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Another Day, Another Depth

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out to the lake two days after I had to dredge the bottom to get a fish to hit. I wrote about it in getting the salad to go with the fish. These are the bonus days as it is December and for some strange reason, global warming perhaps, the ice is off the ponds.

To a large extent I am a creature of habit. I will start doing what worked the last time I was out, unless the conditions have changed drastically. So I get to the pond and cast the fly out, and let the fly drop again so it is near the bottom. A slow retrieve and nothing happens. I try this several times and decide to change fly rods.

When I change rods, I always make a cast to wind the line on the reel I have been using. By making the cast and winding the line in, it winds on better for me than having a glob at my feet and doing that. I have a talent for getting knots in the fly line.

In any case the line goes out and I am reeling it in. I am not doing this very fast, why waste a cast? The fly is a bout twenty feet out when the end of the line goes sideways. I know enough to set the hook when that happens. I had a nice crappie on the line. What is a fish doing hitting a fly that is six inches under water, when they had been hugging the bottom two days before? That is why it is called fishing and not catching.

I was getting ready to put the fish back in the lake when I heard a horn honking. One of the old geezers that I rarely see was coming down the road. When he got stopped, he said that he would like to have the fish. He told me that he has gone through a long bout of ill health and was just getting to the point where he could get around some. I told him that it was his meanness coming out.

I made another cast, with the same rod and fly. Why change something that may be working? I retrieved the fly in and nothing happened. I do pay attention each time to see what is going on when I catch a fish. The retrieve was not as steady as when I was reeling in the line. Could this make a difference? There is only one way to find out.

To shorten the ramblings, each time I cast the fly out and let it drop a few inches under the surface, I would have a fish hit when I reeled the line in slowly. There was something about the steady retrieve that the fish liked. I try to do what the fish like on any particular day. At times I wish the fish would tell me what they want faster.

When the fish hit, I would stop reeling and just strip the line in. That way I did not have to take as much line off the reel to make the next cast. It was casting about 25 feet out into the pond and reeling about five feet of line in. I have been told there is a breakline out at that distance and the fish must have been holding on that.

I got the old geezer a dozen crappie before the need to make a living got in the way. He said that this would make him three meals. I told him to behave so we could pick on each other for a long time.

This was another beautiful day to be out. It was another reminder to me to pay attention to what the fish want and not what I might like to do.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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