Only The Beginning….

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I received a phone call in early February from a friend, a fly-fishing guide in the Richmond, Va area.  He, like many other fly-fishing purists, has been in pursuit of muskie for years.  He has been beat up, rode hard, and put up wet time and time again. However, he has never stopped. He longed to hold this aquatic myth, in fact, he will tell you that it has haunted him since he first laid eyes on one.

Chris is wild and energetic. His stories will initially seem far fetched, but damn if they aren’t true to every word. Where most people operate at a sustainable energy of level 5, Chris is tipping the scales at 10. Its rare, enjoyable, and somehow addicting.  His pursuits for angling adrenaline has taken him all over the world. However, for the past few years he finds himself chasing these damn muskies time and time again.

The day started off normal. Gloomy, cold, and windy are the ingredients for a muskie adventure. We motored down the river to the location where the majority of muskie activity had been occurring. By some galactic phenomenon, all the stars aligned and we began moving muskie within the first hour. Like most muskie interactions, they came in hard and fast only to loose motivation when the time came to seal the deal…the story of my social life.

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My guide who was fishing with us that day recommended that we fish in a narrow slot along the bank.  The location is not your traditional muskie hole. It was small, about 6’ deep and was simply a long narrow ditch that paralleled the bank. The first cast into this trash hole a muskie hammered Chris’s fly. There was no figure 8, no anticipation for the strike. No, this fish wanted to eat and gave us no warning. The following vocabulary that ensued is in no way acceptable for pubic viewing. This fish thrashed, tail walked, and bull dogged for the bottom of the river. It pulled drag, pulled the boat, and almost pulled Chris out of the boat. The job was done!

Ive never seen Chris this happy, satisfied, nervous, and at a loss for words. His legs were wobbly and he could barely stand. Hell, he could barely speak english.  He rambled off sentences in pure frontier gibberish as he held this fish. It was an emotional experience that was short lived. Cheap beer and whiskey was consumed and we were right back to casting. In total, we had four more eats and seven follows, a good day of muskie fishing.

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The pursuit of muskie is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I have hunted and pursued about every thing on Earth, but chasing muskie is different. It consumes me to the core. Its an addiction that can only be fed momentarily. They are the main actors in a never ending story….. a story that will be played out again tomorrow.

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Wes Hodges Fly Fishing

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