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Orvis Helios and Hatch fly reel on The Guadalupe

I don’t usually spend a lot of money on equipment.  Ok, I probably should correct that… I don’t spend a lot of money on any single fly fishing item.  I probably buy too much in total but I haven’t splurged on any top of the line Winston rods or Tibor Reels or anything even close to those price points.

A couple of days ago, I was at Sportsman’s Finest and was just killing some time looking for fishing equipment.  I picked up an Orvis bamboo rod but quickly put it down after the $1750 price tag swung into my view.  I would have loved to get it but I just can’t spend that much on a rod. I break them too easily. But, I could do a Winston maybe. I really loved the 4wt Winston that I borrowed from my guide a few years back at Broken Bow.  It was like casting a feather. I picked one up, did the standard fly shop rod wiggle and put it back. I could do that.  Wait, if they have an Orvis bamboo rod, maybe they have the Zero Gravity Helios rod by Orvis (yes, their ad seems to work).  I asked the always helpful Ryan if they have other Orvis rods which he replied, no, we’ve tried to phase them out since the Orvis store moved back to Austin.  “But, we do have a couple of Helios rods at 30% off.  Would you like to cast one?”  No, just ring it up I told him, I’ll take it.

So, at this point, I was trying to decide which reel to put on it.  I have a few 5wt reels – Reddington, Ross, Okuma, SA, LL Bean, and probably some other ones I forgot about.  I thought, if I’m going to spend the big bucks on the rod, I might as well get a good… no a great, reel.

Ryan ran through a few starting with some Lamson’s and compared them to a Ross or two and then moved over to the Hatch line.  The Hatch reels look really really nice and were super light and butter smooth.  Yes, that was the combo I wanted – an Orvis Helios 5 wt 8.5′ and the Hatch 4 Plus reel.

After I painfully signed the credit card slip, I went home wishing I was heading straight out to the water.  Not in the cards that day but I did have a quick Guadalupe trip planned for the coming week with my friend Scot.  Should be a perfect time to try out my ultimate combo.

Jump to Thursday – I took off and met down at Scot’s father’s house.  First, I stopped at the Reel Fly Adventures shop in Sattler where I picked up a net that replaces the current one I have that was big enough to bring a Marlin to the boat.  I also got a few flies including a recommended pink San Juan worm and a flashy nymph that the name eludes me.  It was something I hadn’t heard of before.

Me, Scott and Uncle Bob as he’s affectionately called jumped in the Subaru and headed to the Potts access point.  Turns out Potts lease access expired a few days ago but the owner of the property happened to drive by and let us park there anyway.

The water was pretty murky.  I’m not sure if I have seen it with as low visibility as it was today.  I tied on a wooly bugger and jumped in.  A couple of casts and I had a little panfish.  At least it was a start.

No need to bore you with all the details but I ended up hooking one of the larger fish I’ve ever caught on the Guadalupe.  I fought it for about a minute which was a pretty long time given the width of the river at the spot where I caught him.  As he got within netting range, the fly got unstuck.  I had already started planning my blog post and where I was going to put the framed picture when the line went limp.  I yelled an obscenity and actually did one of those toddler temper tantrum jumps.  Regardless, the rod played it beautifully and the reel held it’s own.

I ended up landing a couple more with the one below being the only one I photographed.

Here’s a little spectator that floated a little too close for comfort

And here are some of my typical scenery pictures

Yes, I think I’m going to like this new equipment investment!

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