It is February 3rd. Today, the weather was supposed to be mid 60s, sunny, and generally drop dead gorgeous. I had to fish today -- period! Took my new Hexagraph 1-2 weight and my Orvis T3 843 and hit the water.

Did I mention the conditions? 15 to 25mph wind, white caps, chill factor and cold fish were the rule on this "drop dead gorgeous" day. Since we are going to plunge back into artic char weather immediately, I decided I would at least ask the fish if they were interested.

I showed up on the water at about 10:45 this morning. Wind, yes there was wind. The 60F. plus temps were knocked down to feeling like the upper 40s by the 20 mph wind. See the wave action on the surface in the first image. I'm still chilled from today's wind, but I fished and caught fish.

Please notice my graph in the image right. Notice first it says 1.4 feet. That was about right. I found some fish holding in sun drenched wind driven areas. See the temperature? It was 44.3 degrees. Are the fish pre spawn? No, I believe they were trying to get warm, too. Then the clouds dropped by and kept them from warming up as fast as they wanted. My rule is the fish have to eat. They may have slowed down but they have to eat, and they will. Just serve up what they want!

Ok, you want to know what fish I caught, and how I caught these fish? That is easy. I did exactly what I tell my readers to do. I gathered up some layers of warm clothes, my fly tackle with plenty of small streamers, fishing gloves, food, cameras, and hit the water. See the bass in the image left. He exhibited good color, and plenty of pep when he hit. He saw my weighted streamer and thought he had a happy meal. I almost hated to surprise him with the hook. Notice my new aluminum bar stock version of the Orvis Battenkill disc reel. SWEET!

All right, I have an advantage because I know lots of fish holding water at today's destination. There was NO assurance the fish would be there, so I PROBED water to get the answer. Referring back to the image top left, please note that the water was turbid from the wind. My first selection is a fly that works day in, day out, in clear or turbid water, a black suspending fly. I tied a size-14 on my 1-2 weight Hexagraph with 2 weight line, and I tied on a size-12 black streamer on my Orvis T3 with 3 weight line. I probed water and the fish approved my size-14 fly for the day. I caught 19 of 20 fish on the size-14 suspending black fly. The other lone bluegill bit my size-12 version of the same fly.

What technique did I use? I fished leaders about 9 feet long, the last 24 inches of which was 4 pound tippet. I cast my fly to many subtle fishy looking spots, and depending on depth, let it sink a one, two, or three count, then stripped it back in SHORT 2 inch strips. The strike was more of a stop at the end of the line. This time of year, any change in the look or feel of your line -- raise the rod, quickly but gently.

You will see in the image right one object of my affection on this day -- a fat chilly bluegill posing with my 1-2 weight. Even though they were in cold water, and were thoroughly cold to the touch these half pound gills hit subtly, but fought well when hooked. It made fighting the wind worthwhile. Today was also the day on which I caught my first bluegills and bass on my 1-2 weight Hexagraph rod, a real pleasure to fish with.

When you get the opportunity, be sure to get out there among 'em! Please consider this short article encouragement to fish, between trips for coffee and fire wood.

Bill Byrd


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