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Fun Saturday

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out for another of my Saturday morning fishing forays, I crossed the field to get to one of my favorite ponds and found about 12 campers and several tents all around the pond. I decided that the best idea was to go to another pond.

I drove about three miles to another pond and as I went by the gate I saw the land owner coming out of the field. I stopped to make sure it was still okey if I fished the pond. He told me he would do me one better than that for a price. I asked what the price was? His reply was that if I would bring him some filets each time I went to the pond he would give me a key to the gate and I could drive to the pond.

This was great as the pond is about a half a mile from the road and has two ditches to cross. Both ditches are fairly deep and narrow and it is next to impossible to get my canoe across them. By being able to go through the gate and drive across the pasture, I can miss the ditches. The gate is about one mile from the pond. I told him he had a deal.

He gave me a key and asked to make sure it was locked when I left. I told him that I would.

As I drove down to the pond I could see fish swirling on the top. When I got closer I saw they were out of my casting range. I will not tell you how pathetic my range is. You'll just have to come see some time. I did get the canoe unloaded fairly fast and all the stuff in it.

I had three rods with me with different flies on each, this way I can compare the effectiveness of different flies. If I catch fish with one and not the other I then note which worked best for this situation. This has helped me to subdivide my flies into those for clear, stained and dirty water, it also lets me change flies faster than tying a new one on.

Put the canoe in and got out from the shore a little ways. The wind was not blowing at all, unusual for Iowa. Cast a fly out and was going to let it settle. A ten inch crappie had other ideas and took off with the line. I brought this one in and cast again. This one was a nine inch crappie. This happened several times with the fly just under the water. All the crappie were about the same size.

I decided to try something a little different on my next cast. As soon as the fly hit the water I started bring it back fairly fast. It was right in the surface film and making a wake. A crappie decided that this was to much to take and smacked it hard. I did this several times and all the crappie hooked themselves solidly when they hit. This was as much fun as a bass hitting a top water fly.

I had fished for about 30 minutes when the sun started coming over the hill. The fish quit hitting on the surface. I tried several times but no luck. I switched to another fly with a small bead head on it. Cast out and when the fly was about three feet down in the water column several fish headed toward it. When it disappeared I set the hook and pulled it out of the crappies mouth.

This was no problem as I let it drop again and the scenario repeated itself. This time I let the line tighten before I set the hook.

I did this with several flies. It did not matter what the fly was, just as long as it dropped down about three feet. Then curiosity struck again. I tied a second fly on as a dropper. This is legal in Iowa but may not be in all states. I cast it out and was catching two fish at a time. Having two fish go in different directions is a blast.

This pond is about three acres and I had not moved the canoe after I got into the pond. Each fish caused the canoe to move a little, but I was within thirty feet of where I started. I began to notice that it was harder to get fish into the basket. This may be due to the fact that it was getting full.

I decided to try out some other spots on the pond to see what they might produce. Moved over to an area that is near a drop off and has lily pads on the flat. Cast a fly up near the pads and started to bring it back. I had a solid hit from what turned out to be a sixteen inch bass. I caught several bass along the shore line. All were about this size and several went airborne.

It was great fun but I decided to move on around the pond. I had a fly over the side of the canoe and a crappie came up and took it as it just dangled a little in the surface. I cast the fly out and let it drop a little to get another crappie. This one hit and never stopped coming up. It cleared the water on jumps three times. I caught another dozen or so crappie in this area and they all jumped, more than one time.

I am not sure what this behavior is about. I had to stop as my basket was full. Paddles over to the shore. When I got close I could see a dark mass moving just under the surface. Turned out to be a huge school of crappie that were slowly moving along in about five feet of water. The school was about 25 feet wide and sixty feet long. A huge number of fish.

Went home and filleted the fish. Took some to the pond owner first and let him take what he wanted. He took enough for a couple of meals. I then took fish to a lot of other folks. Final count was 96 crappies. I am sure that I did not put a dent in the total population of the pond.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (written 05/28/03)

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