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Almost Skunked


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I head out to a pond on a Friday. It is my day off and I have everything else pretty well caught up. It really does not matter if things are caught up, because I have the itch to get out and wet a line.

I am anticipating a good day. The temperatures are dropping and the fall feeding binge should be going on. This is the time of the year that I get some of the biggest fish of the season.

I do have everything with me on this day. I even remembered the camera. This way I can show you some of the fish that would be released back into the pond. This is a pond I hit a few times a year. The cattle are rotated so that I can get into it.

The wind begins to blow just before I get to the pond. It is a nice gentle breeze. Enough wind to cause the surface of the pond to have a little ripple to it. This might cause the fish to come up a little higher in the water column.

I get everything situated in the canoe and move it down to the shore. I stop about twenty feet back from the shore and make a few casts. This is normally a good spot to pick up a few fish.

I did not connect with any fish so I get the canoe in the water and start fishing my way around the pond.

I have a silver Goldie Jr, a black furled tail mohair leech, a hares ear type fly, and a peacock sword tail nymph on the rods. I fish these flies as I move around the pond. I fish them shallow, deep, slow, fast and jerky. I fish in shallow water, deep water and all those places that are in between.

After an hour I have caught one bass that was about six inches long. So much for the anticipation of a good day. But this is a challenge. What do I need to do to catch the fish that I know are in this pond? I have used a flashy fly, a dark fly, a neutral fly and a fly that moves a lot of water.

None of these have been successful so it is time to go weird.

I tie on a red hares ear made from llama fur. I tie on an orange leech sort of fly made from some fun fur yarn. Another rod gets a purple woolly bugger to try. The last rod gets an olive wet fly on it. I know that most of these colors are not normal, but the water is a little off color and the fish are not biting.

I do a little better with these. Over the next hour or so I get two more little bass and a four-inch crappie. The wind is blowing harder now and continues to increase in speed. If the fish are doing gentle bites, it might be that I am not feeling them.

Since these flies are not working well, I try some other flies. Fluorescent green, pink, yellow and a four colored woven fly (black, orange, white, and red) goes on. With no success it is time to really hit the wild things.

I do not do any better with these flies. The wind is increasing in speed and gets to the speed where one anchor does not hold me in place. That is my indicator that I need to get off the pond.

My total for the day is three little bass and one little crappie. Not what I thought I would catch. It was a good day to be out. There was some humble pie for dinner that night.

I am not sure if I will get out to this pond again. Temperatures are dropping and the ponds will freeze over soon. I will be back at this pond sometime trying to entice the fish to bite.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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