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Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I went out to the lake over my lunch hour on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of last week. I knew the crappie would be nearing the end of the spawn but I still had hopes. If the crappie were gone then the gills would be around more. In any case it is more fun than setting inside and doing nothing.

I went to a jetty as nobody else was around. No other vehicles at all in the parking lot. I went out on the jetty and started casting. No luck with any of the flies I tried. I had decided to move to another spot along the road. On my last cast before moving, I get the line out and then reel it in with a little pressure from my hand on the line. This makes it a little tighter on the reel and it unwinds easier.

I had reeled in about 8 feet on line when a crappie shot out of the deeper water and hit the fly. I may not always be the brightest bulb in the house, but if it works once, I will repeat it. I could not strip the line fast enough, but if I reeled it in then a crappie would hit it most of the time. It did not seem to matter which fly I used as the crappie hit them all.

I don't know why the fly had to move that fast and on the surface, but it had to. It was great fun to be catching fish as the cars drove by and people rubber necked.

I went back Thursday and tried the same thing. No luck at all. It was time to change so I let the fly drop deeper and then started to retrieve it. A steady retrieve did not do anything. I keep on experimenting and found that a slow strip with a long pause was the ticket. I was getting a hit on almost every cast. I did not always hook the fish, but I was at least getting their interest.

One of the old geezers drove by and saw that I caught a fish. He was down with his bucket in a minute or so and wanted to know if he could have them. I ended up giving him 21 crappie. The old geezer told me that most folks had given up on catching crappie in the lake. He was going to take these around to a few of them and show them that the crappie could still be caught.

Friday was one of those days when you knew the storms were coming. We were under a sever thunderstorm watch and the wind was gusting up to 40 mph. Not the best of conditions, but it was time to go out to the lake.

The only other person out at the lake when I got there was another one of the old geezers. He had been trying for about an hour and was getting ready to headhome. He wanted to know if he could have the fish I caught. I told him that he could have any if I got them.

I cast a fly out over about 8 feet of water and was letting it drop. It had dropped about a foot when a crappie hit it like a freight train. This fish was in a hurry to take the fly to the other end of the lake. No need to set the hook, just land the fish. I cast out into the same area and had a repeat of the same thing. The fly would droop about a foot and then a fish would try to run away with it. I tired several flies and it worked the same way on all of them. They had to drop slowly for about a foot and then we were in business.

I caught enough fish to make the old geezer happy.

I had not been paying attention to the clouds, but I had been listening for thunder. I glanced to the southwest and decided that it was time to leave. I could see the rain coming. We both had just got in our vehicles when the cloudburst hit. I could not drive over about 10 mph and see where I was going. But I did get back to the office to go to work.

It was interesting to me to note that it was three different retrieves, not flies that worked on the three days. On each day I could use any fly, but it had to be retrieved the same way.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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