Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

Sunday Challenge
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 got a phone call at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. A fellow that lives in a retirement complex here in town wanted me to go fishing with him. He wanted to have a fish fry that night and felt that he needed someone else to catch a few fish. He also wanted to show me that there were better ways to fish than with a fly rod.

He picked me up about 15 minutes after he called. There was another person in the car. He said that he had a pond that he wanted to go to. The third person was going to handle a long handled net to get any fish that we might hook. It was a good thing that he was along as there were weeds out for 10 to 12 feet from the shore. Part of this is due to weeds and the rest is due to the ponds getting back up to where they should be. This is a pond on some land that I have never been able to get access to.

As we were getting rigged up to fish he brought up his bargain. He would be able to keep all the fish we caught. If I caught more fish than he did then he would buy my dinner that night for helping get the fish for his fish fry. He told me that he felt it was a safe bet as he had a secret lure to catch fish with. I told him that he could have the panfish, but the bass were going back in. Also I was not going to hold him to the dinner part.

I watched the pond for a minute and noticed that there were some very small rings on it. I did not see any fish coming to the surface but they seemed to be taking something just under the surface.

I tied on a size 14 fly that I have been messing with for gills. It has a short black marabou tail, black chenille body and three short black legs on each side from rubber hackle. The one I tied on was unweighted. I moved about 30 feet from the other fisherman and started casting.

My first cast went just about straight out from the shore. I let the fly hit and start to drop. The line twitched immediately. I set the hook and had a nice gill on. The man with the net came down and let me lead the gill into the net that he had placed on the edge of the weeds and pressed them down a little. I cast out again and had the same thing happen but this was a harder fight. The fish did not want to come in. I finally got the fish turned and coming toward the shore. This was a huge gill. We measure it at 11.5" long with a huge girth. Before they could do much about it she went back into the water.

After that it turned into a very good time. It was almost a fish a cast. There were several fish that got off when I gave them a little slack trying to get them to move out from the shore so I could bring them in where the net was. Still it was great fun to catch them. None of the fish were hitting very hard and it was just a slight line twitch that indicated the strike. I had caught 23 gills when our time ran out. The other guy had eight. He decided that was enough fish for the fish fry and he needed time to clean them. He also was laughing as he was sure that he would catch more fish than I would. He was also happy that I could come so there would be enough fish.

On the way home he did stop at the local pizza place and paid for a pizza for me to get that night. He said he was a man of his word.

It was fun to go to a new pond and figure out what the fish would take. It was also nice to have supper done and not have to clean the fish.

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

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