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Noon Surprise

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I headed out to the lake over my lunch hour today. Temperatures were in the mid 70's with a slight breeze. Too nice to stay inside.

When I got to the lake the place I normally fish from, had someone already there. I decided to go about 50 feet down the bank. I know that the water is shallow in that area but then it drops off to about four feet. If nothing else I would get some practice casting. If you saw my casting, you would know I need more of that.

I had on a red and yellow Skip Morris Panfish fly. This is a Clouser variation. I cast it out and let it settle a little way. As I started to retrieve the line I felt some weight so I sat the hook. I had a bass on that did not like the feel of the hook. She went airborne four times before I got her in. She was 15 inches long.

I was not real popular with the folks down the bank when I released her. I cast out again but about ten feet to the side of where I had cast before. I am not sure if this was by plan or just the way that I cast.

The fly had just hit the water when there was a large swirl. For a change I let the line tighten before I sat the hook. I had another bass that did not jump but kept heading for the bottom. I know there is a lot of wood debris and rock on the bottom on this pond. I had the rod very high in trying to keep her up in the water column. After several exchanges of line I began to get the upper hand. I started to gain line and somewhat control the direction that she headed. I was wondering how I was going to get her through all the vegetation at the edge of the pond. This stuff extends out about eight feet and I had not even though about hooking a fish this big.

The next thing I hear was a voice from on high. There was a guy standing on the bank above and behind me wanting to know if I would like to have him net this bass when I got it close. He had a net that could telescope out to a ten-foot handle. I told him that would be nice. He told me to let him know when I wanted him to come down. Otherwise, he would stay out of the way.

I finally got this fish to where I could control her. I had him come down and put the net into the water. I then turned the fish and lead her into the net. He flipped the net 90 degrees and then pulled her in. She was 21 inches long but weighed just under six pounds. Quite a surprise to come out of shallow water.

We put her back in the net and he moved the net out and then turned it over to release her. She slowly swam for a few feet and then dashed off. I hope to tangle with her again sometime. I thanked my fellow fisher for bringing the net. He said he had fished the lake for four years and never caught a fish that big. He just wanted to use his net on it. He said it justified the price of the net.

By this time it was time to head back to work. I also think that all of the other fish were gone from the area with the commotion of the fight. Great way to spend a lunch hour.

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

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