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Beautiful Rain

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I spend the early part of Saturday morning helping on a pancake breakfast to raise money for our local Lions Club. By the time my shift ended there was a thunder storm going on. I have been told that I am not the brightest bulb in the town, but I know not to be waving a graphite stick in the air when there is thunder to be heard.

At about noon the radar showed that the thunder storm was past us and that we would just have rain. Since the fish swim in water I have always thought that rain did not bother them at all.

I put my rain jacket and pants on and told my wife that I would return. Drove out to a pull-off into a field and hiked in half a mile to get to the pond I wanted to be at. I can walk in but the owner does not want me to open the gate, and he now has a lock on the chain.

I took two rods with me just so I could switch flies faster to see what might be working. Turned out that the fish were hitting very lightly. I missed several before I finally hooked one. They would swim with the fly but not really strike at it. I finally did my famous sneeze and in doing this, jerked the pole setting the hook in a fish. I cast again and watched the line so very carefully this time to see if I would notice any twitch or change of directions. I had moved the fly about five feet when I saw the end of the fly line hesitate just a fraction. I set the hook and was into another fish.

I continued to this moving around the pond, because the fish were widely scattered. I would get a couple of strikes in one place and then need to move on. Since this pond is about 100 yards long and 50 yards wide there is plenty of room to move around.

Came to one of my favorite spots on the pond. There is a small projection of ground that goes out about four feet with the water dropping off fairly quickly on the end and one side of this land projections. Cast a fly out past this and started to retrieve it at an angle so it would pass about four feet out from the shore. I got the fly to about ten feet from the shore and had a solid hit on the fly. Spent a few minutes getting a 20 inch bass to the shore. She had a belly full of eggs so she went back into the pond. Thought there might be a few more fish around there so tried it again. I had cast about 3 feet to the side of where I had been before. I was letting the fly drop a little when the line went sideways in a hurry. Set the hook and had a good tussle. Landed a bluegill that measured 12.5 inches long. This fish was about 12 inches round also.

Admired this fish but it went back into the pond. It was a female with eggs and I want these genetics in the pond.

Decided to cast near the shore past the land and bring the fly in to see what might happen. Saw the little twitch again and set the hook. I knew right away it was a crappie. Brought it in and measured it at 13 inches. I was feeling good because I had caught three different species and all of them were good size for the pond.

It was that 'beginning of the year things' that makes you think you know what is going on and how to do it. You have used all the knowledge you have accumulated over all the years and now you can really fool the fish and catch the good ones in the pond. Have you every felt this important, knowledgeable, and to use the term my wife would like, arrogant?

The next seven fish I caught were bass of 6 inches or less and bluegill of about three inches. There went all the thoughts I had of knowing what was going on. Hooked another fish and when I got it close I saw that it was another small bluegill that was twisting and turning and going other didos. When I was getting ready to lift the fish out of the water to unhook it I had a bass hit it like a freight train. The rod tip was down and line was going out. Spent a lot of time fighting this fish but finally got it in. I measured this one at 25 inches with a massive belly. I need to get a disposable camera to take pictures of these but I never remember this until I am out at the pond. I am not sure that I would even remember to put it in, to take.

Ended the day with twenty three bluegill and 13 crappie that I brought home. Filleted them and took some around to a few friends who I know like fish. Also stopped at another house where the man had died this last winter. You would have thought I had given her the sun and moon by bringing her a few fillets. Best thing was she called my wife to tell her I was a good guy. She also said if my wife got tired of me I would have a place to go.

If you have the chance and the body of water you fish can stand it, you might think about sharing a few fish with someone who can't get out any more. I know most of the ponds I fish need to have fish taken out of them to keep them in balance. I also know that this is not true of every body of water.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (Written 04/21/2003)

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