I headed out for a pond Saturday morning knowing
that it might be a short day. We are in the middle
of a heat wave. Days are hitting in the high
nineties and a few over 100 - too hot for this
guy to be out.
I had called and got permission to fish a pond that
I have not been to for a couple of months. The land
changed hands and the new owner said that I could go
in but that I could not take anyone with me. In fact
he told me where to find the key so that I could
unlock the gate.
I got the key and went to the pond, locking the gate
behind me. Unloaded the canoe and put the rest of my
accumulation in the canoe. I did this in a rush as
there were rise forms all over the pond. I had four
fly rods with me so I could try different flies all
of the time.
After one hour of casting with everything from foam
poppers, to wet flies, to midges and everything else
I might think of, I was still waiting for the first
fish to hit. Then I did one of my normal graceful
moves and dropped the back cast on the water behind
me. When I stated to bring the rod forward there was
weight on the rod and I had my first fish. Turned out
that it was a six-inch bass. As I took this fish off
the hook to release him I noticed a few fish getting
closer to me. I decided to set still and see what might
be going on. At that point I saw that little bass were
making all of the rise forms I was seeing.
It was time to change tactics. Time to go deeper to see
if the other fish were away from the surface. I tied on
a fly with bead chain eyes and let it drop for about 8
seconds. I then started to retrieve it with a slow lift
and drop routine. I had moved it a few times when I had
a hit, but nothing when I tried to set the hook. This
happened to me several times as I made more casts,
sometimes two or three times on a cast. I even went
down two sizes on the fly, with no better results.
I then checked the fly again and noticed that the
tail marabou was about half gone. I wondered if they
were just nipping at the end of the fly and that is
what I was responding to. I then tried to wait longer
before setting the hook. Let them hit the fly several
times. What this did was to destroy the marabou tail
on a few flies.
I then remembered, a problem for those of us that are
getting old, that I had tied a few "special" flies.
I had read that for short strikers to tie the fly on
a longer hook so that the tail material was around
the bend of the hook. Now I can't remember where I
read that, even though I have looked for it. I had
tied a few flies using a 4X long size 10 hook that
I had been given a small supply of. I tied the tail
material in about half way down the shank on the top
and both sides of the hook. I left it off the bottom
to keep the hook point a little more clear. I then
tied the rest of the fly on the front part of the hook.
The tail does not have quite the same action, but I
hoped it would be close enough.
I cast this fly out and let it drop like the others
had. I had just started to retrieve it when I felt
the first tug. I set the hook and had a fish on!
Brought in a crappie that was about 10 inches long.
On the next cast I got a nice gill. I found that I
got one fish in each area that I cast into. Casting
to the same spot did not yield any more fish. By
casting about ten feet from where the last cast was
I had a chance at another fish. I also figured out to
make shorter casts to start with and that let me connect
with more fish.
I did notice that all of the fish that I caught were
hooked in the lips. I did not hook any deep in the
throat. This confirmed that they were hitting the
very end of the fly.
I had tied a few flies with nothing but a marabou tail
on a size 12 hook with a bead head covered by the marabou.
After the marabou got chewed off a little I caught
several fish on this.
By now it was getting warm and the wind was starting
to blow. This pond sets in a little valley with hills
all around. The dam is between two hills. The wind gets
funneled as it blows across the pond. When the wind
starts to kick up it is time to leave the pond.
As I was leaving the field where the pond is I had a
truck stop and ask me who said that I could go on that
land. I told him the landowner said I could. He told
me to give him the key so that he could go in. I told
him to deal with the landowner of that. I was returning
the key to the landowner and not him. He followed me
for a while and then turned off. When I told the
landowner he said that is why the gate was locked. He
did not want this individual on his land.
He asked how many fish I had caught. I showed him what
I had. He said he had not had a meal of fresh fish in
years. We found an old board, a butcher knife and I
filleted a dozen for him.
He thought that I was the neatest guy on the face of
the earth. Who was I to argue?
I now have to tie some more flies like the ones that
worked. Hope you can get out on the water.