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Left-handed Cool Friday

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I have been working some this summer to be able to cast left-handed. There are times, even in the canoe, where being able to cast with either hand would be a great advantage. Included would be some of those times when I get to be on a mountain trout stream.

I headed out to the lake over my lunch hour in early December. The wind was blowing about 10 mph and the sun was shining. The temperature was about 48 degrees. It was a nice day to be out. Much better than sitting in the office.

I decided that it would be a great day to practice casting left-handed as I did not really think that there would be any fish around the jetty. It had been colder for the previous week and the little settling pond was scummed over with ice. That is why I was on the main jetty.

I had decided to take just one rod with me. I did not think that any other crazy folks would be out. I picked the rod that had the Gilly fly (see Ricks favorite panfish flies) on it. This fly has five different colors on it and that seems to help at times.

I went to the end of the jetty and cast out to the northwest. Left-handed I can get about 30 feet now with a slight hint of control. That means the fly lands in front of me instead of behind me. I let the fly drop and then started to retrieve it. It was at this point that I realized that a fish had taken it and I had missed it. I brought the fly back in and tried again.

On the next cast I was ready and when I felt the weight I set the hook. I had a nice 8-inch crappie on the line. I had just brought the fish out of the water when I heard a car horn honking. It was one of the "old geezers" that I have given fish to before. He had a bet with his wife as to my insanity, for fishing, bringing me out to the lake that day. He won. He asked me to save the fish and he would be back in a few minutes with a bucket.

I thought this fish was a fluke, but I saved it for him. I cast out in the same area and let the fly drop. As I started to retrieve the line I again felt weight and had another crappie on the line. The next cast was about five feet shorter than the previous one and no fish seemed to be in that area.

I was tempted to change to my right hand to cast, but stayed with the left hand. I concentrated a little more and got the next cast out to the previous point. Another crappie took the fly as it dropped just under the surface. I thought that I might be onto something. The fish decided not to help me on this. I caught nothing on the next several casts. I tried to each side of where I had caught the fish. I tried letting the fly drop deeper, but nothing worked.

I decided to cast back to the same spot and see what might happen. This time I saw the flash of the fish as the crappie took the fly. As I was getting this fish out of the water, the "old geezer" came back with a bucket.

We put the fish in the bucket with some water. He told me that I needed to catch a few more and I told him to show me how. We really do have a good relationship.

I would get another fish on about every fourth cast from the point on. I ended up with 13 crappie, 2 bluegills and 1 small bass for the time at the lake. The geezer was happy as he could have fish for supper.

I talked to another fisherman about what happened and he decided to take his boat out to the lake. With his fish finder he said there was a big school of fish swimming around in that area. They shifted in and out some and I must have been hitting the edge of the school.

I am not sure why the fish were that high in the water column, but it was fun to catch them.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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