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On the Drop, Fast

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I went out to a pond that I had not visited for a year on Saturday morning. This is one of the ponds that I have been working on to get into shape. Each of the past two years I have taken about 500 bluegills out of it. All of them about 5 inches long. I also put in about 60 bass than were from 4 to 6 inches long. These came from an over-stocked bass pond that I had access to.

The other thing is that the pond was fenced in so the cattle are not walking into it.

I wanted to go back to see how the fish were doing this year. I got to the pond and could see that there were fish working all over the place along the shore. It sure does take a long time to get everything into the canoe when the fish are making that much noise. I finally got all the stuff in the canoe, the paddle, anchors etc.

I then decided to take a minute and decide what flies to tie on. I decided to go with the floating/suspending nymph and another nymph that would be subsurface. I was sure that these would work. I was sure that the fish were taking things off the surface or just under the surface and that this would be a fun day.

After casting for 15 minutes and not getting a single bite, it was time to reevaluate. Fish were near where the flies were, because I could see them, but they were not interested in the flies I had on. Time to change and to make the change drastic.

I put on a beadhead bugger variation that I use. I decided that I would try something that would drop faster and stay deeper than the other flies I had been using. If this did not work then I would need to change to something that would work in the range between these.

I cast this out near the edge of the weeds. I was trying to figure out if I wanted to let it drop or start to retrieve it when the line took off toward the middle of the pond. That decided what I should do. I had a nice fat bass that was about a foot long. I let him go back and tried another cast. This time the fly had dropped about a foot when I saw the line twitch. I sat the hook and had a nice gill on the line. This fish was about 8 inches in length.

I then cast to the next little depression in the weed line and got another nice gill to hit. The fish seemed to be hitting the fly as it dropped. I decided to cast to every point and depression along the weed line to see what would happen. I was getting a gill on almost every cast. I also caught several bass as I went along here.

I did try some other flies on the other rod, but nothing was working like this fly. After I had caught about 40 fish, the fly started to fall apart. I decided to see how many more fish I could catch on it. I did have more of this pattern, but I thought it would be interesting to see how long fish would hit the fly.

All I had to do was cast near the weed line, let the fly drop and wait for a fish to hit. The fish were very cooperative and were taking the fly on the vast majority of casts. About every third fish I caught was a bass. They were all about a foot long. They had grown in the past year as had the gills. By taking some gills out and leaving the bass this pond should get into shape and stay that way for a log time.

The land owner came out to see how it was going. He had brought a rod to try to catch some fish. He had no luck with the lures he was using. I tied on a fly and let him cast with that, using a casting bubble. He started catching some fish and was having a ball. I moved him around to different places to catch fish. He told me that he was having a ball.

We each caught several more fish. It was nice to hear him say that this was the best fishing he had ever had in this pond. I told him the other ponds he owned could be like this if he instituted the same rules on the other ponds.

He needed to leave too so I left at the same time. It let us open and close the three gates to get into this pond easier. We could alternate opening and closing so it was much faster.

I got home and found that I had 55 gills when I finished filleting them. They had doubled in size from last year. I know that I turned back more than 30 bass and that I put several of the gills that were larger than this back in. I am fairly sure that I had a 100-fish day.

This is the fly, above, I used to catch all of the fish. The right one is an original unused fly. There was one I tied to show what it looked like at the start and the way it looked when I finished, but the fish were still hitting it. I think I am just adding fuel to the fire of pattern or presentation. The pattern is black marabou tail, black chenille for the body, and three rubber hackle legs at the front with a bead head.

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

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