Welcome to Panfish!

First Outing of 2004

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It is hard to believe but the ice was off all the ponds and the weather was in the low 50's on the third of January. In spite of my sinus infection, being treated, I had to get out to a pond. My wife told me that I had two hours and then I had to be home. If I got sicker then my life was going to be shorter than even I expected.

I made a phone call and got permission to fish a pond that is off the road a little ways but has a lot of trees on the hill behind it. I thought this would get me out of the wind a little. The other nice thing is that the dam of the pond is at the north end of the pond so it gets sunlight all day long. The other things is that about eight feet out the pond drops four feet. Then another eight feet out it drops about another ten feet in the next twenty five feet. That gives a nice breakline and a gradual slope beyond that to fish.

I tried a few of my normal flies that I use but nothing was happening. I switched to a few flies that I had tied with Quick Descent Dubbing(QD), shredded aluminum for those of you who haven't used it. (Cabela's has it, FeatherCraft has it and I think eflytyer.com has it.) These were tied with a bicolored body, pheasant tail for the tail and with a dyed emu feather wrapped as hackle. I wanted to move a lot of water with the fly as an attraction.

I had my rod with a sinking line on it with me and tied one of the flies on that. Started with a fly with the rear 2/5 gold QD, the next 2/5 red QD, with a yellow emu hackle. I cast this out and let it drop. I was starting to retrieve the fly when I felt more weight on it and set the hook. I had a nice 8-inch bluegill on the line. I cast out into the same area and let the fly fall for about twenty seconds before starting the retrieve. The fly had gone about four feet when I had another hit and had a nice 11-inch crappie on the line.

I made another dozen casts with nothing happening. It was time to change. I changed to a fly with a small black marabout tail, Black Quick Decent Dubbing body and a soft black hackle palmered over the body. I cast this one out and let it drop. I retrieved it with a strip draw to mimic a leech. This was the ticket. With a very slow retrieve, when the fly was coming over the second breakline the fish would hit. I tried another fly on the other rod but they would not hit it.

I think the fish were following the fly up from deeper water and hit it when it looked like it might get away. I cast down the breakline in both directions and would not catch anything. The only way was straight out and in slowly.

I did get several fish and missed some others, being to slow or fast to respond.

It was a nice batch of fillets and they sure are good out of cold water.

Unfortunately the weather turned cold again and the ponds a covered with a thin layer of ice. I am not sure when I will get out again.

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

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