Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Omen....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I’m not sure how old I was the first time saw the movie The Omen but what I remember is that it scared the absolute tar out of me. Even to this day when I hear the theme music is makes me shutter. Winston and I got to the river around 10:00 this morning and on my first cast I landed a chunky little fifteen incher. Immediately I began thinking about what kind of omen it could be. I remember years ago, on my “glass is half full” days, I would think that this would mean that the day was going to be the best ever. On the “half empty” days I would think that it might be the only fish I would catch that day. As I was pondering the fate of my fishing day I began to laugh at how differently I look at fly fishing today. In my early days of fly fishing, my success was measured by the number of fish I caught, regardless of the manner in which they were deceived. Case in point, one of our favorite places we used to fish was San Isabel lake. We would take our float tubes, tie on foam caddis and go to town. A fifty plus fish day and we felt like we knew what we were doing and any number less than twenty and it was time to rethink our strategy. These days my measure of success is not so much about numbers, but being able to beat any particular fish that I pick out, nonetheless, I decided the name of my first cast fish shall be Damien.
            After landing and releasing Damien, I spent another ten minutes in that run and then began to move down river. I was thinking about a pig that I had spotted on Thursday and on my way, I started seeing other fish. The first few attempts were futile with the fish just sliding out of the way. I changed up my rig with a New Zealand strike indicator and less weight and still found fish just moving out of the way. I moved a little further down and saw a whole group of active trout on redds, a whole new meaning to the word troutporn. I spotted a few smaller fish under a tree and was able to catch a few of them. Next I hooked another beauty but he popped off quickly. I made it to the spot where the piggie was from the other day and saw nothing so I moved into a deeper run. After getting smoked three times, I managed to land a couple of big fat p-town bones and about a sixteen incher. While eyeing the river on the way back to the car I got a glimpse of something in the middle of the river. Nearing it I could see the purple hue and got a few casts off, he moved up a little but after he stopped I cast again and hooked him. He took a minute to land and he absolutely made my day. He was a stout, cherry red twenty incher. My day was a success and even though the Omen theme was in my head all day, every fish is a different adventure.
            Fishing today was not easy and the river is quickly transforming into our most technical season. I saw several fish on redds today and expect the spawn to really increase over the next week. I know I have pleaded before but please leave the future of our river alone there are plenty of feeding fish to play with. If you are not sure what to look out for please call the shop and we can key you in on what to look out for. Also when handling fish please be gentle and quickly snap a pic and release the fish. All but one fish today was landed on the J-bomb and big fish was landed on a simple black midge. If you have been planning on a guide trip this spring that now is the time to get it booked, fishing is not easy but a good cast and drift will equal success. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Damien, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Coming Home.....

              Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Today’s blog may be a little long because I wanted to touch on a few different subjects. To start, I wanted to give some final thoughts on our Hawaii trip, and will then finish with an up to date report on our river conditions. I wanted to start by thanking a few of the individuals that helped to make our Hawaii trip not only possible but a few of the most enjoyable weeks of our lives. Cody and Kim were amazing, they took us to see everything of interest on the island and Kim’s Mom and Ron allowed us to stay with them the last few days we were there. I also wanted to give a quick shout out to Kenny Karas and Mike Hennesey from Hawaii On The Fly. As we were on our way back home we were trying to figure out a way to describe how difficult Hawaiian bone fish are to catch. The word that came to mind and everyone agreed was diabolical.  I’m a little stubborn when it comes to fishing and the first night when everyone else was listening to Kenny, I made the poor decision to learn on my own.  The first week we spent battling poor light and the flu but still every evening, sitting around the table, I learned a little more from Kenny. We got a few good light days the second week and that is when things got really interesting. It’s one thing to not catch fish when you can’t see them but when they're right there and you got nothing, it’s not like I had a lot of hair to lose but I’m sure my head shines a little more now.
                To give you an idea about the technique used to try and wrangle one of these fellows, it went a little like this:  we would walk until we found a place where bones seemed to be moving through or tailing. Then, we would crouch down and try and make a cast leading the fish by 10 feet in the direction of where you think they were going to go. Now if you screw up and cast 9 feet then they blow up and take every fish in the area with them. Now more often than not, just as your fly hits the water at 10 feet in front of the fish they normally change direction…ahhhhhhhhhhhh. I do believe there was more colorful language on those flats then at an NWA concert. Well when you make that perfect cast, twitch the fly and watch the bone move over and gnaw on your fly, it makes it all worthwhile. In all my years fishing for trout, I have seen my backing once and when I hooked my first bone, before I could even yelp, fifty yards of backing had flown through my guides. My last fish landed had me around a hundred yards into my backing and as I reeled him back and just got my line back into my guides he made another fifty yard run. 
       Now I will have to admit that it is a little difficult to get super annoyed not catching fish in Hawaii. Monday we spent the day at Hawaii Kai and after about the first twenty minutes I lost focus and spent the next two hours watching the kite surfers, WOW talk about amazing athletes. Our most difficult flat was in K-bay, fish were huge and very difficult to see but the back drop was amazing. My first fish of the trip was caught in K-bay on accident. I was clearing my line and had just tossed out the fly and as I lifted I could see there was an 8 inch fish on it, I had no idea what it was so I just snapped a few pics and then used my forceps to get him back in the water. Cody told me it was a lizard fish and asked if I saw the teeth, sure was glad I used my forceps and then looked at the pic and saw the teeth. We saw tons of puffer fish, and one day I heard something behind me and I cast and caught a Goat fish, a pretty little thing with the orange stripes. Our first night in K-bay we began seeing these worm like creatures that I think may have been the inspiration for the movie Tremors. The trip was amazing but I do have to say that we were ready to get home, the last day on Triangle we kept watching the jets take off and we found ourselves longing to be on one.
                So my final thought on Hawaii, if you are going on vacation definitely bring your rod and book a trip.  Kenny and Mike are awesome and might just save half of your hair. If you are just looking for a place to catch a bunch of saltwater fish then I would find a different destination. If you are looking for that one 10 plus pound bonefish that will make your fishing complete than go, but you better bring you’re A-game, remember these fish are DIABOLICAL. There are tons of pics so hopefully you can get through them all.

                Now on to our P-town river conditions, after two weeks in Hawaii I needed a little shot of confidence, so Winston and I headed to the river. I don’t think I have ever seen pooh-dog so happy and I actually watched him prance a little when he first stepped into the river. I saw quite a few fish paired up today and several empty reds. I checked different staging areas and didn’t see fish in them. I started with my January rig and after about an hour of nothing I changed into the super stealthy mode, 6x fluoro and really tiny flies. I caught about a seven incher and then I hooked into a 18inch Pueblo-bonefish(lol...a sucker). My confidence was a little shaken and then for about twenty minutes it just turned on. I landed an 18 and a 20 incher and lost a few more that felt pretty strong. They didn’t get me anywhere near my backing, but listening to my reel scream and seeing my 4 weight “X” thrash around, I felt like I was home. Winston was pleased to be back on his river. Fish today were fooled by a J-bombs, Ninjas and Tube Wings. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, King Kamehameha, and the Drift fly shop want to thank you for reading…

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Digg'n Up Bones

Aloha friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. The last several days have been some of the most humbling days fly fishing that I can ever remember. I have come to realize that even though I think that I am a pretty darn good trout fisherman, it has absolutely no correlation as to my bonefish abilities. I was warned before coming to Hawaii that these bones are like no other in the world and even though I believed that, I didn’t think I would spend nine days shaking my head. Cat and I are here with Cody and Kim and a few other friends that have all fished this area before and even they are finding themselves shaking their heads. The first few days I would tell Cody that today is the day, the next few days, were today may be the day and the last few I was thinking about learning how to surf. Now partially to our “un-credit” we have been battling awful cloud cover and the plague all week.
I started telling Cat that we are fishing on the Jeromy Wade schedule, he always spends weeks looking for a particular fish and the morning of his last day he catches the fish he was after. This morning we headed to a different flat that we had only fished once so far and we could not have been rewarded more. In the first ten minutes on the flat I saw more tails than I have seen in the last week. I got some good shots off but the fish that I didn’t blow up, just didn’t seem all that interested. My first few shots were a little embarrassing with panicked casts and then I found a spot that seemed like a Bone highway.   I got a few what I thought were pretty good shots and then I saw my fish moving across, I casted and watched as the fish continued to near my fly. I gave it a little twitch and watched the fish move over and stick his face in the mud. My hands were shaking and as I slow stripped I felt the line come tight. Tip stayed down and the magic exploded. My best way to describe the first run would be like lassoing a speeding dump truck while on roller skates. Before I even had a chance to screw it up I could see my backing flying out of my reel. I quickly chased him to the coral reef and just as I reached it, I could feel that he had wrapped me in the coral. I moved closer to the drop off and was able to reach out and jar it loose. The fish made a short second run and then raised the white flag. I looked around and there was no one to take a pic of my first bone ever. I snapped a few pics but made my mistake of not taking my lanyard off my neck so the pics are a little lame. Fish was right around two feet and around four or five pounds, the pics don’t do it justice.
Last night, Cat and I were laughing about trying to find a bone fish stocker spot but they just don’t exist. The flu has run through our group over the last week and hopefully Cat will be back at it again tomorrow. I feel like I’m playing with house money now and hopefully I can enjoy the rest of the fishing without the pressure. Heck, even if we never bumped a fish, Hawaii is incredible. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Jeremy Wade and the Drift Fly Shop want to say maholo for reading....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A January Day....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I got to work the shop Saturday afternoon and it was really interesting to hear the fishing reports from the day. One person would come in and they couldn’t believe how awesome the fishing was and the next person wanted to know where all the fish had gone. I tried my best to ease the hurt feelings and smiled with all the gloating. I wanted to use this post to give my own little report of our river. First of all, I want to start by saying this has been one of the most enjoyable January’s I can ever remember. Our water temps have been stable at just below 40 degrees and weather for the most part has been perfect. Fish eating times have been a little hard to predict, but they have definitely been eating.
            Today I made my way to the river and met up with Richie. I started in a run that fished really well last week and on the second cast I hooked and lost a good fish. I figured I was way smarter than the fish but they proved me wrong, the next twenty minutes I managed to wrangle in one ten incher. I made my way down to meet up with Rich and he told me he had only caught dinks but was thrilled after the poor day he had yesterday. I jumped in next to him and after a few casts, I landed a beautiful 19 incher. I felt a little bad about catching a fish out of his run but I got over it(hehe). We made our way down into another run and after a few casts I heard Rich say “Yes!” and I watched a horse do a quick tail walk. The fish popped off and a few casts more he was laughing again. That fish went foul but after a few more casts he landed one of the prettiest twenty inchers I had seen in a while. I got across the river to take the pic and when I got home and looked at the picture, it was pretty clear that Winston wasn’t very happy about the fish being caught on the opposite side of the river. I managed to land one more nice fish and it made Pooh-dogs day. We made our way back up river and I didn’t bump another fish. Once again, the river fished well in quick windows and the fish just disappeared at other times. Fish today were taken on the New Moon, FOD, and even a grey RS’2 but as you can see by the variety, it was right time/ right place and not necessarily the fly.
            I’m guessing that the next three weeks ought to fish very similar to today so if you get a chance to get out find a friend and make it a day. Don’t take the catching so serious and enjoy being in the river, there are a lot of worse things you could be doing. On a personal note, I will be away from my keyboard for a few weeks and hopefully when I open it back up, I have some great stories for you all. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Richie and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

               Check out Winston pouting...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Karma, It May Catch You In The Tail.....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I have spent this week trying to figure out how I could pair the incredible National Championship game and fly fishing into a blog but today’s trip to the water had some Karma of its own. Now, I want to start by stating that this story may be a little hypocritical and I in no way claim to be the etiquette police, but I think after all I have seen over the last sixteen years on this river, I have a pretty good idea of the space needed between anglers. Yep I know there are a few that would disagree, and I’m sure I have pushed the envelope but this story kind of cracks me up.
            The story starts last November on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. I was working my way back to the car and I looked up and saw one of my favorite fall runs open. As I neared it I looked up and noticed someone power walking toward the run but was still quite a ways away. I was only a few feet away so I stepped in and started casting. The guy huffed and stepped into the river about fifteen feet up from me. I could hear the angry cast and he kept eyeballing me after every fish I caught. He walked around me and told me I was in a good spot and started casting just below me. I caught a few more and then a blog follower came up to me and introduced himself. We stood there for just a minute talking and the guy walked up to me and asked, “hey boss, are you done with that spot?” I was a little flabbergasted and just walked away. A few weeks later I had a guide trip out and I knew it was going to be a busy day. I took my clients up to Apples and found out that the Pueblo Renegades had an outing that day and three of their members were already working the weir. We stepped in above them and I got my clients going. After a short time, I noticed this guy walking toward us and I recognized him as “the boss” guy. Once again, I was blown away when he moved within ten feet of my client and within twenty feet of the Renegades. Danny showed up and all we could do was laugh and shake or heads.
            With the snow in this morning, I decided it would be a good day to go fishing. On the way to the river a good friend of mine called and asked if we could meet up. Now in order to protect the not so innocent, I will not use his name and for the rest of this blog I will refer to him as MF (my friend). We got to the water at around 10:30 and I saw that the run I wanted to fish had a couple of bait guys on one side and a fly fisher on the other. I went a couple of runs up and began fishing. After about a half an hour I noticed that the bait guys were leaving but I didn’t feel like it was Kosher to go fish it from the other side directly across from the fly fisher. Soon after that, MF showed up and I looked down and someone snuck in across from the original fly fisher. Now it was far from the worst etiquette I had seen on the river, but I felt annoyed because I knew that run was shot for the day. MF made a comment that we should go down and yell at him and we laughed it off and headed up river. We ran into Richie and Alex and Richie had just landed a beautiful seventeen incher. Richie headed back down to hook up with Alex so me and MF jumped into the weir. We caught a few small fish and then a nice one and I thought we had the weir pretty well covered. I looked up and saw the guy from down river checking out the weir we were fishing. He huffed and walked up river and after two casts he came back down, walked out on the weir and said to MF “Hey Boss, mind if I fish here”? Wow, I hadn’t heard that voice in a month now I was really annoyed, he then casted right where we were fishing. Now here is where it gets a little funny. He hooked a fish and it seemed like he was taking way too long to fight the fish and while overplaying it, his leg slipped into the river(he wasn’t wearing waders), and I felt myself giggling. I didn’t want to say anything that I would regret so I said come on MF, let’s take off. As I was crossing, I heard the guy ask MF to take his picture and I got a little louder saying “come on MF, let’s go”. Well MF snapped the pic and then made it up the bank and I asked him where the tough guy attitude went and why did he take that guys pic. MF laughed and said zoom is a great thing. He went on to say that he zoomed in on the tail of the fish where the hook was fully lodged. Was it Karma? I'm not sure but MF you are my hero and you made my day.
            As for the river conditions, we are now solidly set into January conditions. As you all know January is not my favorite time of the year, but this year we are seeing some pretty good window fishing. What I mean by that is that there seems to be window of about an hour slot in the A.M. that will fish fish well and then its slim pickens until the last hour of the day when it picks up again. My fish today were caught in the mouth on a size 22 New Moon. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, MF, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….. 

                                       MF fighting a fish.

                                         Richie and Alex .

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy NU Year !!!!!

              Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I want to start this blog by wishing all of you a wonderful New Year. While standing in the river today my mind shifted to armchair quarter back mode and with my Huskers and Broncos seasons over, I began to ponder what went wrong. I know they say that defense wins championships but, even if that is true, I love offense. I watched several Husker and Bronco games this year and I wondered if they both had the same offensive coordinator. First down was running back up the middle for a loss of one, second down was an off tackle run for a yard, and third down was a long pass down the field. Yes, every once in a while, they would hit the bomb for a big play, but it sure was a boring season to watch. Then it hit me, I wasn’t thinking about football, I was thinking about fishing in January. And what do I mean by that, well, let me illustrate...
               The river was fairly empty today and so I immediately jumped into one of my favorite feeding lanes. Several drifts without a yard gained and then I casted into a new spot. While the flies were drifting into the spot where I thought there would be a fish, the indicator shot up the river and I worked a beautiful eighteen incher to the net. Several more casts with nothing and then another connected bomb with a seventeen incher to the net. Now Brandon Reilley caught three TD’s in the Music city bowl, so I only had one more bomb to equal the Huskers output.
               I began working my way down river and it seemed I had way too many tackles for a loss and a few one yard gains (twelve inchers), and then I got my play of the day. I changed up my rig with smaller flies and switched to 6x tippet and after a few drifts through a long deep slow run and it was on. The bomb connected and I got my third TD of the day, he was the fattest of the day and was just a hair over seventeen inches. I moved on after that and found some dinks to bully around. Such, scoring 60 on South Dakota State is expected and doesn’t show your brilliance but every take and big run can still be a little fun.
            Now that only the really good football teams are still playing, this might be a great time to hit the Ark. Don’t expect a Bradyesque day, unless of course you deflate your bobbers, but just be glad you not frustrated watching another poor Husker or Bronco performance.
As many of you know the Fly Fishing Show will be going on this weekend in Denver. Since this is our busiest time of the year here in P-town, the Drift will not be part of the show, however we will be running a show special now through Sunday. All Tail Water guide trips purchased this week will be discounted by 10%, date does not need to be locked in but trip does need to be paid for. Spring is just around the corner and we have one of the best Spring fisheries in the world. Frazier and Frost of the nineties Huskers have nothing on the Ark in spring. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Kubiak and Reily, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Is Coming......

              Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I have wanted to use that title ever since Cat and I binge watched Game of Thrones last year. My original idea was that after the first snow fall in late October, we would take a picture of me with my gear on, lying in the snow with my rod draped across my body. If you’re not a Game watcher, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about but for the Game fans and in my own imagination, I would be just as sexy as Jon Snow. Well the November weather never really cooperated and by the time our first snow fall occurred we were already nearing my not so favorite part of winter. As I have written for several years now, January is not my favorite time of the year to fish but I will try to give a few tips to make your late winter on the Ark fantastic.
                I wanted to start by giving a quick update on the river as of late. The  Arctic freeze that came through last weekend dropped the water temps in to the low 40’s and have made the hatches a little unpredictable. One day the fish are gorging and the next day it’s crickets, proverbially speaking that is. Cats bug collecting has found a plethora of juvenile baetis nymphs, lots of midges and still aquatic moth and caddis larvae. Today I hooked several quality bows and got two to the net, and I felt like I worked for and earned every fish I bumped. Alex was out as well and had one of his best days in a while landing several in the fifteen to eighteen inch range.
                Now on to the winter tips; first, if you want to get out on the water please do not take yourself so seriously. And what do I mean by that, if you are on the water that that means you are not at work (unless you are a guide), you are not at the mall shopping, you are not yelling at Kubiak through your T.V. , you are not stuck at a boring holiday party, and lastly, you are not at your computer obsessing over college football recruiting(well maybe that’s just me). Now with that out of the way and on to the water, use the lull times to work on you technique. One of our shop friends Rich, has been working on his mending by using the New Zealand strike indicators and it is paying off in a big way. With the NZ indicator any poor mending will give you immediate negative feedback by sinking your indicator. If you can get the NZ indicator to float I can guarantee you will catch more fish in the future. Thirdly, if you are obsessed with big fish, winter can be a great time to get your best fish landed. Low flows coupled with cooler water can get you just enough edge to get that dream fish to the net. And lastly, and relating to the not taking yourself so serious part, when the dinks start rising, throw on a dry and check your ego at the door. For such small fish, they sure are smart.

                Now on to the business part of this blog; last weekend’s arctic blast put a bit of a damper on Christmas shopping so the Drifts shop hours will be adjusted over the next few days in hope that you get all your dreams and wishes. Thursday will have normal hours from 8:30a.m. to 5:30p.m., Friday we will be open from 8:30 til 6:00,(an extra half hour) and Saturday we will be open from 8:00 til 4:00 for all the procrastinators. Thanks to all our friends that made it to last weekend’s Fishmas party and to those that missed it, Cat, Winston and I want to wish you a truly Merry Christmas. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Jon Snow, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

                Alex's fish of the day !