We had a week when it did not rain. That is unusual this spring.
I decided to take my canoe out. I knew I would have to take it
in on the little cart I have to haul it on. I also knew that would let
me get out on the pond.
I decided to try another pond that I had not been to this year. It is
a little way back off the main road, but has a nice field road to get
to it. It is just over a half-mile hike to get into the pond via the road.
I got everything loaded in the canoe and started into the field. It was
a little harder than I expected. Wet grass has more drag than you
might think. I did get to the pond. Again the water was not very
clear, but it was better than some others I had seen.
I had a black mohair leech on one rod and put a Cyperts minnow,
with red chenille, on the other rod. I had no idea what might work
in this pond. I started casting toward the shore and slowly retrieving
the fly out. I wanted it to come out over the breakline and drop down
the face of the slope on the breakline. I hoped the fish might be along
I know there are weeds along the shoreline. I can see them and I
know they extend underwater. I thought I was hitting the tops of
the weeds as I retrieved the fly. It was just that little knick of a tug.
Not a single fish was hitting.
I was getting ready to move the canoe to another spot. I cast out
and let the fly drop and started to slowly reel the line in. This klutz
has learned to reel the line in before he moved the canoe. That
way the tangle gods cannot have anything to play with. I have
not figured out how to exorcise them from my canoe. As the line
came in, it started to move to the side. I did a quick hook set and
had a gill on the line. Could it be that all those little line knick were
There is only one way to find out. I put another cast out and
as soon as I felt the little hit I sat the hook. I got another bluegill
on the line. They were not hitting the fly very hard.
This one was barely lip hooked and I almost lost him in
trying to get him into the canoe.
I made some more casts before I moved the canoe. I had
several fish on for a few seconds before they got off. They
were either crappie that rolled on the fly or were fish that
were barely lip hooked.
I moved on around the pond. I did put on another leech
that did not have as long a tail on it. Maybe with the
shorter tail I would get a better hook set. At least it
sounds profound. I caught a few more fish in each
place I stopped, but lost more than I could get to the
Every once in a while I would tie into a good-sized bass.
I caught several smaller ones also. I did get over a dozen
bass that went from 3 to 5 pounds in size. They are all still
swimming in the pond.
As the sun got higher the wind started to blow from
the east. I know that this pond has a long slope that
takes water from about three feet deep to eight feet
deep. This is on the end opposite the dam. I wondered
if there might be some fish on this slope looking for food
to be pushed onto this slope by the wave action.
I anchored the canoe about 10 feet from where the
slope starts. I cast into the wind and let the fly drop
and slowly started retrieving the line. I was letting the
wind move the fly and just keeping the slack out of the
line. I noticed the end of the fly line going deeper into
the water. I sat the hooked and had a very nice crappie
on the line.
I made another cast and had two fish hit the fly, but lost
both of them. On the next cast the fly was almost at the
canoe when I saw the flash of a crappie rolling on the fly.
I had this fish on for a few seconds and then it was off.
Those fish were being hooked in the side of the mouth
and the hook was ripping out.
Time to change. I tied on another couple of flies. Both
of these have small beadheads on them. The beads are
really made for size 16 to 18 hooks. These were on size
12 hooks. It adds just a little weight and gets the flies just
a little deeper. I hoped by being deeper the fish might rise
to the fly and not roll on it. You just don't know unless
It did work for me. I caught several more fish. Both
the crappie and the gills were about 9 inches long. I
got to thinking about how many fish I had caught, so
I lifted the basket to look at it. There were a few more
than I had thought I had caught. I also thought of how
far I had to roll the canoe to get out to the road. As much
as I hate to leave biting fish, it was time to head out.
I got the canoe on the cart again and started to move it.
I had not moved far when I lost a wheel. I lost a cottering
pin and the washer that was between it and the wheel. I
have no idea how long the pin had been out and could not
find it. I considered dragging the canoe all the way out with
everything in it. I had moved the canoe about forty feet when
that idea lost its appeal. Wet grass causes a lot of drag on a
17-foot canoe. I took the fish back to the pond and put them
in the water.
I then carried the canoe out to the gate near the road. I went
back and put the anchor rope on the paddle. This way I could
carry both of them that way. I put my life jacket and vest back
on and carried the little trailer in my other hand. This was my
second trip to the gate. I came back and got the rods and the
fish basket on the next trip.
That was my exercise for the day.
I did end up with 42 bluegills, 12 crappie, and left a bunch of
bass in the pond. I also hooked less than half the fish that hit
for the day. Not great success in catching all the fish I hooked,
but still the best day I have had this year.
I did get to share fish with a family that was visiting from Sweden.
The father had been a foreign exchange student several years ago.
They were back visiting. They were happy to be able to try the fish.
I spent the early afternoon picking and cleaning my gooseberries.
My plants are starting to do better. The fresh gooseberry pie was
wonderful. Trust me on that. My good friend Frank said it was
Hope you can get out on the water.
~ Rick Zieger