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Long Wait

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I headed out to the lake over my lunch hour again. It is in the last half of July and the temperature has dropped some. There is no wind and the lake is calling my name. When I arrived at the lake I could see some rises on the settling pond on the east side of the road. This seemed to be the place for me to go.

I put on a black foam spider (Favorite Bluegill Flies) and cast it out. From experience I know to let this fly sit for a long time. Just when I think it is long enough that I should let it sit there, then I should let it sit that much longer. Then give it just a light twitch, just enough to move it. Then let it sit as long as it did before. (If you look this fly up in the previous article you will notice that the rubber hackle legs are fairly thick. I have tried it with thinner rubber hackle, but that does not work. The water tension will hold the legs against the body the first time they make contact.)

Just after the second twitch there was this slurping sound as the fly disappeared. I waited a second and then set the hook. I was into a nice gill that turned sideways and went to the bottom. I brought in some weeds as I got this fish to the shore. It was a nice 8.5" of brightly colored bluegill. I took the hook out and released this fish to fight again another day.

At this point I put a brown spider on the other line and cast each fly out. They were about 15 feet apart and about 20 feet out from the weeds. The brown fly had been on the water for about 30 seconds when a 12" bass slashed across the surface and took the fly. I did not have to set the hook as this fish did it for me. This fish also jumped a few times before I got it into shore. I had to use the forceps to get the fly out as it was down the gullet so far. I did get the hook out without hurting the fish.

I had just cast the brown out again when a huge green sunfish jumped out of the water and hit the black spider on the way down. By the time I got that rod picked up the fish was pulling on the line. This fish dogged around and tried to get into the weeds. More by luck than skill, the fish stayed out of the weeds. She turned out to be 11.5" long. The biggest green sunfish I have caught in this pond. I did not know they were that large. I released her to provide fun again on another day.

I cast the black fly out again but cast it more to the side so it was only about 10 feet out from the weeds. I picked up the rod with the brown spider on it and twitched it just enough to get the legs to move. The waves from that movement had just disappeared when the water opened up and the fly disappeared. I did pause before setting the hook, but more from surprise than skill. When I did set the hook the fun really started. This fish wanted to swim away and I was not trying to get her to come in right then. I did grab the other rod and wind the line up so the fly was off the water. As I was skittering it across the surface I had another 12" bass smash the fly.

I got this one in and a voice told me to fight the big fish, he would take the little one off for me.

This gentleman had been fishing on the main lake and had just loaded his boat up to head home.

He had stopped to ask if I was catching anything and saw the fish hit. He took care of the little one while I started to fight with the big one. I held the rod up as high as I could and still strip line in. I know that this pond has a ton of weeds on the bottom and I was trying to keep this fish out of them. I would pull a little line in and the fish would take it out, and then we did it again. The fish came up on the surface once and I could not see the fly, so I figured it was fairly well set. This tug-of-war continued for about 10 minutes before I started gaining some line. I got enough in that I stopped for a minute and put the line on the reel. As I continued to bring the fish in she would swim parallel to he shore. Since there is a 12 foot wide opening in the weeds that she would have to come through when I landed her, I was trying to get a sense of timing of when to bring her into that opening.

I could see the size of this fish and I wanted her in my hand for a minute. After a few more trips back and forth I got her up just under the surface and started to bring her in. I had brought the rod down from being very high and had the tip down some. I wanted to use the leverage of the rod to help move this fish into the shore. As I was bringing her into the opening I raised the rod and got her head up. With her head up I got her headed in and got her lipped before she really knew what was happening.

It took the forceps to get the fly out as it was buried deep in the roof of her mouth. She weighed just over seven pounds on the scales the other gentleman had. It was the biggest bass he had seen in the lake and told me he was jealous. I released her and told him that he could try for her the next time he was at the lake.

Time had run out and I had to get back to the office. My wife was working for me that day and I knew I would be in trouble if I did not get back on time.

PS. I went back out today, 5 days later. I did not catch a single fish on the foam spiders. Did get a few on other flies.

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

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