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Darn Storms

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It is the last weekend in September of 2007. It is also homecoming for us as we are being honored for 35 years. You donít have to do any of the old jokes as we got all of them from our "friends" here in town. It was good to see some folks that we have not seen for years. That meant that Saturday was full of events and there was no chance to get to a pond.

Finally after everything was done on Sunday I could head out. I had permission to go to a pond that I have not been to for several years. The land changed hands and the new owner lets me fish the ponds that he owns.

This is a rectangular pond, about 60 yards by 120 yards. It lies in an east west direction with the dam on the east end. The deepest water is about 12 feet deep. This extends out about one third of the pond from the dam. It then slopes up to about six to eight feet deep for the rest of the pond. The pond has bluegill, crappie and bass in it. It is surrounded by pastureland and the cattle cannot get into the pond to dirty it up.

I got out about 2:00 pm in the afternoon. There was a 15-mile per hour wind from the west. It was cloudy, with a chance of showers in the later evening. With the wind this high I decided to take two fly rods out with me. I had a 5 wt with a floating line and a 6 wt with a full sinking line on it. I put a black boa yarn leech with a bead head on the floating line and a Goldie on the sinking line.

I was on the southeast part of the pond. I decided to fish across the dam to the east side and then work my way up the north shoreline casting into the wind. Also if I needed to then I was headed toward the pickup with the wind at my back.

I did not get a single fish in going across the dam. Not one bite at all. So I turned the canoe to the west and dropped the front anchor to keep me faced into the wind. I was using the boa yarn leech and casting to the shore and bringing it back slowly. I was raising the line up to make another cast when I found a fish on the line. This was a nice bluegill that I never felt hit. But, I got her into the fish basket.

On my next cast a made a few strip strikes and found I had hooked a fish the third time I did this. They were taking the fly so lightly that I could not detect the take with the wave action that was going on. Maybe this is why I did not get any fish along the dam.

A little sprinkle of rain came through about this time. This spurred me to move along a little faster looking for fish. If it rained much I would have to leave and I wanted to check out more places on the pond. I would be targeting the very active fish. Just a few casts in each place, and then move to another location.

I picked up a few more gills as I did this. I decided that I had enough to feed a few folks and that it was time to look for a crappie or two to feed me. So I started casting with the other rod with the full sinking line on it. I though the crappie might be deeper than the bluegills had been. It took a while and then I started getting a few crappie. They seemed to be farther from the shore and very scattered.

I reached the west end of the pond and paddled across to the south side. Now I could be lazy, as I just had to raise the back anchor if I wanted to move. I did not get any fish for about the first 50 feet of the pond.

I had been looking ahead of me and kept seeing a weird thing happening in the water. I was not sure what it was, but curiosity got the better of me and I pulled up the anchor and moved closer. When I got about 20 feet from where the weird thing was happening I could see what it was.

There was a school of crappie swimming just under the surface of the water in a circle. This circle was about 30 feet round and I could see crappie swimming over the whole circumference of it. Time to get a fly into that area.

I made a short cast with the sinking line and dropped the fly near the edge of where I could see the crappie. The fly had just touched down when I had a fish on. This looked like it would be great fun. In fact I got another three crappie on the next three casts.

Here is a picture to show what I was catching.

I was getting ready to make the fifth cast when I saw the bolt of lightening. In a count of three I heard the thunder. For a few seconds I did contemplate staying and getting some more crappie. When would I ever hit something like this again? Then there was another bolt and I was on the way.

I did get home and had everything unloaded and put away before the rain started. I had to fillet the fish in the garage. I also got wet getting the guts buried. But I had fun and saw a new behavior with crappie that I had never seen before. I may have to try this pond again next weekend to see if I can find those crappie again.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick Written October 4, 2007

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