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Magic, Twice


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It has been hot here for a few weeks. It also has been dry enough that we were officially put into a drought designation. The ponds have dropped about a foot and that changes the fishing.

The places where there were drop offs are not a big as they were and the fish have moved. It makes it harder to find fish when you go out at noon. The sun has been up in the sky and for the most part and the fish have a tendency to be deeper and further out from shore.

But optimism springs eternal in the heart of a fisherman. The best time to go fishing, is when you can. That is why I am out over my lunch hour. Maybe not the best conditions, but it sure is the right time to be out there.

We had a cloudburst come through. It dropped about a 3/4 inch of rain in about half an hour. But that was all we got out of the system. When I got to the lake and looked at the little pond I saw that it had some color to it. That rain had washed some of the dust in the fields around the pond into the pond.

There just might be a fish that had decided to come to the edge of the pond and look for food. Time to try that and see what might happen. In this pond it takes a few casts to figure out how far the fly can drop before it will get tangled in weeds. When you stand on shore that is the only way you can figure it out most of the time.

It did take a few casts before I got the depth figured out, but that lets me keep the fly near the weed tops the rest of the time. I had made a few casts, without any success, when I was starting to raise the rod tip up. The time to pick the line up and make another cast. Just as the fly was coming out of the water a little bass decided to take it on the run.

This fish hooked himself. I was letting the fish run a little ways to get the line out so that I could get a better handle on the line and get the fish landed. The fish was about 6 feet out from shore when the rod tip just went down. I knew it was not the little bass, but what it was I was not sure. I just knew that it would take time with the 5X tippet going to the fly.

I let the fish swim back and forth for a long time, not trying to get any line back, but just to tire the fish a little. I finally got it up and saw that it was a huge bass. This is the largest bass that I have seen swimming in a pond in Iowa. It would be the largest bass that I had ever landed, but I knew it would still take some more time.

I continued to keep some pressure on the fish, but did not try to horse it in. The runs were getting shorter and I was getting a little more control on this fish. Then the bad stuff happened.

The fish jumped. She opened her mouth and that darn little bass came out, and she was gone.

I am not sure if you would say that I was bait fishing, by her taking the small bass. All I know is that it sure was a large fish on the line. I did let that little bass go.

I went to the other side of the landing where the culvert is. And cast out again. This time I had a fairly nice bluegill hit the fly. I was directing the fish away from the edge to make landing it easier when the rod tip again went down very fast. Could this be happening again?

It took several minutes and I again had that, or another bass just like it on the line. It was happening again. I had another chance to get my hands on that bass. Again the runs were fairly short and I was getting some control over the fish. I thought I had a good chance of getting her in.

That is what I get for thinking. Also, what I get for not thinking. In my infinite stupidity, I kept the rod tip up. As the fish got close her head came up. Good thing right? That means she is tired and can be landed. It also means that when her mouth opens the little fish comes flying out and the big fish swims away.

I will be back with some flies tied for bass to see if I can tempt her again. Optimism springs eternal.

But twice in one day!

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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