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Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out to the lake over my lunch hour for my normal recreation time of the day. When I got out to the lake there were folks on both jetties, gets crowded when the crappie come in. I decided to fish along the rip-rap near the road. It had rained earlier so everything was slick and wet.

I had just got down to the water and got the rods set up to fish with when I heard a voice behind me asking if I had caught anything? It was one of the "old" gentlemen that I have seen around the lake a lot. I know that he has a hard time fishing now, arthritis is the cause. He asked if he could have anything that I caught. I said yes and he came down with his bucket to put fish in. I went up to meet him to make sure he did not fall down.

I had a white Cyperts Minnow on one rod and a Streamer Nymph on the other. I cast the Cyperts Minnow out, and let it drop for a few seconds, before I started retrieving it. The fly had come about three feet when I felt the weight on the line. I sat the hook and brought in a nice crappie of about 10 inches. Figuring if it worked once it was worth a second try I cast to near the same place. I got another solid hit.

By now a few other folks are watching what is happening, because they have not been catching many fish. I kept casting into this same general area. I was getting a fish on almost every cast. I would swing them out of the water and over to the old geezer. He would take them off the hook and I would cast again.

When the bite slowed for the Cyperts Minnow at this spot I turned and cast the other way. I again caught a fish on almost every cast. All of them were carbon copy crappie for size. About half were bright silver and the other half were darkly, almost black, shaded. When the bite started to slow, I changed rods and went with the other fly.

I got a hit on almost every cast, but missed many of the fish to start with. The tail on this fly was longer than the one on the Cyperts Minnow and it took me a little while to figure out that the fish were short striking the fly. When I waited until I felt the third hit on the fly I would hook the fish.

About this time I decided that I needed to look at my watch. It was a good thing that I did as I needed to be back at the office to see a patient. If I missed seeing a patient, because of fishing, I would be in big trouble on the home front. I carried the bucket up to the old geezers car and put it in the trunk for him.

I went back to the task of earning a living. The old geezer called me later to complain about having to clean 43 crappie at one time. I told him that if he was going to be that ungrateful that I would not supply him with any more fish. He laughed and told me that the next time he was going to count so he would not have so many. He also said that he only saw 8 other fish caught while we were out at the lake.

I think part of it may be because the flies were moving so slowly. Giving them about 7 or 8 seconds to drop would only get them about 4 feet down. I think that the slow drop and movement was the trigger for the fish to bite.

Just for information, this lake has way too many crappie in it. I talked to a fisheries biologist who said his opinion was that at least 40% of the crappie should come out of the lake. His guess from lake studies was that this would be in the hundreds of thousands of fish.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (written 05/19/04)

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