Part Two hundred thirty-five
First Fish on the Fly
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Archive of Panfish
I was asked to speak to a University Recreation Class
about fishing as a sport and as recreation. The Instructor
wants the class to be exposed to a large number of
activities that can be used for recreation. He told me
I was the epitome of fishing addiction in his mind. He
also told this to the class as my introduction.
He asked me to bring a spinning rod, a bait casting rod
and a fly rod along with the lures that could be used with
each of them. He also wanted me to bring some fly tying
materials and tie a few flies to show them how that was
accomplished. He wanted a 15 to 20 minute talk and then
the rest of the time for questions.
I showed them the different rods and how they all worked
a little differently. I even let a couple of them cast
them a short distance in the room. It was interesting
that they were all more interested in the fly rod and
fly fishing. They wanted to know where the trout stream
was near here because that is what you use a fly rod for.
I explained that the fly rod could be used for any fish
and that pan fish are great fun on the fly rod. I was asked
how I got started fly fishing and what was the first fish
I caught on the fly rod. I had to admit that I had caught
a few grayling in my younger years on a fly rod but it was
a matter of holding the rod after someone else cast it.
My first real experience fly fishing resulted from going into a
hardware store that was closing out. I saw a fly rod and
reel set for $10.00. I picked up the other
items I wanted and went back to the rod. The owner told me
that for $12.00 I could have the set and the flies he
had left over. This consisted of three round dispensers,
one with poppers and two with flies. I have never been able
to resist an offer like that.
This was on a Friday so I took it home and put it all together.
I put it in the pickup with my other equipment, loaded the
canoe and was set to go Saturday morning.
Got to the pond and started fishing but not with the fly rod.
I could see fish in the shallow water but could not cast to
them without spooking them. In frustration I turned to the
fly rod because the fly was lighter than the jig I had been
using. This was my first experience in casting a fly rod,
also doing it sitting in the canoe.
By brute strength and awkwardness I got about 20 feet of line
out and dropped the fly near the shore. I could see three
bluegills dash to get to it first. The fish hooked itself
and I got it to the canoe. I cast out again and hooked
another fish. This was getting to be a good thing. The
fish where all in about a foot of water and I could see
them take the fly. I was getting excited about this - it
was great fun!
My next cast, so called, was not quite so good. It went
about 15 feet to the side and landed near a clump of algae.
There was a large swirl as a bass took the fly and headed
off. When the line tightened it was a new ball game. The
bass jumped four or five times and I managed not to loose
him. Then he decided to find a stump, limb or something
else on the bottom to wrap the line around. That was the
first of many flies that I have lost to fish, but what a
rush. I had a hard time tying another fly on the line.
When I got the fly into shallow water, I would catch a bluegill
on almost every cast. They were up spawning and there were
hundreds of fish that could be seen at any one time.
When my aim was not so good I might hook a bass when the
fly was over deeper water.
I came home with about 60 bluegills. I had released a few
bass back into the pond and I was a few flies lighter than
when I had started. I was also pretty much hooked on using
the fly rod.
Since that time I have come to use the fly rod the vast
majority of the time when I am fishing. I have more fun
catching fish with the fly rod.
I have two of the kids in the class that want to try fly
fishing in the spring. Right now the ponds are frozen over.
Can't even catch a fish with my sinking line! I will get
them out in the spring and let them see how much fun fly
fishing is. One kid wants to try his hand at fly tying.
We will get together on that also.
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick
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