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Rick Can Catch Fish

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was Saturday and time to head to a pond. There were a few things that had to be accomplished early in the day and after all those things were out of the way I headed out. I was heading out at the time that I am normally heading back home. But, the temperatures had been down and I thought with the sun coming out the fish might be more active.

This is a pond that I have not been into for a few years. One of those places that someone had cut a fence and driven across the field when it was wet. They then turned around and came out another place and cut the fence again. So the land was off limits for a while.

I had to get a key to get through the gate, but that was OK. This is a nice pond. It is almost rectangular in shape. About 160 yards long and about 65 yards wide. The deepest water is about 15 feet deep near the dam. Most of the water is about 6 to 8 feet deep. There is a nice ring of weeds and a few water lilies around the edge of the pond. There was a slight breeze out of the west so it was convenient to put an anchor down and cast for a steady position.

I had four fly rods with me. The first one I picked up had the Fly of the Week for the week of September 17 on it, the blacklegged bug. That is what had been on before and seemed a good place to start.

I cast this out and let it land near the edges of the weeds. It had barely hit the water when the fly was slammed. The fish hit going away and was hooked before I could do anything. That means that I had not been ready for a fish to hit that fast. It was a nice fight to get the fish to the canoe. It was a nice fat bluegill. A great start, one cast and one fish.

I cast a few feet farther along the weeds, ready to set the hook this time. Again the fly had barely hit the water and a fish was on it. This turned out to be a little bass, six-inches long. I made another cast to the edge of the weeds, just a little farther along. This time the line just started to move. I set the hook and had a fish start to twist and turn in every direction that there is. I thought I might have a catfish or a bass on the line. I was surprised to find that this was a crappie. I have not had crappie act like this before. This fish was on steroids.

I cast near the weeds on the other side of the canoe. I had another bluegill want to take a long trip with the fly. This was a huge bluegill. She was about 12 inches long and too big to pick up with my hand. I lipped her to get her in. I was very tempted to keep her, but she still swims in the pond. Hopefully she will live another year or two to pass those genetics on.

I got two more bass as I cast along the shoreline on this side of the canoe. All of them hitting the fly just after it touched down in the water. I moved on around the shoreline and found that some places had fish and others did not. If the fly was not taken just after it hit the water, then it was ignored. I tried other flies, but they did not work as well.

I had several fish in the basket by the time I had circled the shoreline. I had released a bunch of bass. I began to wonder if there might be fish in the deeper water that would take a fly on the drop. So I cast out toward the center of the pond. I did nothing more than that. The fly had an opportunity to just drop. I saw the end of the fly line twitch and I set the hook. I was sure I had a bass on the line. It was just fighting like that. I was bum foozled to see a crappie come out of the water. In fact this fish jumped three times.

If it happens once it just might happen again. I cast out again and let the fly drop. This time it was a bass that took the fly. This bass never jumped it just stayed deep and pulled on the line. The bass were acting like crappie and the crappie were acting like bass.

I kept on casting out in the deeper water. I caught about half the fish I hooked. I think most of them were crappie as I lost several as they jumped. But I had a good time and had several fish in the fish basket.

The fly finally came apart on me. All the fish had been on this one fly. I decided that this was a good time to leave. I was surprised when I lifted the fish basket at the number of fish that I had in it. I knew that I had tossed 48 bass back into the pond. The landowner wanted to know how many bass I caught so I kept track of it.

I got home and got everything out of the truck and placed where it needed to be. I then filleted the fish. I ended up getting 45 bluegills and 15 crappie. With the bass I had a triple digit day. That had not happened for a long time.

I had the fish filleted, washed off and in the refrigerator in just over an hour. Lots of good eating there.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (Written October 7, 2007)

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