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Part One hundred sixty

Panfish Chat- Host Ron Kusse - Monday. 6-8 p.m. PST (9-11 EST)

A Different Retrieve for Panfish

By Richard D. Zieger O.D., Lamoni, Iowa


I am a panfish and especially a crappie fanatic. I greatly enjoy going to farm ponds and catching these fish. I try to do this an a very regular basis.

About a month ago I stumbled onto a new, at least to me, method of retrieving a fly to catch fish. I have used this method in several ponds on several different days since then and it has worked every time.

I was fishing at the local little reservoir, with a few other people around, on a jetty that extends into the lake. It was a bad day for allergies and I was having coughing spells fairly often. During one of these coughing fits I turned to the side so that I would not be coughing on the person that was next to me. When I did this the fly rod was turned 90 degrees to the line. As I coughed the end of the pole jiggled a little bit. When I got done coughing I had a crappie on the line. This was surprising as I had been catching very few that day.

Being of the school that if it works once try it again, I cast again. I turned sideways so that the pole was perpendicular to the line and gently shook my hand. I did this so that the end of the pole move randomly in about a 2 inch circle. When I would pick up the line, about 4 to 5" to tighten it, I would feel weight on the line and set the hook. I kept the tip of the rod about 4" above the water and moved the tip back along the line as I retrieved it to pick up the slack line. I only hooked about 40% of the fish that bit this way. This is good considering that I was getting about six times the strikes that I was before.

I would cast into an area and do a slow steady retrieve, then retrieves with various length strips with various length pauses between them. When I went back and tried this retrieve I would have strikes that I did not have before. I fished areas that people had been using curly tail jigs., tube jigs and minnows in. In all of these I had strikes when I used this retrieve.

The fly is moving very slowly and this may be the trigger. I have not been able to duplicate the movement of the fly by jiggling the rod tip while it is pointed at the line.

I have tried this in clear water and it is just not the same movement. This may be because of my abilities with the fly rod. With this retrieve there is more slack in the line and this may be the cause of my missing so many strikes. I am trying to make longer sweeping strikes with the rod to see if this helps to set the hook better. It is still a matter if they don't bite you can't hook them.

I have caught bass, bluegill and channel cats when using this retrieve with several different flies. I have had the best success with flies that have very little to no weight added to them. I have fished in water that is from 2 to about 14 feet deep. The flies are probably always in the top 4 feet of the water column.

Marabou Miss

Marabou Miss Hook:  Size 6 to 10.

Thread:  Yellow.

Tail:  Yellow-chartreuse marabou.

Body:  White chenille.

Wing:  Chartreuse marabou with silver krystal flash.



Streamer Nymph

Streamer Nymph Hook:  Size 6 to 10.

Thread:  Orange.

Body:  Tan antron, thin.

Wing:  Silver or pearl krystal flash.

If you decide to try this method please let me know how it works for you. You can contact me at: ziegeria@grm.net ~ Richard

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