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Saturday Fun

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out on the third of July to do some fishing. I had received permission to fish a pond. I had stocked this pond about eight years ago, but then it changed hands and I could not get permission to fish it. A new owner told me that I could fish it.

This pond was made by damming up a ravine that was washing very badly. They took some of the dirt from what would be the bottom of the pond to help make the dam. Fortunately they took the top soil off first so it could be spread back over the bottom of the pond.

There is a band of about 12 feet around the edge of the pond that is grass and aquatic weeds. This pond like the others in the area had been low before the rains this spring. It has come up four feet according to the owner and has flooded about 6 feet of grass around the edge of the pond. It is not one that can be fished from shore right now.

I put everything in the canoe but did not string up any of the rods. I did not want to fight with the rods as I moved the canoe through the grass at the edge of the pond. I did get the canoe through this stuff and out into the pond. I was very surprised at the water quality. The water was very clear. This might be due to the shallow end of the pond being full of reeds.

I got two rods set up to use. I put a white Cyperts Minnow on one and a Skip Morris Panfish (SMP) on the other with red and yellow marabou wings. I cast out with the SMP first. I let the fly drop for a few seconds before starting to retrieve it. I could see this fly about 35 feet out from me. I had moved it three times when I saw the fly disappear. The line did not twitch, but the fly was not to be seen. I set the hook and was into a very nice bluegill. This fish turned sideways and headed for the bottom. Great fun on a 3 wt.

I cast out again and had a repeat performance with a slightly smaller gill. I could not tell there was a fish on the line except for the fly disappearing. There was no wind so I did not have the anchor down. With each fish I hooked I was moving around a little on the pond, but that was OK.

My next cast was toward the shore, just to see what would happen. The fly had just hit the water when the line tightened. I set the hook and had a bass decided that he knew how to fly. This fish spent more time out of the water than in the water. With 6 X tippet on I knew that I would not be able to horse him. So I dropped the rod tip and pointed it toward the middle of the pond. This finally got the fish to move out from the weeds. When I got this fish in hand, he turned out to be 14" long. He was also fat as a pig. I decided that I should move a little with all the racket this bass made. I also decided to try the other fly and see if the fish would go for the Cyperts Minnow.

I cast this fly out and let it hit the water. There was an immediate hit and I was into a fish. I never had a chance to set the hook. This fish hit the fly going away before I could do anything. This turned out to be a huge gill. This fish was so fat that I could not get my hand around it to unhook it. I had to lip this fish. She went back into the pond. But what great fun.

I cast the Cyperts Minnow out again. The fly was barely under the water and I was into another fish. Again the fish hit the fly going away and was hooked for me with no effort on my part. This was another nice gill. As I got the fish closer, I could see a few move gills trying to get the fly from the fish that I had hooked. I think they were turned onto this fly. After I landed this fish, I tossed the fly out about 10 feet, just to see what would happen. I had three fish streak toward the fly and the first one there was hooked. I brought this fish in and tried it again. I again hooked another fish. When I got this one in, I decided that I should get the fish into the fish basket and not let them flop on the bottom of the canoe.

As I started to do this, I noticed the fish in the basket were agitated. As I pulled it up, I figured out why. There was a huge snapping turtle clamped onto the wires of the basket. I had to hit him with the paddle to get him off the basket. He did get revenge though. He cut about four of the wires on the basket. I did get most of the fish that had been in the basket back into the canoe.

I could not put the basket back in the water with the size hole there was in the side of the basket.

To top it off that turtle followed me around to see if the basket would go back into the water. I continued to fish for a while longer and then decided that I would need to head home. With the fish I had in the basket and the other things we needed to get done I would need to leave.

I paddled back over to where I had launched the canoe and ran the front of the canoe up onto the shore in that same spot. I balanced myself with the paddle, picked up the rods, and walked to the front of the canoe to put stuff in the truck. I then pulled the canoe out of the pond, loaded the rest of my stuff in the truck and lashed the canoe down. Just as I was getting into the truck I looked at the edge of the pond. There was that turtle coming out of the water. I guess he was looking for the fish.

I ended up with 31 gills for two hours of fishing. I am not sure how many dropped out of the basket while I was fighting the turtle. It still was a fun morning.

It was also interesting how the fish hit the flies differently. Very gently on the SMP and smashing the Cyperts Minnow. That is what makes it fun to go fishing and find out what will work the best.

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

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