Rick's season is just starting again,
but we have a nice stash of articles he has written
in the past as ideas or events occured to him. We hope
this will explain apparent 'out of season' articles.
On this Saturday's outing I got to drive into
a pond. It had not rained for a few days and
the road was dry enough to get to the field.
This is a pond that I had not been to this year.
It is one that I have worked on for a few years
to get into decent fishing shape. It is almost
rectangular in shape. It is about 220 feet long
and 70 feet wide with the deepest water being
about 12 feet a little way out from the dam.
As I got to the pond I could see activity all
over it. There were fish rising around the edge
and fish rising in the center. The only thing
that kept me from starting to cast immediately
was the fact that there were about 10 feet of
weeds around the edge of the pond. I was afraid
that any fish I hooked would be caught up in
I finally fumbled around and got everything
ready to go. I still have trouble being patient
when I can see that the fish are ready to go.
I got the canoe to the edge and got out into
the pond. Now the choice was which place to cast.
I grabbed the first rod, a 5 wt, that had a
black peacock sword tail nymph on it (in the
bluegill flies article). This fly was already
on the line and it seemed like a good idea to
use it. I was about 15 feet from the edge of
the weeds and cast to a little depression in
the weeds. The fly had barely hit the water
when the line went sideways. I sat the hook
and had a bass go ballistic. This fish was
about 10 inches long and came out of the water
six times. Needless to say, all the activity
in that area was done.
I turned in the canoe and cast out into the
pond to see what might be there. I let the
fly drop for a few seconds and then started
to slowly stip it about 2" and then pause. On
the second strip I felt weight and tied into
a chunky gill. This fish turned sideways and
headed for the bottom. It took a few minutes
but I got her up and into the canoe. I did
notice that I had hooked her in the lip. I
cast out again about 10 feet to the side and
had a fish hit the fly immediately. This was
another fish that headed for the bottom. When
I got this fish up and tried to swing her into
the canoe she dropped off. As I was swinging
her up I knew I was in trouble because she
was barely lip hooked.
I thought that I would be smart and adjust my
hook set a little. I would wait a little longer
and let the fish get the fly in a little deeper.
I did this on the next cast and the result was
no fish. In fact I did this five more times. It
seems that the fish were spitting the fly out
if I did not set the hook quickly. My next
thought, brilliant because I did it, was to
drop down a fly size. It turned out that this
did not help. If I was slow to strike the fish
had spit out the fly.
It was time to go back to the quick strike
and at least hook the fish. I moved the canoe
a little ways to get into fresh unfished water.
I cast out again and let the fly drop for a
few seconds. I was starting to retrieve the
fly when I felt some resistance, so I sat the
hook I was into another chunky gill. When I
got this one up to the surface I could see
that he was lightly hooked in the lip. I decided
to try to net this fish. Great plan, but when
the fish saw the net he flipped a little and
the hook came out.
I finally decided, after a few more tries,
that the net was not going to work. I also
decided to put the anchor down and tie it
off. I have found that by doing this, when
the wind is not blowing, I can stand in the
canoe and cast with the fly rod. I do have
my life jacket on while I am doing this.
I cast toward the shore and tied into another
bass. In fact almost every time I cast near
the weeds I would hook a bass. I finally
started casting a little farther out from
the shore and got back into the gills. By
standing in the canoe I could work the fish
a little better. I managed to keep them under
water until they were near the canoe. At this
point I tried to bring them toward the canoe
and swing them up in one smooth motion. This
worked about 30% of the time. I had more fish
drop off than I caught. The thing was that I
was getting at least one strike on each cast.
Even if I lost the fish there was another one
As the sun started to get higher in the sky
I noticed that I was having to let the fly
drop a little longer to get to the fish. I
also noticed that I was not getting as many
strikes in the shallower water. I am trainable,
in some things, so I moved out to where the
deeper water was.
In this area by letting the fly drop for about
7 to 8 seconds and very slowly moving the fly
along I would connect with fish. I did try
other flies, but nothing worked like this fly.
While fishing this fly a little deeper like
this I did hook several crappie, but only got
three of them into the canoe. I also caught
three bass that were over 16" long while
fishing over this deeper water.
It was a very good day, even if several of
the fish got off. It is nice to know that
the fish population is healthy in this pond
and should continue to have good fishing for
a long time. I did catch 5 gills that were
from 11.5 to 12 inches long. All of them are
still swimming in the pond.
I did end up with 42 gills and three crappie
in the canoe. I was able to share some fillets
with folks and have some good eating ourselves.
I hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick Zieger