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Slash and Strike

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I was out on Sunday afternoon for a fishing excursion. My wife told me that I should go as she did not think I had fished long enough the previous day with Sterling. Besides that she had promised someone that I would bring them fish and had not told me. Of course she had to twist my arm and beat me with a stick to make me go. I had everything done and was on the road in fifteen minutes.

I had talked to a farmer and he said that he had fixed the road to get into a pond. He had built up the road and put a culvert under that so that the water would drain better. He said that I could go to that pond any time I wanted to now. All he wanted was for the bass to be left for him to catch.

I got out to the pond and saw that it was up. It was also slightly discolored but not too bad. Having pastureland around it seems to help. With the new anchoring system it takes a little longer to unload the canoe. I think I will get quicker at this after I figure out just how I want to do it.

I went to the west end of the pond, as the breeze was out of the east and started fishing there. It was so neat to be able to drop the front anchor, along with the back one, and be able to cast into the wind. The stability of the canoe was also neat. I decided to go with the white bug I had used with Sterling and also tie a black one on to see how that would work. I cast several times with each and had no success. I moved up the pond a little ways, very easy with the new anchoring system. The water is about three feet deeper here than where I had been fishing.

I made several casts and did not have any success. I cast the fly out again and reeled it in quickly. I do this so I can control the tension of the line on the reel. I just like doing it this way better than trying to reel in the coils of line that I might have in my hand. Less chance of dropping the line on the ground or in the canoe, even as clean as my canoe is.

I had the fly about halfway back to the canoe when a gill smashed it. This fish was hooked well before I knew it had hit. I got the fish landed and had to use my forceps to get the fly out. I decided to try this again to see what might happen as all the other retrieves had not worked. The fly had moved about 5 feet when a bass took it in a big rush. I was beginning to think that I might have figured out a pattern here.

After a few more casts with no more fish, I changed to the other rod and tried it again. I was a little smarter this time and made a shorter cast. I had another gill smash the fly. Again the hook was so deeply embeddedthat I had to use forceps to get it out. A little longer cast resulted in another fish. This seems to be a pattern.

I tried to strip retrieve the line in at this speed but that did not work. It had to be the steady fast retrieve of the fish would not take the fly. Any pause or variation of speed was a turn off to the fish. I did feel a little guilt that this might be a little like spin fishing, but quickly dismissed that.

I worked on around the pond catching a few fish at each place I stopped. I did try to fish other flies in the manner that I normally do, but that did not interest the fish. I did not catch a fish while I was doing the other things, so I went back to the speed demon retrieve. The fish still like that and hit the flies hard.

I had caught several fish and decided to head home to fillet them. That way we could get fish to the folks in time for dinner. When I got home, I found that I had a few more fish than what I thought I had caught. I had 38 gills there and had tossed about that many bass back in. I might have caught more if I had not tried other flies, but that would take part of the fun out of it.

I got the fish filleted and the fisherman cleaned up a little, fish smell off my hands and my fishing clothes hung on the line. My wife would not go in the car with me otherwise. We took fish to several people and maybe made out better than the folks we took them to.

We got cookies at one house as the lady was baking. I got a beef heart to eat at another house as they don't like them. The last place we got a piece of apple pie with fresh homemade ice cream on it. I told my wife that she needed to go with me every time. I had not made out that good before.

It was a fun afternoon and I will keep this day in my memory. I may need to try this again some time if the fish are not biting. My wife thinks I will remember where I got the goodies.

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

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