Newalla resident Brenton Kernes is steadily building a brand with his focus on private pond fishing in the state.
Kernes, a special operations veteran and former commercial fisherman, spent 2020 providing a service that is unique to not only the state, but the country.
Kernes’ business, Newalla Fish Company, specializes in stocking Oklahoma ponds and lakes with hybrid striped bass and predatory high-protein fish feed. Kernes said Newalla Fish Company is the only business in the U.S. dedicated to recreational hybrid striped bass.
One issue many local pond owners mention is stocking the same breeding fish multiple times often leads to overpopulated ponds, Kernes said.
“I find a lot of people are calling me because their ponds are overpopulated with panfish, bluegill and crappie, so they would like to put my fish in and work on the population to try to control it,” Kernes said.
Kernes said the striped bass can work as a culling mechanism because they have a smaller mouth that can only target smaller fish.
“So inherently, they go in and knock out some of the competition out of the pond and everything else like largemouth Bass, catfish and panfish can grow larger,” Kernes said. “Once private pond owners realize they’ve fallen victim to counterproductive logic, new feed and functionally sterile hybrids start to make a lot of sense.”
Since beginning operations in late 2019, Kernes has stocked thousands of hybrid striped bass in Oklahoma and established performance feed plans throughout the state, including Norman, Hennessey and Bartlesville.
Kernes said the inspiration for the business comes from both his background working on a commercial fishing boat and his desire to provide the opportunity for his children to catch larger fish without having to go anywhere.
“I really wanted my kids to be able to get off the bus, invite a friend over after school to catch a fish and instead of catching a small catfish or a traditional largemouth, they actually catch something that’s incredibly powerful and big raised in the backyard,” Kernes said. “That was really my dream. I wanted to do that so I ended up putting it together.”
After putting that plan into action on his property, Kernes said the idea took off with neighbors asking him to stock their ponds.
In 2021, Kernes plans on adjusting the way he offers fish to customers by setting up performance packages in an effort to provide convenience.
“They’re going to be able to get fish, aerators and performance feed all delivered in one package, so they can grow all of their sportfish to a large size without any stress or having to [outsource] any more products,” Kernes said.
This year, he hopes to expand his brand in central Oklahoma, where there are many private pond owners that could utilize his service.
“Hopefully [pond owners] in the area find out this exists and that I’m doing this as a primary fish, and I’m right here in their backyard,” Kernes said. “Oklahoma has had enormous success at Lake Texoma, among other lakes, planting this [type of bass] for people to catch. I’m bringing that to people’s yards.”
For more information about NFC’s services or to schedule fingerling delivery, visit www.newallafishcompany.com.