This fish broke my rod!!!
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 worst of conditions. make thousands of casts, or 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.
Our Musky and Pike fishing fishing trips will take place on several different waterways located in Western Pa. These trips are geared towards the "hard core" serious fly angler who can handle the physical rigors not to mention the mental toughness needed to chase the apex freshwater predator. The best Musky/Pike fishing spots are usually the hardest to get to and ours is no different. We will be sinking in mud, tripping over dead falls, picking off ticks, but I can promise you that is all worth it if you're fortunate enough to land one of these monsters. So if you feel you're up to challenge and would like to experience the ultimate fly fishing experience, contact us TODAY!
This fish destroyed my brand new fly!!
All predator trips require a $150 non refundable deposit to reserve a trip date. In the event of inclement weather the deposit will be held and a new trip date will be scheduled.
$350 1Person Full Day-Day Break till Dark
$700 2 People Full Day-Day Break till Dark
$300/Day 1 Person 2 Full Days-Day Break til Dark
$500/Day 2 People 2 Full Days-Day Break til Dark
We provide rod and flies but you are free to use your own.
What to bring:
Waders if weather dictates
Sun Screen/Insect repellent
Valid Pa Fishing License
Extra Clothing-Warm, Dry
Important: If you need lodging you must handle that. We will assist on where but we don't have lodging for our Musky/Pike trips.
Our client and good friend Olivia Michaud with a Bowfin caught on a recent Musky trip.
I intended to travel to Erie to scout for some Steelhead spots for a few upcoming trips but the threat of a big snow storm changed that plan so I decided to fish for Musky instead. It was a little milder than it was on my last outing with air temps in the low 20's. I was greeted with absolutely perfect water levels with a slight green tint.
I decided to start at a spot where we have had some action over the past year but haven't been able to fish recently because of the higher water levels. The spot is a deep channel with a fallen tree and some brush on the opposite bank. The fish like to hug the middle of the channel and most likely take advantage of the current bringing their prey to them. I was literally 15 yards down river from where I caught my first Musky last August.
I entered the water and waded a few feet in and proceeded to launch my Nightmare Musky Flies 12" Gizzard Shad Imitation fly just shy of the fallen tree on the opposite bank. I watched the fly slowly sink before drifting into the deep channel. Seconds after reaching the maximum depth of the channel I felt the unmistakable strike of a large fish. I instantly and aggressively strip set several times trying to ensure a solid hook set when the massive fish thrashed to the surface.
The battle was on and I had my hands full fighting the heavy and now very upset Musky. Back and forth we went and if it was a boxing match we both would of been staggered. After several minutes I was able to beach the beast in a shallow spot along the shore. I couldn't believe my eyes!! It was enormous and the girth was really unbelievable. Two trophy class Musky 3 days apart.. I was so fortunate!
After some quick pictures I had the extreme pleasure of releasing this perfect specimen back to her deep water home. What an incredible experience!!
With the crazy weather patterns ushering in lots of Spring time rain, we haven't been able to fish for Musky as much as we would like. On April 12 the river level finally began to recede to a point that I could attempt to fish. Upon arriving to my chosen spot I was met with still higher than normal water levels. In addition the water clarity was less than ideal but the day was beautiful and I was going to fish.
I started fishing the slack water next to the fast moving current with repeated casts making sure to give my sinking fly line time to drop my 12" Game Changer to the depth of the fish. I worked the area slowly and when I was confident I covered every square foot of possible water, I would move down river several yards and repeat the process. I fished up and down the river, changing flies, changing retrieval cadence and speed, but no takers. After 8 hours and with my torn rotator cuff throbbing I called it a day.
Through the course of the day the water level slowly came down and although still stained cleared somewhat also. A quick glance at the Moon chart showed a Major Feed from 11:30am-1:33 pm the next day and I was not going to miss it.
I was back on the water the next morning casting and stripping my Nightmare Musky Flies 12" Perch Game Changer I fished the same slack water and deep pockets but still no takers. I checked the water temperature and it was in the low 40's which is still too cold to kick start the spawn so the fish had to still be holding in their regular lies. Although I didn't have a fish yet, the water level continued to drop to normal levels and my optimism never wavered.
I had less than hour remaining to the end of the Major and until had to leave so i made my way up river to a spot that I was unable to fish the day before because of the high water. It was still a tad high and still pretty fast but I was able to see the slack water seem on the edge and that's where I focused my casts. On my first cast and a few strips later.... WAM! I quickly and aggressively set the hook and the felt the weight on the other end give way and a violent splashing disturbance on the surface of the water....ughhhh a large tree branch! Why do they feel like the real thing???
I slowly moved downstream of the tree branch disturbance and start my casting and retrieval sequence again.Working the edge of the fast water where large boulders create a slack spot where a big fish can lay in wait out of the current. Cast, strip, strip, strip, WAM!! Like before I instantly set the hook and I can't lie and say that another tree branch didn't instantly pop into my head. But unlike the tree branch I immediately felt the monster fish shake his head at the displeasure of being hooked and the fight was on.
The fish breached the surface trying everything in it's power to throw my fly. When that didn't work the cagey predator took to the fast current and I gave chase in the fast waste deep and debris filled water. I made it about ten steps before a dead fall entangled my foot and I fell head first into the chilly water. After regaining my footing I grabbed my fly rod that I dropped and my heart sank at the thought that I may have lost the fish. That thought quickly diminished when I immediately felt the fish run again. This time I was ready for it and reacted appropriately. I was able to get the beauty to the shallows and I had my 3rd Musky of 2018.