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Muddy Water

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It is another Saturday after it has rained a lot. It is also the birthday of the beautiful, intelligent woman that I am married to. She said to go to a pond in the morning and we would do other things later in the day. Who am I to argue with that?

It has rained a lot during the week. I don't even think about the canoe. I head to a pond that I know drains pasture land. I am hoping that it might not be as muddy. When I get to the pond, my hopes are shattered. It is fairly muddy, like coffee with cream. But I also know it will be the clearest water I find.

I still have the fly fishndave tied on the one rod. I tie on a black marabou leech on the other rod. This is going to be bright, flashy or dark to present to the fish.

I alternate using these flies as I work my way long the pond. I fish several depths with several different retrieves. I am 45 minutes into fishing before I catch the first bluegill.

But that is the only fish for the next hour.

I have tried other flies, but that does not seem to make a difference. This seems to be one of those days when I may not find a fly and presentation pattern the fish like. Days like this are a challenge to me. The harder the fish are to catch the more determined I am to find a way to catch them. I will admit that determination does not always equate with success.

The pond I am on has some bands of trees that have been planted in the areas of the pasture where water runoff might be prone to make gullies. This protects the pond, but does mess up fishing some of the places. All I seem to catch at those places is trees.

Serendipity, or pure dumb luck, struck as I was going through one of these areas. I hooked my shirt on a thorn on one of the trees. To remove the thorn, without ripping the shirt, I dropped the fly rods and the fish basket. I then slowly backed the thorn out of the material.

When I turn back I find a surprise. When I dropped the fly rods, one fly came out of the holder and flipped out into the pond. This was only about 6 inches off shore, and by a tree that had fallen into the pond. But there was a fish on the line. In fact it was a very nice crappie. I could not swing the fish in so I had to back up and slide it up onto the shore. The limbs of the other trees formed an arch over the area where the fish had been hooked.

That was my second fish. Could there be another fish there? No casting, but more of a cane pole cast to it. I dropped the fly into the water, just at the edge of the shore and then slowly moved it out from the shore. It had moved a few inches when another crappie slammed into the fly. I had to back up again to get the fish out of the water. I got four more crappie out of this area, by dropping the fly near the shore and slowly moving it out.

Because it worked so well at this place I tired it at a few other places where they were branches or shrubs at the waters edge. I got fish at a few of them, but lost several others as it was hard to try to get a good hook set on them.

The wind really picked up at this time. It was probably about 25 to 30 mph. It felt stronger than that in the little valley this pond is in. I was soaking wet from my waist down from walking through wet grass. With the wind blowing it was chilly.

I decided to head home. I had 10 crappie and two bluegill. This was more than I had expected to catch. It was nice to take a warm shower after the fish got cleaned and few other things were done.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

Muddy Water (part 1)

Muddy Water (part 2)

Muddy Water (part 3)

Muddy Water (part 4)

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