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Surface Morning

By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I went out Saturday morning to go fishing. We came back a few days early from vacation because of problems. Everything is fine now. I went to a pond that I don't get into very often but it is a lot of fun when I get to it.

I waited until about 7:00 am to go out so that I could see where I was going. I have to cross a gully and I knew that it had rained while we were gone and I did not want to get stuck. As long as I stayed out of the ruts I did fine. Got to the pond and it was as smooth as glass and the water was clear.

I got everything in the canoe and got it down to the edge of the pond. I had a couple of flies on and cast them around the area where I was going to launch the canoe. The fish showed no interest so I headed out onto the pond. I tried a variety of flies and retrieves and nothing was working. I tried them at every depth that I could and nothing was happening.

I decided to try a Chili Pepper fly, basically a copper bugger, and see what might happen. I cast it out and tried retrieving the fly and nothing happened. Then I did one of my normal things, got the line tangled up in the butt of the rod and the fly landed about 15 feet away. By the time I got the line untangled, the line straightened out, and calling myself several names, I was ready to lift the line off the water. The problem was that the end of the line was moving sideways.

I reacted by setting the hook and had a nice gill on the line. I do try to be observant and decided to cast the fly out again and let it drop. It took a few more casts and I had another gill take the fly. Now I am beginning to realize that the fish seem to be along the breakline of the pond. It drops from about 3 to 8 feet over a 4-foot width. If I cast near the deep edge of this and let the fly drop then the fish took it.

The wind started to come up some so I dropped the front anchor down and cast some more. After a few more casts with nothing happening I moved the canoe about 20 feet and dropped anchor again. I am starting to get a little smarter in my old age and made a short cast first. The fly had just hit the water when I saw the line twitch and I was into another fish. I did this on the next four casts also as I increased the distance of the cast a little each time. It seems that the fish were a little scattered along the breakline and seemed to be fairly spooky.

As I got to the shallower end of the pond, I began to have bass hit the fly. These fish all were from 6 to 10 inches long. I am glad to see them in the pond as they will begin to control the panfish number very soon. I moved to the other side of the pond and dropped the rear anchor and cast with the wind. This side of the pond is a sloping shore of about 30 degrees that goes out about 20 feet before it drops off any. I was casting to the shore and bringing the fly back. When the fly got about 15 feet from shore I could see a fish flash on it and I would hook them. Then I would loose them.

I was sure that I was losing crappie, which is a terrible fate in life. I tied a fly that runs more in a horizontal plane, by using foam and bead chain eyes, and tried that. The fish were not interested in that color. I tired three other flies that are tied the same way, and no such luck. It was back to the Chili Pepper and having fish hit it. I did manage to land one crappie but it was barely hooked. I must have lost another 40 fish, but I know where they are.

It was time to head home. I needed to weed the garden and I had tomatoes, peppers and okra to pick and take care of. They did make a nice meal with the fresh fish fillets.

It was one of those rare times when the fish were keyed in on one color. This does not happen often to me, but does often enough to make me keep changing flies until something works. Let me know if this has happened to you.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Richard Zieger

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