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One Week

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

We had some unusually warm weather for a few weeks. Enough that I had volunteer spinach coming up in my garden. That is a good thing for some great tasting salads. Also it had not rained for a few days and there had not been much wind.

That meant that I was at the lake on my Tuesday lunch hour. I was at the settling pond on the east side of the road. I know that at the north end of this there is a large flat that slowly goes from about 3 feet deep out to five feet deep. I had caught a few fish earlier this year on this flat. I thought that there might be more fish up on this flat looking for some food.

I made the first cast to the north to try along the shoreline. I wanted to know if there were any fish tucked in against the shore line. The fly had moved about a foot when I saw the swirl. No need to set the hook at the fish did it as she went away. This was a nice fat bluegill. She went back to swim in the lake.

I cast the other way along the shore and had the same thing happen again. This was another nice bluegill that cut some fancy didos. I miss that when the ice is on. This fish went back in to fight again another day.

My next cast was an attempt to go straight out from shore. Great intentions and really poor execution. It went about 45 degrees to my right. But, the fly was in the water and that was the place to fish it. It has taken me a while to get to the point of fishing the fly where it lands. I used to pick it up and try to place it where I wanted it to go in the first place. Many times I spent more time doing that, trying to place the fly, rather than fishing the fly. Now I tend to fish the fly where it lands.

I had heard a car on the road, but had not paid attention to it. I suddenly heard this voice from above, "Are you going to feed me fish today?" I told that mean old geezer that if he wanted fish, he needed to learn to catch them. After a few more pleasantries, I told him, that if I caught any more he could have them.

I started retrieving the fly, with a short slow strip followed by a pause. I had moved the fly about five times when it just did not feel the same. I did a slip strike and had a fish on. It was a fairly nice crappie. This fish was about 9 inches long, big for this pond. I took it up to the old geezer so he could have it.

I went back to the edge of the pond and cast again. This time the fly landed where I wanted it to.

I was letting the fly drop, when I saw the leader twitch. This was another crappie on the line. Almost a carbon copy of the first one. I took this one up to the old geezer too.

I cast out into the same general area, hoping there was a school of fish there. If so then I was in for some fun. The fly had just hit the water, when there was a swirl on it. When I sat the hook, this bass went ballistic. She came out of the water four times on me. I still got her in to be able to measure her. She was 22 inches long and fat as a pig. I just might tangle with her again some time.

I knew that I would need to move before I would have a chance to catch any more fish. They move or turn off when there is that much commotion. I moved about 20 feet and cast out again.

Again as the fly dropped, the leader twitched and another crappie had taken the fly. I did this four more times before they turned off.

The old geezer had six crappie to eat and I needed to get back to try to make a living.

Thursday I could not get another fish to show any interest in any of the flies I tried. I am not sure what the difference in day days was, but the fish certainly thought there was a difference. That is probably the reason it is called fishing and not catching.

Friday I had to be at CE courses, not as much fun as fishing.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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