Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

Frustration and Shut Out!


By Rick Zieger

It has been awhile since this has happened to me over my lunch hours. This is what happens in the early spring before the fish have really started to move in. During the summer I can usually catch a few fish when I go out over the noon hour.

All three days that I went out were much the same. It did not matter what fly I tied on, the fish were not interesting in taking it in. They would follow it for a ways or come up under a popper, but would not bite them. I watched several fish do this on different flies.

I retrieved the flies high, low and medium in the water column. I know I was deep as a few times I snagged weeds. That is a good thing as it tells me that I am getting deep in the water column. I retrieved the flies slow, fast, medium with all sorts of jerks and tugs and nothing worked. I went through a dozen flies on each day.

Many of these flies are ones that have worked well for me before. I also tried some of the new flies that have been sent to me. I used flies from size 6 to 16. There were dull colored flies and bright colored flies. Some of the flies were one color and others had multiple colors in them. I used impressionistic flies and I used attractor flies.

To make sure I was letting the foam floating bug stay still long enough, I would cast it out and then put the rod down and cast with another rod. This is legal in Iowa, but check the regulations in your state. The bug staying still for a long time did not do anything.

I changed to a popping bug and put that on. I let it set for over a minute and then popped it a little. I did this all the way back in. Fish would come up and look at it, but not take it. I changed colors, sizes and that did nothing to remedy the situation. I pulled it longer distances on each pop. That did not change things. I swam the bug back in a continuous motion, to leave a "V" shape on the surface of the water. No luck with this either.

I use weighted and unweighted flies with all sorts of retrieves. I could see, at times, that the fish were following the fly, but not taking it. The did not follow it every time, but several times they came in far enough that I could see them swimming behind the fly.

I changed sizes, colors, patterns and any other thing I could think off. I even went to some 7X tippet that I have. It just did not make any difference.

I wanted to catch even one little fish to be kept from being shut out. I went to the main lake and cast around the two jetties that are there. That is usually good for a couple of little green sunfish. I could not even catch them. In fact I did not even see them come out and look at the fly.

I am chalking this week up to some casting practice. I spent a lot of time casting left-handed. I can get about 30 to 35 feet of line out and hit within a foot of where I was aiming. So I improved that part of my fly fishing repertoire. What I did not improve was my catching and hooking ability. It was a reminder to me that this is the reason that it is called fishing and not catching.

Tomorrow is a Saturday and I hope that I do better than I have during the week. It is one of those times that keeps me humble. My wife will laugh when she asks me how many fish I caught this week. She will be sure to let a few people know about my "grand total."

I will be back out again next week to see what I can do. Hope spring eternal for fishermen. I can't do any worse that I did this week.

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

(Written 07/26/07)

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