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Slow Reactions


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

It was Sunday afternoon before I got a chance to get out to a pond. There were just to many things to do on Saturday. Besides that it was supposed to be warmer and not as windy on Sunday.

It was about 2:00 pm before I could get things loaded and head out to the office to pick up a few things and then go to a pond. I keep my vest and hat at the office, so I can replenish boxes from my stock when needed.

I should have known that it was going to be a rough day. I was almost to the office when I blew out a tire. There was a 3" X 3" patch of rubber gone. I went through the tire changing routine. I then found that the spare was low on air. I drove to the gas station and put air in it. When I came out of the office, I noticed that it was low again. So I went home and got the spare from my wife's vehicle and put it on. What great fun.

I finally got out to the pond. The temperature was about 60 degrees and the wind was blowing about 15 mph, from the southeast. Not bad weather for the beginning of November. I got everything out and loaded into the canoe.

I tried a few casts from shore and nothing happened. I launched out and headed for the dam end of the pond. I wanted to fish from the shallows out over the break line. I had three rods with me. I had a black crow body feather leech on one. A white boa yarn leech on another and the third had a Marabou Miss on it.

I cast the black leech out first and let it drop for about five seconds. I then slowly started to retrieve it. I was slowly pulling it about one to two inches and then pauses for about five seconds between strips. This has been working for me the past few times that I have been out. I had moved the fly a few feet when I felt a little tick on the line. I thought I had hit a weed and continued the retrieve. This happened twice more on the retrieve. On the next cast when I felt the little tick, I tried to set the hook. I had a fish on for a few seconds and then lost it. I did this three more times.

I tried the other flies but they did not get any responses for me. It was time to change. I went to another black leech fly in a smaller size. Maybe the fish were short striking and this was the answer. I cast this fly out and went through the routine again. Again I felt the little ticks on the line but did not get any fish. I decided to pick the line up and cast it again. On the pick up, I found out that I had a fish on the line. It turned out to be a nice crappie.

Several more casts in the area did not produce any more action. I moved about 30 feet and tried again. I got several more little ticks on the line, but did not catch any more fish. I was trying but not succeeding.

On the next cast I kept the fly up higher in the water column. I kept the fly about three inches under water. This way I could watch the fly the whole time. I had moved the fly about a foot when the color disappeared. I was very curious so I did not set the hook and just kept retrieving the line. The line moved about two feet when I saw the fly again and felt the little tick. This happened one more time as I retrieved the line in.

On the next cast I moved the fly a foot or so and then did a hook set motion. No fish so I continued the retrieve. On the third try I hooked a fish. I got it close enough to see that it was another crappie before it got off. A few more casts did not produce any action, so I moved along the dam again.

I cast the line out and let it fall to where I could just barely see the fly. I then started to retrieve. As soon as the fly disappeared, I set the hook. I had another crappie on the line. This was the only fish I caught at this spot. So it was time to move.

I moved on around the pond and continued to retrieve the fly just under the surface. I hooked several fish, but lost most of them. The crappie were rolling on the fly and I was getting them in the side of the mouth again. I did manage to catch a few more fish. By this time the sun is getting very low in the sky.

It was time to head home. I had six crappie and two bluegills to my credit. Not the fastest fishing I have ever had, but I still got a few fish. Every one of them was a female, with egg sacks starting to develop. The fall feed is on.

I still need to figure out how to get flies tied so the hooks ride horizontally. My experiments have not worked so far. That or I need faster reactions.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick (written 11/08/05)

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