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Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I did not get out until Sunday afternoon to go fishing. I had the opportunity Saturday morning to make some apple cider and I took that faster than your eye can blink. Ended up making 24 gallons of the good stuff and then there were some honey dos.

Went out to a pond and got everything in the canoe. Another vehicle pulled in with a flat bottom boat, but I know them and there was enough room on the pond for both of us. Had a 12 to 15 mph breeze out of the east. We have had a frost that killed some of the algae and the water was fairly clear.

I decided to go with a PTN variation and with a leech pattern on the two rods. I was casting these toward the shore and retrieving them back, varying the depth. I let them fall and the speed of the retrieve. I had a few fish hit the fly, but I did not get any hook ups. I changed the size of the flies and went smaller on the PTN and larger on the leech. I had the same results, hit but no hook ups. Looking at the marabou on the leech, I could see that they were short striking.

I tried a couple of other flies and the same sort of thing happened. This is starting to get frustrating. I thought I knew how to catch fish. But that is why it is called fishing and not catching.

The folks in the other boat were not catching anything until the kid in the group, put on a red twister tail. Luckily his father is the type of person that will let the kids try what they want when they go out fishing. On his second cast he caught a gill. Now I might not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I sure looked for red flies in my box.

I found a red marabou leech that I had tied. I put this on and tossed the fly out. I was still letting the fly drop when the line tightened and I had a nice gill on it. Three more casts to the area produced nothing. I cast about 15 feet to the side and was starting to retrieve the fly when another gill hit it. I lost this one about 5 feet from the canoe. It had barely been lip hooked.

I continued to fish with this fly and had several hit and hook quite a few fish. I lost several of them as I got them near the canoe. They were all lip hooked and managed to flip off. I did get 17 gills and about 20 bass into the boat. I let all the bass go. I finally had the fly fall apart and quit working. All the marabou was gone from the tail and the fish seemed to like that motion.

I tried an olive leech, a brown leech and a black leech and none of themworked like the red leech did. I even put on a red and yellow Skip Morris Panfish fly. This produced a few hits and a couple of fish, but then I was out of time.

I have tied up some more red leeches this morning but I am using a longer hook and having the tail fibers of the marabou flare around the bend. Hopefully this will help with the short strikes.

The fly is as long as the ones I made before. If this does not work then it will be tying some sort of stinger hook that can be in the tail material.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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