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One Hour, One Fly

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was that Saturday after Thanksgiving. The kids had been home for the holiday, but had left to get back to their places ahead of the weather that we might have. Also it gets them off the road when the heavier traffic is going on.

It was late afternoon and the phone rang. My wife answered and handed it to me. There was a guy on the phone wanting to know if I would like to try a new pond. What a dumb question! I replied yes and he told me that he would be by in about 10 minutes to pick me up. He wanted to make it kind of a contest when we got to the pond so he told me to choose one fly and he would have one lure to use and see what we might catch. He had seen a one fly contest on TV and wanted to try that sort of thing.

I told him that I would be ready and waiting for him. I went to the garage, where there are a few fly rods and grabbed one of them. This is a 6 wt, but I thought it might work a little better into the wind. Also it already had the fly I thought I would use tied on it. I was using a leader that is about 9 feet long. This is the yellow leech type fly I made out of SAAP Body Fur. I like this fly because it can be seen for a country mile. This helps as the water is cooling off.

He picked me up and we headed off to a pond. This turned out to be some property that I have not been able to get onto to fish. I am not sure how Bill got permission, but I did not push the point. We hit the pond about 4:15 PM. That meant that we would be finishing the hour as the sun went down.

This pond is about 1.5 football fields in width and length. It runs east west with the dam at the east end. There are no trees within a hundred feet of the pond. The low front that was coming in was to the southwest of us. That meant the wind was coming from the northeast. He chose to go to the north side of the pond. I wanted to stay on the south and cast into the wind. I did ask if he knew anything about the topography of the pond. He told me this was the first time that he had been to the pond also.

I cast out and let the fly drop for a long time. I then started a very slow retrieve, a 1 to 2 inch slow strip with a few second pause afterwards. This retrieve has been working well for me lately in the cooler water. I had moved the fly about 10 feet when I felt some resistance and set the hook. I had a fish on, but it did not fight very much. When I got it in it was a bass that was around a foot long. I made sure that Bill saw that I had caught the fish.

I cast out again and let the fly drop, as before. I then started the same retrieve. After the fly had moved about 10 feet again, I felt the resistance. It was a carbon copy bass. Not much fight again, but I made sure Bill saw it.

I was getting about 30 to 35 feet of line out casting into the wind. I decided to cast at an angle more and try to keep the fly in the area where the fish seemed to be. Both fish had hit about 20 to 25 feet offshore. With the angle I might have more time in the area with fish. It was a little harder to get the line out where I wanted it. I will have to practice more in my casting cross wind and obliquely to it. Being in the canoe where you can change the position of the canoe has spoiled me.

This cast did not produce any fish. I had cast toward the dam end so I cast the opposite direction. I had just started to retrieve the line when I felt the resistance again. This was another bass, but only 6 inches long. But I made sure that Bill saw that I had another one. I was up on him 3 to 0.

I invited him to come and try this side of the pond. I made a few more casts and did manage to get another small bass and one little gill. Bill managed to get one bass on this side of the pond. Then our time was up. I had him by a 5 to 1 margin. I did tell him to cast out again and then retrieve his lure at the speed I told him. By doing it very slowly he did get another bass to hit.

With all the conditions, I did not think that this was too bad of a day. We caught a few fish on a pond that we knew nothing about. Hopefully I will be able to get back to it with the canoe sometime next summer.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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