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Jelly Beans

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

For the past five or six times I have been out over my lunch hour I have been using some flies that were sent to me by various folks. For the most part I will not tell you how I did with them because this has not been a fair test. We got some rain and the water has come up about a foot or so. The places that are not muddy have algae blooms in them. Most of the flies that I use are not doing well right now during this time period.

The one fly that I have had success with is a Jelly Bean by our own Jim Hatch. We have swapped some flies and these are the ones I got. There has not been much of a breeze for the past two weeks during the middle of the day. It does pick up later in the afternoon.

I have been able to find water that was flat. It might be colored, but any disturbance on the surface would show up better than if there were any waves on the surface. The first one I tied on was a black body with a white marabou tail in about size 12, I think. I cast this out about 15 feet, just out from the edge of the weeds and let it set until all the rings from the fly landing were gone. I waited about another minute and then twitched it. The rings had barely moved when I saw the slurp and hear the neat sucking sound of a gill taking a bug off the surface. I waited a second or two and then set the hook. It was a nice gill that did not like the idea of being on the end of the line.

I had been casting to the west on the little settling pond. I turned toward the east side of the pond and made a left-handed cast. I am starting to get proficient enough that I actually do this while fishing. Also it keeps the fly out over the water and away from those weeds that jump up and grab flies. Maybe we need to get some geneticists that will work on putting that gene from plants into fish so we could have them jump a few feet up out of the water to take the fly. I know those weeds jump up and get the fly, because I never ever let my backcast drop.

Back to the fishing. I let the fly set again until the rings were gone. Just as I was starting to get ready to twitch the fly another gill came up and slurped it in. This fish decided to stay at the surface and fight. She threw water all over the place, but stayed on the hook, until I could get her in my hand. This was a nice plump, eating size gill. I let her go back into the pond.

I cast straight out into the pond on the next cast. When I am fishing in a place where I cannot move very much, I like to scatter my casts around. I think that the fish are less likely to spook if you do that, instead of casting back to the same place each time. At least it works for me.

Since the water is deeper out in this area, I decided to make a little more disturbance in retrieving the fly. I let the rings disappear after the Jelly Bean landed. I then started bringing it in with a slow steady retrieve. This made a little "V" in the water as the fly moved along. I thought this might be easier for any fish that were in this area to see. The fly had moved about six feet when a little bass launched itself at the fly. This fish moved the last two feet toward the fly splashing on the surface. The temptation was great to set the hook too fast, but the voice in my head was screaming to "WAIT, DON'T HURRY." This is one of the times I listened and managed to hook the fish. This bass was about a foot long and was an aerialist. She jumped five times before I got her in. I think she spent more time in the air than under the water.

I cast to the west again just a little farther than I had before. The fly had just hit the water when it was sucked under. This fish felt a little different as it wanted to go deep and to the center of the pond. I played it for a few minutes and finally got it close enough to see what I had on the line. This was a large green sunfish. There are not many of them in this pond, but the ones that are there are usually large and have an attitude. They are great fun on the fly rod.

I alternated my casts for the rest of the time, that day getting a fish on about every other cast. It took some time to make each cast, but if that is what it takes to get the fish to bite that is what I will do.

On the other days I have picked up a few fish with this fly each time I use it. I also tried some other flies and some of them worked also. It is fun way to spend an hour during the middle of the day.

Thanks to Jim for the fly. It has been a Fly of the Week here on FAOL.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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