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Saturday Rollin'

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I headed out early Saturday morning to see if I could beat the heat some. It was supposed to be hot again, but I really wanted to be able to spend some time on the water. I was going to a pond that I get to about once every two years. It just depends on how the cattle are rotated and when I can get a fairly straight shot into the pond. But this time it was going to be straight across the two fields with just three gates.

I got in and had everything loaded and was ready to go at 6:00 am. I had watched the pond for a few minutes and did not see any surface activity. I decided to see if a leech would work on this pond as it had earlier in the week on another pond. I tied on a peacock sword tail nymph on the other line and put the canoe into the water.

I know that most of the water in this pond is from about 6 to 8 feet deep. The last 40 feet or so near the dam is about 15 feet deep and it drops to that depth quickly when it changes. The pond is about 200 feet long and 70 feet wide. The edge is about three feet deep and it slopes out to the 6 to 8 foot depth in about 10 feet. This pond has bluegill, crappie, bass and a few catfish in it.

I drifted out a little way, with no breeze and cast the leech out. I let it settle for a few seconds and then slowly started retrieving it. I was moving it just an inch or two and then letting it set. My thought was if the fish were deeper in the water column this would let them come up to get to the fly. I had moved the fly about 3 feet when I felt a tug on the line. I had the fish on for a few seconds and then it was off. I started retrieving the fly again and had moved it a few times when the same thing happened. A hard hit, a few seconds fight and then nothing.

My memory is starting to work now and I think I might know what is happening. I bring the fly in and make a short cast of about 15 feet. I let the fly settle a few inches under the water and then slowly start retrieving it. The fly has moved about two feet when a crappie comes up and rolls on the fly and takes it down. After a few seconds it is off. Now I know that the fish were rolling on the fly. I was hooking them in the side of the mouth and the hook was tearing through that thin membrane.

I decide to try another fly to see if that will work any better and cast out the peacock sword tail nymph. Again the fish come up and roll on the fly and take it down. They are on for a few seconds and then the hook tears out. After losing about 10 crappie I catch a gill on this fly. I decide to try some other fly that gills may go for better.

I put on a green suspending nymph (Ricks Favorite Bluegill Flies) and cast it out. This one sets about a foot under water. That is fine it is acting like a suspending bait. I make a cast and let it set. I move it about an inch and let it set again. I see several fish slowly finning to come up and look at this fly. Just as I move it again, a gill attacks the fly and is hooked. I get him in the canoe after he decides to try to act like apiece of plywood and stay flat against the water.

Out of curiosity I tied on a red peacock sword tail nymph and cast it out the right side of the canoe, I cast the green one out the left side and just let them set. In a few minutes I get a hit on one or the other. Many times the fish are off in a few seconds, which means it was a crappie. Other wise I am getting a nice gill.

I will always try to do something to catch crappie if there are any around, so I changed one rod to a streamer nymph to see if that will hook crappie so I can catch them. I hooked them, but did not land any.

I went through another 6 flies trying to find something that the fish would take that would allow me to hook and keep them. Nothing really worked for me.

I was getting ready to leave. I picked up the rod with the nymph pattern on it. I moved it just as a crappie hit the fly. I think in the moving of the fly I moved it just far enough that the hook caught on the edge of the mouth and I got this fish into the canoe. I cast out and tried this again. I did not always move the fly at the right time, but I did manage to catch another crappie after several failed attempts.

I think the fish out did me about twenty to one for the morning. I am still working on a way to tie the flies so they will set horizontally in the water. This way when the fish roll I am setting the hook in the floor or roof of the mouth. Let me know if you have a suggestion.

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

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