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Slow Saturday

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

We had a nice day in late November that called me to go out to a pond and see if the fish would bite. Loaded everything up and headed out. My biggest problem was to find a pond where the pheasant hunters were not around. There were a huge number of people out.

Finally found a pond that has a lot of trees around it. There is not much open space so there is not room to shoot anything that can move very fast. Got the canoe off and almost all the fishing equipment in it and drug the canoe about 50 feet over the grass to get to the pond. I also had to go over three fairly good size gullies that I did not want to drop a tire into.

Got onto the water and looked over the pond. The water was really fairly clear and calm. Use my handy, dandy thermometer to check water temperature. It was a nice 40 degrees. Time for a pattern that can move slow and has some size as everything is larger at this time of year. Went for the Thief again. There are three trees that have fallen into this pond over the years.

I positioned myself about 25 feet from the end of the trees and cast up along sides the tree and started to retrieve. I thought I was retrieving the fly slowly enough for fish to hit it. I tried fishing deeper as I thought I might have the fly too high in the water column. Losing two flies to the tree soon taught me how far to let the fly drop. This is part of why I carry so many of the same pattern with me.

My first fish came when I was distracted by a flight of geese going over the pond. I stopped moving the fly and watched them fly over about 40 feet above my head. When I started to move the fly there was some weight on the line so I set the hook. Brought in a twelve-inch crappie. This did capture my attention. I cast again and let the fly drop and then barely moved it. Let it drop and then barely moved it again. I was taking in about one inch of fly line without moving the fly rod. I had moved the fly about 5 feet down the tree when I felt weight again. Brought in a carbon copy crappie.

Three more casts to the tree brought no action. I moved down to the next tree and did the same thing. I picked up two bass and one crappie here. Moved to the third tree and went through the same process. This was two crappie and one bass.

I decided to try along the shore to see if anything was going on there. I moved the fly about the same way about 15 feet out from shore. The water was about 10 feet deep in this area. Doing this, I caught a dozen bass weighting up to four pounds. I decided that I needed to head back to the trees to see if I could catch another crappie or two.

I also decided to try to be a little smarter this time when I got to the tree. I made a 15-foot cast and let the fly settle down and started the slow retrieve. I had barely started to move the fly when the line moved and I set the hook. Another carbon copy crappie. I cast a few feet further in to the tree and repeated this several times. I picked up another 10 crappie off of each tree as I went around the pond. I also caught several more bass from each of the trees.

On my third round to the trees I started to catch some bluegills. I would catch two or three off of each tree and then everything would shut down. I tried along the edge of the pond again but it was very slow going.

At this point I looked at my watch and realized I had been out for almost four hours. To try to keep a little peace in the family I decided that I needed to head home. But first I decided to go look at each of the trees while the water was clear so I would have a better idea of how to fish them the next time I came.

It was interesting to see the number of fish that would swim by as I sat looking at the branches under water. I saw way more than I had caught or hooked. More proof of what a magnet wood cover is to fish.

Also at the first tree I looked for the flies I had lost and was able to retrieve one of them. That meant that I lost only one fly on the trip. This was much better than I normally do. I keep trying to see how close I can cast to something without losing the fly. I leave a lot of flies in the water.

The fish fillets were good eating out of the cold water. I did leave all of the bass in the pond.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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