Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

Slow But Steady

By Rick Zieger

This has been a different week. For one thing it has been very warm and humid. Not the best of conditions to go out over my lunch hour, but the best time to go fishing is when you can go. We have not had any rain lately, here, so the water is starting to clear up a little.

I am fishing the flat near the far fishing jetty. From previous experience I know there will always be some fish in that area. I may have to cast out 40 feet to get where they are, but I can do that on my best days. There is usually some wind blowing. This puts a small ripple on the surface and gives me an indication of how fast to retrieve the fly. This means the fly is usually moving very slowly, but that is not a bad thing.

When I got to the lake I saw several small dragonflies flitting around the edge of the lake. That means it is time to stay with more natural flies rather than going with the attractor type flies. More hares ears and PTN and damsel nymph patterns. Later when I don't see the small dragonflies I will try more attractor type flies.

I have an eight-colored PTN on a size 12 hook with a bead head that I cast out first. I let this fly drop for a long time to get it near the bottom. This also lets me fish the fly on the drop to see if that is what the fish want. I can then vary the retrieves as I bring the fly in to see which retrieve works better.

On Tuesday it was the drop that turned the fish on. On about every fifth cast as the fly was dropping a fish would take it. The end of the fly line would go under water, which is a fair indication that something is happening, and I would set the hook. I would have a nice bluegill on the line, all of which did not want to be on the end of the line. They put a nice arc in the rod and caused the tip to throb, as they turned sideways to fight. They ran from eight to eleven inches long. It has been a while since I saw gills that big in the lake. Hopefully they will not be fished out.

Thursday was a different day. We had a wind of about 35 mph out of the west. I could not cast far enough into this to get a fly to where the fish might be. I went to the setting pond so I would have the wind at my back and have the road to block some of it. The only fly that worked on this day was a yellow PTN with a 1mm gold brass bead on it.

The fly also had to be dropping. Any sort of retrieve and the fish would ignore it. It was cast it, let it drop. If a fish did not take it then bring it in and cast again to another spot.

The takes were very subtle on this day. Just a twitch of the end of the line, but that was the signal to set the hook.

I got a mixed bag of bluegills, crappie, bass and one huge green sunfish. It was not fast fishing, but certainly better than setting in the office. I also found a few blackberries that were ripe along the edge of the pond. They were a nice little snack.

Friday was the cloudy day. There is a chance of rain today a much-needed rain. The wind was blowing about 15 mph. Time to fish the main lakeshore line again today. The water is clearing more and I wonder if this will let the fish see the fly from a longer distance. There is one way to find out. I try to interest the fish in the yellow PTN again but they don't seem to care. In fact they don't seem to be interest in any of the flies I try.

If they don't want the skinny small things, then it might be time to go with a larger, thicker, meatier fly to prick their interest. I have tied up a few flies using some llama hair for the body. Pheasant tail fibers for the tail, llama dubbing for the body in a dubbing loop, and pheasant tail fiber for the wing case. I then pull the fibers down and wrap a few times to bind the fibers down. I then pull the fibers down on each side of the thorax and under the body to form legs. I cut about half the pheasant tail fibers out at this time. I then wrap a few times to hold them in place and whip finish.

When I would get this fly out about 30 to 35 feet and fairly deep, a fish would be excited to see it as they tried to take it to the far side of the lake. I never set the hook; I just held on and worked to bring the fish in. The fish took the fly in such a rush that they set the hook.

I had two cars stop to watch me land one of these fish. They put a very nice arc in the fly rod as they swam back and forth, trying to get away. The fish were scattered out over the area, but as long as they could see the fly they went for it. In fact a dozen of them went for it. I might have caught more, but the rumble of thunder reached my ears, just as the first raindrops hit my head. Time to get away from the water.

But it was a fun time being at the lake and having some fish take the fly.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick Zieger
(Written June 27th, 2007)

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