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Early Season Stupidity

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I decided that if I was going to get out this weekend it would have to be early on Saturday morning. We have a ton of family coming in for my father-in-law's memorial service on Sunday.

So it was off to a pond early on Saturday so I could get back and get ready to see and help with all of the folks coming in.

I got to go to a pond that I like but do not get on many times. The owner does not like me going on while cattle are on the fields and it takes crossing two fields to get to the pond. With the rotation of cattle it takes a while to have both fields free of cattle. I was at the pond at 5:45 am. It is just starting to get light then and by the time I get everything out of the pickup and into the canoe it was light enough to see.

I had a black boa yarn leech on one rod, a 3 wt, and when I was back from the shore I launched this fly out into the pond. I had moved it about three feet when it got smashed. It was a nice size bluegill that did not want to be on the end of the line. This fish cut more didos than you will see on most dance floors. I got this fish in and put in the basket. I cast out about 15 feet from the previous spot where the first cast went and had a fish hit the fly just after it touched down in the water. This was a small bass that went ballistic. This fish came out of the water three times before I got her in. After releasing her I figured that any other fish would be disturbed, so I launched the canoe to get out in the pond.

It is light enough now that I can see that there are some fish swirling just under the surface. They see to be taking some sort of emerging insect. Time to put the popper with a midge dropper out there and see what happens. To make a long story short, nothing. I tired several dropper flies and just could not get any of the fish interested in what I was presenting.

In the mean time I was casting the black boa yarn leech. It had worked when I was just getting on the pond, so I stayed with it. I will admit too not being the most accurate caster in the world, but it helps at times. One of my casts was a little longer than the others and landed about six inches from shore. There was an immediate swirl and I was fast into another fish. This was a huge bluegill that decided the best thing to do was head for the middle of the pond, go deep, and turn broadside to me. I finally got it up and to the boat. This fish was pushing 13 inches in length. She is still swimming in the pond.

My next cast was about five feet up the shore and again, very near the edge of the pond. The fly hit and it was another nice bluegill on the line. This fish again headed for the center of the pond and went deep. It was great fun to have them put a nice bend in the rod.

I cast several more times along the shore and got a fish on almost every cast. This is where the stupidity kicked in. I know that when I catch several fish, and especially if I have to use forceps to get the hook out, that I should retie the fly on the tippet. Did I do this? NO. I hooked a fish and the line broke. I hate doing that as I do not like to leave hooks in fish. It is just a personal hang up, but it bugs me when it happens because of my own stupidity.

By now I have changed the fly with the popper several times and it just is not working. I take that rod out of the water and start concentrating on casting to the shore. I changed to the 1 wt, with a white boa yarn leech on it and cast that to near the shore. I have another bluegill inhale this fly and head for the deep water. There is a difference in how much force you can put on a fish between a 3 wt and a 1 wt. But that 1 wt sure is addicting. Also can you tell that I am really hooked on the boa yarn leeches?

I continued around the pond casting up close to the shore. It was almost a fish a cast. I did catch several large bluegills that I left in the pond. These fish were all over 10.5 inches long. I also managed to land a 4 lb bass on the 1 wt. That was fun.

I do have to tell you that I was so excited to be catching fish that I repeated the stupidity three more times. I forgot to retie the fly on and lost three more flies. Finally I left a fly box open on the bottom of the canoe to remind me that I needed to retie. Don't ask me why I did it four times, but I am a creature of habit. I just need to get a new habit.

I was getting ready to leave when the land owner showed up. He was just looking at his fields and saw that I was in the pond. While talking to him I found out that he was having some family in for the day. I asked if he would like some fish and he said that he was not good at cleaning them. I went back to his place and filleted a bunch for him to use with his family. A very small price to be able to fish the ponds.

With the fish I left him, the ones I took home and the ones that were released, it was the first 100 fish day of the year. I am truly blessed to have so many fertile ponds in the area. Also, to have permission to fish these ponds.

I was home and had everything cleaned up and ready to go, including me, by 10:00 am in the morning. A great way to spend the fourth Saturday in May. ~ Rick

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