Part Two hundred twenty-six
Big Fish Day
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Archive of Panfish
Had a great day out on a pond that I had fished a
few times before. Wind was blowing about 15 mph so
I headed up the pond so I could have the wind at my
back. It was also about 9:30 in the morning before
I could get out to the pond. Not the time I like to
get out but that is what happens at times.
I put on a Green Cyperts Minnow that I had tied. I used
the material that is grass in Easter Baskets and used a
dubbing twister to wrap it in. After I tied the fly I
trimmed the sides so that they were slightly sloped from
the front to the back. I wanted to see what this fly might
do and really felt that I would have to change to catch
I was fishing in about 5 feet of water and was casting
toward the shore, looking for bluegills. I had a strike on
the third cast. When I set the hook the line took off and
I had to let it go. All of the fly line and a lot of the
backing went out on the first run. When the run stopped
I started to work the fish back. When the fish was about
15 to 20 feet from the boat it took off on another run.
This was not as far. After the fourth run I got it close
enough to see and realized I had a problem. It was a large
catfish and my net was not big enough to land it. I fashioned
a loop out of the loose end of my anchor rope and put that
around the tail of the catfish to get it into the canoe.
Turned out to be 27 inches long. I took the fly out the
lip of the catfish and released it.
I was not sure if any more fish would be around but decided
to try. Caught two bluegills about 10" long. Then I had another
solid strike. The run was not as long and when I got it stopped
and was working the fish back, the bass decided to jump. I had
it jumped five times before I got it landed. Now I did lip the
bass to land it but I am a coward to do that with large catfish.
This bass was 21" long. I released it to fight again another day.
I decided that I should move a little because of all
the commotion that had been made by the two big fish.
Moved about thirty feet down the pond and cast again.
Had another hard strike and long run. Had another bass
do aerial antics before I got it landed. This one was
20" long and rejoined its cousin in the pond.
Since I had caught two the first place I stopped I decided
to try again. I did catch a few more good gills. I was
ready to move but decided to try one more cast. Another
solid hit and this bass went ballistic from the start.
Never did run very far but was shaking its head and jumps
all of the time. Turned out to be 24 inches long.
I kept moving around the pond and would catch a few
fish each place that I stopped. Most of the time it
was gills but I continued to catch bass and catfish.
I did try casting out into deeper water and used a
different fly but never did get anything to hit.
I did have two catfish that almost spooled me. Both of
them went about 28 inches and ran six times before I got them
in. Had to land them by roping them by the tail which
was tricker than I thought it would be.
I ended up catching six catfish that went from 24 to 28
inches long. I caught eight bass that went from 18 to 22
inches long. I think I may have caught every large fish
in the pond. All of them are still swimming in there.
This was an unusual day for me because I almost always had
a fish on. I was out for four hours before I got home. My
wife came out and said it must have been a great day as I
said I thought I would be home between noon and 12:30. She
is very understanding that if the fish are biting I might
not be on time.
The best thing that probably happened to help me was that
I left my 5 wt at home and took an 8 wt out to help fight
the wind. My casting is not the greatest in the wind.
This day will stay in my memory for all the big fish that
I was lucky enough to catch in that pond. Don't give up
on small bodies of water as they can have some large fish
I have used that fly twice more since then and not had
a single thing hit it. I did loose it to a log so I will
have to tie a few more of them.
Hope you can get out on the water soon. ~ Rick
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