Part Two hundred twenty-four
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Archive of Panfish
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
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
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
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick
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