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Almost Shut Out

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was the weekend after we got home from the Memorial service. It had been a hectic week getting caught up with all the mail and other things that had happened. I was looking forward to getting out on a pond. Then the rains came. We got from three to five–inches, depending on whose rain gauge you trusted. I actually think that it varied that much from the different bands of rain that came through.

This again severely limited the number of ponds to go to. I knew that all of the low places would be full of water, with a nice mud bed under the water. So it was time to plan on a pond that could be driven to on gravel or paved roads. The paved roads were not an option, as I did not want to be around that many people.


It was the Ringold County Game Preserve. This is about ten miles away and has two ponds that you can drive very close to. I stopped at the upper pond and decided to try my luck. The wind was blowing about 15 mph, out of the north. This pond faces north south with the dam on the south end. There are several trees in the pond, as you can see from the pictures.

I headed out and anchored the canoe so I could cast around the first trees that you see in picture one. Many times there are crappie around these trees. You just have to find out how deep and how far away from the limbs the fish are. The water was fairly dirty. I could see a white boa yarn leech down to about two feet and then it was not visible. Not my favorite fishing conditions, but you fish when you get the chance and adapt to the conditions you have.

I cast around these trees and at various depths. I was not getting any response to the flies that I was using. I even brought the flies in very close to the stickups that I could see, but no luck in doing that.

I tried casting to the open water, wondering if the fish were suspended. No luck in that either. Buy this time I had tried a dozen flies, most of my favorites with a few others tossed in. The confidence is beginning to slip. What should I do now?

Time to get desperate and try different things. I tied on a bead headed Hares Ear type fly made out of llama hair. I cast this into the middle of the limbs in one of the trees in the pond and let the fly drop. I was going to find out if the fish were tucked in among the trees. Nothing else had worked, so this seemed to be a logical place to try.


The fly had dropped maybe four feet when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and was into a fish. But, the fish had an advantage over me. The fish wrapped the leader material around one of the pieces of wood under water and the fly went with the fish. Not the way I like fish to get off, but maybe, just maybe, I had figured out where the fish were.

I tied on another one of the flies and cast it to about the same place. I had another fish do the same thing to me. I would have the fish on for maybe a minute and then the line would part. I was using four-pound test line for the leader, and it was not taking the strain of rubbing against the tree limbs under water. I tried heavier leader material, but that changed the action of the fly and the fish did not take it. So back to the lighter leader and trying again.

I did manage to land one bass of about six inches. I think I moved this fish about three feet on the hook set. That was the only fish that I landed. I had lost about a dozen flies, before I decided to quit. I really do not like to lose flies to fish. I don't like leaving the hooks in them. That was all I was doing, leaving hooks in fish.

So I headed home, almost skunked, but I do claim that little bass!

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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