I finally got the water flows that I was looking for and despite the single digit temperatures I went out to cure my cabin fever and chase my new favorite fish, the Musky. I was extremely excited to be on the water and to add to that excitement I was using my new 11wt Orvis Helios 3D for the firs View more...I finally got the water flows that I was looking for and despite the single digit temperatures I went out to cure my cabin fever and chase my new favorite fish, the Musky. I was extremely excited to be on the water and to add to that excitement I was using my new 11wt Orvis Helios 3D for the first time!
I chose to use an all white 12" T Bone Fly from Streamer King Flies because of the abundance of shad that inhabit this particular river system and because it really contrasted well with the water color on this day.
I was met river side by 9 degree air temps and slightly higher water flows than I anticipated from the online river gauge that I monitor, but I was fishing no matter what mother nature threw at me. After what seemed like an hour I was layered up and in my waders and heading to my first spot.
After a few cast and retrieves it was apparent by my frozen rod guides and locked solid reel that this was going to be a challenging day. Not to be deterred I addressed the situation and continued casting to the deep slack water on the edge of the fast moving main current. After a half hour of casting, retrieving, and deicing with no takers I move down river 20 ft and start the cadence all over again.
I fished for an hour and half, moving a total of 50 yards when all of the sudden on one of my drifts I felt the hard take of the big fish. Without hesitation my muscle memory took over and I laid into the Musky making sure that the 5/0 fly hook sank deep into it's hard jaw. The fish shook it's head fiercely and battled hard against the 11wt rod. The game of tug of war lasted a minute or so before I was able to beach the beast of a fish.
I stood there for a few seconds and admired the magnificent fish. This is the time after the fight when your body finally succumbs to the adrenaline and your heart starts racing, and your hands shake. This is the intoxicating feeling that makes an angler go fishing in the worse of conditions. make thousands of casts, and drive hundreds of miles. This is the moment we crave! After taking a few quick pictures the beast was released to the murky depths.
Just a few sidenotes....
It's important to fish deep and slow at this time of year. These fish aren't feeding a lot so it's important to cover every inch of water as slow as you can. This fish took my fly dead drifted without any movement on my part. I can only assume my fly drifted in the fishes strike zone and the fish thought it was an easy meal and struck. On occasion I would lightly twitch my fly to mimic a wounded shad.
The new Helios 3D performed like a champ on it's first trip. It cast like a dream and had the power needed to drive the hook deep. These fish have hard mouths and they are notorious for throwing hooks. Anything we can do to tip the scale in our favor is a bonus and I'm very pleased with the product Orvis has put out.
Lastly, it's very important to dress warm when chasing any fish in inclement weather. I layered in Under Armour Cold Gear and covered it all up with the Simms Down Stream jacket. This jacket keeps me warm in the worst of the worse weather conditions and I highly recommend it. For my hands I had on a pair of Simms Solar Flex gloves under a pair of Simms EXstream half finger gloves and my hands stayed relatively warm.