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Sunday Afternoon Action

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
My wife had the 24-hour flu Saturday so I stayed home to be with her and to give moral support.

OK, I stayed to get a few things done also, but I did do a few things for her. She did feel better Sunday morning. I may have a second career being an in-home nurse.

We got home after church Sunday and had eaten lunch, when my wife told me that she thought I needed to go to a pond. She was going to take a nap and read a book, but did not plan on doing anything. She also said that she did not want to put up with me if I did not get out to the water while ice was not on it. I would be so grumpy that I might not survive until our anniversary.

I headed off to a pond that I had not been to for a few years. The land had just changed hands again and the new owner wanted to know if there were any fish in the pond. I told him there had been, but he wanted to know if it was worth fishing. He wanted me to check it out.

There has been some cattle theft around here, one at a time, so he had me come by and get a key. He wanted the gate locked behind me also when I went in. He said if someone wanted the cow it would not stop them, but a locked gate makes it harder.

I got to the pond and started to unload the canoe. That is when I noticed the swarms of gnats that were all around me. I walked to the edge of the pond and watched the water. There were little rings all over the place. A little farther out I could see the flash of fish as they were taking something. I hurried back and got everything into the canoe.

I did change the flies I had on, to midge patterns. There was a midge hatch on and it looked like the fish were keying in on that. I have not hit many ponds in the middle of the afternoon, but I may have to do it more.

I cast from the shore first. Why scare fish by putting in the canoe, before I try to catch them?

I cast out about 20 feet and let the fly settle a little. It was just barely under the surface when the line went sideways. I did not have to set the hook. The fish was on. It was a nice size gill. Great fun to catch since I had 6X tippet on. I cast out again and had the same thing happen. The fly would get just under the surface and a fish would hit it. I caught 8 gills and three bass at this spot before I launched the canoe. I got out in the canoe and slowly moved down the shore line. There was a slight breeze, but no ripple on the water. Every few feet I would connect with a fish. It was almost a fish a cast. I did lose several fish, but I think they were crappies. A size 20 hook in the side of a crappie's mouth is not a good formula for success.

After I had caught several fish, I decided to try some other midges, just to see if they would work. I had started out with a midge made from black wooly nylon. I wrapped this on a size 20 hook and then used a little black dubbing to make a head. No weight or flash material with this. I changed to a midge I tied with a red dyed pheasant tail feather. I wrapped one fiber around the hook and then used a little dubbing for the head. No weight or wire on this one either.

This fly worked just as well. In fact any dark midge pattern I tried worked. Those that were light just did not do as well.

One thing I did do was to retie after about every five fish. I had to use forceps most of the time to get the fly out. This is easier for me to do than to try to get it out with my fingers. I thought that between the fish and the forceps that this would be a good idea. It seemed to work as I did not lose any flies to broken tippet. I did lose a couple to big bass going into the weeds and breaking me off.

After a time I started to get thirsty and decided that I should head in. In my infinite wisdom I had not taken any water with me. I did not realize how many fish I had put in the basket, but the darn thing was nearly full. When I got it into the canoe, I decided that it definitely was time to go home. I had fish to fillet.

As I loaded the canoe, I still had swarms and swarms of gnats around me. I look forward to coming to this pond again during an afternoon time and seeing if there is another midge hatch going on. I still had about half the pond that I had not fished.

I got through the gate and took the key back to the land owner. I showed him the fish that I had and asked him if he would like some. I had taken my fillet knife and a board with me so I filleted a few for him. I thanked him for letting me fish in this pond. He said that if he got fish, there were several more ponds that he could get me into. I took that offer up immediately.

When I got home and got the fish filleted, the guts buried and things put away, I found out that I had caught over a 100 fish. I had kept 83 gills and one crappie. I had tossed back about a dozen large gills and had returned about 2 dozen bass. But it was a fun, fun day.

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

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