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Hot weather cools off fishing

Everyone who was fishing Monday morning at the East Selma Pond knew catfish were out there with their baits. They just weren’t sure they would get to take one home.

Beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, the pond was open for the third time this month for anglers at least 55 years old. About a dozen or so got in on the fishing, but not all joined in on the catching.

“There’s plenty of fish in there,” said W. Allen Reed. “They’re just not biting.”

Reed, who fished until 10:30 a.m., unfortunately did not take part in the catching. However, it didn’t seem to bother him in the long run.

“If they don’t bite here, I’ll go home and get a bite,” he said. “You just have to wait them out. I’ll have to get one by 11 (a.m.) or I’ll have to go home and get a bite, because I know what I’ve got in the kitchen already.”

Despite his zero balance Thursday, Reed returned Monday.

“I was out here Thursday and I didn’t catch anything,” he said. “And I fished all day, too.”

Minnows were the bait du jour Monday for the anglers aiming for catfish. Among the fishermen, the most important tools of the trade were rod and reel, of course; bait, usually minnows; a sturdy rod holder and the multipurpose 5-gallon plastic bucket that served as a chair, a portable livewell and a tacklebox.

Activity at the one-block pond that runs along Handie Street from Plant to Dunklin has dwindled since its June 2 opening. After the first-day fishermen were spoiled by the easier bite, times have gotten tougher.

“It’s too dang hot,” Selma Parks and Recreation director Elton Reece when he stopped by the pond Monday. “We’ve had to run the aerators so much to try to cool off the water.”

What shade there was at the pond was at a premium by 9 a.m. Oam Rose, who left about 9:20 a.m., said he was satisfied with his catch.

“Two’s a good number,” he said to a passerby who was checking on the fishing opportunities.

Sonny Richardson fought the sun to pick up his second catfish by 9:25 a.m. He wouldn’t always flinch when the line wiggled.

“It’s probably the wind,” Richardson said. “You can tell when they’ve got it.”

His second catfish weighed about 3-4 pounds.

The fishing period has been extended until one of three things happen: anglers catch their limit (five catfish), lose their bait or lose their patience.

The two fishing times for any anglers is 1-7 p.m. Thursdays and 7-11 a.m. Saturdays. Seniors fish from 7-11 a.m. Mondays. The pond closes July 1, but plans are being discussed to restock the pond and reopen the fishing in October.