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3wt. Baptism

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I just finished building a new 9 ft. 3 wt. on Monday. I had coated the rod wraps and let them dry. I had a new reel and line in so I could spool it up and then take it out fishing. The one problem that I created for myself was that I was not careful enough in lining up the reel seat so that both ends were in line. I had to grind out about 1/4 inch of the threads so that the reel would line up.

This is a mistake I will not make again.

Last night my wife had a meeting to go to. It was a nice chance to head out to a pond and see how this rod would work. I grabbed the rod and a few flies and took off. I had been invited to fish a pond to see how big the fish were, but I was not to take any home. This was the perfect night to do that.

Got to the pond and looked in the box to see what I had with me. I had a royal coachman variation that I tied on. Half the body was red and the rear half lime colored. My first cast was not very good. I had to change my timing as the line does not react as fast with this 3 wt as with my other rods. After a few tries I was making halfway decent casts.

I did see a swirl and cast to that. It was an immediate hit. This gill did not like being hooked at all. He turned out to be eight inches long. Released him and cast out into the same area. I let the fly settle about a foot and then started to retrieve it. I had moved the fly twice when it was hit hard. Turned out to be another carbon copy gill. I caught four more just like the first two while I was standing in the same place.

I then moved down the pond about twenty feet and cast again. Again the gills were ready to hit this fly. I missed the first hit, but when I pulled the fly across the surface of the water, the gills came up to smash it. From then on I was making a "V" wake with the fly in the surface. Great fun to watch the gills hit this on the surface.

I had caught several bluegills before I did one of my "intelligent" moves again. When I made the cast the line I had in my hand had tied up in a knot. I know I am the only clumsy fly fisher that does this. I had to take a minute to undo the knot. I am not sure how far the fly had dropped in the mean time, but when I was ready to start retrieving the line, there was weight on it. This fish felt different. Turned out this was a nice crappie. Next cast I did the same thing and got another crappie.

The gills would hit right on the surface and crappie would if it went down a little deeper. On each cast I had to decide what I wanted to catch, so I would know which way to retrieve the fly. Heavy burden to have to make a decision like that.

At this point the landowner came out to see how I was doing. She wanted to know if I thought that some of the fish could come out of the pond. I felt that the pond, about 1.5 acres in size could stand some fish being removed.

I cast the fly out and handed her the rod and showed her how to hold it and how to retrieve line. By the time she got it organized she had a crappie on the line. Great fun watching her bring it in. On the next cast I had her bring it across the surface and she caught a good sized bluegill. She decided that this was fun and asked if I would stay a little while longer. When I said yes she went to the house and came back with a bucket.

She wanted to catch a few fish to have for dinner tonight. I would cast out and she would catch the fish. When she had eight nice fish in the bucket I asked her how much she could eat?

She decided that she had enough and would head home in a minute. I cast the fly again and got the rhythm better and put the fly out about 20 feet father than I had. There was an immediate swirl and the line tightened. I sat the hook and had a big bass on. It took a long time to get it in but it was 18 inches long. The sun was almost down so it was time to head home.

As we headed in I asked Joann if she knew how to fillet fish. She said she knew how to gut them and nothing more. We got her knife out and I filleted the fish for her. I do have an invitation to put my canoe on the pond and see how many fish are in the pond. Cost is another meal of fish for her.

All in all it was a fun way to baptize a new rod.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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