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Road Fish

By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I have been going out at noon for the past two weeks. I have seen fish working along the edge of the rip rap along the rod, but have not been able to connect with any of them. I have made long casts, short casts and used a variety of flies, but no luck.

I went out again today and just watched the water along the rip rap. I could see that there were fish along this but they were very spooky. Every time a car went along the road they would be gone for a few minutes and then they would slowly return. I wondered if they were picking up the vibrations as I moved along the rocks, even though I tried to do it quietly.

Now I am wondering on how to try for these fish, even as spooky as they are. Then from the dim dark recesses of my mind, comes a memory of a story I have read. The author said that he often stayed way back from a pond or stream and cast so just a foot or so of the leader went into the water with the fly. He stated that he caught several fish doing this.

I head down the road, walking very slowly. I am going to cast from the road and see if I can drop the fly just out into the water and have any luck. I have just started when a car comes down the road. I move to the place I want to be and stop. I wait and watch until I see the water moving again as something is working along the shoreline. The water is just cloudy enough that I can't see anything, but I do see the water moving.

I have a black woolly bugger variation on and drop this fly about three feet in front of where I see the water moving. I wait a minute or so and I see the line twitch. I wait until the line moves and set the hook. I have a carp on the line and he takes off for regions unknown. This fish takes me into the backing three times before I can get him near the shore. I spend another 5 to 10 minutes fighting the fish along the shore before I can land him. This fish is 23 inches long. I get the hook out with the forceps. I return the fish to the water.

I got back up to the road and toward the other end of the rip rap. I slowly and quietly move into position. I can see that there is a fish swimming along the rip rap. This fish moves up and down and seems to make a circuit. I watch for a few minutes to get the timing and cast so the fly is about 6 feet in front of where I think the fish is. I let the fly drop and I don't move it.

Just as I think the fish should be there the line tightens and I am into another fish. This fish acts differently than the carp and I think that I am into a catfish. I gain a little line and lose a little line. For the first 15 minutes or so the fish is moving away from the shore as it swims back and forth. I finally begin to gain some line. This is a very slow process. I finally get the fish close enough that I can see it and I have a big channel cat on the line. The fish takes off again and we go through the process again. I finally get the fish to shore and can measure it at 26 inches. The hook is in the mouth and fairly easy to remove. I let this fish go also.

The next time I am out at the lake I am going to look for fish along the rip rap again. It was great fun catching them.

I hope you can get out on the water. ~ Richard Zieger

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