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Sunday Wind Tunnel

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I could not get out until Sunday afternoon to go fishing. It was homecoming weekend at the University and a very good friend had died on Friday after a long illness. We went out to help his wife with some things that needed to be done on the house and then went to the game to see some friends. By the time all of that was over it was to late in the day and a couple of other things came up.

I got everything done Sunday morning and got to the pond about 2:00 PM in the afternoon. The wind was blowing about 20 mph and the water was dingy. There is a fence across part of the pond and cows had been in the pond on the other side of the fence. The riled up water was driven across the pond by the wind. This is the only water for the 150 head of cattle in the other field.

This is not the best of conditions, but it is also somewhat of a challenge. I got everything into the canoe and got out onto the pond. I had a nymph pattern on the one rod and decided to see how far down in the water it was visible to me. I could see it down about 18 inches. The pond runs east and west. The wind was coming out of the west, across the shallow end of the pond, keeping the water stirred up.

I decided to go down by the dam and then head west on the pond to see where I might find fish.

I dropped the front anchor, courtesy of Joe Hyde, and then the back anchor and I was set. I cast the fly out a little ways, let it drop and then started to slowly retrieve it. The fly had moved about two feet when I saw a 10" bass come out of the water with the fly in its mouth. The fish was hooked and all I had to do was land it.

Being a little curious, I cast the fly about 15 feet and started retrieving it after it had just settled in the water column. This time I saw the bass come up from underneath the fly, in a rush, and take it so fast that he came out of the water. This was as much fun as seeing fish jump out of the water and take the fly on the way down. I caught a few more bass around that area, before I got the first gill. This fish was barely hooked.

I had been using a size 8 fly and decided to put on a size 12 PTN that I had tied. I used some pheasant tail that I had dyed red and red peacock herl to tied this fly. I used regular pheasant tail for the tail and body and then used the red for the wingcase and for the thorax. I also had a small metal bead on the front.

When I cast with the fly I had a lot of hits but I was not catching anything. Time to see what was happening. I made a short cast and pulled the fly in. I saw a gill come up and hit the front of the fly, but was gone before I could hook it. I cast again and started bringing in the fly faster. This time I got the gill when it came up to hit the fly, but it was barely hooked.

I had promised a few folks that I would try to get them fish to feed visitors that they had in for homecoming. I was not doing very well. I decided to move up the pond a little on the south side as the drop off is a little steeper on that side.

I started fishing in about 6 ft of water. When I retrieved the fly that was less than a foot deep in the water column and fairly fast I would have a gill take it. With the bigger fly I would have more bass than gills take it. Both of the flies had to be moving fairly fast. I did try fishing deeper, but that did not work.

This is what I think was happening. The muddy water was only about two feet deep on the pond. The water under this was clear. As the fly came by the fish could see it against the bright sky. With the fly being so high in the water column, it need to move about as fast as the waves were going so that it would look more natural.

After I had caught a fair number of fish, I began to play. I tied on a couple of soft hackles and caught fish on those. I also tried a few other flies and caught some fish on each of them, as long as the fly was moving fairly fast. Moving the fly slower or letting it drop deeper just did not produce many fish.

This turned out to be a fun day. Had over 50 gills to fillet and tossed at least that many bass back in. I may get some feathers from a few people because I gave them fish.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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