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How Many is Enough?

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I got the book Beloved Water written by Paul Ford from a book store going out of business. It was an interesting read about his fly fishing. In part of the book he talks about taking a day off from fishing for bonefish and just hiking down the beach. He was asked why he was not fishing. His reply was that he had caught enough to take a day off.

This got me to thinking about how many fish it takes to make me happy. How many is enough? The more I thought about it the more convinced I became that I cannot come up with a number to be used as a target. Is a hundred fish day better than a ten fish or a one fish day? I seem to have fun on any of those days.

I thought back over several of the days that I have been able to go fishing this year. Not all of them were successful for connecting with fish. I will submit that they were successful fishing days. I got to be out and I got a line in the water. A fish would have been a bonus.

I have tired to spend about 15 minutes every noon hour that I am out at the lake casting left handed. I know the only way I will get better is to practice and this is a time that I can do it. I am slowly getting better and more comfortable doing this. I can do about 30 feet of line with some degree of accuracy, i.e., not hooking myself. I am finding more and more times that it is advantageous to make the cast with my left hand. This is true even when I am out in the canoe.

I remember being on a pond and making a left-handed cast to get under the branches of a tree. I could not get the fly the same place by casting right handed. I got the fly to drop about three feet back in an opening in the branches. A very nice crappie was laying back there waiting for that fly to land. I sure was glad that I was able to put it there for her.

Earlier this year we had a pair of eagles out at the lake. It was more fun to watch them than to try to pay attention to a line in the water. I even got to see one of them take a fish out of the water. I think it may have been a small carp. No fish that day, but it was a good day.

I was fishing the main lake the other day. It had rained and there were not many places that were not too wet to try to get to over the lunch hour. But I can get out on the jetty and see what might happen. I know there is a brush pile about 35 feet out to the northeast from the end of the jetty. The idea is to stand at the right corner of the jetty and cast to the left side of the road sign were the road turns across the pond. That is the line of sight to get over the brush pile. There is always a chance that there will be a few fish around this brush pile. I don't always get them to bite, but I know the odds are better there.

I had caught a few fish when I had another fisherman approach me. He wanted to know if I could show him how to use a fly rod. I always have at least two rods with me, so I gave him a little instruction on how to cast the line and had him practice casting, without a fly on the line. He picked it up fairly quickly and could get some line out. We put a fly on and had him cast out in the same general area that I had been casting. On his third cast he got a bluegill. I think he also got hooked on using a fly rod as he told me that it was a barrel of fun. Not many fish but a good day.

Several times this year I got to watch as deer and turkeys came down to the pond to drink water. I always try to stay still and see how long it will take before they figure out that I am there. This is also the time of year when the flocks of geese will start flying over and I have to watch them.

To me all of those things are part of the fishing experience, but don't come up in a number of fish. But, these experiences are all part of what makes my time on the water complete.

I don't think that I enjoy the days that I catch more fish any more than the days that I don't catch as many. I just take it as the challenge that I have a whole lot more to learn about those finny creatures.

It does not matter how many fish I have caught or not caught, I always want to catch one more.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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