Select Page

I’ve been fly fishing since I was a boy.  Actually that’s not true.  I started fly fishing as a boy, but have been on and off for the past 20 years, mostly fishing for the larger freshwater fish on the fly when I get the chance.  That chance has only come when I got to borrow some gear 😉  My passion for fly fishing was rekindled a couple years ago when EJ and I met fly-liner Chris Baily of Reel Outdoors (  He hung out with us for a week catching some of the Ottawa Rivers biggest bass and pike on his famed “froggy”, a cool top water popper that he inevitably married during our TV shoot 😉  Watching him get top water after topwater had me hooked on fly since.

In the meantime I’ve focused my fishing on the predator fish, pike and musky.  Both offer challenges on the fly and both require the type of intelligence a fly fisherman likes to employ.  Especially musky.  You need to know where they are, why they’re there and what they’ll hit at that time of year, day and weather.  Lots of science if you’re ready for it.

Combine the two passions and I had a banner year last year.  Fly casting for predators all spring in TN lead to a win at the inaugural Musky Fly Fishing World Championships and more and more opportunities to fish around the world.  Till now I’ve been borrowing gear from a variety of friends for fly, trying to determine the feel, strength, length and other elements that I prefer.  Took about two seasons to figure it all out, but I have the profile I want and have selected Ross Reels to go the distance!

OK, so lets look at the profile I set for myself:

– Type of fish:  Both pike and musky have a long list of challenges to them in regards to the right rod.  They have massive mouths full of teeth and setting the hook isn’t that easy.  Again, especially musky.  It requires a strong rod, sharpenned hooks (barbless is better) and a fast rod.  It also requires a rod that can endure a fight.  They do not lay down and play dead, they fight.  52 inches is my personal best and it took a while to bring in, was epic with challenges from keeping rod up, down and active at the right times.  AKA need to be strong, but flex.  The other challenge with these fish is weight.  That tip is pushed to the limits no matter how good you are at managing it.  These large fish like to bolt at the kayak and tend to surprise even the best of tips.  The RX rod is bomber for these and other larger species.  Its now available to 10wt and that’ll do for most any freshwater toothy bugger.  Its very light and even the longer versions are strong enough to handle the fight.  The reel is the Evolution LT and it too can handle the fight.  On one occasion I tested a competing reel and it could not handle the drag flex I needed and lost what I think was a larger fish than my PB.  Though I tend to drag via hand on the spool, the drag control at those surprise moments comes in handy.  The fact that both the RX and Evolution are scaling up past 9wt allows me the line I need, the strength I need all at a very light weight.

– Where I fish: Tennessee is one of the hot spots for me as it’s close to Jackson Kayak, but here in the Ottawa Valley I fish in the wide open stretches of the Ottawa River.  In other words, we got wind!  Fly tossing the big flies helps that greatly, but the gusty days makes fly tossing impossible if you don’t have that fast tip and quick rod.  The RX is great for that as its FAST!  Casting I’m still learning.  The RX is a bit advanced for me, but I’m ready to get to the more advanced techniques with it.  The slower action rods are just not cutting it for me any more.

– How I fish:  I’m a kayak fisherman.  I fish rivers.  Moving, big water, small, shallow… all of them.  I run whitewater to some honey ne’re been hit marshlands for pike.  I hit sand spots on rivers where sand is deposited and fish salt too.  The rod and reel need to be ready to be strapped in, hucked about, exposed to a ton of elements, and otherwise poorly treated 😉  Just the nature of how I fish.  The Ross rod and reel I had all last year took it all.  It got scraped and looked the part of a hunter, but it didn’t miss a beat.  The reel performed as if lubricated each day, didn’t ever feel a grain of sand in the retrieve and the rod never lost a ring, never cut a line and never slowed any cast or retrieve.  Love it.  I expect this 2013 Ross combo to do the same.

If you’re hunting predator fish either in freshwater or salt, know that two years of beating the crap outta Ross gear has left me a believer!  Both rod and reel come with a great carrying case, in 4 pieces and ready to travel.  Love that the fly guy can travel light like this.  Check out Ross Reels!!

Two trips potentially coming up in the warm weather, one fly tossing on the Collins at the SE Classic Fly Musky Tourny.  Expect some instructional posts coming up as I continue to learn more and more about fly!


Indiana James