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Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

That was my catch for this week, June 6-9, when going out to the lake. To be honest it rained on Tuesday so there was not much time to spend at the lake and not many places to go where I would not get muddy. I have to think about staying clean as I go out over my lunch hour.

But on Tuesday I still caught three crappie by fishing near the jetty. I was surprised to still have any crappie in that close, but it just goes to prove that not all of the fish spawn at the same time.

All three were caught on a streamer nymph (Ricks Favorites in the panfish archives). I did this in 10 minutes and then heard the rumbles of thunder coming and left the lake.

Thursday was a different story. No wind and the lake was mirror smooth. It did not matter what fly I had on. The fish would hit it. I was bringing all of the flies back about two inches under the surface and the fish would explode on them. The flies were coming in over about three to six feet of water. I think that many of the gills are in spawning right now.

In any case it is fun to have the fish come up under the fly and when they hit it come out of the water. I tried fishing the flies deeper but the fish would not take them. I tried a popper and they were not interested in that at all. I used eleven different flies to catch fish on and they all had to be just under the surface and moving slowly. The flies were all un-weighted.

The hardest thing was to wait long enough to let the fish hook themselves. Every time I see a fish coming up under the fly, the anticipation begins. I tense up and get ready to set the hook.

The mind knows that it is time to relax and wait on the fish, but the body has different ideas.

There is a paradox between the mind and body many other times also, but it is very bad when the fish is coming up under the fly and I can see it happening. I did miss a few because I was trying to set the hook too fast.

I caught one little catfish, about 10 inches long, that was a complete surprise to have hit during the middle of the day, but that is fishing. I had two bass take the fly and do aerial antics before I could get them landed. I had two crappie and the rest were bluegills that went from about 5 inches to 11 inches long.

Friday was another story all the way. The wind was blowing about 20 mph from south of southeast. I could see a lot of carp swimming around, but could not interest them in a fly. I did catch several bluegills, but the fly had to come in low and slow. The right retrieve speed was to let the wind push the line in. I would know there was a fish on the line when the loop on the fly line went under water. Shades of bobber fishing! Anything faster than that just did not seem to interest the fish.

My best fish of the day was a bass that decided to go all over the lake to try to get rid of that pesky hook. I knew this was a good sized fish and that she was on the rod with the 5X tippet material for the leader. Not the best of times to try to horse a fish, with a light leader. I was letting the fish swim around and get a little tired before I tried to land her. I would gain a little line and lose a little line. But I knew that as long as the hook held the longer she swam around the better my chances of getting her landed.

Two folks in a boat out in the lake decided to come over and see what I had on the line. When she jumped out of the water, I began to get advice on what I should do to land the fish from the guy in the boat. All I asked him to do was to back off a little bit as he was getting very close to where she was swimming. To his credit he apologized for getting too close and then moved out about another 40 feet to give me all the room I would need.

After about eight minutes I could begin to control where I wanted her to go. I was able to slowly gain in the line as she swam out in front of me. I wanted to bring her in slowly so she would not thrash around as much near the shore. When I got her head to come up a little, I knew that I had a good chance of landing her and that this was the time to try it. I got her headed toward me, I raised the rod very high as I reached down and lipped her.

A quick measurement was between 23 and 24 inches long. She had a big fat belly. When I felt her starting to strain against me I let her go. She was a fun fish to have on the line.

That was my last fish of the day as I needed to head back to the office. I will admit to being a few minutes late back to work, but it does help a little to think that you are the boss of the place.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick Written 06/12/06

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