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One Fly

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I headed out early on June 10 for my normal constitutional for the week. I was not sure how the morning was going to work out as there were promises of thunder showers for the day. But it was not raining as I left the house or got out to the pond.

This is the pond that Joe Hyde and I went to just after he helped fix the anchors on my canoe. It has bass and bluegills in it. I am the only person that has fished it over the past few years. I got the canoe off and was starting to load everything in when I chickened out a bit. The clouds were low and dark and the mind began to play tricks.

The mind was saying that if I only took one rod out, with the anchors and fish basket that if I needed to leave fast then there would be less to load and it would take less time. The grass has not been cut in this field and if the grass gets very wet it is slicker than greased snot. As much as I wanted to put all four rods in the canoe the mind won out and I headed out with just the one rod in the canoe.

As the debate, in my head had been going on I had seen several swirls at the west end of the pond. This is the shallower end and has some weed growth in it. I decided this was the first place to try and see what might be going on.

Knowing that the pond had bluegills in it I decided to try a one fly sort of contest, like the Cornhusker group does each spring. One fly, no changes, and two hours to see how many bluegills you can catch. So I was out in the pond with one rod, a 3 wt, with the one fly, a black boa yarn leech, on it and the vest was in the pickup. I did have the life jacket on. I also had some extra tippet with me.

I made the first cast to a channel that is between two mats of weeds. The fly had just hit the water and the line was tight. I was into the first bluegill of the morning. This fish tired to get into the weeds and when I foiled that she headed for the open water. She stayed deep and broadside to me as she tried to get rid of that pesky hook. I finally got her up and found that she was just short of a foot long. She was full of eggs and went back into the pond.

With the activity I saw in the weeds and in the water behind the weeds I made a few more casts to this area. Each time the fly hit the water and started to drop a bluegill would suck it in. All of these gills wanted to stay in the weeds, but when they could not reach them headed for the other end of the pond. All of them stayed broadside to the line and deep. Each of them took a few minutes to land, but they were fun to catch. I returned two more gills that were nearly a foot long to the pond. I had put six smaller ones, eight inches or so, into the fish basket.

I decided to try some other places along the pond and see where the fish might be. I left the back anchor down and started to slowly drift to the east, on the north side of the pond. There was a breeze out of the west and it made a nice speed to move.

I found fish all along the shoreline and several out in the deeper water of the pond. Any time the fly was cast and allowed to drop the fish seemed to be interested in it. If they did not hit it on the first drop then I would retrieve about six inches of line and let the fly drop again. This worked on almost every cast. I was catching some nice bluegills and some nice bass also.

I reached the east end of the pond, where the dam is. There are several trees on the dam that overhang the pond and I thought some fish might be located where those trees were hanging over the water. One of the things that I have been working on is roll casting in the canoe. Many times I find this a good way to get the fly under the branches of trees that are close to the water.

Much better than my trying to cast and get the fly to land under the branch. This is when I catch most of the 15 to 50 footers. With just one fly, I did not want to take the chance of losing it in a tree.

The bluegills were stacked in near the shore, probably over where the break line is out from the dam. I had fish hit on 52 consecutive casts. They would take the fly and head for the middle of the pond. These are educated fish because they knew every dido and twist to try to get off the hook. I kept less than half the fish I caught along the dam, as many of them were large females that were full of eggs.

I want those genes in the pond. I was to the west end of the dam, when I heard the first faint rumble of thunder. I had just made a cast and decided that I would fish it in and then go.

The fly had moved about a foot when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and the water exploded. I was into a large bass that did not like the sting of the hook at all. The fish took off and I was trying to put a little pressure on her to tire her out. I did not have long to do this as she found some brush on the bottom and wrapped the leader around something. In any case my fly was gone and the rumble of thunder was getting a little louder. I paddled to the place where the truck was and beached the canoe. I quickly got the rod and fish out of the canoe. I then took the anchors off and wrapped the anchor line up and got them in the canoe. I put the canoe on the pick up and got the sponges under it on the cab and quickly tied the canoe down. The thunder was getting louder and I could see the flashes of lightening. This was a fast-moving storm.

I drove out of the field and got to the driveway just as the storm hit. It poured rain, so much that I was driving 10 mph so I could see where I was going. I was almost home when it abruptly stopped. There was not another drop until very late that night, but I sure was glad I was out of the field.

I had brought home more than 50 gills for the day. I had caught many more than I brought home. But it was a fun day and interesting to fish just one fly with nothing else with you. It does make you want to be more careful with the fly.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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