I finally got to meet David last Saturday. We
hooked up at about 8:00 am and headed out for a
pond. We had received about a quarter of inch of
rain at our house Friday night but when we got out
to the pond and tried to drive into it, it was
too slick to make it all the way in. We pulled
back near the road and hiked into the pond to
fish from the shore. On Sunday I had a person
tell me that they got three inches of rain Friday
night. They live about half a mile from the pond.
I knew that we would catch some fish, but not
nearly as many as if we could get out on the pond.
I was not sure what patterns to use and how deep
to fish but thought we would figure that out fairly
quickly. Also the pond has come up about two feet
with all the rain that we have had. That means the
water is in the grass that grew earlier so we got
our feet wet as we fished.
Dave did get the first fish on a popping bug. I got
a few small bass on a fly but figured out that the
gills must be out farther than the bass were. I
started casting straight out into the pond. I would
let the fly drop about a foot or two and then slowly
start retrieving the fly. The fish started hitting
then but most of the takes were fairly light and I
missed several fish.
I changed the fly to a peacock sword nymph, (in the
favorites article), and started casting. I was using
a pattern with black ostrich in it. The gills like
this better and I caught a few on it. Since the fish
seemed to be over deeper water we moved down the pond
from the dam about 50 feet.
At this place we started in catching more fish. I
do have to tell you that anglerdave has a tendency
to do long-distance releases. I did tell him that
I would like to take a bunch of fish out of this
pond and he did a little better after that. I did
have a hard time getting him into the technique of
catching bushes and grass. I did a much better job
of that than he did, even though he tried to do it
a few times.
As we were fishing along this side of the pond I
could see a lot of fish rising out in the center
of the pond. Most of these fish were about 80 feet
out in the pond. This is beyond my casting range.
That is why I fish from the canoe most of the time.
It lets me get in casting range.
We moved on around the pond. The fishing started to
slow down about 10:30. I think the fish were going
out farther to be over deeper water. We did still
manage to catch a few more. It then became time
that David had to leave. We hiked out and headed
for the house.
We caught 43 gills, 2 crappie, and several small
bass while we were out.
I had a very good time fishing with anglerdave and
we are going to do it again sometime. Hopefully the
road will be dry and we can get the canoe into the
pond. We received about another two inches of rain
in the past 24 hours. The land owner told me the
road is under about a foot of water now. It will
take a month or so to dry out.
I hope you can get out on the water and meet folks
as nice as anglerdave. ~ Rick
Fly Fishn' with Rick!
By anglerdave (Dave Rosset)
Rick Zieger is no stranger to members of FAOL.
Especially to those of us who chase blue gills
and crappie with a fly rod. So it was with
heightened anticipation that I loaded my gear
in my truck and headed to Southwest Iowa, this
past Saturday, for a morning of fishing with
the "Panfish Master."
This trip had gradually evolved over the past
eighteen months. It was about that long ago when
Rick and I first started communicating by e mail.
Since we lived about an hour's drive of each other,
we decided we should get together some time and
do some fishing. I had actually planned on fishing
with Rick last summer, but prostate cancer, the
surgery and a slow recovery, pretty much sidelined
me for most of last year.
As I was driving south on I-35, I marveled at just
how pretty Iowa is this time of year. Spring and
early summer bring with it newness. Everything is
so green and fresh. Soy beans and corn have been
in the ground and are beginning to grow. In the
morning, it's not unusual to see a flock of turkeys
or a deer in the fields along the way. Watching the
highway and occasional glances at the scenery, I
felt like I was in "hog heaven." Yes, Iowa is known
for its hogs as well. You will most likely smell
them before you see them, But that's another story.
Then it happened. I started thinking. And not about
If you've read some of Rick's Panfish articles, you're
most likely aware of occasional encounters that he has
had while fishing some of these local ponds. And we've
all read how Rick has dealt with those individuals.
Would I be witness, or a participant in an exchange
of pleasantries with one of these hooligans? Should
I have left the three weight rod at home and opted
for a baseball bat instead? I could just image calling
my wife. "Judy it's me. Could you come to Lamoni? Stop
by the ATM first and get some cash. I'm in jail and
they don't take Visa." Snap out of it Dave!
I arrived at Rick's house shortly after 8 AM. Greetings
were exchanged and we loaded my gear in his truck and
headed to a nearby farm pond he has access to. Our
plan was to launch his canoe and spend a leisurely
morning casting to shore, picking off bluegills and
crappies as we went along. Unfortunately recent rain
showers prevented us from driving back to the pond.
Even with four wheel drive, the rain-slicked mud made
driving back to the pond impossible. So we left the
canoe on the truck and walked in.
The pond was tucked in amongst newly planted bean
fields, and had a welcoming look about it. As if
to say: I've been waiting for you and am willing
to reward your efforts this morning.
The thunderstorms that blew through the night before
and the ones that were forecasted for later that
evening left the air humid and sticky. It's unusual
for it to be this hot and humid so early in the
summer. August maybe, when the "dog days" arrive,
but not early June.
There was a flurry of activity on the pond as we
crested the small dam on the south end. Dragon
flies and other terrestrials were buzzing about
and you could see occasional rises. My excitement
turned to concern as I gazed at the tall grass
and trees that encircled this lovely Shangri-La.
I glanced at the two short rods I held in my hand,
especially the 7' 3wt and now wished I had brought
my 9' 6 wt. I had expected to be fishing from a canoe,
not making "steeple back casts" over tall grass. Oh
well. No point in worrying about that now. Years of
fishing and life for that matter have taught me that
you can adapt to almost any situation.
Rods were strung and to my 3 wt I tied a #10 chartreuse
blue gill popper. To the 5 wt one of my old standbys,
a #12 black/olive bead headed Woolly Bugger. Rick had
graciously offered me some of the pan fish flies that
he ties and has success with on this particular body
of water. I graciously declined. Duh!
I did manage to catch a nice gill on the popper, but
only one. The "old standby" was producing some fish,
but my rod was bending less frequently than Rick's.
Here I am fishing with the "Z" man, the "Panfish
Master" and I declined using some of his "killer
patterns." What was I thinking? I soon came to my
senses and moseyed on over and asked Rick which one
of his patterns he would suggest I borrow from him.
He handed me a Peacock Sword Nymph (see Panfish
Achieve/Rick's Favorite Bluegill Flies Part 1) and
a simple fly tied with black chenille some rubber
legs and a small bead head. Okay, so I'm a slow
learner. My wife would give testament to that.
I would like to say that I outfished the master,
even with his own flies. But I can't. What I can
tell you is that I had a great time catching chunky
blue gills on a pond with a true gentleman. It was
fun sharing fishing experiences with Rick. Getting
to know one another and spending time together
pursuing a shared passion.
Other commitments caused me to have to end the day
before noon. On the drive back, to get my truck,
Rick gave me some more of his flies. We also
stopped by his office. He had a bass popper that
he recently tied and wanted to me to give it a try.
Thank goodness for an 8 wt! He also presented me
with a snowflake Christmas ornament that he crocheted
to take home to my wife. A thank you for "letting
your little boy come out and play this morning."
We said our good byes and promised to stay in
contact and to do this more often.
As I was driving back home, once again it occurred
to me how throughout my life, at just the right time,
God has graciously allowed me to cross paths with
special people, at a special time and place.
Fly fishn' with Rick, on a hot and humid Iowa
morning has been one of them. ~ anglerdave