Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred twenty-six

Lefty Morning

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Bruised my right elbow one day at work. Gracefully hit the edge of a counter top as I was trying to move a box. Bottom line was that my right arm was sore as a boil and stiff to boot, but this did not stop me from heading out to the pond on my usual Saturday morning jaunt.

I left the canoe at home because I was afraid I would not be able to lift it up on the pickup and paddling was out of the question with the way my right arm felt. So I decided to fish from the shore and to cast left handed. This would be a great experience because I have done 99.99% of my fly casting right handed.

Had a 10 to 15 mph wind blowing when I got out to the pond. I went to the side where the wind was behind me and tied on a popping bug. Tied on a Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN) off the popper as a dropper on about a foot of line. Cast this out about 25 feet and let the wind carry it out a little farther.

Had to watch carefully to see the strikes because they hit the PTN very lightly. After I got used to what I was looking for, I began to catch fish. It was interesting that almost every fish I caught was near some the algae that was floating on the pond. I wonder if they were in the shade or around the algae to feed.

Had several gills and had caught a few bass doing this when I decided I should move because the fishing was slowing down. Went to the dam so I could cast perpendicular to the wind. I was starting to get better, I could cast about 30 to 35 feet now. Accuracy was a different matter. I know that the water is about 5 feet deep out for about eight feet and then drops off to about 12 feet deep.

I cast out and let the fly drift along with the wind. Had something pull the popper under when it hit the PTN. When I got it in I had a crappie of about 15". Did this another two dozen times along the dam face, about 100 feet. All of them ran 12 to 15" and pulled the popper under when they hit the fly. A couple of times gills or bass hit the popper at the same time so I had a double.

Finally decided that I had to leave because my right arm was starting to really bother me. I also had about a half mile hike to get out from this pond. Had a horse follow me all the way across the field. I think he thought I would feed him. It was better than a mad cow chasing me!

I checked all the fish I took home and they were full of nymphs. One crappie had a two inch crappie in its stomach. That was the only minnow that I saw. A few of the gills had grasshoppers in them so I will be using that pattern the next time I am out at one of the ponds.

Took some fillets to the land owner. He was shocked. He has given permission to about a dozen people to fish the ponds on his land but I am the only one that has brought him fish even though that was part of the deal. I told him fly fishers are a different breed.

It was still a fun day even if I was casting backwards. I think I will practice some to do it left-handed but will probably stay right-handed. Could help me fish some difficult places.

Enjoy the water. ~ Rick

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