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The Pond Boss & Richmond Mill Lake...a legacy in the making

Who would have thought, just 9 years ago, when Morgan Company property manager, Dave Buhler, met up with the Pond Boss, Bob Lusk (yours truly) at a Bass 101 seminar in Athens, Texas, that we would fast forward and be talking about giant bluegill we are growing in 125 acre Richmond Mill Lake? Morgan Company president and founder of King Fisher Society ( www.kingfishersociety.com ) Jim Morgan sure didn't. His passion has been largemouth bass. Now, he sees the significance of bluegill which grow beyond two pounds. That optimistic soul actually expects to grow bluegill surpassing the 3 pound mark...on a regular basis. Yes, those 7-8 pound bass are certainly garnering big attention, but the spectacular sizes of bluegill have become a new source of energy for those who hear about it. Funny, I'm the consulting biologist for this spectacular lake and I have come to believe it has the potential and opportunity to grow bluegill beyond that magical benchmark of 3 pounds. The lake was drained in 2001 to make major renovations on the dam. That project took four years. In 2004, we started planning and talking about what to do with this historic lake...one that played a role in saving lives during the Civil War. Fast flowing water exiting at 7-9,000 gallons per minute. Water with a pH less than 5.4 all the time...how could that kind of system possibly raise such giant fish as grace the camera lenses of awed anglers on a regular basis? We figured it out. Now, the world gets to hear about it, and some of you, members of www.bigbluegill.com could sure be able to experience it. For a VERY short time, the high end, very expensive King Fisher Society is opening its doors for $600 per day for a day fishing trip in groups of 4 or more. I promise you...I have been there since its inception...that is a steal. If you want a trip where you can have a legitimate opportunity to top your personal best on a premier private, highly managed body of water loaded with bluegill that will push your reality beyond your greatest dreams, this is it. Personally, I am surprised at those fees. They can't last. While bigbluegill.com is the go to site for all things bluegill, take a minute and check out www.pondboss.com also. That site is loaded with a variety of topics along with plenty of current photos of huge fish...and bluegill are the order of the day. Go to "Ask the Boss" and see what you find. Be sure to get your hands on the current issue of In-Fisherman and get the skinny on this fabulous lake, via bigbluegill.com member Jim Gronaw and world class angler and owner of this site, Dr. Bruce Condello.

 

Above, take a look at Bruce's giant bluegill. In the other image, I am holding a bluegill just larger than two pounds, a trophy in its own right.

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The only place I have been that had bluegill that size, was a lake on the golf course at the Doral Country Club in Miami Florida. My girls were in high school at that time, and were singing in a competition being held there. Due to the number of events that day there was a lot of free time which I spent fishing. There is nothing like catching a bluegill the size of a dinner plate on an ultra lite spinning set. The bait of choice that day was a beetle spin. Congrats guys, will have to pick up a copy of In Fisherman.
Just wanted to share with you a nice email I got today from Robbie Everett, one of our guides, who asked to take his dad bluegill fishing yesterday on Richmond Mill Lake:

“I wanted to thank you for letting me bring my dad down to bream fish yesterday. It was his first time fishing in 5 years. We had a ball. We got some of the biggest bluegill (about 12 that were 2lbs or better and a ton of one pound pluses)!”

Jim Morgan -- President, King Fisher Society
Folks, I just got home last night from Richmond Mill. I don't think I can type enough to describe this place for you. You've already heard about the phenomenal fishing, and I can attest to that. I did land my biggest bluegill of all time -- 2.0 pounds on a digital scale. It was a huge, female coppernose. I stretched her for all I was worth, but came up 1/16 of an inch shy of 12 inches. I'm from the north country (South Dakota), so just catching the coppernose was great fun in itself. I would guess that I caught about 80% coppernose and 20% of the typical northern strain. I caught one big male northern strain; he was over 11.5 inches, but a couple of ounces under 2 pounds. So, there are some big northern bluegills, as well as the coppernose. I also caught the biggest black crappie of my life, and the first chain pickerel. I got to see the redbreast sunfish and fliers for the first time. I claim the title of warmouth king for the weekend, as I caught the biggest warmouth (actually multiples) of my life at 9.3 inches. Largemouths? Man, what a battle from those football shaped fish.

When you hear about Richmond Mill, you hear about the fish, and the stories certainly are true. However, as a northern angler, I also greatly enjoyed the setting. I got to fish cypress trees for the first time! There were ospreys nesting in one of the cypress trees. The water is dark, but clear. The aquatic plants are diverse and not overly abundant. They help the fishing, rather than cause problems. The entire countryside is sand hills. There are magnolia trees along the lane leading into the lodge. The hospitality was fabulous -- these are good people. So, I'm sure people come for the fish, but for me, the entire experience was a new one, and greatly added to the quality of my trip.
I'm a little slow sometimes so want to double check. Is the $600 per day per individual or per group of four? Thanks! Jeff

I just posted this on my facebook page.  Might be a good idea if we all day. 

Well, big bluegill fans! I spent two days at King Fisher this week. Arrived Sunday night, stayed until Wednesday morning early. Got to spend Tuesday afternoon on the lake, 43 degree water. Robbie was there, testing some crankbaits for several manufacturers and we decided to spend some time on the lake together. Dave Buhler, property manager decided to go with us on the water. 70 degree air temp, cold black water raging over the spillway. Robbie had been on the water at least five hours before Dave and I could join him. He'd boated almost 20 fish already and had weighed and measured each fish...per my request. As we piled into the boat, Robbie let us know that the fish were suspended around five feet deep in the ten foot water. We decided to be a little scientific about this little process of 'fishing'...and began fishing at different depths. Of course, if you've ever spent time with Robbie, you'll know there's something special about that guy. He can catch fish...no matter what. As we enjoyed the spectacular blue bird weather, the fish were exceptionally cooperative. I fished a pinched-off piece of nightcrawler nudged onto a 1/16 oz lead-head jig (that used to have a yellow head) under a bobber, in 6 feet of water. Yes, I caught my share of huge bluegills. But, Robbie bounced his jig slowly off the bottom, eliciting a strike on six straight casts. Huge bluegills, from 1.25 pounds to one over 2 pounds, we laughed and enjoyed the bounty of Richmond Mill Lake. What a great lake, what a great fishery! How humbling it is to play a little role in the development of that lake and its inhabitants! I just simply smile, sit back and watch as Nature does what it does...grow great fish in an environment that most peopl would simply settle for at its surface merit...a pH of 5.3, tea-colored water,roiling at 7,000-10,000 gallons per minute, over that concrete spillway. If you EVER get the chance to pay the price to spend the money and hang out with these folks at this lake, built in 1835 (BEFORE Davy Crockett was killed in the Alamo) please take it. This is a "bucket list" lake with a fishery unparalleled to any I've ever been a part of. 

Oh, by the way...we caught a total of 40 fish over that span of time. Robbie caught 6 bass, together we caught 2 black crappie, a redbreast sunfish and 31 bluegill that would make most people envious...including me. It was a time to revel in the moment, on a warm, January day. Take time to do this and spend time on a legendary American lake. You'll be glad you did. It's well worth it.

Bob....this lake is definitely on my bucket list....I've got people in NC, and the wheels are turning!

I too want to fish this BOW.....just have to figure out how to get it done.

Great testimony Bob and you should be proud of the results at Richmond Mill.......Mill ponds are scattered throughout North Carolina and it's really cool that history is preserved in the case of Richmond Mill and the opportunity to land a giant Bluegill is inspiring.....I honestly believe record bluegill are in the future for this great fishery......I always look forward to the next report on the King Fisher Society...... 

Totally Enjoyed spending the day with Bob on the water.  After guiding at Richmond Mill for over three years now, I have learned how and where to catch those big bluegills just about year round.  Always love the challenge of cold water.  Caught them in water down to 40 degrees.  Last year me and my Clients boated 9 bluegill over 3 pounds.  We fish crickets, nightcrawlers, Charlie Brewer Slider grubs, mini crankbaits and some wooly buggers on fly.  Come visit Kingfisher Society and ask for me to be your guide, we'll have a blast!!  Tight Lines!!  Robbie Everett

Great fish Robbie.....thanks for the invite......it's definitely in the works.......

There's some talk over at PondBoss about getting some guys together for a trip down there this year.... I've been asked, and I'm seriously considering it.

For a BG angler, it is the Holy Grail......

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