Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

New Personal Best
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Publisher's Note:
Rick's fishing season is over until the ice melts, but we have a nice stash of articles he has written in the past as ideas or events occured to him. We hope this will explain apparent 'out of season' articles.

I was out at the lake late this afternoon. No patients were scheduled and the crappie have started to come in. I thought it would be more fun to catch a few crappie than to sit in the office and try to do something to look busy.

When I got out to the lake there was one other person fishing on the far jetty. I decided to fish the jetty by the parking lot and see what would happen. I tied on a Bead Body Minnow and started casting.

I had caught about a dozen crappie, measuring about 8.5", when I felt a different hit. When I got the fish in it was a 6" walleye. This was a surprise. The only reason I can think of that a walleye would be in this shallow of water would be to eat the spawn of the crappie. I ended up catching 4 more walleye about the same size. I decided to move from that spot and change flies.

I tied on a Streamer Nymph with a bead head and started casting. I was doing a slow steady retrieve. The fly was down about 2 feet from the surface and I could see the fish strike at the fly.

I will not tell you how many times I rushed the setting of the hook. I did catch several fish before the bite started to slow. Being somewhat curious to see if a different retrieve would start the fish again, I started and strip and pause retrieve. The crappie loved this and smacked the fly very hard. I caught about twice as many with this retrieve as I had before.

I decided that it was time to move and went to the other side of the jetty. I know that about ten feet from the shore there is a drop off that goes from about 3 to 6 feet of water. I cast out along that and was retrieving the fly. I felt a tap and then a heavy weight. I thought I had hooked a log or a piece of concrete slab. I could not move the fly. I was getting ready to go around the shore to see if I could dislodge the fly when the line started to move.

I knew that I would have to be careful. I had some 5X tippet material on and would not be able to horse the fish. I let the fish take line and when the fish stopped I would try to retrieve a little of the line. We did this tug of war for about 15 minutes before I got my first glimpse of the fish. I had tied into a huge bass for this part of the country. She decided to swim off again so I let her.

I had about 10 minutes where she did not take any line, but I could not gain any line. Finally I started to gain some line. Now my thoughts were beginning to think about how I was going to land this fish. I did not have a net with me and was afraid to try to lip her, for fear of breaking the leader in the thrashing at that time. I knew this was going to be a problem as I could see the fish every once in a while as she moved up to the surface and then went back down.

Then the good thing happened. A truck with a boat pulled in to the parking lot. He was going to head out onto the lake to do some fishing. When he saw me fighting the fish he came over to see what was going on. When he saw the fish for the first time he ran to his boat to get his net.

About 35 minutes after I felt the strike I got the bass in close enough that he could reach out and net her. I reached in and took the hook out of her jaw. It came out fairly easily.

His net was one of those that weighs the fish while it is in the net. She turned out to be 8 lbs 4 oz. This is a new personal best for bass for me. It beats my old record by almost 1.5 lbs.

By this time a few other folks were there. One guy said that he wanted the fish and tried to take the net from the man who owned it. He shoved the guy away and handed the net to me. I turned the net over enough that the bass could get out and swim away. I felt that it was the very best thing that I could do. I then stowed my rod and headed back to the office. Anything else for the day would be anticlimactic.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick Zieger

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