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Light Biters

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I went out to a pond Saturday morning that I haven't been to for about one year. The last two times I have been there I have run into bee nests. Having a severe bee allergy causes me to leave in a hurry. But this time no problems and I got everything into the canoe.

I decided to try a couple of flies I had tied before but had not used much. One was a leech pattern made out of Boa yarn. I tie this on and then wrap around the hook about 4 times in a spiral up the shank. The other was a midge pattern tied with a weaving pattern that I learned from the DVD from Parnelli.

This pond has a band of weeds about a couple of feet wide around the edge of the pond. I thought there might be some fish hiding under the edge or cruising looking for a stray minnow. I cast the leech along the edge and let it drop. After about 2 seconds the line started to move sideways. When this gill felt the hook, she did not like the idea. She took off for the center of the pond and made a series of circular movements. I finally got her in and was impressed with her size. She was 8 inches long, a growth rate of about 2 to 3 inches from last year.

I cast along this weed line four more times and got carbon copy gills each time. They all headed deep and stayed broadside to the pressure of the rod and line. After that this fly did not work in this spot. I tried the midge, just to see what would happen.

I cast out and let the fly drop. I saw no line movement, but when I started to retrieve the line I felt weight on the line and tied into another gill. This gill had taken the fly deep enough that I had to use forceps to get it out. I decided to try another cast to this same general area with the midge. Again the fly dropped and I did not see any line movement, but there was a fish on the line. This time it was a bass that decided to become airborne. This fish jumped 5 times before I could get her landed. She was 17 inches long and fat.

With the commotion this fish made I decided to move down the pond a little way and see what I could scare up. At each place I stopped and cast the fish would hit the leech with some authority or move the leader to show that they had it. I never did see when the fish took the midge pattern.

In fact I spent a lot of time fishing the midge pattern just to see if I could detect the strike. I never did, but I caught a lot of fish on it. The only thing I can think of was that the fish were taking the fly in and following the line down. When I started to retrieve the line the fly was sodeep that they were hooked. I finally lost the fly to bass that took me into the weeds.

After that I decided to try a whole variety of flies. As long as I let the fly drop and did not do things very fast I would get fish to hit the fly. I went through several flies and got fish on all of them. It was a fun morning and the fish were fairly cooperative.

I ended up with 45 fish by the time I got done. I did turn several bass back into the pond. The fish have increased in size over the past year. I think this is one of the ponds that I will be able to hit once a year and keep it in shape.

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

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