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Landing Frustration

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I headed out on a Saturday morning later than I usually get out. Had to help some folks get things done so it was about 11:00 am before I hit the pond. There was a slight breeze. The air temperature was about 55 degrees.

I tied on a fly and started casting. I finally found a fly pattern that the fish would hit. Back to one of my favorites, the Miss Marabou. The trouble was that I was not getting any of the fish to the canoe. I would feel the hit and fight them for a little bit and then they were gone.

I started in by shortening my cast to about twenty feet. I thought I might be able to see what was happening. The fish would hit but I still could not see what was happening. I then decided to shorten the cast again. I cast about ten feet and let the fly drop. I had retrieved it a few feet when I saw the flash of a fish and had a solid strike. I got this fish to the surface before I lost him. I was able to see that the hook was in the side of the mouth and that it was pulling out.

This is not the first time that this has happened to me. I was prepared, half way. I have tied a few patterns with the vice turned 90 degrees. I tied them for just this situation. I cast one out and had another fish hit it. I managed to land this one as I had the fish hooked in the top of the mouth.

I caught several more on the next several casts. I then decided to see if another fly would work. I had tied flies with the hook turned in the vice 90 degrees away from me and then turned the same amount toward me. I had wondered if they would work any differently. The only difference I was able to see was that some of the fish were hooked in the top of the mouth and some of them in the bottom. This had no correlation to which way the hook was turned on the fly.

Time to experiment a little more. I made short casts and kept the fly higher in the water column.

I was hoping the fish would still hit and I could see what was happening. I was able to hook several more and land them. I found out that if the fish rolled away from me while hitting the fly it would be in the bottom of the mouth, but in the top if the fish rolled toward me. This was for a fly that was tied with the point toward me in the vice. The opposite was true for the flies with the point tied away from me.

I did try a fly tied normally again, but I was losing fish not long after the strike. I decided that the fish were coming up from deeper down to hit the fly and that the normal flies would not work. This means that I am going to have to tie some more flies that are rotated 90 degrees.

Most of the fish I caught were crappies. I did get a few bluegills and several bass. The water is cooling off so the fillets were firmer to eat.

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

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