Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred twenty-six

Big Fish Day

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Had a great day out on a pond that I had fished a few times before. Wind was blowing about 15 mph so I headed up the pond so I could have the wind at my back. It was also about 9:30 in the morning before I could get out to the pond. Not the time I like to get out but that is what happens at times.

I put on a Green Cyperts Minnow that I had tied. I used the material that is grass in Easter Baskets and used a dubbing twister to wrap it in. After I tied the fly I trimmed the sides so that they were slightly sloped from the front to the back. I wanted to see what this fly might do and really felt that I would have to change to catch anything.

I was fishing in about 5 feet of water and was casting toward the shore, looking for bluegills. I had a strike on the third cast. When I set the hook the line took off and I had to let it go. All of the fly line and a lot of the backing went out on the first run. When the run stopped I started to work the fish back. When the fish was about 15 to 20 feet from the boat it took off on another run. This was not as far. After the fourth run I got it close enough to see and realized I had a problem. It was a large catfish and my net was not big enough to land it. I fashioned a loop out of the loose end of my anchor rope and put that around the tail of the catfish to get it into the canoe. Turned out to be 27 inches long. I took the fly out the lip of the catfish and released it.

I was not sure if any more fish would be around but decided to try. Caught two bluegills about 10" long. Then I had another solid strike. The run was not as long and when I got it stopped and was working the fish back, the bass decided to jump. I had it jumped five times before I got it landed. Now I did lip the bass to land it but I am a coward to do that with large catfish. This bass was 21" long. I released it to fight again another day.

I decided that I should move a little because of all the commotion that had been made by the two big fish. Moved about thirty feet down the pond and cast again. Had another hard strike and long run. Had another bass do aerial antics before I got it landed. This one was 20" long and rejoined its cousin in the pond.

Since I had caught two the first place I stopped I decided to try again. I did catch a few more good gills. I was ready to move but decided to try one more cast. Another solid hit and this bass went ballistic from the start. Never did run very far but was shaking its head and jumps all of the time. Turned out to be 24 inches long.

I kept moving around the pond and would catch a few fish each place that I stopped. Most of the time it was gills but I continued to catch bass and catfish. I did try casting out into deeper water and used a different fly but never did get anything to hit.

I did have two catfish that almost spooled me. Both of them went about 28 inches and ran six times before I got them in. Had to land them by roping them by the tail which was tricker than I thought it would be.

I ended up catching six catfish that went from 24 to 28 inches long. I caught eight bass that went from 18 to 22 inches long. I think I may have caught every large fish in the pond. All of them are still swimming in there.

This was an unusual day for me because I almost always had a fish on. I was out for four hours before I got home. My wife came out and said it must have been a great day as I said I thought I would be home between noon and 12:30. She is very understanding that if the fish are biting I might not be on time.

The best thing that probably happened to help me was that I left my 5 wt at home and took an 8 wt out to help fight the wind. My casting is not the greatest in the wind.

This day will stay in my memory for all the big fish that I was lucky enough to catch in that pond. Don't give up on small bodies of water as they can have some large fish in them.

I have used that fly twice more since then and not had a single thing hit it. I did loose it to a log so I will have to tie a few more of them.

Hope you can get out on the water soon. ~ Rick

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