Okay, okay, it's been a while, but I've had a string of bad luck that I hope
is coming to an end. My computer got a virus and got sick and died. We've
also been through two "100 Year" floods and a "500 Year" flood since the
middle of May (I'm not sure just who it is that determines these calculations
but I still can't understand how you can have two "100 Year" floods in one
year, especially since we had one in '93, '90, and '63…obviously someone can't
count!) The "500 Year" flood brought 24 inches of water into the house, after
going through two sewage treatment plants and who knows how many hog
Then to top it off, my mother was on her way to see
us from Arizona two weeks ago in her little Hyundi and was rear-ended just
north of Kansas City by a 13 passenger Dodge Ram van. Needless to say, the
car was totaled. She claims that neither St. Peter or the devil was ready to
put up with her so they sent her here. She's bruised and shaken but ornery as
ever, trust me, I would pity even the devil if she ever wound up on his
doorstep! She says she's flying home… closer to St. Pete that way, go
During The Big Flood all of the "Big Guys" were around. There was FEMA, DNR,
State Emergency Management, County Emergency Management, City Emergency
Management, the National Guard, and, of course, the Red Cross. I have to
admit right off, out of everyone who was here to "help" us, the Red Cross
definitely did the most! They brought food, water, clean up kits, gallons of
disinfectant and information on how to clean up the "mess", which kinda got me
thinking…. I'd never attempted to catch one of the feces species that the Red
Cross warned us was one of the "deadliest things in the water" on a fly rod!
I mean I've read about anglers going after shark and barracuda and such but
right here in Iowa, actually right here in my living room, one of the
deadliest water species known to human kind…. E. Coli!
I figured I'd need some pretty special gear for this adventure! A VERY small
tippet and a short, but lightning fast rod, definitely waders (I wouldn't want
one of those things creeping up on me from behind!), and some magnifying
polarized sunglasses. I knew I wouldn't need much backing on the reel since
the living room is only 20 feet or so across, but it was quite a debate as to
whether I should use floating line or sinking tip line, and if it should be a
shooting taper, weight forward or standard taper. I threw caution to the
wind, waded out to the garage and loaded on some florescent orange brick
layers cord. I figured the little buggers were probably color blind anyway!
Now for the right fly. I knew it had to be small, probably around a size 30
or so (I was hoping to entice a large one for mounting), but I just wasn't
sure of the color. Then it dawned on me; Dun of course! Match the hatch and
all that stuff - I'd use the old British standard, The Cow-Dung fly!
Okay, now I was set. My waders were on and weren't leaking. I hadn't been
able to find the magnifying, polarized sunglasses so I'd taken the lenses out
of my regular sunglasses, duct taped them onto the bottom of a couple of brown
colored root beer bottles and seemed to be in business. I'd mounted a micro
reel onto the butt end of a rod tip, (actually it was the plastic spool that
that the brick layers cord had come on, affixed to the rod tip with Duct tape,
but who cares about the minor points). I'd been able to split back the cord
and 'tapered' it so I could tie the micro dun on and was wading towards the
living room when I heard a voice from outside, "Sir, excuse me, sir? What on
earth are you doing?"
I turned towards the voice and found a short, plump, gray-haired lady
with a Red Cross vest on peering through my window. "You know you
really shouldn't be in there, even in the waders. If they should spring a leak
you may get a nasty infection! Do you know that there's a good
possibility that there's E. Coli, Cholera, Diphtheria and all kinds of really
deadly things in that water!" she added.
My eyes lit up, more new species! Here I was only going for one,
and now I find out there are more! I quickly asked her, "Which one
is the deadliest?" thinking of the trophy mount of course.
She looked at me with a confused expression, "Why they're all quite
deadly if not treated properly." was her response.
I was quickly becoming agitated with this intruder, the water was starting
to recede, time was a wastin', but now I had a person of knowledge and
possibly experience at catching one of these deadly swimmers!
So I asked her again in another way, "but ma'am, is one more deadly
than the other, or are they all about the same, as far as contagion is concerned?"
Again, she looked at me quizzically and asked, "Sir, may I ask, just what is
it that you are doing?" I was trying to explain as plainly as I could when
she interrupted me with a question of her own, "Sir, have you been
I said that because of the medications I'm on that I couldn't drink
alcoholic beverages, so to answer her question, no I had not been
drinking. With that she disappeared.
Finally, alone, the water slightly receding, but still at the 18 inch mark by
my estimate looking at the front sliding glass door, the quarry obviously all
around me, I stealthily made my first cast. A short roll cast towards the
northeast corner of the living room, the darkest area of the pool, surely
that's were I'd get my first hit.
I was slowly retrieving the fly when there was a very loud knock on the
door and a deep authoritarian voice boomed, "Sir, please step outside
of the house immediately!"
I really jumped, I mean it nearly scared the crap out of me! Finally I
managed to ask, in my own authoritarian voice, "Just who in the Hell
are you to order me out of my own home? Not to mention, probably
scaring every bacterium in the place into the darkest recesses of the carpet!"
"I'm with the Red Cross, Sir, and you really need to come outside,
Well I figured there was no Red Cross volunteer going to order me
out of my house and then horn in on a set of trophies for
his own wall, and I told him so! I heard him slosh away from the door,
mumbling something to himself, hey I figure it takes all kinds! Back to
I'd made a few casts into the corner without much success and was wading over
towards the northwest corner when I heard voices and sloshing heading my way
outdoors. I cut them off quick, "Whoever you are, whatever you want, go away,
The door opened and in walked two, very large, haggard looking
guys, followed by the gray haired lady and the other Red Cross guy. "That's
him officer, that's him!" the lady said, pointing her pudgy finger at me. "He
told me that he was trophy fishing for, for, well you know, I told you
outside!" she added.
I looked her straight in the eye, then at the three men
and said it for her "feces species, trophy size, for the wall." Thumbs
inserted into my suspenders, "Normally I'm a catch and release sort of
angler, but I figure there's an overstock right now and no one's gonna care
if I keep one or two. I've tried finding a regulation on limits and stuff, but
it's a pretty vague area I guess. By the way, who are you and can I get you a
rod too?" The two guys looked at me, eyes wide, then at each other and
started laughing, like I was the butt of some private joke between the two of
"We're DNR officers, Federal DNR officers" said one of them. The
other, still laughing looked at me in my "getup" and said "you fly guys just
never quit, do you? Always just another cast, always just another specie for
your list. I've met hundreds like you. C'mon guy, let's go. It'll be dark
soon and you really need to get some rest."
They led me out of the house, found me a cot and a hot cup of chocolate,
the gray haired lady really was nice, she even found my wife for me and
some new medication and a chair for her to sit by my cot. I thought it was
really nice of her. I was soon sleeping. . . dreaming of new species to fish for.
~ Randy Fratzke