Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What a Difference....

               Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures Blog. What a difference four days can make. Last Friday I had a high school classmate and her husband make their way from Omaha all the way to P-town to learn how to fly fish. I was so excited to help these two see what Fly Fishing has to offer, and fishing had certainly been getting better. I have been living in P-town long enough to not be surprised by any weather at any time of the year but even I had to scratch my head when I saw the 90’s rolling in. Wednesday, Cat and I fished in 50 degree weather and the fish loved it. Friday morning arrived and we were back at 90 degrees. We made it to the water at around 9:30 and Lori hooked several fish right away, but by 10:15 it seemed that the fish had gone in to total shut down mode. The next five and a half hours saw just a couple takes. In the shop over the weekend the fishing stories were far and few. We saw that the weather was supposed to cool today so Cat and I headed to the river and what a difference 4 days and 20 degrees made.
                We got to the water at just after 9:00 and decided to try some different spots. For about four hours Cat and I had to listen to each other go “Yeah, oh this is a good one” followed by “What the”. I know at one point I was sitting at 0 and 8 for the big fish but I was slaying the super dinks. Finally I was able to work my first quality fish to the net, there may or may not have been a small tear drop in the corner of my eye. The landing got much better for the both of us and we both got several to the net. The river did not disappoint today and the trees are just beginning to turn the valley Gold. The next ten days or so should be the prettiest of the year.  You can see a little of the colors in the background of Winston’s pic, I think he was getting a little tired. The close up of the Osprey was a plus. Sorry our river was a little difficult on you Lori and Mike but remember you are always welcome.

                Our fish seemed to be super hot right now and really gave us everything we could ask for. I think our biggest problem was that we had gone so small on our flies. Most of my big fish were on a size 24 black midge and the dinks were gorging on an egg. I have been feeling more and more confident every trip to the water so I am now beginning to take on guide trips. Sight fishing will be spotty between now and our first super cold spell but (if no 90 degree weather), fishing ought to be steady. Call the shop if you are ready to book, November is filling up. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Lori & Mike and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gonna Get Some Learning....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. One of the comments the shop has been inundated with over the last few weeks has been about the number of super dinks in the river. Now some in the know claim that we have no natural reproduction, the river tells a different story. I’m not sure when it actually started but at some point in my life, I found it really rewarding trying to help young people. I have guest lectured in both middle and high school. I have coached several of my kid’s sports teams, and Cat and I worked in our church youth group for several years. Over the years, some of my favorite clients have been kids. It is so rewarding thinking you are possibly making a positive impact in young people’s lives.

               Today, Cat and I had a different type of youth teaching. We got to the river at just after noon and the super dinks were absolutely gorging. Now it has been a long time since we have found ourselves fishing to those but today we had an idea. If we know that these super dinks will live their entire lives in our river, maybe at an early age, we need to teach them how delicious our flies actually are. All they have to do is taste our flies and we will open a whole new world to their moldable little minds. Winston also did his part in growing fish knowledge. While working with our fish youth today we just happened to work a few quality fish to the net. Obviously, fish that had been taught correctly. It sure was a productive teaching day today. Water was a little murky today so sight fishing was limited, luckily PMD’s were hatching all day long. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Mr. Kotter, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for learning……….

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Baby Steps.....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. On Friday I had my re-evaluation on my knee and after getting the go ahead, I made the most of it. 8 miles on the bike both Friday and Saturday, and today Cat and I made it to the river. We got to the water at just after noon and had an incredible day. I was hoping the fish would be as happy to be reunited with me as I was with them, but they had other ideas. Clarity was much better than I expected and Winston and I both acted like Pavlov’s dog when I spotted my first fish in a feeding lane. I took an extra second to collect myself and then laid the flies in front of the fish. I watched his mouth open just as my indicator jumped and it was game on. Well not really game on, it was a little more like todays Bronco game. The fish bolted straight for the rocks and as my first thought went to chase, my second thought was to be safe and take baby steps. I got my rod way in the air and flipped the line over two separate rocks. Just when I thought I had slowed him, he took off down river and then the line went dead. He had taken me under a tree. My next three hookups were the same, excitement and then the smell of smoke. Finally, I hooked one and was able to chase him just enough to get him in the net, it sure was great getting reacquainted. We started to make our way down river and I landed my next three, plus several super dinks. Cat was catching fish the whole way down but more than catching fish, I think she was just totally enamored with her new Sage X.
            Today was so much fun, but we did have a few not so great moments. I walked up on one fish and pointed him out to Cat. I measured him up and got several good drifts on him. After several drifts with nothing, my indicator dropped and I set. I could feel tree immediately and then walked over, and yes even when a person thinks they can really see fish, sometimes I get fooled. I’ve said it many times before, if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself, you are going to miss the greatest joke of your generation.
            It sure was great getting back into our river. At times the new knee felt great and at times it felt like I was dragging around a wet log. I have friends coming in next weekend, but after that I believe I should be able to start taking guide trips again. Clarity was really good today but I think it will bounce around a little over the next few weeks. Hatches will continue to increase from now until the end of the year. We saw a mixed bag of bugs flying around, giant Sulphurs, tiny PMD’s, and lots of midges but fish were mostly just eating caddis. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Dr. Feign and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Learning To Fly.....

               Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. It’s been quite a while since I have been at the keyboard. I’m sure most of you know that it has been quite a trying time in the O’Grady household this year. My shoulder was bothering me so much last year that just after the first of the year I had surgery on it. Early summer it was back surgery and 4 weeks ago, I had my right knee replaced. The first two recoveries flew by and I found a rod back in my hand in two weeks. The knee was a little different. The first week and a half was a little overwhelming, I have never felt so helpless in my life. I finally felt the desire to go outside so Cat and I made a trip to the shop. I only lasted about a half an hour and then I told Cat it was time. After the first two full weeks I began to quickly notice improvement. My new Sage X showed up and I think Cat was a little tired of being my personal slave. She hung the rod right near the TV so that every time I wanted to kick back, I would see the rod and go back to trying to work out. The last week I have found myself truly longing to get back to the river. I didn’t think I was ready to fish but there is so much more to being at the river than just fishing.
               We headed to the river at around 11:30 this morning. Cat had the X and I brought a chair. We had to stay pretty close to the car and we found one of our favorite runs was open. I dug my chair in and sat while Cat was rigging up. At that time a lyrical line from Pink Floyd ran through my head, “standing alone, all senses reeled.” I know it may seem silly but after not being next to the river in over a month, it’s amazing the senses that your mind picks up on. The first was of course I was sitting just close enough that my toes were in the water. Pooh-dog wanted me to get the full extent of the water so he kept coming up to me and shaking. The next sense that went off was smell, please no large nose jokes here, the Russian olives, I’m not sure what they are but another plant smelled a little like mustard, and mostly just the smell of the river. And last and maybe the best, the sound. The leaves of the trees blowing and the sound of the water rolling over the rocks will be going through my head all evening.
               I didn’t have the time to get totally lost in my thoughts because Cat hooked up several time the first half hour we were at the river. The first fish she fought for a little while and then the dreaded “pop” with the flies coming back at her. The next fish Cat was able to wrestle the to the net. She hooked a few more but then you could tell the fish in that spot were on to us. I asked if I could try casting a few times and she said no problem. I carefully walked about five steps into the river and got several casts and drifts in. Nothing hooked but it sure felt good. Cat fished a little more and then I asked her if I could try a different run on the way out and she said sure. I had to crawl through a few boulders to get to my spot and another line from Pink Floyd sounded “there’s no sensation compared to this, suspended animation, a state of bliss.” I finally got set up and got a good base. Second cast and my indicator shot up river, I must have been busy singing “learning to fly”, because by the time I set the hook, I could hear the fish giggling from below. I casted a few more times and hooked another fish, he was only about 11inches but he was the most awesome fish I have landed in over a month. As we were heading home the perma-grin was definitely plastered across my face. I have a long way to go, and I can’t wait to Learn To Fly.
               Fish today were caught on True Bloods and SOL’s. Fishing today wasn’t incredible but it sure was awesome being there. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Gilmore&Waters, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fly Fishing Without Eyes

        Hello and thank you for checking in at the O'Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Due to the fact that half the team is on the bench (Connell is recovering from knee replacement surgery), we are handing the reins of this blog over to two incredible young men, Max and Ajay. If you are a long time reader you may remember these guys, if not click Here. They are great ambassadors for our sport. Below you will find an article they have written about teaching a very unique friend how to fly fish. Enjoy!

**The photo is of Max and Ajay's friend.  

Fly Fishing Without Eyes
By Max and Ajay

               Normally when you hear the words, “fly fishing”, one imagines a fisherman with a long rod, gracefully controlling a long line with a tiny fly attached on the end. The fisherman maneuvers the line with precision, placing the fly exactly where they want it, and in a blink of an eye they have a fish on. What if you couldn't see that fly? What if you could barely see the rod that was in your hand? Certainly fly fishing takes keen eye sight, but what if you didn't have that at your disposal?
           Robert was born albino, meaning he had no pigmentation in his skin, hair, or eyes making him legally blind. He has already accomplished many things that other blind people wouldn't even try, like riding a bike, and traveling around the world competing internationally for judo. Robert's life is like any other teen, he goes to school, practices his sport, and now even knows how to fly fish. I have always been pushing him to go past his limits, and not let his disability effect what he really wanted to do, so he decided to learn how to fly fish. At first, I was not quite sure how I would go about teaching him. I had taught many of my other friends how to fly fish, but never anyone with severe sight problems; but I thought to myself that if a blind man can learn how to ride a bike, then surely he can learn how to fly fish and be able to catch something on his own. So I set out one summer morning with him, determined to get a positive result, and what happened pleasantly surprised me.
              Everyone always says, “fly fishing is all about the feeling”, but is it really? Well actually it is. You don't need to see the fly, or the line, or the end of your rod in fact to fly fish. All you need to know is how it feels. I started teaching Robert the basics of casting. I would cast with him in order for him to get the feeling of what a good cast was like and sure enough, after 15 or 20 minutes of casting, he had it. Once he knew what it felt like to have a good cast, then he could work on catching those fish. I set him up with a streamer so he could really feel the fish, feel every movement, feel every nibble the fish takes.
          After an extended length of time spent on learning how to cast and strip in the line and then re-casting, we moved around to the other side of the lake where there is a deep hole that year round is filled with fish. So I set him up in front of the hole and told him to cast out. Of course for the first few casts he struggled, but after a few casts he was back into the rhythm.
          After the first good cast into the hole, he turned and looked in my direction, saying how he felt that that cast was good, and sure enough he was right. He had gotten the feeling down, and was ready to catch that fish. He slowly stripped in the line, and suddenly, was caught off guard. The rod was bending violently and his line was taut and twitching. He had a fish on, and didn't know what to expect. He did well, kept the rod up, kept the line taut, yet after a few seconds the fish slipped away, and Robert reeled in his line. He was disappointed but now more determined than ever to land one.
           He turned to me and told me how it had felt just like a judo match, how his adrenaline was pumping, and how he had no idea how exhilarating fly fishing was. He cast it out again, but this time it wasn't the best cast, and he knew it, so he picked the line up and cast again. His second cast was much better, and as he was stripping the line back in, something hit it hard. Another fish was on and this time he was ready, and he was reeling in the line, aggressively one might say. One thing is for sure, he was going to land this one. I yelled to him that it was a decent sized bluegill as it broke the surface, of course he couldn't see it though. I grabbed my net and netted the bluegill. Robert was stunned, he had actually caught something. I brought the fish over to him and let him hold it. He had never held a fish before, so he was incredibly excited, and I let him release it back into the lake.

        On our way home, he explained how he understood what it meant to be a good fly fisherman. He explained how every fisherman should be able to feel the fish, and that having good eyesight was an advantage. Of course he was right, you need to have a good feeling of not only what it is like to fly fish, but for everything in life. Robert may not be able to see well, but he sure can continue fly fishing for the rest of his life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Almost Here !!!

               Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. I was flipping through the channels a few weeks back and I ran across the movie The Jerk. Now I am not sure any of our younger readers area aware of this movie but I’m sure our older readers are chuckling a bit just hearing the name. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the new phone books arrive and Navin runs up screaming “the new phone books are here, the new phone books are here”. He says “ there is my name, right there on page 73, I’m finally someone” “things are only going to get better from here”. As we know, things went up and then way down for poor old Navin, but watching I felt a little discouraged that I never really get that excited about new things in my life. If the shops tracking info is correct, that should all change tomorrow at around lunch time.
                I wrote a few weeks back about the new Sage X rod that Cat and I got to play with. The demand for this rod has been really high and so the Drift will be getting a limited supply of the X in tomorrow. Since playing with it back in June, I have caught myself daydreaming a little about seeing it again. I hope the FedEx driver doesn’t think there is something seriously wrong with me when I’m waiting at the door, salivating a little and when he shows up I’ll be screaming the New X’s are here, the new X’s are here, Now I can truly be someone! Now Sage has played a bit of a dirty trick on Cat and I, due to the limited quantities, we need to wait till September before we can truly be someone. Anyway, the rod felt truly incredible when we got to play with it at Deckers. Cat sneezed once and the rod casted 30 feet, roll casting was a breeze, the rod was super light and felt that way in hand, but still had plenty of power to throw a fly through a wall . I get asked all the time if a rod like this can make a person a better fisherman. I like to answer that question with my all time favorite analogy. Rods are like cars, you can certainly buy an old Chevy Monza and it would probably get you exactly where you want to go. I know that not everyone can afford a Lexus, but once you drive one, the price makes sense. If you get a chance tomorrow get by the shop and check out the new Mazaratti of the fly rod world, the Sage X.

                The river has continued to produce some really nice days over the last week. The Whiskey Nymph, and even Pats rubber legs have been tempting fish. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Steve Martin, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Naming Rights....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures Blog. Today’s blog will be a little different than most because at the end I will be asking for reader participation. Now don’t panic, I’ll give the rules later. With the Broncos preseason only a few short weeks away I started thinking a little about the stadium naming rights fiasco that is on its way. When I first moved to Colorado it was just “Mile High”, I remember the thunder the fans would make from below the seats “Mile High Thunder”.  The new stadium lost a little bit of the traditional luster but after last year’s Super Bowl win, the “Sports Authority Field” name really began to sink in. It will be really interesting to see how the naming pans out after Sports Authority went belly up. I hope my Broncos don’t follow suit.
            After about my sixth hookup of the morning I found myself completely basking in the Glory that our river has become, and of course that is where the naming comes in. When it comes to great fisheries, there are some fantastic names out there. The Dream Stream, Miracle Mile, Hog Trough, the Reef, Toilet Bowl; all these names signify the quality of the fish but when our water is mentioned, it is the Arkansas River Pueblo Tail water(boring). I would love to be as cool as “the Juan” but when you say “the Ark”, people say “do you mean up by Salida”. We have had a lot of fun over the years naming different runs,  and , of course Cat’s Run is my all time fave but Mysis, Apples, Peek-a-boo, DJ’s and even the Money Hole have been fun to see sink in. On about my ninth hookup of the morning I began to think about nick-names for our tail water, our river deserves an awesome nick-name. As I was taking a pic of my fattest fish of the day, my entry for the naming rights came to me. The Phat Farm, yep that is my official entry and for two reasons; first, this may be the only river in the world where there is as much Phat Farm clothing as Simms walking the banks, and second, these fish are seriously fat and healthy.
            Now here is where I am looking for participation and this means everyone, if you are creative please on either my or the Drifts Facebook page or my Blog please give up your best name entries. Now if you are too shy or not super creative than just use your mouse and hit the Like button for the names you like. Please don’t let this naming opportunity pass you by.  How awesome would it be to take you grand children here in thirty years and tell them that you helped in naming this river.

            As I stated in the text, the river fished really well today. 8:00 til 9:00 was steady but at around 9:00 the frenzy was on. Fish were drilling the Whiskey Nymph until my second break off and I switched to my A&W pattern. Landed a couple of smaller fish on a Twenty Incher but I am still trying to find a third fly that the fish find scrumptious. Dinner time ended a little early this morning and I didn’t touch a fish after 10:15. Wet wading is delightful and much safer than wearing waders right now. Have fun and don’t forget to participate. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Mile High, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…