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Wind Solution

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out Saturday morning to try my luck. I got out later for two reasons. I had several things to do in the early morning and the fact that a warm front was going to come through about 9:00 a.m. and take the temperature up about 15 degrees. Having it around 50 is better than 35 for getting the fish to respond.

Just as I got out onto the pond the front came through and the wind picked up. I am getting smarter in my old age. I ran the rope for the anchor through the hand hold at the front of the canoe. I could then set in the back of the canoe and be facing into the wind. Makes it much easier casting.

I tried several flies without much happening. I then tied on a fly called the Gilly;


    Thread: black

    Hook: size 8 to 12.

    Tail: green mallard wing feather fibers.

    Body: Rear 2/3 gold floss, front 1/3 red floss.

    Wings: Blue peacock neck feather fibers.

    Hackle: Black.

Thi has worked very well for me at times. I have tied some of them with bead heads so that they will get a little deeper.

I had a size 8, bead head Gilly on and cast it about six feet from shore and brought it out over a break line. It drops down about 4 to 6 feet deeper along this lip. I had not moved the fly very far when I saw the line twitch. I was too slow on setting the hook. This pattern repeated itself more times than I am willing to admit. Fish were hitting the fly but I was not hooking any of them.

It was time to try to figure out what was going on. I decided to make a short cast toward the shore and retrieve the fly where I could watch it all of the time. I might be able to see what was happening when the fish were hitting.

Did I ever get an education! This fly had not even moved a foot when it disappeared. I resisted the temptation to set the hook and continued to retrieve the fly. I had moved the fly about eight feet before I saw the line twitch. It was at this point that I also saw the fly again. I was not getting any indication of a hit until the fish were spitting the fly out. Now it was time to experiment.

I cast to the shore again and watched the fly as I retrieved it. It again disappeared without any indication that the fish had it. When I saw the fly again, I saw the line twitch. I did this seven or eight times and then decided that I was going to try to catch them.

I cast toward the shore again and when I saw the fly disappear I set the hook and had a nice bluegill on the line. Cast out again but nothing happened. I think that fight of getting the first one in put all of the others down.

I decided to make a little longer cast up the break line and see how far away the fish might have been spooked. I started with a cast of about 10 feet. When I saw the fly disappear I set the hook.

I had another nice gill on the line. My next cast was about 12 feet up the shore, but nothing took the fly.

I found that I had to make the casts about five feet apart and then I would get a fish. I was getting bluegills and bass as I went up the shore.

I tried to cast behind me, with the wind, but nothing would take the flies. One of my casts with the wind went a little wayward and ended up about 15 feet from the shore. As I was retrieving the fly I decided to see if I could pick it up and recast without bringing it in as far as I normally do. When I did this, I was into a nice crappie. I had no idea that this fish had hit the fly.

My next cast was facing into the wind but out from the shore again. Nothing happened on the first few casts. I was letting the fly drop a little deeper each time. On my third cast I decided that I might as well set the hook to see if there was something on the line. I had another crappie, but this one flipped off as the hook was in the thin tissue on the side of the mouth.

I then started casting and setting the hook about every five feet as a matter of course. On the average about every third time I set the hook I would have a fish on. Most of the gills and bass I managed to land. Many of the crappie got off, but I was hooking them.

I ended up with 16 gills and 9 crappie for the day. I tossed back in about two dozen bass from six inches to three pounds. I know that I lost about 30 crappie before I got them in.

This whole experience makes me wonder how often I have had fish take the fly and I knew nothing about it. I know that as the waters continue to cool I am going to be false hook setting, i.e., no indication, more often just to see if it was a fluke or if there is a pattern in what happened. If you have any ideas, or similar experiences about, or like, this please let me know.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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