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Sunday Afternoon for 100
By Rick Zieger, Iowa


I had a weekend where my wife was not feeling good. This 24-hour flu stuff and I did not think that I could go out and leave her. We also had several things that needed to get done and this seemed to be a good time to get that on the road.

By Sunday noon she was feeling much better and told me that she was going to take a long nap and that I needed to head out to a pond and get my weekly "constitutional" in.

It did not take long to get stuff loaded and head out.

I headed for a pond that I had not fished for a couple of years. I also knew that it was a clear shot to get into this pond as they were taking hay bales off the fields and I would not have to shut the gates.

When I got to the pond, I did not see any action on the surface. I did get everything into the canoe and close to the shore. I watched for a minute and could see the flash of fish rolling on something. I knew a hatch was on and it would be time to go with something small.

I did take my shoes and socks off and wet waded into the pond a few feet to see if I could pick up what was emerging. After a few minutes I started seeing a little bug that was rising and falling about 6 inches under the surface. I carefully managed to scoop one up. It was about a size 22 and was a dark color and very thin.

I got out of the pond and tied midges on both poles. I went with a red dyed pheasant tail feather barb midge and a midge tied with black wooly nylon. Both were tied on size 22 hooks. Both are dark and I wondered which might work better.

I dried my feet off in the grass and got my shoes and socks back on. I put the canoe into the pond at an angle so I would stay in the weeds along the shore. This way I could cast out and see what I might catch.

I cast the first midge out and let it drop for a short time. In fact, I was still letting it drop when the line twitched. I was fast into a nice sized gill. The one problem with midges this size is that they have to be removed with forceps, at least for me. I also retied the tippet after about every 6 fish, just to be safe. The next cast resulted in the same thing happening. No work, just cast and let it drop.

I did this several more times until I had disturbed the spot too much. There was just a hint of a breeze, which meant I could slowly drift down the shoreline. I did this, but did an experiment at the same time. I cast the one midge out and just let it move with the canoe, while I cast the other toward the shore. I caught fish on both of these. In fact it got so hectic that I decided to use only one rod. The fish were hitting that fast, and too many times the hooks were very deep in the gill's throat. It was just easier to control one rod.

As I moved farther down the pond, away from the dam, I was getting into shallower water. When I got to where the water was about 6 feet deep the fish were stacked in all over the place. I think it was a feeding orgy. I dropped an anchor and fan cast around the canoe. Every cast resulted in a strike. I did not land a fish every time that one hit.

Many of these were crappie and the hook would just not hold when in the side of their mouth. They aren't called paper mouths for no reason.

I continued to catch fish from this spot. Most of them were gills. I did get a few bass into the boat, but only managed to get one crappie to hit so I could land it. I did tie a few crappie flies on the other rod, but the fish were keyed in on this midge.

I did tie on a couple of other midge patterns to see how they would work. I was catching fish on all of them. It was great fun. I was catching a lot of fish.

I had been out for about 2.5 hours when the land owner came by. He wanted to close the gates and lock them as there were some kids riding four wheelers across the road. He did not want them riding in his fields and the only way to make sure was to lock the gates.

I loaded the canoe and got everything in the pick up in short order and drove out. I stopped at the road and waited until he went through the gate to close it. He locked it and then asked me if I had caught any fish. I showed him what I had and he was impressed. He wondered why I had not caught any bass. When I explained that bass went back in and the reasons for it, it was sold. I have permission to fish any of the ponds on his land by just contacting him so I can get a key for the gates.

This sounds good to me. I did offer to bring him some fish, but he does not care for them.

I got home and had a big mess of fish to take care of. I had 83 gills and the lone crappie. I had them filleted in about an hour. I know that I tossed a dozen large gills back into the pond and that I also tossed back a few dozen bass.

I have not had many hundred fish days in August, but I may have to try more afternoons, if the hatches are going to be that good.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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