Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred thirty-three

Icy Edge Bass

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Got up Saturday morning and the temperature was a nice 28 degrees. There was a wind of about 15 mph helping the process also. I decided that the better part of valor was to wait till later in the morning to go out to a pond. I had to go in the morning because we would be involved with other activities the rest of the weekend.

I decided to go to one of the ponds that I have to fish from shore because the owner does not like people driving across his fields. He has had some people cause damage to fences and other things so I can not really blame him.

I decided to take two rods with me, one with floating line and the other with a sinking line on it. I tried several flies with no success with the floating line. I had fished about 2/3 of this pond. I felt that there had to be a way to catch fish in this pond. The water was very clear and I could see the flies out about 15 feet. This was even through the ripple on the surface from the wind.

I then decided it was a good time to experiment with a fly I had wanted to try to see how it would work. I had tied a couple of black Woolly Buggers with some foam laid along the bottom of the shank. I then tied the rest of the fly as it is normally done. I had a 7 foot leader on and cast this out into the pond and waited for the line to settle to the bottom. With the woolly bugger floating up some I thought it would be near the top of the weeds still growing in the pond. Also with the foam on the bottom of the shank the hook point was riding up which helped keep it from snagging in the weeds.

As I slowly pulled the line in I could feel the fly rubbing against plants in the pond. When I had about 20 feet of line still out I felt some weight on the line and set the hook. I had a bass of about 12 inches on. I had to be careful where I lead the bass in because there was a small skim of ice at places along the edge of the pond. I did not want to cut the leader. I released this fish and cast again about 10 feet to the side of where I had cast before. Again when there was about 20 feet of line out I got another fish. It was a carbon copy bass.

At this point I think there may be a little bit of a pattern here. I move about 30 feet down the pond to where there is a little point of land out into the pond. This goes out into the pond about six feet. This allowed me to cast more parallel to the bank. I would cast and let the line settle to the bottom and then start a very low retrieve. On every cast I would catch a bass. Some hit close to where I cast and others were very close to where I was standing. All of them were of the same size. With about 40 feet of line out it would take 15 minutes to bring it back all the way to where I was standing. This was a very slow retrieve, especially for me.

I did not catch any other fish in this pond even though I know there are bluegills, crappies and rock bass. This was the only fly I caught any bass on. I did catch 14 bass for the 1.5 hours I was out. This was good considering that the bass were 6 inches long when I put them in the pond last fall. They seem to have a good growth rate in this pond.

Hope you get a chance to get out on the water. ~ Rick

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