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Minnows

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I have been out over my lunch hour for the past week, as per my usual routine. The little settling pond that I normally fish has had someone else where I normally fish. That being the case I went over to the main lake and decided to fish along the weed edge.

Thought I might catch a few gills there as the water is three to four feet deep and it is the end of the bay formed by the road and the fishing jetty. The weed growth has several openings and places where the weeds come out farther than the rest. I thought bringing a fly by them very slowly might just interest any fish that were there. Also, by casting an unweighted fly into the pockets in the weeds I just might find a fish or two.

I decided to tie on a Royal Coachman Variation to fish. I use yellow or copper seed beads to form the body and use some luminescent yarn for the wing. I have caught panfish and bass on this fly so thought it was a good overall fly to try. The other thing is that it can be seen a country mile with the yellow beads.

As I was walking down the bank when a couple of guys towing a boat came by and said that I would not catch anything. You had to be out in the lake and fish 25 to 30 feet deep to catch any fish. Just behind them was a gentleman that I have seen fishing at the lake before. He had parked and was out of his car. He came down with a bucket and asked if he could have any fish that I caught.

I told him that if I caught any he could have them, but not to bet the farm. The guy with the boat told me it was a waste of time and headed over to launch their boat. I got set up and flipped the fly out near a little clump of weeds. The fly had dropped about a foot when I saw it disappear.

I set the hook and brought in a crappie that was about 8 inches long.

The "old geezer" as he calls himself, told me that he wanted another five or six to have a good mess. I was not sure that anything like that would happen. I cast near the same area and had another crappie hit the fly.

The third cast did not produce any fish. I cast around to some of the other weeds that were sticking out from the main body of weeds. I caught a few more fish doing this. I then started to cast along the main edge of the weeds. The first casts were short so that I could cover the area more efficiently. I caught a few more fish along this edge.

I had 11 crappie for him on Tuesday. I was back on Thursday, fishing in the same place and got seven crappie and two bluegills in the same area. I was back out on Friday to the same area. This time I brought the 3 wt I had built to use. It is 9 ft long and helps to keep the line off the water and take flies through weeds better. I thought there might be a few more fish there but they would be deeper in the weeds.

I caught four crappie there before the action stopped. I knew that about 100 yards away near the other fishing jetty there was another patch of weeds in the same depth of water. We headed down there as the "old geezer" was with me again.

I caught seven crappie, three bluegills, and two small bass at this weed bed. The next fish was a bass that was 17 inches long and he made quite a fuss before I could get him landed. That stopped the fishing at this spot.

I was talking with the "old geezer" about catching fish this shallow is this large of a lake. It did not seem to make sense but there had to be a reason. I was looking at the lake when I saw a school of minnows about 1.5 to 2 inches long swim up to the surface of the weed patch.

The light came on. These fish were in feeding on these minnows. I had the "old geezer" check the stomach of the fish as he cleaned them. He called me and told me they all had minnows in them.

It might have been sunny and the middle of the day, but the fish were where the food was. I am going to be fishing around the weed beds more in the next few weeks as I go back out to the lake over my lunch hour. I am also going to watch weed beds more to see if there are any minnows in them.

I checked with the guys who came by towing the boat and they had caught a few small bass. I told them how many I had caught and he called me a few "names".

The "Old geezer" had enough fish for several folks to have a meal of fillets. He told each of them who had caught the fish. Said I needed to look like a good guy once in a while. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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