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Bad Day


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

There is a little reluctance on my part to write this up. James Castwell has written a lot lately about casting and this was not the best day I have ever had. I fear that I might become the subject of one of his column directly because of all of my mistakes for the day.

I went out for my normal Saturday morning exercise in reviving the spirit. I went to a pond that I have been to before and got everything ready to go. I had the rods strung up and flies on them. The anchors were attached to the canoe and the paddle and fish-basket were in the canoe. It now was just a matter of getting in the canoe and going at the fish. Little did I know what was coming.

The wind started to pick up a little as I got out on the pond. I was not worried as wind is a normal part of what we have to put up with here in the Midwest. I put the back anchor down part way and just started slowly drifting down the pond as I cast to see where the fish might be.

The first cast went fine, even though no fish were interested in the fly. The second cast was a fore-bearer of what the day would be like. I somehow managed to get three loops of fly line around the tip end of the rod on the back cast. This was a talent that I did not know that I had.

These were just not loops, but more of half-hitches that I needed to take off the tip of the rod before I could try to cast again.

Things just did not improve after this. The next cast I managed to wrap the fly around the leader about six times with a few loops caught in-between some of the wraps. You must have some amazing talent to do this. I still can't remember how I did this. But it did take a few minutes to get the leader untangled. I was smart enough to go slowly and not tug on anything to make tight knots which are harder to get apart.

My next cast resulted in a feisty bluegill hitting the fly and cutting some fancy didos before I got him landed. I thought that I might have finally got into the groove and would be fishing. What a joke. The next cast resulted in a huge birds-nest of leader around the loop on the end of the fly line. Again I don't know how, but I managed to do it with a great deal of skill. This was such a big mess that I decided to skip it and use another rod. I did not want the aggravation of trying to undo the birds-nest of line instead of fishing.

The first cast with the second rod produced another one of the feisty bluegills that are in this pond. Maybe is was just bad luck with the one rod and I would do better with this one. By now I am at the end of the pond. I have spent so much time working on the line and leaders that I have reached the end of the pond.

I decided to turn the canoe around, face into the wind, and fish up the other side of the pond.

Maybe if I cast into the wind, I can control things better. At least one can hope.

I am set up so that I can cast to a weed edge that also runs along a breakline that goes from about three feet of water to six to eight feet of water as you head toward the dam. I wanted to drop flies along this area and see what sort of action might come from that. There are several points and depressions in this weed edge and I was going to cast to all of them as I went up the shoreline.

The first few casts went pretty well and I got another nice bluegill on each of them. They came out of little depressions in the weed edge that I dropped a fly near. The fish would swirl on it and then the fight would be on. This was more like it, much more fun that undoing line snarls as the fisherman is snarling.

So much for feeling good, the next cast is another one of those wrap the line around the end of the rod. This time I have five loops, no half-hitches, on the end of the line. It only takes a few seconds to undo this, but it is the aggravation of having to do it.

Then things go well for a few minutes and I pick up some nice sized bluegills as I move up the shoreline, casting to all the points and depressions along the weed line. The wind picks up a little and I go back to the wonder casting that I had done earlier. I have another birds-nest on this rod that I do not want to mess with.

I go to the third rod that I have in the canoe. This is the 1 wt that I built and I am not to sure about casting it into a 25-mph headwind. But if I want to fish it is this or get rid of the bird's nest on one of the other rods. I pick up a few more bluegills as I move along the shoreline.

I have been being very careful and not making long casts and I am having some success.

Then I am dumb again. There is a large depression in the weed line, and instead of moving the canoe I decide to make longer casts. I should have known better. After two nice size bluegills are taken, on the third cast, I form another huge wind knot, with loops and twists in it. In any case it will take time to undo.

At this time I decide that this is really probably not my day and that I would be better off leaving instead of trying to force things along. This was getting more frustrating than it was fun.

I went home and took care of the 17 bluegills that I did managed to catch.

Hope you can get out on the water and have a much better day than I did. ~ Rick

PS. I worked on the lines Sunday afternoon and gave up. Cut the leaders off and started again. Much quicker and much less aggravation to cut them off and retie. No pictures as I don't want to remember them. Rick

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