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Dang Bass

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It is the middle of October. We are still having some nice days, but the leaves are turning and the cold weather is coming. All too soon there will be ice on the ponds. That is the future. Now is the day that I can get out on the water.

Rain is in the forecast, so I leave the camera at home. The wind is blowing and is supposed to get stronger as they day goes longer. I opt to go out with only two rods this time. With the luck I have been having lately there will be less things to mess up and tangle.

I head for a pond that I know has some nice crappies in it. I have not been back to this pond since early in the spring when I tired to fish it. It was muddy as all the ponds were this spring.

Today the water is clear and I can see the bottom in about 6 feet of water. This is the clearest water I have seen all year.

It is cloudy and windy. I decided to go with a silver Goldie Jr and with a Marabou Miss. This will give me a flashy fly and a fly with a white body and chartreuse marabou. Both of these should be seen for a country mile. In fact as I cast them for a good period of time I could see the flies very well. I am not sure if the fish could see them or if the fish were just ignoring them.

Half an hour or casting resulted in no fish.

It is time to change flies. I go to a black boa yarn leech and a yellow streamer fly. Flash has not worked, so the black fly is the opposite. The yellow fly is just another color the fish might like.

I make several casts with the yellow fly and have no success. I have fished the flies to about six feet deeps, with all sorts of different retrieves.

I switch to the black fly and cast it out. I let it drop a little and then slowly start to retrieve this fly back. This fly does not have a bead head or any other weight on it. As I am bringing the fly in I see a crappie start to slowly move up under the fly. Why is a crappie coming up to get a black fly, not the other crappie colors, and moving so slowly? The water is not that cold. The anticipation of the crappie taking the fly is building quickly. I am only moving the fly about an inch at a time and then letting it pause for 4 to 5 seconds. This makes the materials pulsate some. Just as the crappie is starting to get really close to the fly, a little bass comes shooting in from the side and takes the fly in a rush. The crappie rolls and dives back down.

The darn bass messed things up. I get the bass off and make another cast. I make a longer cast to give the fish more time to see the fly. As the fly is coming back, another little bass rockets in from the side and takes the fly. So I bring in another of these little bass. What is this fish doing out 30 feet from shore and just under the surface? I am guessing that there may not be any larger bass in this pond and they are not worried about larger predators. Or, they are so hungry that they are all over looking for food. But if they were hungry why did they ignore the other flies?

I don't know if your mind goes strange places when you are out fishing and something weird happens. My mind, even though a few doubt I have one, does this. I try to figure out when the fish might be doing what they are doing. But I will do what seems to be working as I do it.

To make what could be a long rambling discourse shorter, I will just sum up what happened.

Black was the color today. The fly needed to be about two to three feet under water and moving very slowly. I tried deeper with a bead head fly and faster retrieves. None of that worked.

The slow retrieve worked to perfection on those darn pesky little bass. I had crappie some up under the fly on about 50 percent of my casts. On almost every occasion one of those darn, pesky little bass took the fly. Rarely would the bass leave the fly alone long enough for one of the crappie to take it.

The totals for the day give you an idea of how many times those darn, pesky little bass messed up the process. I got 103 bass and seven crappie for the day. Early in this process I began to think about keeping those little bass so they would not be some much of a bother. The clincher to stop this was cleaning all those little things. A six to eight inch bass does not have a lot of flesh on it.

The crappie fanatic did not get as many crappie as he wanted, but he did catch a lot of fish for the day. I did do a lot of left handed casting today. Even in the canoe I am finding more and more times that the left handed cast would be better to place the fly where I want it to go. In the future I will let you know if I am happy that Castwell put that thought in my head.

I got home and had the crappie cleaned and the guts buried, just before it started to rain.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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