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Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out to one of my favorite ponds in the middle of the week. With my work schedule I am usually free during the week and not on the weekends.. A benefit is that I normally don't run into any other fisherman.

I got to the pond and got everything ready to go. I had four rods with me. Two 3 wts and two 5 wts. A silver Goldie Jr on one, a streamer nymph on another, a floating nymph with a midge dropper on another, and a black boa yarn leech on the last rod. As I have mentioned before, I don't like to change flies so I change rods first and then do several flies at the same time.

I was just getting ready to move the canoe down to the water's edge when another vehicle came in. It was the land owner with one of his friends. I moved my pickup so they could put their flat bottom boat in. I did not get to fish the water at the launch area as they backed down very close to the edge of the water and put their boat in.

I launched out and moved a little way down the shoreline. I cast the floating nymph with the midge dropper first and let it set. I then grabbed another rod and cast with it. The fly was just dropping down to the depth I wanted to fish when I saw the line twitch. A hook set resulted in a fish that did not like the idea of being tethered to the line. It was a nice crappie, about a foot long.

Since crappie school I cast into the same general area but nothing happened. When I cast about 15 feet to the pond side of where I had cast before I got another crappie.

Since I had not caught another fish by casting in the same area where I had hooked fish before, I decided to cast into virgin water to look for fish. I cast to an area where I had not cast before and let the fly drop. I was just starting to retrieve the fly when it got smashed. No hook set needed.

The rod tip was down and the fish was cutting didos. You will have to trust me on this, meaning I forgot the camera again, but I returned a foot long gill back into the pond. I had to lip her as I could not get my hand around her, she was so fat. But what fun.

By now the other two anglers are out on the pond. They have seen me catch these fish and are excited. They figure a bite is on. I do ask him where he likes to fish on the pond. It is his land so I want to stay on good terms with him. He tells me that he really likes the side of the pond I am on.. I pull up the anchor and head to other side of the pond. I do assure him that it does not make any difference to me.

I get to the other side of the pond and anchor the canoe. I have been using the silver Goldie Jr and decide to try the black boa yarn leech. If it doesn't work, I can go back to the other rod. The dropper combo is back out. I have gone to the far end of the pond to fish into the slight breeze.. This will also allow the other guys to fish the area after they finish coming down the side of the pond they are on.

This is a large area that slopes gradually down to about four feet deep in the first ten feet offshore and then stays that depth out for another 25 feet or so. I start casting with the boa yarn fly.

Each time the fly got about 15 feet from shore it gets attacked. No subtle tap, just smash and take off. I have to cast up near the shore and bring it out to get this to happen. Yes, I did try to make shorter casts and the fish did not like that. When I made some casts out toward the center of the pond, the casts had to be fairly long before a fish would take the fly.

I moved up the pond after a while and anchored at another spot. I try the streamer nymph here and it does not interest any fish. Since there is a drop off here, about 15 feet from shore, I decide to cast the Goldie Jr so it comes and drops along the drop off. By placing the casts about 10 feet apart I pick up a few more crappie.

The clouds move on and the sun starts to shine on the water now. The fishing changes just that fast. No more smashing the fly. Now it is just a different feeling on the line. I have to pay attention to the slightest change to hook any fish, no more of being lazy.

The only fly that seems to work now is the silver Goldie Jr. I try some other flashy flies, but they just don't work as well. I am losing most of the fish now. I get about one of four that I hook.

One is close enough for me to see that it a crappie rolling on the fly. Those darn five second battles before the hook tears out.

I move around the pond to cover more water. As the sun gets higher the bite slows more and more. I try other flies and fish deeper, but it does not seem to matter.

I decided that it is time to head home. I have not really paid attention to the other boat, but they have been watching me. They head in just after I get the canoe out of the water and up on the shore. They come in and ask me how many I did catch.

I am not sure so they ask if they can empty the fish basket and count them. I let them as I load everything else. Their count is that I have 62 fish. I ask them how they did and they show me the five fish they caught. They then start to argue about who is going to take the fish to have a fish dinner. I take out six fish and give to them. That way they can both have a fish dinner.

The land owner told me he was going to outlaw flies on his pond. It is not nice to out fish the host. He was also interested in how much it would cost to get a fly outfit and how long it would take to learn to fly fish.

I told him how much he could spend on fly rod, reels, lines ect and that it would take his life time to learn how to do this. In an hour or so I could show him all I know about casting and he might catch some fish then. The flies we would have to negotiate as they are not commercially available.

A very fun day.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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