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Fish 2, Rick 1

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
It was a hard week to fish last week. I went out to the lake three times over my lunch hour. Fished the same area where I had caught fish before and had very little success.

The condition were nearly the same that they had been before.

I went out Tuesday and decided to try the settling pond, first. Got everything rigged up and cast out. I let the fly settle and brought it in slowly. Nothing happened so I decided to cast about 10 feet from where it settled and do it again. After another dozen or so casts that cover the area, with different depth and speeds of retrieves, I decided that maybe a fly change was in order.

I changed from the leech pattern to a Gilly (see Rick's Favorite Bluegill Flies* in the panfish archives) with a white llama hair fly, that is much like a hares ear, for a trailer. Nothing happened with these flies. I fished them shallow, deep, slow and fast and all the combinations.

Time to change again but this time I put a popper/midge dropper on one rod and cast it out and just let it set. For the other rod I put on a couple of flies that I had received to try that had bright bodies with Krystal flash for a trude style wing. Nothing happened with these. In fact the whole time I had not even seen a fish following these flies.

By now I had run out of time and had to go back to work. It has been a rare circumstance to not catch a few fish when I go out, but humble pie is not too bad with a big dose of salt on it.

I headed back out Thursday to the lake again. I cast out the popper/midge and let it set. I put on a red peacock sword tail nymph (Rick's Favorite Bluegill Flies*) and cast this out. I let this settle for a long time as it is unweighted. I was bringing it in very slowly when I saw the line twitch a little. I sat the hook on a nice gill. I got this fish in and admired his bright colors. He then got to go back into the pond.

I cast this fly out again and let it drop again. This time I felt resistance on the first strip and set the hook. This was a bass that came straight up and came out of the water. This fish spent more time above the water than she did under the water. I managed not to lose her and got her to shore. She was shaped like a football, and about 16" long.

I returned her to the pond and decided with all the commotion she had made it was probably time to move.

I decided to bring the popping bug in, but to work it in, just to see if anything would happen. I would move it about an inch, pause for a couple of seconds and then move it again. I had it about 15 feet from shore when a gill attacked the midge. He hit this going away and skittered the popping bug across the surface. This caused a bass to decide that the bug was edible and came up and smashed it.

That poor little gill just had to follow the bass in whichever direction the bass decided to go. The bass did try to jump but the drag of the gill, being about 16 inches behind, was too much to allow that to happen. I did get them in. Landing both of them at the same time was some fun. The bass was just short of 20" long. The gill was about 6" long. Both were returned, but it was great fun.

I did try this combo again a few more times in this area, but no more luck. I tried the flat on the main lake for a few minutes but no luck there either.

I went back out on Friday. I had the red peacock sword tail nymph and the popper/midge combo ready to go. I cast them out in the same area that I had the day before, and the result was the same as Tuesday. I tried different retrieves, depths, speeds and different flies. No matter what I tried, I could not get a fish to cooperate.

I changed flies and that did not help. I was back to the thing of not even seeing any fish even following the flies. I think that I tried 16 different flies and nothing worked. In fact the only fish I saw was a carp that swam by.

This fish was near the surface and I decided to see how close it would come. The fish ended up about 3 feet from me. I dropped the rod tip and touched the fish on its back. The fish just swam on. I thought the carp would spook with my movement or at the touch of the rod. Neither happened.

It was time to leave. If I can't scare a carp when I touch it, then it is time to let the rest of the fish in the pond continue to laugh at me. But I was going to remove their source of pleasure.

So it turned out the fish won two days, and I won one day. It is now the challenge to figure out what to use to get the fish to bite. The days that I don't catch any fish probably drive me more to learn than the days that I do catch fish.

I hope that you have more success than I did two days this week. Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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