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Head Wind


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I went out for a normal Saturday morning on the pond. I went out a little later in the day as I had been gone to CE. I needed to put the canoe rack back on the pickup and then load everything to be able to go fishing. It is also into October and the temperatures are a little warmer later in the day. It does not make that much difference to me, but the fish are a little more active later in the day.

I got out about 9:45 in the morning. I also needed to get the mail for the office out of the mailbox as they would be closed Monday for the Holiday. I will not give you my tirade on the circumstance.

In any case I was out to the pond. I had been asked to try a new pond to see if there were any decent sized fish in it. The land has just changed hands and the new owner lets me fish his ponds. I give him some fish and he likes the way the bass get bigger for him to catch.

The only problem is that this pond faces north-south, with the dam at the south end. The hills on each side of the pond are fairly high and steep. The dam is about halfway down the length of the hills and parking is on the dam. There is no access farther up the pond. That is OK, but the hills act like a funnel. Any time the wind blows, it is magnified on this pond. And the wind decided to blow not long after I got to the pond.

The pond covers about five acres, with the deepest water being 18 feet deep. The north half of the pond is about 6 to 8 feet deep. The dirt was removed during the construction of the dam to make this happen. There is also a 4 foot deep 12 foot wide swath cut around the edge of the whole pond during the construction. I was able to go out and see this pond being built. The other thing that was done was that the top soil was moved to the side and then the clay taken down for the dam. The top soil was then put back to fill in where it was before. So there is fertile soil around the edge of the pond.

I got out on the pond and started casting. I put on a Gilly (Ricks Favorites in the archives) and a crow body feather leech. This would give me an attractor fly and a fly with a lot of movement. I had not been fishing for three weeks in Iowa, due to vacation and the fish were going to have to tell me what they wanted.

I anchored about twenty-five feet off the dam and started casting toward the dam. This would let me fish the shelf and then drop the fly off into deeper water. This would be the fastest way to figure out where the fish were. At least I hoped it would help me locate the fish, but it sure sounds like a good plan doesn't it?

I had several fish that were only on for 5 to 10 seconds and then gone. I guessed that these were crappie that we rolling on the fly again and I was hooking them in the thin flesh of their cheeks. This happens to me a lot in the fall. I have seen this happen in some clear water where I could tell it was the crappie doing that.

My next try to get these fish was to go to a size #12 boa yarn leech. I hoped that they would take this farther in their mouth and I might be able to hook them better. I went black first to see how it would work. I did get a few gills to take this fly, but the crappie were not interested. I switched to a white one so see if that might interest the crappie more. I had more fish hit this fly and stay on long enough for me to get them near the canoe, at which point they threw the hook. Any time they got up and flipped on the surface the fly was coming out.

I did manage to land a few by keeping my rod tip down near the surface of the water after the fish hit. Doing this seemed to keep them deeper in the water column for a longer time. I still lost some near the canoe but managed to get 19 crappie into the canoe. I also picked up the odd bluegill now and then.

About 11:30 the wind really picked up. Even with both anchors down, 25 lbs. total weight between the two of them, the canoe was moving. That means that it is time for me to get off the pond.

I ended up with about thirty fish and was able to show the landowner what I caught. He was working a field near this pond and I stopped to show him.

Hope you can get out on the water.

PS Fishing three noon hours at the lake has been two strikes and no fish. Winds are about 25mph.

I am not always successful. ~ Rick (Written 10/13/06)

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