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Darn Wind

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

We had several things to do on Saturday. I did not get out to a pond until Sunday afternoon.

This was on November 12. It was about 15 degrees cooler than Saturday had been and the wind was blowing about 20 mph. But it was the time that I could be out and I was taking advantage of that. The water is cooling down and the first stretch of cold weather we get will probably end my fishing until next spring. I have been told that the water is down to 45 degrees.

I can believe this as I retrieve a wet fly line. I was smart enough to carry an old towel with me to wipe my hands on. Usually this is done on my jeans, but in the cold, windy weather that is not the best thing to do. The jeans get wet and I get colder, faster.

It is also very nice to wipe my hands off after I raise or lower the anchor ropes. They get wet and that makes a difference. Dry hands stay warmer in the wind than do wet hands.

I got to the pond that I wanted to try. This pond has crappie, bass and green sunfish in it. I wanted to see what I might do about getting some crappie. I noticed that the lily pads were almost all gone. The stalks were still sticking up, but the leaves were gone. I did not think that the crappie would be in that shallow of water at this time of year. I would be fishing deeper as the fish would probably be suspending in the deeper water.

With the wind blowing as hard as it was, I had brought two 6 wt rods with floating lines with me. I also had a 6 wt with a full sinking line on it with me. I knew the sinking line would get deeper. This rod is not the most fun to cast with, but it makes me pay more attention to what I am doing while I am using it.

I went to the east end of the pond and anchored about 40 feet from the dam. I know the first ten feet of water off the dam is only about two feet deep. To shallow to fish at this time of year.

I wanted to be able to cast up to that and let the fly drop as it came back out to me. I also wanted to cast along the drop-off and retrieve the fly along at different depths.

I started with the floating lines and cast them. They did not work on the casts to the shore. The wind was so strong that the line bowed and I could not keep contact with the fly. If a fish hit it I did not feel it and could not see the fly line move. The wind was moving it to fast for me to be able to seed the subtle changes a fish causes when making a light strike.

Casting into the wind was no better as the wind was pushing the line back so fast. I don't think the fly got deep enough to reach the fish. Or if they did I was just not seeing what was going on.

Time to go to the sinking line. Hopefully this would remove the wind as a factor. With the line under water it would not bow like the lines did on the surface. Also, the flies would get deeper.

I did not have much success in casting toward the shore. I caught a lot of salad, but no fish. I decided to cast parallel to the dam and retrieve the fly back at different depths and speeds. I started my retrieve on the first cast when the fly was about two feet under the surface. I would go deeper on each of the successive casts. I almost had the fly back to the canoe when I saw a crappie roll on the fly. I did hook the fish, but it was gone in about ten seconds. I had been hooked in the side of the mouth in that thin tissue.

If the fish came up to hit the fly I could fish deeper and that might help. I let the next cast go deeper and felt some weight when I started to retrieve. It was a nice crappie, about a foot long and fat.

I cast out to the same general area and let the fly drop again. I had retrieved about two feet of line when I felt the weight and set the hook. Another ten second battle.

I figured out that if the fish hit on the drop, then I would catch them. If they hit on the retrieve then I lost them.

So I cast out and if a fish did not hit the fly on the drop then I brought the line in fast.

I had a dozen fish in the canoe when the hunters showed up in the field south of the pond. It was time to get off the pond and head home.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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