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Good Crappie Day

By Rick Zieger

It was going to be a hot day. I headed out very early to beat the heat. The best-laid plans always get messed up when you don't want them to be. I was coming over the top of a hill when I saw the flash of a cow's eye in the ditch beside the truck. I hit the brakes and got stopped just before I would have hit a cow on the road. After collecting my thoughts I got out and chased the cows out of the road.

I then headed for a house where I saw a few lights on. What other fools are awake at 5:30 am? But it was nice that they were awake. I knocked on the door and found out who owned the cattle. They called the owner and I went back down the road to try to warn anyone who came by. Even with my flashers on, the cars that came by never even slowed down.

The owner got there and we finally got the cattle back into the field. This was about a 20-minute job, much easier with two people doing it. Then the really good thing happened. He asked where I had been headed to go fishing. After I told him where I was headed, he offered to let me go fish one of his ponds. I took him up on this offer.

He had me follow him to his house and get a key to unlock the gate. He described where it was at and asked me to bring the key back when I got done. This seemed like a good deal to me.

I got to the pond and got all my stuff into the canoe. This pond is about three acres in sized and almost a perfect rectangle. There are lily pads around about 1/3 of the pond. There are some pondweeds around the rest of it. The water was clear and I could see down about 6 feet. There was no wind to speak of.

I made the first cast down the pond about three feet out from the weeds to see what might happen. They fly was dropping when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and had a fish on. A new pond, the first cast, a strike and a nice crappie into the canoe. What a start! That was the only fish there. I moved a little way and tried again.

This time the first cast was almost a repeat, but the fish was only on about 10 seconds and then the line was limp. My guess it was a crappie that rolled on the fly, got hooked in the side of the mouth, and the hook tears out after that short time of fighting the fish. That must be it, not any bad habits or poor technique on my part. Again this was the only fish at this place.

I decided to try to cast to the center of the pond and see what might happen. The fly is dropping when I tangle with a nice sized bass. She thinks she has a pilot's license as she spends more time in the air than in the water. But she was great fun to land on a 3 wt. rod.

I move a little ways and try again. This time I have a good hook up and get another crappie into the canoe. As you will see in the pictures these are very nice crappie for coming out of a farm pond.

It seems that every time I cast in a new area I would have a fish hit the fly. I caught about half the fish that hit the fly. Again I think the ones I missed were rolling on the fly and were not well hooked. But it was a fun couple of hours. The fish were all over the pond.

I ended up with 50 crappie and threw back about 35 bass. Not bad for a morning that got cut short. When I returned the key I asked if the landowner wanted any fish. He said that he did not know how to clean them, even though he had a fillet knife in the house. I told him to get it and a bowl and I would do some fish for him.

I filleted out some for him. The end result of this is that I may get up to 15 more ponds to fish in. He says that he is going to get me a key to let me get into the other ponds on his property and will talk to his neighbors about my getting on their land. Helping with the cattle paid off again.

I had a fly, a Goldie, sent to me and I tried it on this pond. It worked very well on crappie. I am now trying to get info on how it is tied. If I get the information I will try to share it.

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

(Written July 16, 2007)

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