Rick Zieger - May 7, 2012

It is the beginning of March, and the ice is off the ponds. My license is burning a hole in my pocket and other things. It might be 41 degrees out and the wind is blowing about 25 miles per hour. Still it is time to a line in the water. It will do great things for the mind, or as my better half says my disposition. So, I head out to a pond. I come prepared with two rods and two hook boxes of flies. I'm wearing a heavy coat so the vest will not fit over it. It's much too cold to be messing with the canoe.

When I get to the pond I head for the dam. I want to fish the break line along the dam. It seems to be the best placed to find fish in the area in the early spring. Hard to believe the beginning of March is early spring here.

I start fishing a Hares Ear and a PTN on sized 10 and 12 hooks. I always use naturals at the beginning of the season. Both were tied with tungsten beads to get them deeper. Due to the colder water the fish are usually deeper at this time of year.

My first cast was actually a fairly nice cast. It landed within a few inches of where I aimed and the waters did not part, like the waters parted in the "Ten Commandments." I let the fly drop and brought it back very slowly. I discovered that I had it at about the right depth, since I picked up a little alga, but did not get hung up.

I cast about 10 feet to the side of where the first cast went and let the fly drop again. This time I had moved it a few feet when I felt the tick of a fish taking the fly. Second cast of the year and a fish has taken the fly. Things seem to be good.

I set the hook and realize that the fish has some weight to it. This is a fish that will have to be played off the reel. A fair amount of line went out and then the fish started swimming around. I couldn't do much but keep pressure on the fish and let it tire out.

It took some time but the fish seemed to be tiring and I started to gain some line. We play give and take for a while, but I can see that I am taking more than I am giving. I am having so much fun that I am not aware of the wind and temperature.

I finally get the fish close and see that I have a good size flathead. I want this fish in my hand. It will go back in the pond as it helps the health of the pond, but I still want the fish in my hand. I am not sure if it counts if you don't get the fish in our hand, minus sharks I think. The fish does not like my looks and take some line out. We play back and forth. I do wonder if the line will survive the fish, but time will tell that.

Finally get the fish close and begin to think of how I am going to land this fish. Realize it is the old hand in the mouth thing. When I get a hold of the fish the fun begins. The fish thrashes. Water flies everywhere, but I have the fish in my hands. The fly is in the corner of the mouth, and is easy to remove with forceps. I admire the fish for a few seconds and place it back in the water. The fish slowly swims off.

I now become aware of the weather. I am soaked from the waist down and wet above that in places. Just being out in that temperature with the wind blowing meant that I was cold, so it's was time to be smart and head for home. However, it was great fun to be out on the water, and catching fish.

Hope you can get out on the water.

PS. Second try with similar conditions ended in casting practice.

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