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A Little Success

By Rick Zieger

I went out on the First Sunday afternoon in May. Saturday was cooler and the wind was blowing like mad. Sunday was warmer and the wind was going to be calmer. It is still too wet to drive across any of the fields. That means I was fishing from the shore again.

I hiked into a pond and decided to fish the shallower end. Part of the reason was that it is a little more protected and the wind was not blowing as hard. I was casting into a 15 to 20 mph wind instead of 25 to 30 mph wind. The wind was pretty much blowing straight into my face.

I had just started casting when five more folks showed up. They are all in the family of the person that owns the pond. So we had flies, tube jigs, spinners, crank baits, minnows and spinner baits being tossed in the water. We were spread all over the pond so there was not a problem in being too close to each other.

I had on a couple of flies that I had swapped with people for. The only problem I had was that both of the flies are lightweight and sink very slowly, not that that is bad, but by the time they got under water they were too close to me. I was trying to fish a breakline that is about 25 to 30 feet out from where I was standing. By the time these flies got deep enough they were about 15 feet out from the shore. I am an unprepared fisherman because I did not have anything to put weight on the line to make the flies drop faster.

I switched one rod to a Silver Goldie Jr and the other rod to a pine squirrel fly that is an adaptation of a Striper fly. The Goldie Jr has a bead head on it and the other fly has some aluminum dumbbell eyes on it. Both of these flies drop faster in the water.

I cast the Goldie Jr out and let it drop a little way before I started to bring it in. I am casting out over about six feet of water and the breakline comes up to about three feet.

I did not want to go too deep or I would get tied up in the weeds along the flat. I hoped some crappie might be out along the breakline looking for food or in a pre spawn-staging mood.

The fly had dropped about a foot when I noticed the line moving to the side. I did a controlled hook set in my excitement of actually having a fish hit a fly I put in the water. For three weekends and seven days at the lake, over lunch, I had caught 9 bass and one six-inch carp. So to have another fish was exciting. Actually it is still exciting to have the tenth, thirtieth or ninetieth fish of the day hit. I am addicted to the fish hitting the fly.

The fish came to the surface almost immediately and thrashed around. I lost this fish after about five seconds on the rod. That probably means that I hooked this crappie in the thin tissue on the side of the mouth. Not the best place to try to keep a hook in a "papermouth."

But I had hooked a fish! This might not all be casting practice. I might even catch a fish that I could eat for supper.

I cast out again and watched the line closely. The fly had dropped about a foot again and I had another fish on, again for about five seconds. I could see that this was another crappie. I could hook them, but now I needed to land some of them.

To make an hours fishing shorter I will condense this. I did manage to land two crappie out of the forty or so that I hooked. That is not a good average, but then again it is more success than I had been having.

The owner of the pond came by me and stopped to talk for a minute. His granddaughter was out with them and had never caught a fish. She was fishing minnows, but had not had a bite in the whole time they had been there. He wanted to know if she could come where I was and try to catch one of the fish.

I was all for this. She came down and we changed a few things for her. I found a much smaller bobber in the tackle box she had, a pencil type instead of the big sphere and I set it much shallower than she had been fishing.

She cast it out and let it sit. It took about a minute before I told her to set the hook. She had a nice crappie on the line. Over the next half hour she managed to catch eight more crappie. I think that she is now a hooked angler.

She does want to try a fly rod the next time that she comes down to visit her grandparents. We might be able to do something about that.

I did have some very good tasting fillets Monday evening.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick Zieger

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