February 18th, 2002

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

Loss of a Friend
By By Richard D. Zieger, Iowa

Was at church today when we found out a friend who moved away from here a long time ago had died. I guess I had not heard from him or contacted him in over five years. This was the man who first took me to several of the ponds I fish in this area. As we talked after church, we realized this man had taken several of us out fishing to various ponds in the area.

I remember the first time he took me fishing. We drove about six miles from town and pulled off near a locked gate to a pasture. We then walked about half a mile back to the pond and down the hill to get to the dam. We had some fairly good fishing and a lot of fun talking about what we were doing. I grew up fishing in Alaska so I had no idea (still may not) what I was doing on a farm pond or what kind of fish I might catch.

He kindly suggested places I might cast to and lures I might use. This was in my pre-fly fishing days. He taught me a great deal about how to figure out what the water under the pond might look like because of the land around the pond. He also explained that a light wind would collect algae over the vegetation growing at the edge of a channel. The waves were also smaller as they went over these weeds even if they were under water. This could suggest an edge to deeper water. These are some things I now look for automatically but were new to me then.

He also always told us we taught him something every time we went out with him. At the end of the first trip he took me on he gave me a key. He told me he was to old to walk back, so I should go get the pickup, unlock the gate and drive down to get him. He saw a great deal more humor in this event than I did as it was happening. When we got to his house he told his wife what happened, she had a good laugh. She told me he did this to everyone he went fishing with. She also said he always had a key to the gate for any pond he fished.

I drove home somewhat embarrassed he had pulled one over on me and that everyone in town would know about it. When I got home I found his fishing gear in the back of my pickup. Being of sound mind I put it in the shed. He called me in about half a hour to get his gear and I told him that I had not seen it (for at least 25 minutes). He came over and looked in the pickup and I had him convinced he had taken it out at home and forgotten where he had put it. Two days later I drove to his house in the early morning and laid everything on his back porch. Everyone in town knew about it because I went to the local coffee shop and told them.

This was an event which cemented our friendship. We went fishing together fairly often and took some other people out fishing also. We always tried to go in their vehicle and pull the locked gate trick on them. Several of the people today talked about it being pulled on them.

Another of his favorite tricks was to take the largest fish out of your basket or off your stringer and put it in his. I don't know how many times I saw him do this. He always enjoyed watching people try to figure out what happened. He also always returned the fish to the person.

We talked of the good times we had with our friend. We all wondered why we had not called him, written him or anything else. The best excuse is we always figured we would have time. Turns out we ran out of time. Did call his wife and family today to talk to them and tell them how much he meant to me. Also told them how many people had talked about him today and the things he had done for them. I also apologized for not having done it before.

Told his wife that she had a place to stay if she wanted to come and visit the town again.

Guess I just wanted to rattle on this event and maybe stimulate you to contact someone who helped you along the road of becoming a fisherman. Now is the time to thank them. I also will remember Dave as I hit the water this summer to fish because he left his imprint on me.

Share the joy of fishing and thank those who help you, and those you get to help. ~ Rich Zieger


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