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A Machine?

By Rick Zieger, Iowa

I had a Friday that I had off from a change in my work schedule. I headed out to one of the ponds that I hit a few times a year. It was a little later in the morning, but I did not want to make to much noise earlier in the morning trying to load all the stuff on the truck. It keeps me on better terms with my wife and the neighbors. Don't ask me why I only grabbed two rods, but that is all I had in the pickup when I got to the pond. I did not loose any on the way. I just did not put them in.

I made a few casts from the shore to see if there were any fish in the area before I made waves with the canoe. I always want to fish the water before I make the waves and noise as the canoe goes into the water. I have caught fish to many times not to do this.

I got the canoe out and started fishing the area near where I launched the canoe. This is a large flat that is about 5 to 6 feet deep over about 300 square feet. It is always worth a few casts. I was using the black mohair leech(I furl the tail on these as I think the work better and last longer). This fly has a 1mm black bead head on it. This seems to help it break through the surface tension a little better.

I did figure out fairly fast that the fish liked the fly on the drop. I had to make sure that anything that looked suspicious was reason to set the hook. There was not a lot of time to decided if it was a bite or not. When in doubt set the hook. It worked more often than not. With any hesitation the fish seemed to be spitting it back out.

I moved around the bend on this pond to start fishing down the south bank of the pond. At this point I saw the other fisherman on the pond. He was wet wading down the pond. I asked him how he was doing? He told me he was not catching very many at all. He showed me two bluegills in his fish container. It was a sort of mesh bag that attached to his belt. He did not know where it came from as it was a gift. I wish I could find one.

He was wearing a life jacket as he was not sure how deep the pond was or where he might step off in deeper water. I don't take people out in my canoe without life jackets on, so I invited him to get in the canoe and we would fish the pond. He got in and we moved on down the pond. The area he was fishing is only about 16 inches deep. I did not think any fish would be in that shallow of water. I did try a few casts just to prove that my reasoning was correct.

We got down to some deeper water and I dropped the anchor so we could fish the area. I let him cast first, partially so I could watch and see how he did it. I did not one to be one of his strikes.

He seemed to be careful in what he was doing. He was casting tube jigs. I cast the leech out and let it drop. There was a little twitch in the line and I set the hook. I had a nice fat bluegill put a bow in the rod tip and make it dance some. But the gill soon came to hand and went in the fish basket. I cast out in the same area and let the fly drop. This time the bluegill wanted to head to the dam end of the pond. The rod tip was down and dancing before I knew what was going on.

Strikes like that are so easy for me to detect. I am not sure I want all of them to be that way. It is fun to catch fish when they are making subtle strikes also. It keeps the anticipation level up and keeps me from being bored.

I had caught my fifth fish when I was asked how I knew the fish were hitting the fly. I tried to explain to him what I was seeing, but it did not seem to make sense. I cast out and had him watch the line. I saw the line twitch and set the hook. He had not seen the line twitch.

I looked at what he was using. It was an 1/8 ounce jig head and tube body. I asked him if he had any aberdeen hooks with him. He did and we changed his set up. I pushed the eye of the hook through the front of the tube and tied it to the line in the skirt area. He then cast it out and I watch it fall. I yelled "strike" when I saw the line twitch and he jumped, but he had a fish on. It took a few more times and he began to see what was happening. He did not see it every time, but enough that he was catching a few fish.

We moved on around the pond and fished as we went. I was having great fun with the black mohair leech. I got a fish on about 3 out of 5 casts. That makes for some great fun. We had fished for a little over an hour when he told me, "You are a fishing machine." He had never seen anyone catch fish that fast.

I finally tied on another fly and tried that and caught fish on the drop. I caught fish on 16 different flies. A few fish on each and then I tried another fly. On days like this I will try several flies as I think fish hit a fly that has caught a fish before better than they do flies that have never caught a fish. So on these days I try to get several flies exposed.

I had to leave to give my wife a ride to work. As we were leaving the pond my friend, Bart, said that he had fun. He also said that he was a little disappointed. I wanted to know why? He said he had been out to try to catch fish to have a fish fry, but folks would need to bring other things to make up for the lack of fish. I gave him enough fish to do the fish fry.

I had a lot of fish in the basket. I gave him around half the fish I had. He told me that I could not do that. I told him they were the fish I had caught and I could do almost anything I wanted to do with them. In about a month we may get together for him to try a fly rod. He has a vacation and a few other things that he needs to get done.

I did not count the fish I gave him, but I had 54 fish filleted when I counted them. If I gave him near that number and with the bass that went back in, I may have had another triple digit day.

The main thing is that I meet another nice person who fished and we had a good time. I do hope we get together with a fly rod, on a new pond to me that he knows about. It is supposed to have some big crappie in it. Yes that is slobber on my shirt.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rickwritten 08/27/08

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