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The Day After

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was Monday afternoon, April 16, 2007. It was the day after we had received the call that my Mother had died. We had to spend part of the day, Monday, in Des Moines. When we got home my wife, bless her soul, told me that I needed to go to a pond. Who am I to argue with that wonderful woman?

I grabbed two fly rods, my fish basket, hope springs eternal, and headed out. I had the flies in the fanny pack that lives in my pickup. I headed off to a pond that I knew I would never drive into, but hat I could walk into. It is in the middle of a pasture, with very few trees around it. This makes it very easy to cast flies from the shore. As I headed in I found a car that was stuck in the first little dip that the road to the pond. Somebody had tried to get in and was stuck. The car was resting with the body on the mud. They were really suctioned into the mud.

I got to the pond. There was no one there. I had the solitude I wanted at this time to reflect on what it would mean for Mom to not be around anymore. This I could do in the outdoors and in private. My wife is one fairly smart woman to know how I do things.

The water was not very clear, but it was not muddy either. I started out making about 15 foot casts to see if there was anything near shore. I brought the first casts back about two feet deep in the water column. The next ones were deeper, about four feet and the last set was dredging the bottom.

Whether it was my attention to what I was doing or no fish, I did not get any bites. I picked up the other rod, with a different fly on it. I cast this out about 20 feet, about on the midline between where the casts had gone before. If the first casts were on the hours of a clock, these casts would be on the half hours. Again I retrieved at each of the depths, to see if the fish were interested in anything. Again nothing was happening.

At this point I decide to move and get to the dam. I know that the water drop off to about 12 feet deep a bout 20 feet out from the dam. For the first 15 feet out from the dam it slopes out to about 6 feet deep to the breakline to go to 12 feet.

Sapp Body Fly

I put on a bright yellow fly, made out Sapp Body Fur, much like a boa yarn leech. But this fiber has some sparkle in it. There is a gently breeze behind me so I can make longer casts. I get the fly out about 45 feet. I let it drop because I want to retrieve it so it comes in about six feet deep. If there are fish on the breakline I want them to see the fly, bright and size 6 to give it some bulk. Also a bead head so it drops a little faster.

The fly is down near the depth I want when I see the line twitch. I set the hook and have a fish on for a few minutes and then it is gone. It must be a crappie rolling on the fly. On the next cast, the same thing happens, but this time I don't put as much pressure on the fish. This works as I get a nice 16-inch crappie to the shore. The hook was in the side of the mouth, but slowly worked its way into the mouth, where the hook held better.

I thought that I just might be onto something. I continued to cast in this area. I had a fish hit on every cast about the time that the fly had dropped six feet under the surface. I did not land all of them, but I got a dozen fish in hand. All of the fish were crappie from 12 to 16-inches long.

I needed to head home and find out what had been going on. I was able to have some nice fillets that night and share them with a few other folks. It also helped me to get things into perspective.

I am putting in a few pictures of the mountains that I saw every day as I grew up. This is the Chugiak range in Alaska. The next weekend was the Memorial service, so there was a lot of visiting, but no fishing.



~ Rick

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