Fun common catch at Newton lake

The pace of life is a bit slower at Herman's Fish Lake — quiet and relaxing, for sure. Occasionally, a rooster will crow, or ducks will quack. Muted conversations among the Saturday anglers drift across the pond.

Fishing space around the lake fills quickly, though — especially when one can fish the entire day for $8.

Tournament days and Take a Kid Fishing brings a crowd, though, and it's standing room only around the pond.

Herman's Fish Lake, now 50 years old, is still in the family. Rupert Brannon (Junior) said his father-in-law, Charles M. Herman, built the lake in 1962.

"My wife, Tina, and her sister grew up here," Brannon said. "Her dad passed away in 2008 and left it to my two sons, Trey and Peyton. Tina and I are running it until they get old enough.

"He was my father-in-law, and I loved him to death," he added.

Situated on 17 acres of gently rolling farm land, the lake, once a creek, is fed by a spring. Herman raised cattle many years ago.

"This (tackle shop) was a barn," Brannon said. "It had a dirt floor until years ago."

The barn has a storied past as a poker house.

"Everybody came out here to play," Brannon said. "Everybody."

Those are bygone days now, and the regulars who do frequent the lake are fishermen and friends of the Brannon family.

Ninety percent of the customers are regulars. Everyone has fun — kids bring bikes and ride around the pond, fishermen grill out, visit with each other and, all the while, fish of course.

George Carlton has been coming to fish for eight years.

"I just like to fish — for the big ones," Carlton said. "I've made a lot of friends, and we sit back and have a good time."

Dalton Barker and Bruce Queen arrive at 7 a.m. and stay all day.

"We toe fish," Queen said. "My father tied a line to his toe."

While the lines are no longer tied to toes, special rigging allows them to fish with more than one line.

And, boredom isn't an issue.

"It gives us a chance to get away from the house," Barker said.

If they happen to catch a fish, they put them back in the pond.

"We fish mostly for the fun of it," Queen said. "We've had a couple of bites today."

Wes Guffey likes to fish because of the serenity.

"I usually clean 'em and eat 'em," Guffey said.

Brannon admits he fishes once in a while and takes the opportunity to sit back, relax and read a book — he doesn't care if he catches one or not.

But when he's not throwing a line in, Brannon is busy running the business.
The lake is stocked with carp, cat fish and brim. Last year, Brannon spent $5,000 on fish.

And, of course, he makes sure there's bait in the refrigerator, cold soft drinks in an old box cooler and plenty of snack food.

Meanwhile, Peyton, 10, slowly circles the lake on a golf cart, one hand on the steering wheel, the other cradling his pet rooster who spends most of the day with him. Following in his father and grandfather's footsteps, he stops to chat with each fisherman.

Want to fish?
What: Herman’s Fish Lake.
Where: 1916 Grandview Drive, Newton, off Jarret Farm Road.
When: Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Cost: $8 to fish(get five pounds on that). Any fish more than four pounds goes back in the water.
For information: Call 828-381-8887.

“Take-A-Kid Fishing”
The 2012 Take-A-Kid Fishing Day is scheduled for Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to noon at Herman’s Fish Lake in Newton. The event is open to all children ages 3–17. Any child age 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult to be eligible to participate.
Registration begins Friday, June 1, at the Newton Recreation Department or at One On Bait & Tackle. Participants may also register by 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the event at the lake, which is located off N.C. 10 at 1916 Grandview Drive in Newton. Prizes will be awarded for “largest fish,” “most fish,” “smallest fish,” and
“most unusual catch of the day.” Prize drawings will also be held every 30 minutes. Children must bring their own rod and reel.
The public is invited to enjoy this family day of fun and fishing. For more information, or to register, contact the Newton Recreation Department at 828- 695-4317 or visit