Part Sixty-four

Randy Fratzke

Casting For Those Small Species

By Randy Fratzke


Okay, okay, it's been a while, but I've had a string of bad luck that I hope is coming to an end. My computer got a virus and got sick and died. We've also been through two "100 Year" floods and a "500 Year" flood since the middle of May (I'm not sure just who it is that determines these calculations but I still can't understand how you can have two "100 Year" floods in one year, especially since we had one in '93, '90, and '63…obviously someone can't count!) The "500 Year" flood brought 24 inches of water into the house, after going through two sewage treatment plants and who knows how many hog confinement operations.

Then to top it off, my mother was on her way to see us from Arizona two weeks ago in her little Hyundi and was rear-ended just north of Kansas City by a 13 passenger Dodge Ram van. Needless to say, the car was totaled. She claims that neither St. Peter or the devil was ready to put up with her so they sent her here. She's bruised and shaken but ornery as ever, trust me, I would pity even the devil if she ever wound up on his doorstep! She says she's flying home… closer to St. Pete that way, go figure!

During The Big Flood all of the "Big Guys" were around. There was FEMA, DNR, State Emergency Management, County Emergency Management, City Emergency Management, the National Guard, and, of course, the Red Cross. I have to admit right off, out of everyone who was here to "help" us, the Red Cross definitely did the most! They brought food, water, clean up kits, gallons of disinfectant and information on how to clean up the "mess", which kinda got me thinking…. I'd never attempted to catch one of the feces species that the Red Cross warned us was one of the "deadliest things in the water" on a fly rod! I mean I've read about anglers going after shark and barracuda and such but right here in Iowa, actually right here in my living room, one of the deadliest water species known to human kind…. E. Coli!

I figured I'd need some pretty special gear for this adventure! A VERY small tippet and a short, but lightning fast rod, definitely waders (I wouldn't want one of those things creeping up on me from behind!), and some magnifying polarized sunglasses. I knew I wouldn't need much backing on the reel since the living room is only 20 feet or so across, but it was quite a debate as to whether I should use floating line or sinking tip line, and if it should be a shooting taper, weight forward or standard taper. I threw caution to the wind, waded out to the garage and loaded on some florescent orange brick layers cord. I figured the little buggers were probably color blind anyway! Now for the right fly. I knew it had to be small, probably around a size 30 or so (I was hoping to entice a large one for mounting), but I just wasn't sure of the color. Then it dawned on me; Dun of course! Match the hatch and all that stuff - I'd use the old British standard, The Cow-Dung fly!

Okay, now I was set. My waders were on and weren't leaking. I hadn't been able to find the magnifying, polarized sunglasses so I'd taken the lenses out of my regular sunglasses, duct taped them onto the bottom of a couple of brown colored root beer bottles and seemed to be in business. I'd mounted a micro reel onto the butt end of a rod tip, (actually it was the plastic spool that that the brick layers cord had come on, affixed to the rod tip with Duct tape, but who cares about the minor points). I'd been able to split back the cord and 'tapered' it so I could tie the micro dun on and was wading towards the living room when I heard a voice from outside, "Sir, excuse me, sir? What on earth are you doing?"

I turned towards the voice and found a short, plump, gray-haired lady with a Red Cross vest on peering through my window. "You know you really shouldn't be in there, even in the waders. If they should spring a leak you may get a nasty infection! Do you know that there's a good possibility that there's E. Coli, Cholera, Diphtheria and all kinds of really deadly things in that water!" she added.

My eyes lit up, more new species! Here I was only going for one, and now I find out there are more! I quickly asked her, "Which one is the deadliest?" thinking of the trophy mount of course.

She looked at me with a confused expression, "Why they're all quite deadly if not treated properly." was her response.

I was quickly becoming agitated with this intruder, the water was starting to recede, time was a wastin', but now I had a person of knowledge and possibly experience at catching one of these deadly swimmers!

So I asked her again in another way, "but ma'am, is one more deadly than the other, or are they all about the same, as far as contagion is concerned?"

Again, she looked at me quizzically and asked, "Sir, may I ask, just what is it that you are doing?" I was trying to explain as plainly as I could when she interrupted me with a question of her own, "Sir, have you been drinking???"

I said that because of the medications I'm on that I couldn't drink alcoholic beverages, so to answer her question, no I had not been drinking. With that she disappeared.

Finally, alone, the water slightly receding, but still at the 18 inch mark by my estimate looking at the front sliding glass door, the quarry obviously all around me, I stealthily made my first cast. A short roll cast towards the northeast corner of the living room, the darkest area of the pool, surely that's were I'd get my first hit.

I was slowly retrieving the fly when there was a very loud knock on the door and a deep authoritarian voice boomed, "Sir, please step outside of the house immediately!"

I really jumped, I mean it nearly scared the crap out of me! Finally I managed to ask, in my own authoritarian voice, "Just who in the Hell are you to order me out of my own home? Not to mention, probably scaring every bacterium in the place into the darkest recesses of the carpet!"

"I'm with the Red Cross, Sir, and you really need to come outside, NOW!"

Well I figured there was no Red Cross volunteer going to order me out of my house and then horn in on a set of trophies for his own wall, and I told him so! I heard him slosh away from the door, mumbling something to himself, hey I figure it takes all kinds! Back to casting.

I'd made a few casts into the corner without much success and was wading over towards the northwest corner when I heard voices and sloshing heading my way outdoors. I cut them off quick, "Whoever you are, whatever you want, go away, I'm busy!"

The door opened and in walked two, very large, haggard looking guys, followed by the gray haired lady and the other Red Cross guy. "That's him officer, that's him!" the lady said, pointing her pudgy finger at me. "He told me that he was trophy fishing for, for, well you know, I told you outside!" she added.

I looked her straight in the eye, then at the three men and said it for her "feces species, trophy size, for the wall." Thumbs inserted into my suspenders, "Normally I'm a catch and release sort of angler, but I figure there's an overstock right now and no one's gonna care if I keep one or two. I've tried finding a regulation on limits and stuff, but it's a pretty vague area I guess. By the way, who are you and can I get you a rod too?" The two guys looked at me, eyes wide, then at each other and started laughing, like I was the butt of some private joke between the two of them.

"We're DNR officers, Federal DNR officers" said one of them. The other, still laughing looked at me in my "getup" and said "you fly guys just never quit, do you? Always just another cast, always just another specie for your list. I've met hundreds like you. C'mon guy, let's go. It'll be dark soon and you really need to get some rest."

They led me out of the house, found me a cot and a hot cup of chocolate, the gray haired lady really was nice, she even found my wife for me and some new medication and a chair for her to sit by my cot. I thought it was really nice of her. I was soon sleeping. . . dreaming of new species to fish for. ~ Randy Fratzke

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