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Last Noon of 2003

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Headed out to the lake over my lunch hour in late November. Temperatures have been dropping and the ponds are skimmed over with ice. The wind has been keeping the main lake open, but the writing is on the water.

When I got out to the lake there were two other folks fishing off the far jetty. I had a red and yellow Skip Morris Panfish fly (a Clouser variation) tied on. I think this fly is in the archives of the FAOL. One change I have made is to make a small black pupil on the chain bead head and then cover it with Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails. This makes a little more of an eye and are not that hard to fix if they wear off, before I lose or destroy the fly.

I headed out on the jetty to where I knew the water dropped off from about six feet down to fourteen feet. The fourteen-foot water is about eighty feet out from the jetty but it is a fairly even slope. Got to see this one time when I got to go out on a bass boat and watch the electronics as we cruised around the jetties.

With the water being cooler, I decided that the retrieved would have to be very slow. I cast out and let the fly drop probably about five feet. I then started to bring it in very slowly. Got it all the way in without anything happening. This happens a lot to me in the fall. On my next cast I repeated the previous performance. I had moved the fly about ten feet when the line felt heavy. I set the hook and had a dead weight to bring in. It was a foot long channel cat. Fish did not fight until it saw my ugly face. Still it was not very energetic. I released her to fight another day.

My next cast landed just about the same place the second cast did, more from luck than skill. I retrieved the fly again and nothing happened. My next cast was nowhere near where the previous two landed. I let the fly drop and when I started to retrieve the line felt heavy and I sat the hook again. This was an eight-inch bluegill that did not like the idea of being on the hook.

This fish put a nice bend in the rod and caused it to dance around a little. This one got released also.

I noticed the other folks leaving the other jetty, but gave it no thought. Two casts later I had another hit and caught an eight inch crappie. I felt very good because I had caught three species in six casts. I saw that the other folks had parked at the end of the jetty where I was, but it is a free country.

I made another cast and slowly retrieved it in. I noticed the other folks were about 20 feet down the jetty and watching what I was doing. That is OK, because they might get the idea to take up fly fishing. Also as much as I might not like it, I don't own the whole jetty when I am out on the lake. My next cast got caught by a gust of wind, good excuse, and landed way off to my right.

This was over water that is about five feet deep. The fly was just dropping when I saw the swirl of water and sat the hook. I was just starting to fight the fish when I had a person on each side of me, close enough to hit me when they tried to cast.

I asked, in a less than cool and calm manner, what they were doing? They said they wanted to catch fish and this is where the fish were. I finally got the fish in and it turned out to be a bass that was about fifteen inches long. I was starting to release this fish when the one guy hit me on the shoulder and told me to give the fish to him.

The fish went into the lake. I told him that he was all out of mistakes and that hitting folks was not a good way of doing public relations. He started to swing at me again and I grabbed his arm and swung him around, letting loose when he would go into the lake. The other guy told me that I could not do that. I asked him it he wanted to join him, or just stay away from me.

He decided to go swimming also. I decided that it was time to leave.

The part I really try to remember is catching the four species in eight casts. The other is a lot like the things that can cause road rage on the road. I hope that I have a corner on the "idiots" of the fishing world.

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

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