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On a recent trip, I found myself in what should have been a "smallmouth wintering hole".
Angler: Wes Widrig
Fishery: New River near Bluestone Dam, Hinton, West Virginia
Lure: 1/4 oz Swim Jig
Catch and Pattern Description: Targeting a smallmouth winter pattern sometimes leads to a more interesting encounter with one of the New River's less understood and sought out species, the musky. On a recent trip, January 18th, I found myself in what should have been a "smallmouth wintering hole". With cold northwestern winds and frigid 35 degree water temps, I sat on the sunny side of the river prospecting the ledge that await my offering of a Blue Chrome Rapala Shad Rap.
I made several casts to the current seam in 8 feet of water and slowly drifted towards the tail out about 30 yards downstream. After 5 drifts, 45 minutes later and no bites I decided to tie on a 1/4 oz Bluegill Swim Jig with a beaver style trailer. On the very next drift I was surprised at what picked up the jig being hopped about 2 feet off the bottom. With a 6'8" spinning rod and 7lb fluorocarbon leader I immediately felt the thump of a big fish. Little did I know but the fish that just picked up my jig would wind up weighing nearly 15 lbs.