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A Tale of Two Days

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Thursday and Friday of this week were carbon copy days. The clouds, temperature, wind and water clarity on both days was as close as you can get it. It was one of those times that I felt that I would do well at the lake on Friday, because I had figured out everything on Thursday.

Thursday I went out to the lake, but went to the settling pond as the wind was not quite as bad there. It took a few casts before I caught the first fish. The fly had to drop a fair distance and then had to be retrieved very slowly. After that it was just a matter of getting a decent distance on the cast and then letting the fly drop and waiting for the fish to decided to take the fly.

I was using a black boa yarn leech, a gilly, and a chili pepper fly (in the Fly of the Week Archives). It did not matter which fly I used the fish would take them. None of the takes were hard hits but more resistance of the line or the twitch of the line going side ways. In either case a little flick of the wrist and the fish were hooked.

The third fish that I hooked into was a good size bass that went all over the pond. Why is it that the bigger bass always hit the fly on the rod with the lightest tippet? This rod had 5 X tippet on it and I knew that I could not horse this fish, but would have to try to keep it up out of the brush and junk on the bottom of the pond. I had the rod held up above my head as far as I could to get it to keep the fish up higher in the water column. With a lot of luck the fish stayed up and I managed to get her in and get a length on her. She was 22 inches long and had been eating a lot as she was very round. It was great fun to have her on the rod.

I picked up a few more gills and then had a surprise as I caught a couple of crappie in a row. I was not sure that I would get any crappie this late in the year, but the drive to eat must be pushing them to come to the flats to eat, even during the middle of the day.

My next cast went to the place that I was not aiming at. This happens a lot when I am casting into the wind, and a fair number of times when there is no wind. The fly landed near a large clump of algae that was caught in the weeds at the side of the pond. I knew there was not much more than a foot of water there. I did not think that any fish would be in that close to shore and in that shallow of water, as everything else had been hooked farther out.

The fly had just hit the water, and I was calling my self names for a poor cast, when there was a swirl on the fly and I was into a fish. I knew it was a fish of some size as it went out into the pond and headed for the bottom. After a minute or so I began to think catfish, but that shallow and close to shore in the middle of the day? After having a great deal of luck I finally got the fish up and could see that it was a channel cat. At that point the fish decided that I was too ugly to be around and headed back out into the pond. We traded line back and forth for several more minutes before I felt that I was getting some control over the fish.

I had heard the vehicle stop behind me earlier, and then there was another fisherman there with his net. He said that he thought it would be easier to land this fish in the net than to try to lip it. Also, he wanted to see the size of the fish. I got the fish up close and he scooped her up in the net. The scale on the net said seven pounds. We released her with a salute for the fun of catching her.

That fish put me out of time and I needed to head back to the office.

On Friday, with all the conditions being the same, I headed out to the settling pond again. I had the same flies on and thought I would be battling fish. That is what I get for thinking. I cast over the whole area with all three flies. I fished them at all the depths and with various retrieves.

I did not catch a single fish. I did not have a single strike. I even changed flies and went to some other patterns to try that. No luck with any flies that I tried.

I have my suspicions that someone came in and seined the pond out. That must be the reason that I was not catching fish. I was using the same things that had been successful the day before. If it works once, isn't it supposed to work again? And if it does not work then by changing to other flies then something should work.

I spent part of an hour working on that batch of water. I used several flies and just did not get anything. This does not happen to me very often. But it does happen and I know that for some reason the fish are just not cooperating.

I am not sure why. The conditions seemed to be the same. As far as I could tell I was fishing the same way. I was casting over the same area the fish had been in the day before. I was doing everything right. The only problem was the fish did not consider it right.

The only thing I can really tell you is that I got some left handed casting practice in. That is REALLY the reason I went out to the lake today. I wanted to practice the left-handed casting and the catching of the fish was a minor detail. I am finding more and more times that casting left handed is beneficial to making a good presentation. That is why I am practicing.

If you believe that I was not interested in catching fish, I have an options on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Eiffel Tower.

Hope you can get out on the water, with better luck than my Friday. ~ Rick

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