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Strange Reminder

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Publisher's Note:
Rick's fishing season is over until the ice melts, but we have a nice stash of articles he has written in the past as ideas or events occured to him. We hope this will explain apparent 'out of season' articles.

I will relate something that happened to me last Sunday afternoon as I was out for a little while. I had been asked by a good friend to catch a few fish so she could feed some people coming through a fish dinner. Not that I need many excuses to go fishing, but this was a good one. My wife even said that I needed to do this. I think mainly because she was afraid I would be hard to live with if I did not do it.

I decided to try a pond that I can fish about 50 feet of shore on. The rest is on the property of another person that will not people fish from his land. I did call him to tell him I would be at the pond, but that I would not go on his land. It is easier to do this than to have him come and yell at me for not telling him. There is only one place to park and he can see if someone is there and will come out to the pond to check. If I tell him, he trusts me not to go onto his land.

I grabbed the 3 wt and 5 wt I have built and headed out. This is a pond that I have not figured out how to get the canoe into. I have to cross a gully that is about 15 feet deep and then go down a fairly steep hill to the pond. If I could get the other land, it would be a snap.

I like to fish this pond because the water drops off fairly quickly along the bank I fish. There is a good stand of lily pads and bull rushes on the opposite shore and covering the shallow end. Part of the space I can fish is on the dam so I can get fairly decent casts out and cover about 50% of the pond. This is not a large pond so I do not take many fish out of it.

I tied on a floating/suspending nymph and a peacock sword tail nymph (See Ricks Favorite bluegill flies). I try the floating/suspending nymph first and cast it along the dam. I slowly bring it along and get a nice gill to hit the fly. This fish cuts a series of circles as it comes in. I made a short cast so I can lengthen them each time. If I catch a fish then I don't scare others as I bring it in. I caught two more gills along the dam and decided to try the other fly to see what might happen.

I cast this fly out and it felt a little funny doing it. I figured it was just the caster. I let the fly drop and had moved it a few feet when I felt a solid thump. I sat the hook and had a bass go ballistic on me. As the fish jumped, I thought the fly looked funny, but I was working on catching the fish. I saw the fish coming up to jump again and I dropped the rod tip a little. Now the problem comes into play.

The tip end had come off the rod, or at least most of it. When I dropped the rod tip, the line whipped around and tied a knot on the end of the rod. When the fish hit the water and dove it was too much for the leader and the line snapped. I undid the knot and wound the line in. I had about 1/8 inch of the bottom of the tip top still on the rod. The rest had come off and was now gone.

I did catch some more gills with the other rod and was able to get a mess of fish for dinner for my friend. I even took a few fish to the other land owner to build good will. I had them filleted and everything.

The main thing is that I had not looked at the rod at all before going out or even after coming in. I just assumed that it would work and that everything would be OK. I am not sure that I would have seen the problem with the tip top, but I don't know because I did not look. I had another tip top so the rod has been repaired. I can tell you that I have looked at all my other rods to check the line wraps and the tip tops.

I know that several folks have written in numerous books and magazines to check your equipment. I wonder how many of the rest of you are like me and we just go fishing without doing this. I am going to try to make it a habit to check everything before I go and when I come back. At the rate I function that means it will happen one of those times. I am just glad that the rod did not break when this happened. I am also glad that I had another rod tip to fix it.

I hope you can get out on the water, with well checked equipment. ~ Rick

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