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Geezer Tuesday

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out to the lake over my lunch hour again. It is hard to break a habit, especially when you don't want to break it. It is bad enough when the ice forms over the ponds to give up fishing, but to stop when the water is soft would be some sort of sacrilege.

When I got out to the lake there were two folks fishing the settling pond. Gee, I thought that folks could just understand that this was my place to be over the noon hour three times a week. I guess they just can't see that invisible sign that is up there, and they are supposed to understand by using their intuition. On the other hand I can never see the signs of all those folks that want me to move because I am catching fish and they aren't.

I went to the jetty that is off the parking lot. I know that about 40 feet out off the east side of this jetty there is a pile of Christmas trees that were put in over the mild winter that we had. If you cast toward the traffic sign that is on the corner of the road, you are in line to come over this pile of trees. The only problem with this pile is that it comes up so that only about five feet of water are between it and the surface of the lake.

What this means is that if you get too deep coming over the pile or let your fly drop too far, you get snagged up. So it is shallow fishing over the top, deeper on the sides or letting the fly drop down the side of the pile closest to you. From a previous encounter with the pile I learned to make a mark on my fly line that would let the fly drop on the near side of the pile. I also learned the targets to cast to for the fly to come by the side of the pile. The targets differ a little on how deep the fly is going to be as it comes back.

I thought that there might be a few bluegills hanging around this pile of trees. I decided to go with a very small fly that would drop very slowly and give the fish a chance to look at it for a long time. I had tied a size 18 hares-ear-type fly, (Joe aren't you proud of me?) Just the hares ear material in a dubbing loop and then wrapped on the hook with a small bead head. I wanted the beadhead to help the fly break the surface tension and drop in the water column.

I find it harder to get flies this small without a bead head to break through the surface tension of the water. Making a couple of false casts to get it back out seems to dry it off and then it does not sink very well.

In any case I got out and made my first cast. I was letting the fly drop when I saw the end of the line twitch. I set the hook and had a nice bend develop in the rod. This bluegill headed deep and stayed broadside to me. I slowly worked him in and got him up in the water column some.

This is when I heard the voice behind me say, "If it takes you this long to land each of them I will die of hunger." One of the old geezers was there with his bucket. I told him "If you don't like the way I am doing it then go catch your own fish."

We bantered for another minute or two before I got the fish in. One of my concerns was that I did not know how well the fish was hooked and it is easier to pull out a size 18 hook than a size 10 hook. Well this fish had the fly well into his mouth and it took the forceps to get it out.

I cast out again and let the fly drop. I had dropped a few feet at most when the line twitched again and I was into another nice sized bluegill. This one I put a little more pressure on and got him landed. Both of these fish were around 8 inches long and fat as pigs.

At this point a boat pulled up near the jetty and the two fishermen asked if they could anchor on the other size of the tree pile and fish the far side from me. They did not want to interfere, but were interested in trying to catch some fish. I said OK and they went about 40 feet out beyond where I was casting. They did manage to get a few fish off this pile.

I was getting a fish a cast as I let the fly drop near this brush pile. I think that the gills were up in the top of the pile or just above the pile feeding. The fly was just another thing on the menu. But it sure did work nicely and was a lot of fun to have the gills take the fly.

I did need to go back to work and make money to live on. The old geezer called me later and said that he had 18 bluegills when he got home. That is not bad for fishing off the shore, during the middle of the day in the end of June.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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