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More Dubbing Experiments

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I headed out to a pond on Saturday morning. With the rain we have had during the past few weeks I am not able to drive into many of the ponds that I fish. The "cow paths" are to slick or there are big mud puddles with gumbo underneath them. I don't want to push my luck and have to be towed out.

I headed off to a pond that is about half-a-mile from the road. I have to cross two shallow ditches and one fairly deep ditch to get to this pond. All of the ditches had water in them. I did have some luck. During one of the storms we have had a big tree fell across the deep ditch. I was able to cross the ditch on that or I would not have made it to the pond. There was just too much water in the ditch. This meant that there would be about two feet of mud in the bottom also. I was curious as to why water was still in this ditch. I hiked down a little ways and where the ditch made a curve the bank had caved in and formed a dam. This was holding the water back.

As the mystery was solved, I headed to the pond. I had played with my dubbing a little more and added some black to make it a little darker. I had a dozen flies tied up with this dubbing and different colors of pheasant and turkey tail for the tail and wingcases of the flies. A few of them had beads on them and a few had legs. (See My Dubbing Mix).

This pond is about 60 feet wide and 150 feet long. It starts out about 3 feet deep and goes to about 14 feet deep before the dam starts. The trees are all about 60 feet back from the shore.

There is very little brush around the pond. The owner likes to cut hay on this a couple of times a year. This had been done once so the grass was fairly sort. Makes it nice for fly casting.

I decided to start at the shallow end and work deeper. I cast the fly out and started to slowly retrieve it. I got it all the way in without anything happening. I tried this a few more times and not much happened. I cast again and let the fly drop before I started retrieving. I stripped the fly about 3 inches and then let it drop. This was the ticket. I had a gill hit the fly. This fish did something unusual. This fish jumped out of the water after being hooked.

I cast a few more times and nothing happened. I moved down the shore a little and cast again. The fly had just started to drop when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and had a nice crappie on the line. I had to be careful as this fish wanted to stay on the surface. I cast about 10 feet to the side of where I had cast before and let the fly drop. When I started to strip the line, I felt weight, but I was too slow on the strike. I did continue to do the strip and pause retrieve. I had three more times when I felt weight on the line but could not hook the fish.

Time to change strategy. I decided to do a strip strike after every pause to see of I could hook the fish. I thought they might be inhaling the fly on the drop but spitting it out when they felt the pressure of the line tightening. I don't know if it is right but it sure does make me sound like I know what I am talking about. On the next cast I managed to hook a fish, but lost it before I could get it landed. I think David taught me to do long distance releases too well.

On the next cast I did not let the fly drop as long and made a sharper hook set. This time I hooked a fish and got it into the shore. As I swung the fish up, out of the water, it came off the hook but landed on the shore. I was barely hooking them in the lip. I switched down to a smaller fly. I went to a size 12 pattern and started using that.

I did catch several more gills and a few more crappie. I had many more strikes than that but could not get the fish in. Most of the fish that I caught were barely hooked in the lip, even with the smaller size hook. I did not see any indication of a strike on most of these fish either.

I still had a lot of fun fishing this pond. I hope I can get may canoe out on it sometime.

I called the land owner and told him about the dam he had on the one ditch and the tree that was down. He said he would work on the ditch but probably leave the tree alone. That would let me get back to the pond again.

I hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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