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Retie Stupid, Retie

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was another Saturday morning and time to head for a pond. I was trying another new pond from the gentleman I had helped get cattle in for earlier in the summer. He had another pond where the cattle would be out of the pasture for a while. Part of our agreement is that I will not go into the ponds when cattle are on the land. He will let me know when they are off. I can live with that.

I get out to the pond and am a little surprised. I had to go up a gentle slope to get to this pond. Coming out is going to be all down hill. That is very unusual for a pond around here.

I get the canoe loaded and get ready to go out on the pond. I am getting my life jacket and vest on when it begins to sprinkle. Not very hard but enough that I don't want to get the camera wet. So I leave it in the pickup. Also not hard enough to make me leave.

I am not sure what fish are in this pond. So I put on a variety of flies to try. I have a marabou leech, a gilly, a bluegill bomber (a fly of the week in the future from Greg Hunsucker) and a Goldie for crappie. All of these flies have also caught bass when I have been fishing them.

I start with the leech, mainly because it was on the first rod I picked up. This is a very scientific method of fly choice. I cast it for about 10 minutes and nothing happens. I try the gilly and the bomber fly and still the basket is empty. Could this be the rare pond that does not have any bluegill in it?

Time to change and try the Goldie. Maybe there are a few crappie in the pond. I cast for about 10 minutes and have no response. Time to move to another place and see what might happen. This is a rectangular pond. I am on the low side of this pond. I go to the other side where I think there might be a steeper drop. I am doing anchor sonar, as I did not think to bring my "Fishing Buddy" to do it electronically.

I go through the bluegill flies again, but do not spend as much time on each of them as I did before. I have just picked up and cast the Goldie again when I hear a couple of geese coming. That always makes me stop and watch what is happening. They swing over the pond and start to approach me to land. They are almost on the water, about 30 feet from me, when they figure out that I am there. It was interesting to watch them work to take off again. I think I was also called a few names as they went by.

When the show as over I started to retrieve the fly line. The line did not want to come in. The crappie on the end of the line did not like the idea of being hooked. This was great fun on a 3 wt rod. But I got a very nice crappie into the boat. Now it is time to consider what had happened to hook this fish. I cast out and let the fly drop until it had to be straight down from the end of the line. Could this be the way the fish wanted the fly? Will they take the fly on the drop only?

There is one way to find out. I cast out again and let the fly drop. It is probably down about five feet when I see the line twitch. That makes me twitch also and I have another crappie on the line. This seems to be a pattern.

I get a crappie about every third cast after this. I find that I have to make the casts land at least five feet from where the last one was and then do nothing. If a fish is there they seems to take it on the drop. If not on the drop then bring it back in and cast again.

I think I have seven fish in the basket when I hook another fish. This feels like a much larger fish. I can't get it to come in as fast. The rod is almost in a "C" shape with this fish. I get it close and see that it is a huge crappie. This fish looks to be 22 to 24 inches long. I grab the net to land this fish. I am pulling it toward the net when I see the line break near the fly.

Stupid, stupid, and stupid...you know to retie after several fish have worked on the knot.

I know to retie after about every five or six fish. But there are those times that I am catching fish and I get so enamored with catching fish, that I forget to do the important things. This time I paid for that lack of discipline. If stupid had retied, he probably would have landed that fish.

I was much more disciplined the rest of the morning. I was getting a fair number of crappie into the boat. I was also casting an eye toward the clouds every few minutes.

I had the last crappie I caught in hand when I heard the first rumble of thunder.

The fish went in the basket and the anchor got pulled up. I headed for the shore. The first thing I did after landing was to put all the graphite rods in the back of the pickup cab. I did not want them around me to be a lightening rod. I did wrap the lines for the anchors up; it is easier to handle them and only takes a minute. got he canoe loaded and tied down. I was thinking about taking a few pictures of the pond until I saw the rain coming.

I got out of the gate and had it locked before the rain came. It poured buckets for a few minutes before I drove out of it. When I got home we had not had a singe drop of rain.

I did have some nice crappie to fillet out and make a meal for several folks.

Stupid will return to that pond and try for that huge crappie again. I will retie, I will retie, I will retie, I will retie...

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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