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Shore Huggers

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I headed out last Saturday morning, later than usual, for my normal fishing excursion. We took a load of junk to the dump that was in the garage and shed. I did a 'honey do', before I went fishing. Actually the rest of the story is that the temperature was up about 15 degrees by the time I headed out.

I was getting ready to leave when my wife brought the phone out to me. One of the cattlemen that I know was calling, he said that he was going to have to drain a lot of water out of one pond and wondered if I could go in and catch some of the fish. What a terrible burden to be put on me. I told him that I would suffer as I did this. He said to meet him at the gate and he would let me in and give me a key so I could lock the gate again.

When I got to the pond I saw that he had started to take water out already. The water was down about five feet. Made launching the canoe a little more interesting. I got out on the pond and started casting to see what I might pickup. I had a Marabou Miss on, and the little bass just loved it. I caught bass from about 7 to 12 inches on every other cast.

I changed to a Thief (Muddler variation) and started casting. My third cast was hit by a green sunfish with an attitude. This fish was about 9-inches long and did not like to be on the line. I then went a long time without another strike.

As per my usual way of finding things I did a cast that did not go where I wanted it to. I went into a big sneezing fit and the line went sideways instead of fairly straight ahead. When I got done sneezing and started to retrieve the line I had a 14-inch crappie on the line. This got my heart pumping.

It also caused me to cast toward the bank again to see if this was a fluke or some sort of pattern. This cast resulted in an nice fat bluegill hitting the fly. The next few casts resulted in no fish.

The next cast I sent a little too far and it landed on the shore. I flipped the fly a little so it would go over the weeds at the edge of the pond and let it hit the water. There was an immediate swirl. I had a 12-inch crappie this time.

It finally hit me, the fish were tucked in right on the edge of the weeds. Many of the weeds had been exposed by the drop of the water level. The place I was fishing was a break line that had been about five feet deep. Now it was the edge of the pond and the fish were stacked against it.

My casts after that were right to the edge of the weeds. I would let the fly drop about 2 to 3 feet and then start a slow retrieve. Crappie hit on the fall and the bluegills and a few more green sunfish hit on the retrieve. When ever the action slowed down I would move down the shoreline a little ways and it would go great guns again. I did try some other flies but the Thief worked the best. I think it was dark like a minnow and that was the trigger.

After I finished fishing the break line I continued down the bank. I found that if I cast near the edge of the weeds I would continue to catch fish. It was not as fast as on the break line but still a good number of fish. I did cast out into the center of the pond, but that was controlled by the small bass.

I ended up with a nice mess of fish. I did have a little trouble getting the canoe out of the pond. The rich dark Iowa dirt when wet sticks like glue. I did get in out and left the pond.

I locked the gate behind me again and returned the key to the landowner. I might have a chance to go there again this weekend. I may fish from the shore if the pond has dropped again.

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

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