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Pride Before the Fall

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

The New Year has come and been survived. The weather is balmy and the fields are dry. It is Saturday and time to go to a pond. A great way to start the New Year, especially as the ponds are usually frozen over. I could even take the canoe out this time. I had checked Friday night about the possibility of going into a pond. I found that I could go as the cattle were not on the field.

When I got to the pond, I found the landowner there fishing. He had been out for about 30 minutes, with no success. I got the canoe off the truck and everything loaded in and on the canoe.

I tried a few casts from shore, but did not have any success. I put the canoe into the water and moved offshore a little way.

One thing about this pond is that it is below another small pond. The upper pond is not very deep. It has no fish in it, but it has a good supply of leeches in it. Every time that it rains very much, some of the leeches get washed out of this pond and down into the lower pond. The fish are used to seeing leeches, so I was going to fish a leech pattern.

I cast out the crow body feather leech that had not worked the previous week. I knew that I was around a breakline that went from about 4 feet of water to 9 feet of water in about a 4-foot distance. I thought some fish might be suspending along this breakline. There is no weight on this fly, so it takes some time to drop. But it moves very slowly and there is a lot of movement from the feather barbs.

The fly had dropped for a count of 18 when I saw the line twitch. I set the hook and had a nice crappie on the line. I got this fish in and cast out again. Again, at the count of 18 the line twitched and I had another crappie on the line. The next cast did not result in a strike. I moved about 15 feet and cast again.

It was almost a carbon copy of what had happened before. Everything, but landing the fish. I saw the silver flash of a crappie, but she was off before I got her to the canoe. The next cast was a carbon copy of this one. Hook the fish, but off before I could get my grubby big hands on her.

What I found was that I would hook two fish about every 15 feet, but that was it. More casts in that area did not result in any more fish. I was landing about one out of five fish that I hooked.

I tried a few other patterns but the fish were not interested in them. So it was back to the leech.

By this time I was fairly close to the landowner. He had not caught any fish. When he said he was leaving, I asked him if he would like a few fish? He said yes, so I gave him the five he would need for dinner. I was having fish hit the fly and I could always get more. Why not? I was having success.

To shorten the story, I left the pond with one fish in the basket. I could not get another fish to hit any of the flies that I tried. I spent about another two hours on the pond. I covered all of the water all over that pond. I even went back over the places I had hooked fish before, after the water had rested for an hour, but no success.

I finally swallowed my pride and left the pond. Those fined creatures, with those little brains, had out done me again. I am not sure what had changed and why the fish were not biting anymore.

Maybe I needed a lesson in not being so darn smug that I would catch more fish. Who knows, but a few folks got a good laugh out of it when they found out about it.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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