Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred-seventeen

Lift and Drop Revisited

By Richard Ziegeria, Iowa


Was reading Ray Bergman's book Trout just before I went on my lunch hour to the lake. The wind was blowing about 20 mph and the waves were fairly good size.

I decided I had better cast with the wind than go through the brambles with my work pants on. Things like that do not please my wife and could shorten my life. Spent about 15 minutes with nothing happening. I was casting with nymphs so the wave actions should not have made a difference.

I still had the material on the 'lift and drop' method from the book in my head, so I decided to try it even though I was not in a stream. I shortened the leader to about 4 feet, then cast the fly out and waited until I was sure it was as deep as it would go. I was perpendicular to the shoreline and had the rod straight in front of me. I had the tip near the surface of the water so there was no bow in the line. I moved the rod tip about 6" to 8" and then let it go back with the wind. I did this twice and then took up about 6" of line slowly. Did this about four times when I felt a tug on the line and brought in a 12" bass.

I continued catching bass, bluegills, crappie, and a channel cat. I always had to move the fly at least four times. I also found out that if I did everything very slowly it worked better. It would take me about 5 seconds to move the rod forward and 5 seconds to let the rod go back. Anytime that I was faster than this nothing would happen. Also tried letting the fly set longer and nothing happened.

The only way they hit that day was with the lift and drop. Tried other wet flies and streamers and nothing happened. Also tried a Pheasant Tail Nymph under a foam popper but that did not work. I think the waves might have caused to much action on the dropper fly because the popper bounced around a fair amount.

I did have two cars stop to see what I was catching. One guy told me he was going to get a fly rod and have me teach him how to use it. This could be dangerous for the whole sport with my casting ability trying to teach someone else to do it.

Also went out this morning (Saturday) after the rain storm had gone through. The wind was blowing again and I was not getting anything to happen. Decided it was time to try the lift and drop again. Did it with a large, size 6, black nymph. When I figured out to cast near any vegetation, sticks or stumps in the pond I would hook fish. I would cast near the structure and then lift and drop the fly a couple of times. If a fish was there I am pretty sure they hit the fly.

Hooked several fish that got off because they jumped or I hooked them in the side of the mouth. I know I lost at least a dozen large crappie this way. Also sure I hooked a few large bass that wrapped me around something and broke off. It is a good thing I always carry at least 6 of any fly I have in my box.

When I came home and filleted the fish, I checked their stomachs. I did not find any minnows or grasshoppers that I could identify. It was a black mass of nymphs the best I could tell. This is one reason that one fly rods always has a nymph pattern of some sort on it. I think nymphs are the main food source in small ponds most of the summer.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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