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Part One hundred seventy

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Fly or Bait Fishing?

By Richard D. Zieger, O.D., Lamoni, Iowa

I have had a new experience happen twice in the past three weeks. My wife tells me to be careful about what new experiences I go for, so this one is related to fishing.

Was out at the lake over my lunch hour to see what I could turn up. At the lake, the water is about 4-5 feet deep out for about 20 feet and then drops to around 14 feet. I was casting a nymph I received as an extra in a swap. I was looking to catch some gills or maybe a bass.

After about ten minutes of practice so my cast would be working right, (Translation, I was casting and not catching any fish,) I had something hit that was giving me quite a tussle.

It took me into the backing three time before I was gaining on it. When I finally got it in closer it came to the surface and I could see it was a carp of probably 8 lbs.

As it flopped on the surface, there was a large swirl and the carp disappeared. I spent a long time fighting something which spent a lot of time swimming back and forth along the bank. A few times it would go farther out into the lake. I finally got it up to where I could see what I had. It was a flathead catfish of about 20 lbs. I had to cut the line as the fly was so far down in the catfish.

That did end my lunch hour at the lake and I had to go back to work. (Work was not near as much fun as catching the fish.)

About ten days later I did the same thing while I was fishing with a Streamer Nymph. I had caught a few gills and a few small bass when I had another carp hit. This one decided to do a few aerobatics so I could tell what it was right off the bat. This was the first carp I have hooked that jumped!

I soon figured out why it was probably jumping, as while it was deep one time I felt a heavy thud and then the line really went out. I was nearly out of about 120 yards of backing when I got the fish turned. I had to work and work to gain line and then I would loose it. This continued for a long time before I really started to gain line.

As I gained line a truck stopped. It was a Fisheries Biologist for the State of Iowa. He was interested in what I had tangled with. After about another ten minutes I got it in close enough to see that it was another flathead. The Biologist went to his truck and got a long handled net. He was finally able to net it. This flathead we figured at about 20 lbs. I do not know why but the fly was in the corner of the mouth so we were able to remove it and release the fish.

I am not sure why the flathead were that close to the shore unless they were feeding. I would not expect this during the middle of the day but I still do not understand fish. I was accused by the Biologist of bait fishing with a fly rod. I could not convince him otherwise as I think he was going to enjoy telling the story.

I don't think I was bait fishing but then . . . ~ Rick

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