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Canoeless


By Rich Zieger, Iowa

One of the wooden thwarts on my canoe broke and I was not able to contact the manufacturer to see if I could order a new one. After two days of trying I found someone locally that said that he could make them for me. I guess I should have checked at home in the first place. At any rate it was Sunday afternoon before I got out. It rained on Saturday morning. When there is lightening in the sky I am not out with a graphite rod in my hand.

I did not take the canoe, as I did not have the two thwarts and I was not sure how stable it would be without those. So I was back to the old days of fishing from the shore. This is something that I do not do very often. I might not use the canoe when I have it with me because of weather, but I rarely leave the canoe at home.

It was wet enough at the pond that I went to that I left the pickup parked on the road and hiked into the pond. It is about a quarter of a mile back to the pond and I would have never made it in the truck. I could see that the level of the pond was up a few inches. That meant that we are finally getting some run off from the rains. Before this all of the rain, went straight into the cracks in the ground.

This pond is darn near the size of a football field and has a few little bays off of it. The deepest water is about 12 feet deep and that is on the southeast corner of the pond. There are several trees around this area that make shore casting very difficult. I decided to take it easy and went to the east side of the pond. The water is about three feet deep out for about six feet and then drops off to about six to seven feet. There are several old stumps along this area. Some are just under the water and others you find by losing flies on them. At least that is how I did it.

My thought was that if I could drop the flies by the stumps there might be some fish relating to them or to the break line that is not far from the stumps. I do like it when two things that fish like to use are near each other. With the trees being fairly close behind me, I was casting parallel to the shore and then flipping the line out toward the stumps. There just is not room to cast straight out. I was starting at the west end of this area and heading east so that I could cast out over the water.

I had a red and yellow boa yarn leech on. This fly does have a bead head on it to help it drop a little faster. The bead was for a size 16-18 hook and it was on a size 10 hook. I also have the flies tied without beads.

I let the fly drop about a foot away from the first stump that I cast to. It had dropped for a count of seven when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and had the first fish of the day on. It was a nice sized crappie. This was a little bit of a surprise, for the middle of the afternoon, but it may be the competition for food in the pond.

In any case it was a nice fish to go into the basket. I cast out again near these same stumps and let the fly drop again. This cast was about a foot longer than the previous cast, about the middle of the stump and a foot to the west side. Again at about the seven count the line twitched and this turned out to be a pugnacious bluegill. This fish just did not want to come in. I almost lost the fish twice in the weeds along the side of the pond. More by luck than skill, I got this fish in. This was a large female, just short of a foot long. She went back into the pond. I did pick up three more fish on this stump.

I picked up a few fish on each of the stumps as I fished them. I would cast short of the stump first and then to the stump, and then beyond it a little. This was done on both the shore and water side of the stump. It went between two and five fish to the stump. It was almost evenly divided between crappie and bluegills. There were also a few bass tossed in.

I heard a vehicle coming toward the pond. That made me decide that I should move until I could see who was coming. I do not like to show very many folks where I am catching fish in a pond.

I am like some other folks that do not give up their favorite places.

By the time the pickup got to the pond I was casting at the dam. I did get a few fish there, but they were not nearly as concentrated as around the stumps. Just after the other folks launched their boat, I hooked another fish. The next thing I knew they were parked right on top of where I had hooked the fish.

I landed this crappie and picked up all my stuff and left. It had been a great day. A lot of fun, and I just did not want to put up with any rude folks. I would have left in a short time any way.

I did end up with a nice mess of fish and I was able to share some fillets with several folks. I was just back home from taking the fish out, when I got a phone call. The land owner asked me not to go to the pond again for the rest of this year. The folks with the boat got stuck on the way out and he had to take his tractor to get them out of the mud. He has the road blocked and is going to put a gate on it. These folks were not supposed to be there. He is going to make it more difficult to get to the pond.

He said that I would get a key when he got the gate up.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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