Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred twenty-four

Wind Tunnel

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

The days are getting shorter so I was a little later heading out to go fishing Saturday morning. I am at the stage of maturity that I need some light to see what I am doing. Also I have a bee allergy so I need to be able to see if there are any new bee nests around when I go to a pond.

As I headed out, I passed a car that was stopped on the side of the road. I noticed that the people had the trunk open so I turned around and went back to see what the problem was. It was an older couple that had a flat on the drivers rear tire. I pulled up behind them, left my lights on and helped them change the tire. When we were done he asked me if I was going fishing. When I replied yes, he said he had a pond that I could try.

I followed him for about 13 miles. This was on a few roads that I had not been on before. He showed me the gate to go through and asked me to stop at his house on the way out so he could see what I caught, if anything.

Went through the gate and back to the pond which is about 3 acres in size, between two hills. It looks like it had started to wash and make a ravine and they dammed it up to stop this. A common practice in this part of the country.

Got everything in the canoe and got out on the pond. Started blind casting because I did not know anything about this pond. Caught some small bass near the shore so tried casting out toward the middle of the pond. This was the ticket. Fish were scattered all over the pond in the top couple feet of water. I would catch a fish and then have to cast about 6 to 8 feet away from that spot to get another. Had about 40 minutes with the water being calm. I could see fish swimming around the canoe in the top couple feet of water. Some even made "V's" in the water as their fins were so close to the surface.

Then a front came through and the wind kicked up to about 20 mph. I still wanted to fish so I tried casting with the wind and at an angle to the wind. NO GO. Did not get a fish in 15 minutes. I twisted around in the canoe seat to I could cast into the wind to see what would happen. I did have fish bite, but I was not landing very many.

I finally had to drop the rod tip down nearly on the water and watch the line where the leader was attached. When there was any movement I would set the hook. Usually the line would go down in the water a little. This was the sign that something had taken the fly. All the hits were very light while the wind was blowing.

I did turn around in the canoe seat so that I was casting directly into the wind and not being all twisted up to cast. It was a little cramped in the back seat doing this but when the fish bite I don't notice it as much. I spent about another 2 hours fishing before I got tired of casting into the wind. Put everything away and tried to paddle back up the pond.

Here is where the real fun began. The hills around the pond funneled the wind so that it was more powerful there. I had to get to the shore and tie my anchor line to the front of the canoe and pull it along the shore to get it back to where the truck was parked. It was a good thing that this pond was fairly clear and did not have a lot of weeds and algae in it. Got to the truck and loaded everything in.

When I got out of the field I drove down to the house of the gentleman who owns the land. He was glad to see that I had caught a bunch of fish. He told me that he did not get out much to do that and that his wife missed the fish. I looked in my pickup but I had taken the filet knife out while I was teaching someone to fillet fish and had not put it back in. I asked if they had a knife and he said yes, but why. I told him to get it and I would fillet some fish for him.

I filleted about a dozen crappie and bluegill for them so they could have a couple of meals. They were overwhelmed that someone would do that for them. My point was that it was the least that I could do for being able to fish in the pond.

He did take one of my cards and is going to send me a map of where four more ponds are on his land and maybe where a dozen more ponds are on the land around his farm. He is pretty sure that other folks will let me come in and fish. No one has fished these ponds for at least 4 years.

I think I could stand to take that punishment.

I ended up with over 70 fish at home after I was done cleaning them. It was not even a small dent in the population of the pond. The crappie and gills were all about 7" long. This is a little small but I think with a little time and catching some out the size will increase.

I used a white Cyperts minnow, a floating nymph, and a couple of other patterns. All of the fish hit while the fly was in the top two feet of water. I don't think it ever got deeper than this.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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