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Memorial Day With EB
Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
My friend, from back in college days, called me the week before Memorial Day and said that we needed to go fishing. He said that we could go to a pond that was on some property that we had never received permission to go onto before. What more invitation did I need?

I picked him up at 6:00 am and we headed off to the pond. There was only one gate we could go through so we did not have to drive by any cattle. The owner does not want us going in fields with cattle in them. This got us to within about 25 feet of the pond.

We unloaded the canoe and put it over the fence. I then handed everything to EB to put in the canoe. I showed him the anchoring system and how it worked. He is thinking about doing something like that with his flat bottom boat.

We had decided that we would keep some of the fish we caught in this pond. The owner said he liked fish and we were going to take him some fillets. EB had decided that he wanted to fly fish this pond. He had not used his fly rod in a while and the line was coiled. We tried to straighten it, but with not much luck. I told him to use one of my rods and we could get out on the pond.

He wanted to use the flies that he had bought a few years ago and I went with a perch-a-bou. I know that this fly will catch crappie, gills and bass. We started casting when we got out on the pond. EB would cast toward the shore and I would cast out into the pond. That way we would cover all of the water and find out where the fish were.

I cast the fly out and was letting it drop when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and had a feisty gill on the line. This fish just did not want to come to the canoe. I finally did get it in. It was a nice fat male, with spawning colors on.

EB got his fly tied on and we both cast out. We both let the fly drop and then stated to retrieve. We were moving the flies very slowly and the fish would just smash into them. We really did not have to set the hook. Just hold on and try to get them to turn some and stay away from the weeds.

We were curious about the pond and just drifted around to try different places. Both of us were catching nice sized fish. We never knew if it would be a gill, crappie or a bass.

Being curious I decided to try another fly, just to see if it would work. I tied on a black marabou leech with small silver bead chain eyes.

I cast it out and had a gill hit the fly almost as soon as it touched the water. The next cast a crappie did the same thing. EB wanted to know if I had another fly like that. I replied no. He was turning back when I started laughing and dug one of the flies out for him to use. He then told me that actions like that could end in a loss of life.

We continued to slowly move along and reached an area where there is a mat of weeds. Both of us cast into that general area and had hits immediately. We were amazed at the size of the gills. Both of these fish were just over 12 inches long. We checked to make sure they were not hybrids. These fish went back into the pond. Being curious, and of sound mind (questionable?), we cast back into the same area again. Each of us had another carbon copy fish. We caught at least a dozen each of these and then left the area. We got to thinking that they might be spawning and did not want the nests disturbed.

We finally decided to leave as we had all the fish we wanted and thought we might spend some time with our lovely wives. We headed out and got everything loaded on and in the pickup. EB said that he would like to clean the fish at his house so he could use the remains in some ground he has just turned over. This worked out great. He likes an electric knife and I like a regular knife. I took the fillets of the one and he took them off the skin.

We ended up with about 80 gills and 45 crappie. We had tossed a large number of gills back in. We had also returned a good number of bass back into the pond. We were just finishing when the land owner showed up. He came to ask us when we would go into his pond. When we said we had been there he was not sure he believed us. He stated that there was not mess and garbage left behind.

We did give him some fillets to take home and eat.

I headed home on and on the way gave a bunch of fish away. It was a neat way to end a great day. Good fishing with a good friend.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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