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Radical Change

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Tuesday noon hour was very hot. The humidity was almost as high as the temperature. It was very uncomfortable to be out and I did not stay long. I got wetter from the humidity than I got from sweating. That was time to call it quits.

Thursday was a little cooler and the humidity was down. We had a few rain showers come through with a cool front and that helped some. The noon temperatures were in the low 80's and there was a slight breeze.

When I got out to the lake I could see a few other folks fishing the shoreline on the far jetty. That was fine, I was going to fish the settling pond. We would be far apart.

I cast out a popping bug first. I am still waiting for the top water bite to start.

I did not get any fish on it, but I had a few fish follow the end of the fly line in. I had made a loop on it; I hate tying nail knots, and had used some red shrink tubing over the line. The fish were following the red.

That meant that a red popper went on. I cast it out and had the same thing happen. The fish followed it in, but they did not hit it. I let it set a long time. I made a "V" retrieving it. I popped it and did several other things. None of them made the fish take it.

I tied a red fly on the other rod. This is a soft hackle tied with red punch yarn with a heavier than usual hackle head with a red feather. I want to push more water with this fly most soft hackles do. This feather is fairly soft, but made a bushy head.

I cast this fly out and let it settle for about 20 seconds. I then started bringing it in with a very slow retrieve. The fish had followed the popper when it was retrieved that way and I wondered if they would take this fly moving the same way. The fly had moved about five feet when I had a hit. This turned out to be a bass that was about a foot long. This fish did not like the idea of being on the end of the line and spent a large amount of time in the air trying to get rid of the hook.

I got him to hand and released him back into the lake. It was one of those times that the fly was in the corner of the fish's mouth and came out very easily. I did this while the fish was in the water and did not have to touch the fish at all. If it works once it is worth another try.

I got the fly out and let it drop. The next thing I knew the end of the line was about five feet to the side and moving fast. I held onto the line until it became tight and had another fish on the line. This was a good-sized bass. It looked to be about 24 inches long the first time it jumped. I knew not to horse it with 5 X tippet on the rod. So it was just trying to control the direction the fish went and wear it down a little.

There is a disadvantage to fishing with fly rods. They are usually much longer than the rods that conventional anglers use. When you hook a fish and have the rod up to pressure the fish, it is easier for other folks to see it. The result is that after fighting this fish for about 5 minutes I have a person on each side of me. They tell me that they will not cast until I get the fish in. They will take the fish and then fish this area. Not that I agreed to any of this.

I finally did get some control over the bass. I could gain line slowly. I could get her to turn and swim the other direction by changing the angle of the rod. I had her about 8 feet off shore when one of the folks went out in the water to be closer to grab her. Dumb move!! The fish went ballistic. She jumped and I kept the pressure on the line. The fly popped out and she was gone.

I grabbed my other rod and left. I had the fun of hooking and playing the fish. I did not want that spoiled by dealing with some less than brilliant folks. I may get to tangle with her again. The main thing is that she is still swimming in the pond.

Friday was another matter. Late Thursday and early Friday some big storms came through the area. There are flash flood warning and roads washed out all over the place.

The storms went just north and east of Lamoni. Some places reported 7.5 inches of rain in 8 hours.

When I got out to the lake it is up about three feet. The settling pond looks like coffee that has been heavily creamed. I decide that it might not be the best place to fish. The temperature is still in the 70's; there is a breeze out of the southwest and the sky is cloudy.

The water is much clearer in the lake. I go to the flat and hope that some fish have come up on it to look for food. I tie on a hairs ear type fly and cast it out. The fly is dropping when I get the first gill of the day. The fish inhaled the fly and is hooked deeply. I have to dig the forceps out to get the fly out. I am doing this when one of the old geezers shows up.

He brings two buckets down. He had one bucket to sit on and the other bucket for fish to go into. I put the gill in the first bucket, after having got some water into it. I cast out again and let the fly drop. When I start to retrieve the line there is another cooperative gill on the line. I swing it over to the old geezer and he takes it off.

The next cast does not get a fish on the drop. The fly is almost to the shoreline when a big gill tried to take it to Nebraska. This fish hit like a freight train and wanted to get far away from me. But I got her to do what I wanted and put her in the bucket.

It turned out that on almost every cast I caught a fish. Some times fish hit on the drop and other times on the retrieve. But the fly always had to be about two feet deep in the water.

If the fly was shallower they would not take it. I ended up getting 30 gills for the old geezer. This is the fastest fishing time I have had this summer. But all good things come to an end. It was back to the slave factory.

Big weather changes through the week.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (Written 09/11/07)

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