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If It Works For Joe

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I was at SowBug last weekend so there was no fishing for me.

I read Joe's article last Monday and thought about the fact that he is about one to two weeks ahead of me on temperatures. This means that his fishing is usually a few weeks ahead of me also. Since he had experienced such good luck with a Pheasant Tail Nymph, I decided I should have one on also.

I headed out over my lunch hour on Tuesday. There was nobody else at the lake. I went to the north end of the pond and started casting over the shallow flat that is there. With the wind out of the south it made sense to fish there as all the warm water was being pushed into that area. Besides that, this is the area where I always catch the first fish in the pond. It warms up first and is the only flat that I can get to over my lunch hour.

I was just off the pavement when I made the first casts. I want to cover the water that is near the shore before I go tromping up to the edge. I could see that there was about a foot of algae along this shoreline. I wondered if a fish or two might be cruising along that looking for any food.

I cast about 10 feet past the edge of the algae, let the fly drop for about five seconds and then started a very slow retrieve. A half inch slow strip, followed by a few second pause. I want the fly to be in front of them, where they don't have to chase it.

The leader was just at the edge of the algae when the line felt heavy. I sat the hook and had a bluegill on the line. This was the first fish I had caught since the ice went off. I returned this fish and made another cast, about 10 feet north of the previous one. Again the slow retrieve, keep the fly in their face. This time I got a foot long bass. When I sat the hook, I could see a couple other fish spook away from the one that was hooked. No casts into that area for a while.

I made a few more casts with nothing happening. I moved down the shoreline to cast from another position. This is still part of the flat, but is about two feet deeper here. I picked up four more bluegills along this area. Then I ran out of time and had to get back to my hobby of "patient care."

Thursday was a practice day of casting into the wind. It was about 30 mph from the southeast. My casting is definitely rusty as I did not do too well in doing this. But I did improve over the time I was out on the lake. I saw the rain shower coming and got to the pickup before I would have been caught in the deluge. No fish, but good casting practice.

Friday was another thing totally. There was a slight breeze. There were heavy rain showers last night. The night crawlers were all over the place. This means that some food organisms have been washed into the pond to stimulate the fish. This was a time to be sure to be using imitative flies, PTN and Hares Ears for example.

I went back to the same place I had started Tuesday. The first thing I see there is a carp along the edge of the algae, with a turtle about four feet away. I could not interest the carp in the PTN. This fish spooked when someone tromped over to see what I was casting to. I think about 5 on the Richter scale. No apology for doing it, but wanting to know what kind of fish it was.

Being a little ticked, I told them they would have to find out on their own. I moved down the bank and started casting again. When the fly was about 15 feet off the shore, a fish would hit it.

This was a mixture of crappie, bluegills and bass. None of the hits were very hard, but the feeling that the line was heavy. I ended up with a bakers dozen fish from this spot.

I had again run out time to do the important things in life. Time to get back to the grind and see what was happening. This does bode well for my Saturday fishing expedition.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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