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Part One hundred sixty-four

Panfish Chat- Host Ron Kusse
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By Richard D. Zieger, O.D., Lamoni, Iowa


Because I am never sure that I will not mess up a rod or line I always have two rods, minimum, with me. This has allowed me to let several folks try fly fishing.

First let me tell you that me first fly rod came from a hardware store that was selling out. I walked in and pick the rod, with an automatic reel on it, to look at it. The owner told me that f I gave him ten dollars it was mine. I have a hard time walking away from a deal like that. I ended up walking out of the store with that outfit.

I bought a line out of a catalogue and tied some 4 lb test line for a leader. I was in a sporting goods store a few weeks later just looking at things and they had a bunch of flies there were trying to get rid of. There were about three dozen odds and ends flies left. When I asked what they would take for the whole bunch the manager let me have them for five bucks. Having tied a few of my own I know why they were so cheap. The next weekend I was out fishing with my usual spinning gear and just not catching the fish I could see because they were tight to the bank and the splash of the lure spooked them. In desperation I grabbed the fly rod and with brute strength and great determination threw the fly about twelve feet, without parting the Red Sea from the force of the cast. A really dumb gill hit the fly and I was hooked. I caught about 65 gills from 7 to 10 inches. I lost about six flies to bass that hit them and went into the weeds.

I knew there was a guy in town who went to Montana to trout fish and I pestered him to give me a short lesson on casting. He gave me a ten minutes lesson on what to do.

Made me keep a bottle of Pepsi under my armpit while I was casting. Gave me the idea of what to do and I practiced some after that.

Caught a lot of fish on that rod and then began to collect some more. One of the companies I do business with was having a promotion for doing business with them and I won a Berkley outfit from them. I have picked up many more rods and reels since then.

Several times when I would be out fishing someone would come by and say that it sure looked like fun to do, but that they had never tried it. I pick up that first rod and tell them that they will never learn any younger. I give them the rudiments of casting and let them try. All of them have enjoyed the opportunity.

I know of four of these individuals who bought fly outfits and have done some fishing for warm water species that are in the ponds and lakes here. I see them out fishing ever once in a while. I have tied flies for all of them to use. None of them have gotten into tying but that may come.

The big thing, I think, is that I have the rod that they can use. I have had much more than $10 of fun out of it. If it does break or get messed up it will present me with the opportunity to upgrade with another rod. It is great fun to watch someone cast with the fly rod and see that it is not really impossible to do. It is also fun to see them catch fish on the fly and to land it. Most of them want to keep on casting and catching fish. Most are amazed that by buying a combination outfit they could get into this for the same amount they have spend on conventional gear.

I also have started giving them the fly they used on the rod. It is a way for them to remember the experience and to have something in hand. This is not a great expense. I end up giving about two dozen flies away each year. Most of the flies I tie probably cost less than 25 cents to make. Probably is better for me to do this with the money than to buy a candy bar to stuff my face with.

I would encourage you to think about doing this with one of your first rods if you still have them around. If not you may find one at a garage sale of estate sale that you could pick up to use for this. Simple way to introduce people to the sport.

My favorite story is of a business man who lives about forty miles from me. Met him at the lake one day as we were both fishing. I was catching fish in about a 10:1 ratio to him.

He came over to see what I was doing and I got him started. He now goes out on his lunch hour and spends 30 to 45 minutes at a pond near his town. He has told me that his wife says he is easier to live with. His blood pressure is down and he has lost some weight. Says that it is very relaxing to him.

At least give it a thought. ~ ~ Rick

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