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North Wind

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
It was a wild weekend for activities. I had way too many things to do. It turned out that Saturday afternoon was the only chance to get out fishing. The only trouble was the 30 to 35 mph wind that was blowing. Faced with the option of fishing for staying away from the water, I was gone. My wife had already gone shopping with her sister.

I went out to a pond that I know faces east and west and has a forested area on the north side. I hoped the trees would slow down the wind a little. I think they took it down to 25 mph. It may help more when the leaves get a little bigger, but it was the best of the four ponds I looked at.

I got everything into the canoe and headed out on the pond. I went to the west end where the dam is and anchored the canoe. I had to drop both anchors to make it stay in one spot. I decided my only chance was to cast with the wind. I could not get much distance against the wind.

I tried several patterns with no luck. What I noticed is that the wave action was strong enough that the unweighted flies were being kept up near the surface. The resistance of the fly on the end of the line seemed to be enough that they would not drop in the water column.

I started going through the flies with bead heads and bead chain eyes. The ones with the bigger bead heads and bead chain eyes stayed down better but the fish were not interested in them. I kept on changing flies. I finally put on a black leech I had tied with crow feathers that I got from Charlie Bonner. I used a body feather, after I stripped the barbs off of one side. I palmered this up a size 8 hook. I had tied large bead chain eyes on this hook. By loosely palmering the feather up the hook with the barbs pointed backwards the feather pulsed nicely as the fly was twitched. The feather went about 3/4 of an inch behind the bend when wrapped this way.

I cast the fly out and let it drop for a few seconds. At this point the fly line started to go under the water. I decided that maybe there was a fish on and I set the hook. I was into a very nice bull bluegill that turned sideways and did everything he could to not come in. I cast out into the same general area and let the fly drop again. The fly had barely hit the water when the line was moving to the side. This time I was into a bass that did not like the sting of the hook at all. This fish kept trying to get to the bottom of the pond where there are several tree limbs and large chunks of concrete slab. Great cover for fish, but also great places to lose fish. This bass was a female, full of eggs and went back into the pond.

I cast a few more times into that area and got nothing. I cast about 10 feet to the side and when the fly had dropped for about three seconds was into another gill. It was another fat bull gill. I continued to fan cast around the canoe. I found that casting about 10 feet from where the last cast went gave a better chance of getting a fish.

I worked the first area a couple of times like that just to see if the fish would be active in the area where I had hooked a fish previously. That was not the case.

I moved the canoe about 30 feet down the pond. I made a cast of about 15 feet and let the fly drop. Another nice gill hit the fly. I got another fish on almost every cast and I fan cast about 10 feet to the side each time. When I got back to the starting spot, I made a little longer cast to see what would happen. I tied into a small bass this time, but I caught several more gills as I cast around the canoe.

I moved the canoe several more times and continued to have fish strike as I let the fly drop. I did try retrieving the fly a few times, but the fish were just not interested. I could get two or three circuits of casting at each spot before I needed to move.

When I got about 3/4 of the way down the pond the water got too shallow and the fish were just not there, as far as I could tell. I moved back up the pond and went a little farther out into the pond. I did catch a few crappie out at this point but the wind was making it hard to cast and moving the canoe too much. I called it quits and headed home.

I had a nice mess of gills and three crappie. I had returned a few huge gills and returned all the bass I had hooked. Great fun for a few hours.

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

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