I went out early Saturday morning to get some
fishing time in. One of the guys who gave me
some of the first information I ever got for
warm water fishing, and the location of several
ponds had died after a long bout with Alzheimers.
The family had asked me to say a few words at the
service as he had loved to go fishing.
When I got to the pond at 4:45 am it was a smooth
as glass. There was no wind and I could see a few
fish sipping bugs. It was time to get a popper on
and see if there was any surface action.
I quickly got everything into the canoe and got out
past the weeds. It is surprising but the temperature
has been high enough and the wind blowing enough
that the ponds have started to drop a little in
water depth. I cast the bug about two feet from
the weeds and waited for the action to start.
After a few minutes with nothing happening I moved
the bug some. Still nothing all the way back to the
canoe. I cast out again about 10 feet from where I
had been. As I was bringing in the bug I got the
line caught on some weeds. As I tried to get the
line off the weeds I moved the fly about 5 feet
through the air, it was not a gentle process. Just
as the bug landed on the water a fish took it. I
had a nice fat gill that put up a nice tussle before
I got him in.
I decided to cast the other direction. Just after
the bug landed it was pulled under the water. This
was a small bass but still fun to land. On my next
cast the bug landed safely and was brought all the
way back to the canoe. I then did one of my wonderful
back casts, it landed on the water. When I started to
bring it forward I had a fish on.
At this point I think I am beginning to see a
pattern. I think they will only take the bug
when it lands right on top of them. Moving this
or things just sitting there just don't cut the
mustard. It is time to experiment. I start casting
and letting the popping bug land on the water.
If it is not taken in a few seconds I am picking
it up and casting to another spot. It does
surprise me when this works. It is bang-bang fishing.
I have caught about 15 fish when the bug is taken.
This fish feels different and I am very surprised
to have a crappie on the bug. This just does not
happen very often to me. I also managed to get
the fish into the canoe. I continue the quick
fire casting and continue to catch fish.
After I have caught another dozen fish when I
have another crappie take the bug. This one I
have to be very careful with as the bug is in
the side of the mouth. I gently lead her into
the net just before the bug comes out. No I
don't feel guilty abut that.
I come to a flat that is about 5 feet deep and
has weeds growing about 15 feet out on it. I
find a large number of gills on this flat. Just
about every cast I am having a fish hit the popping
bug. Several of these are large gills that I return
to the pond. I am returning gills that are over 10
inches long to the pond.
I know that I have about half an hour left before
I need to leave and I want to try a few other places
on the pond. I paddle down the shore about 20 yards
to a place I know there is a stump. There are some
weeds around it and I figure that there has to be
a good fish there. I am planning to release the bass
I figured is there but I want to catch her. I was
greatly surprised to find that it was a huge crappie
taking up this space. She was 17.5 " long. I did not
know there were fish that big in this pond.
I moved on down the shoreline headed for the pick up.
I then noticed another fisherman on the bank. He was
not having very much luck. I caught a few more fish
along the way and then decided that I really needed
to leave. As I was loading the canoe the other
fisherman came up and asked if I knew of a pond he
could catch some gills in. He could not get them in
through the weeds along the shore.
I told him that all the ponds I knew of had the weeds.
He was disappointed as he had promised fish to some
friends that were going to stop at this house. I was
a nice guy and gave him 10 gills to make a meal. It
was also 10 fewer that I needed to take care of and
I had caught more than I thought.
I went home a filleted fish and then headed to
the memorial service. I ended up with 45 gills
and 4 crappie at home. We are going to eat the
It turned out that the memorial service was a
joyous occasion. Several folks told stories of
what Dale had meant to them and it was a nice
experience. I hope that I can be remembered
that way when the time comes.
I hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick firstname.lastname@example.org