Rick Zieger - Jan 02, 2012

It was a day off and time to go fishing. I went to one of my favorite ponds that has not been visited for a long time. It was nice to see this pond again. I got the canoe off and all the gear loaded into the canoe. I had a 1 weight, two 3 weights and a 5 weight rod with me. I tied on a black fur flailed leech on one rod, a white boa yarn fly on another, a Goldie Jr on another and a popper midge on another one, and I was ready to fish.

I pulled the canoe down to the edge of the pond. Before I launched the canoe I made a few casts to see if there were any fish in the water where the canoe was going into the water. No luck on that.

I put the canoe in the water and moved out a short distance. I dropped the anchor and started fishing. I decided to try the popper-midge combination first so I cast it out and let it set. Then I started casting with the black furl tailed leech. It was not really a conscious choice, it was on the first rod that I picked up.

I made several casts without any fish. On the next cast my inability showed up. Instead of going to where it was aimed it ended up about three inches from the shore. This happens often enough to me that I go ahead and fish the fly back.

The fly had moved just a few inches and the line felt funny so I set the hook and had a fish on. I got the fish to the canoe and had a 14 inch crappie. What is a crappie doing against the shore in the middle of the morning in the middle of September? No answer to that question, but the next cast went in the bank. That cast was made on purpose.

No fish on that cast, so I moved the next cast about a foot at time along the shoreline. Using this method I found that there was a fish about every three to four feet. The process was simple; drop the fly about two or three inches from the bank, pull it out a few inches and let it drop. The fish would take it on the drop. I never did really feel a strike, but the line felt different. That was the time to set the hook.

I was getting in the area of a 5 to 3 ratio of crappie to bluegill. All of them were fun to catch. It did not seem to matter much which fly I was using. I caught fish on all three of them.

I made a cast near the shore where some tree limbs drop into the water. I had a fish hit and quickly realized that this was a fish with some weight on it. A gentle breeze was in my face so I grabbed the anchor rope and pulled the anchor up a few feet. I clamped the rope again and turned my attention to the fish. The canoe slowly drifted away from the shore. This got me farther away from the tree limbs. I was not doing much with this fish, but holding on.

If the fish got into the limbs it was gone. As the canoe got farther out from the shore the fish began to swim in circles around the canoe. I let this happen and worked on getting the anchor up the rest of the way. I did not want that rope in the water if the fish got close to the canoe.

I finally began to get come control over the fish. I could gain some line, but the fish would take some of it back out, but there was a slow net gain in the amount coming in. Finally I got to the point where I could see the fish. I did not know that bass grew to this size in this pond. Boy I wanted this fish in my hand. When I got the fish in near the canoe I knew that my net was not big enough to get this fish. I need to lip it without it getting away. I got a good grip on its lower lip and hoisted it into the canoe. I did not have a tape measure but two of the rod ferrules on the one rod are 25 inches apart. This fish was just a little longer that that separation. Gently I put her back in the water to swim some more.

After that excitement I moved on around the pond getting more panfish tucked up against the edge. I did find a few more small bass along the shore edge. After I made it around the pond I headed for the shore where the truck was parked. When I pulled up the fish basket there were more fish in there than I remembered. It seems to happen when the catching is good.

Had a batch of filets to share and eat.

Hope you can get out on the water.

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