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Me Teaching?

By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I went out to the lake over my lunch hour on Thursday. The water is still high and discolored from all of the rain. The river has started to drop so they may be able to release some water in the next week or so. At least I can get out on the jetties and if nothing else practice casting.

By fishing some flies very slowly and down about 3 to 4 feet I have been catching a few gills and bass. I think they are coming up from the deeper water and taking the fly. I am fishing over 8 to 10 feet of water.

I had just got to the lake when another car pulled up. The driver jumped out and told me that he had taken the plunge. He had watched me out fish him with a fly rod and now he had a fly outfit.

He had gone to Kansas City to visit the Cabalas store and had picked up one of their combinations there. Now he wanted me to teach him to cast. Can you believe with the way I cast most of the time, and he wanted me to teach him? I told him that I would show him almost everything not to do and then he could go from there.

We spent about 15 minutes getting him to cast. I took my belt off and put it around his stomach and arm and buckled it. This pinned his elbow and helped him get away from using his arm. In a few minutes he had the rudiments of the motion and I took my belt back. I then had him practice some more to make sure he had the idea down with his elbow being free.

I then tied on a fly and had him cast with that. He could do 25 to 30 feet and seemed to be happy. It has been a while since I saw a fly come across the water like a buzz bait, but he did it. I then talked to him about moving the fly slowly and that you do not wind up the line every time that you cast. I told him to watch what I did, for the speed and how to hold the line as you bring it in.

As we were doing this, a wonderful thing happened, I had a gill come up and hit the fly. I told Dave to take the rod and play the fish. I thought this would really give him an idea of how fish feel on a fly rod and reinforce the slow movement of the fly. Dave did have a hard time with the mechanics of bringing the line in with a fish on, but both of us were having fun. When he got the fish to where he could see it he dropped the rod tip and tried to pull in the line at the same time. This gave too much slack and the gill got off.

Dave was crest fallen. He had lost the fish. I was getting ready to explain that you have to keep the rod tip up, when a channel cat came up and hit the fly. I think the channel cat was going for the gill as it was struggling on the hook. With the gill off it took the fly as it thought it was food. I told Dave to set the hook and to play the fish.

This catfish did not like the idea of being hooked and headed for parts unknown. I told Dave to let him take line and not to try to hold him. I was using 4X tippet, and you can't horse fish with that. He fought the fish for about 10 minutes, having a blast, and talking about how he could feel what the fish was doing through the rod. He was really excited about how much fun it was to fight a fish on a fly rod.

He got the fish into where we could see it and tell that it was about 18 inches long. I could tell that we were in trouble because I could not see the fly. The leader was all that I could see. The fish started twisting and thrashing and that was it for the leader and the fish.

Dave was upset because he had lost the fly, and a little because he had lost the fish. I told him not to worry about the fly, I had more of them or could make more. I was just glad that he had a chance to fight a fish.

I had to head back to work, so we agreed to meet again Friday noon. We got to cast and practice retrieving on Friday, but no fish cooperated. I still think he had fun because he was able to cast the fly and manipulate the line a little better. I may be tying some flies for him to use.

I did tell him that he might want to get with a good caster and take a lesson or two.

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

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