Gary thank you so much for doing this, in fisheries management we always begin by discussing goals for ponds, so I think it's only appropriate that I begin by asking you what your goals for your family ponds?
"My goal for our family pond is to create a good population of largemouth bass with more emphasis on quality of fish rather than quantity of fish."
At some point in all our lives someone introduced us to the sport of fishing. Do you have a specific memory or story about being taken fishing for the first time?
"I really don’t have a specific memory of a particular day that I fell in love with fishing. I was born and raised in Northern California and my family always spend a lot of time in the outdoors, camping, fishing and hunting. I just kinda grew up on a bank somewhere with a fishing rod in my hand."
"Top water lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are usually my first choice when I am fishing a small body of water. These farm ponds in most cases have a soft bottom, therefore it is not very effective to drag a jig or plastic worm in that environment. However there are exceptions in Mother Nature."
"I can’t express enough when handling a large fish, how important it is to support the weight of the fish with two hands, one on the jaw and one on the belly. Please AVOID the traditional one handed jaw open hold, this will stretch the jaw muscle tendon and can cause an injury or could even lead to death."
As pond managers we are constantly striving to provide the best habitat possible, what have you found to be the structure that holds forage fish most consistently?
"I think aquatic vegetation is by far the best form of habitat for fish. However if it is a shallow water pond you may run the risk of the aquatic vegetation choking it out. I have always found that to have a good population of bass your pond needs to provide good habitat and an adequate food source. All ponds or small lakes also need to have a good spawn area for the fish."
Diversity is the key to a successful pond food chain what forage fish would you say could most greatly improve a Texas largemouth bass pond?
"In my opinion Tilapia is the best forage fish for largemouth bass ponds."
Your career has been built around bass fishing but are there any other species you enjoy catching or want to grow on your property?
"Not really, my career has been built around bass fishing. I am still intrigued by those green fish. I use my ponds for testing grounds to learn more about Bass. Over the years some of my ideas for lure design and technique came from spending time at the ponds. "
"I am an angler that truly loves to fish. Whether I am in Northern waters catching a 5 fish limit of smallmouth that would push 30lbs or at one of our awesome South Texas lakes catching a 45lb12oz limit of largemouth. I am addicted to fishing! That being said, I am also passionate about introducing the outdoors to young kids. I have been able to be a small part of instilling knowledge to young anglers across the country and that has been very rewarding."
"Honestly I would say to fish as much as you can and enjoy the outdoors. One will be successful at whatever they are truly passionate about!"
"I enjoy any kind of hunting however harvesting a Whitetail deer or a Rio Grande turkey with my bow is truly a challenge. Both of my daughters grew up hunting with me at the ranch and have spent many hours in a deer stand or in a tree. While making life time memories this has given the girls a close connection with wildlife."
How would you compare hunting and fishing specifically on the management side?
"The management side of hunting and fishing are very similar, managing a Whitetail herd on high fence property has a lot of the same characteristics as managing a pond or small lake for trophy bass. In both cases habitat and an adequate food source are the most important elements. One acre of water will support X amount of pounds of fish, it is up to the management to decide how those pounds are distributed. Example, one acre of water will support 100 pounds of fish, this could be 50 2-lb. fish or 20 5-lb fish. The same is true in hunting, one acre of land will support only so many animals. Fish management and land management is never ending if you want to achieve and maintain your goals."
Check out my website garykleinproangler.com or you can follow me on social media:
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I am absolutely thrilled to have had this opportunity to bring everyone this interview. Gary is a world class angler, and more importantly an absolute class act. I would like everyone to take a second and visit Gary's website, like his Facebook page, and follow him on twitter and instagram.