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Geezer Luck

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I went out to the lake again over my lunch hour. Fishing has been very spotty for the past couple of weeks. Temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter. The lake level has dropped about 18" over the past two weeks. The level is dropping because this is a flood containment reservoir and they are planning on being ready for the winter snow melt and spring rains.

The wind was out of the south and I decided that it would be more fun to fish the little settling pond on the east side of the road. The water in this pond has been at a steady level and the hill to the south of it blocked most of the wind.

I had just got ready to cast when one of the old geezers showed up. He told me to get on the stick as fish sounded good for supper. I told him that he could catch them himself it he felt that way. I had not seen him for a while and wondered what had been going on. He told me they had been gone to see all of their kids on a trip, no illness or bad stuff.

The water has some tint to it. We have had some rain, not heavy, but just enough to color the water. I figured it was time to try some flies with color to see if they might show up better in the water. I put on a Gilly (see Ricks Favorite bluegill flies). This fly has the blue, green, red and yellow in its color scheme. I put a black marabou leech on the other rod, just in case dark color would work better.

I cast out and let the fly drop for a long time. I tied this fly with the smallest bead head I have. I wanted it to drop deeper in the water, but I also wanted to be able to move it very slowly. I started to bring the fly in with slow 1 to 2 inch strips with a pause after it. I wanted the fly to be in front of the fish for a long time and not make them chase it.

I felt a couple of little bumps, but thought I was hitting the weeds. It really felt like that. As I raised the rod and pulled the line to make another cast I found that I had a fish on. I was surprised as I never felt it hit, or so I thought. The old geezer told me to swing it around to him when I got it in. Turned out to be an 8-inch crappie.

You know me, if it works once then try it again. I cast out in the same area and let the fly drop again. I had retrieved the fly a few feet when the line stated to go under water. I felt the weight and though I was fast into a weed. I yanked on the line like a hook set to try to get it off the weed. The weed did not like that at all and headed for the middle of the pond. By this time I have figured out that it was not a weed but a fish that did this.

I put the rod up high to try to keep the fish up in the water and away from the debris on the bottom. The fish finally turned a little and started swimming back and forth in the pond. I would gain a little and lose a little line for a fair amount of time. I had 4 or 5 X tippet and did not want to horse the fish. I finally got the fish to head toward me some. When the fish got up fairly close there was a big bulge in the water. I did not think the fish was that big, or it would have gone across the pond.

With a little more line in I could see all of the dead vegetation on the leader. I guess as the fish moved around the line and leader picked this stuff up and with my having the rod high in the air it all slide down to near the fish. Now this is a problem as I don't want to keep the rod up in the air, as I think the leader will break. I move back from the water's edge and drop the rod tip down so it is just above the water and perpendicular to the line. I hope to bring the fish in and slip it up on the shore where I can get a hold of it. This does work and I get my hand on the tail of a cat fish. I am not sure how big it is because of all the garbage on the line. When I get the vegetation off the line there is a 14" channel cat under all that stuff.

The old geezer was excited to get that fish. It would be his first channel cat of the year. It was fun to catch.

I cast out again to the same general area and start to retrieve the fly. By now I am a little paranoid and when I feel the first pump I set the hook. This turns out to be a nice size bluegill.

I get another eight panfish on the next dozen casts doing this and the old geezer is happy. I told him he was my good luck charm as that was the most fish I had caught there in about three weeks.

I think that the fish were swimming along the breakline that is on this pond. With the fly moving very slowly they would take it in and then swim with the fly. None of them were solid hits, just that little tick, like hitting a weed.

The fun had to end as I needed to head back to work. I never did try the leech to see if it would work.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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