from a spring just a few miles upstream. We took our kayaks, fly rods (and worm rod), and launched at a boat ramp early one morning. The weather was beautiful and the water was just as clear as stories had told. After paddling just a few hundred yards, I noticed a school of HUGE grass carp, slowly making their way around the base of the cypress trees that were growing in the water. They spooked as I approached them, setting off a chain reaction and scaring hundreds of unseen carp further down the bank.
Merrit’s Mill Pond has special bag limits on fish. Redear Sunfish cannot be kept if they are UNDER 10 inches long. I had never ever seen a Redear -close- to 10 inches, much less -longer-. Therefore, it was shocking when I looked down in the water and saw many Redear that went well over 10 inches.
What was not shocking was the fact that it is impossible to catch these ogres. Not only can they see you just as well as you can see them, they’ve probably seen every trick in the book by other awestruck anglers. Flies certainly didn’t prove effective so I switched to the sure-fire earthworm. And….
Nothing. The big Redears just swam the other direction. The best I could do was catch countless 2-3 inch bluegill on the worm rod. We fished literally all day with similar results from everyone. Once the sun got up, other boaters came out and began motoring and jet-skiing around. This caused large chunks of algae to wash from off the bank and into the middle of the pond, dirtying the water. It’s my personal opinion that Merrit’s Mill Pond should be restricted to non-motorized vessels. It isn’t very long and is at most 200 yards across. The boaters just proved to be a nuisance in such a small body of water.
Overall, the mill pond was a fantastic day on the water. However, I will probably never go back. It proved to be extremely difficult to catch -any- fish and certainly impossible to catch fish of any size. Clear water may be great to look at, but it sucks for fishing.