Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Arkansas River Fishing Report 1/31/2113

  Hello all and once again thanks for checking in with our fly fishing blog. I wanted to put out a little river report and hopefully a few helpful hints. Winter time is not my favorite time of the year to fish but with a little patience fish can still be had. With the colder water temps the metabolisms of the fish slow considerably and the fish try to conserve as much energy as they can. The last few weeks we have been fishing deep slow runs while making sure we were getting to the bottom. Midge hatches will move a few fish into feeding lanes but they will just as quick move back to deep water. The sunny days have kept the size of the midges in the 24 to 26 range with a variety of colors. We have noticed a few spots that seemed to be holding a lot of fish but seemed to be having our best luck hooking a few fish and then going ahead and moving into the next hole. I know that can be a little more difficult on the more crowded weekends. If you are fishing a three fly rig then try to fish three different colors and check for yourself if they are keying in on any particular color for that day. For me, every day the fish seemed to be keying in on a different color. The last several trips to the river have produced very similar results, quite a few hookups with a descent number of fish landed. I have not hooked any pigs but have landed quite a few in the 15 to 18 inch range with the largest at just over 19 inches. Takes have been very subtle and with the deeper fishing about one in four fish have been hooked foul(time of the year). Over the next few weeks continue to hit the deeper runs and as we get later into February then we should start seeing the rainbows preparing for the spawn and most will start feeding a little harder again.

  Saturday the 9th will be the TU fishing tourney between the damn and Pueblo Blvd. You still have the right to fish wherever you want but I would make a request that if you will be fishing that day to please go in below Pueblo Blvd. If you just want to watch, there should be some pretty good anglers and you never know, you may even learn a thing or two. As always, thanks for reading and hope you get out and enjoy this beautiful mild weather we have had. Connell, Cat, Winston and THE Drift Fly Shop.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not What They Appear......

  I remember Cat and I had been married about a year and one night I was suffering from a serious cold. I could not stop coughing and I knew Cat needed to get up the next morning so I went ahead and decided to sleep on the couch. Up until that night, from the very first night of marriage, Cat and I had never spent a night apart and are marriage was nothing short of total bliss. My boys got up the next morning and were quieter than usual, I was wondering if maybe they were getting sick as well. Cat took the boys to school and they were silent almost the whole drive. Finally Cat turned to them and said “whats up with the quietness”. They looked at each other and then back to Cat and shakily asked “is everything okay with you and dad”? “Yeah, why she asked”? And with fear and sadness they asked “why was dad sleeping on the couch”? Cat burst into laughter and said it was because I was coughing too much and didn’t want to keep her awake. It is one of those things that gets you thinking that things are not always what they appear.

  As most of our readers know, Cat and I got to fish yesterday and had a great time. When we got home Cat said she wanted to write yesterday’s blog because it was such a fun and interesting day. As she was writing she would burst into her Cat giggles every so often so I knew she was writing something funny. When finished I started reading it and knowing how Cat’s mind works, I also thought it was hilarious. After posting it we sat down to watch a movie (Zombieland), and later looked back at the comments. We were shocked to see the comments about people trying to lift Cat’s spirits and we reread what she had written. After rereading the blog we could see how it was the sleeping on the couch thing all over again. Cats attempt at making fun of herself, sounded like Cat’s whining, but we can assure you that that was not the case at all, what she was trying to do was open up a little glass window into the workings of Cat’s brain, and also to show that if you constantly look for the positive, someday you might be as awesome as Cat(but I doubt it).

  If you have never seen Zombieland, one of the survival rules is to stop and appreciate the little things, in the movie it was Twinkies(movie was made before Hostess went out of business), and that was what I was trying to do yesterday. With trying to rest my wrist and then getting the cold from down under and the poor fishing reports, I wasn’t expecting to do very well but was excited to feel the things I had missed out on for the last three weeks. The first is the sound of my waders walking through the water, just stepping a foot or so into the water yesterday sent chills up my spine. The other thing I really missed was the sound of everything going on around you. Winston was enjoying the sounds as much as me. We had a bush about fifteen feet behind us and either some type of rodent or a bird kept jumping around every few minutes and every time we would both turn at the same time and not see anything. My guess is that whatever it was, it is probably still laughing and telling his buddies the story of how he had trained Winston and me to keep turning our heads. Well anyway I just wanted to chime in and try and assure you all that Cat is not a whiner at all and her blog yesterday was just an attempt of her making fun of herself. The O’Grady family motto has always been and always be that, If you can’t learn to laugh at yourself that you will miss out on the greatest joke of your generation.

 Fishing this time of year can have some moments of ease and some moment of wanting to pull your hair out(and yes that might be why I am partly bald), but what we would encourage all out readers to do is enjoy every second on the water. Listen to whats going on around you, watch what the fish are doing, take some time to examine the size and color of the bugs you are seeing and watch the trees for birds. Yesterday was incredible, Cat and I got 15 or 20 to the net with a couple measuring out at 18 inches, but it may be slowere tomorrow.Thank you always for reading and hope to see you on the water, I will be trying to make up for lost time. Connell, Cat and The Drift Fly Shop…..

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pride and Prejudice..

Pride and Prejudice  

While Connell has been amazing with his word smithing and has composed the last thirty or so blogs after the fishing events of today, I wanted to suck it up and talk about the important lessons I learned today.  Thank you to all his loyal fans for letting me intrude a bit and letting Cat write a bit J

So this blog is really two things.  It is both a fishing report and a letter of explanation and apology to Connell.  If you have no interest in the inner workings of my mind (Cat’s) then skip to the bottom and you’ll see a quick report….

                After being in the shop for a week straight and Connell having the flu the O’Grady Clan has been missing the water sincerely and has been itching to get some fishy action.  With the Broncos out of the running and with Connell able to breathe out of both nostrils we knew that today would be the day to get in a good scratch.  Our standards were not high, we never expected to do great today.  With the lack of active bugs, the mixed reports, and the heavy traffic we expected nothing more than a chance to get our boots wet and maybe pick up a fish here and there.  What I definitely did not expect was the battle of Pride and Prejudice that I would face water side.

Reaching the water we instantly saw the river dotted both up and down with fisherman.  Expecting it to be packed we were not slighted in the least and merely set to work hunting out spots.  Splitting up Connell and I went into different areas sandwiched between about six other guys.  Finding no success for myself I kept glancing over my shoulder at Connell to see if he was faring any better.   Watching him hook a few and land one I was instantly filled with two emotions; the first was relief that he had keyed into what they were feeding on and the second was pressure.  Here’s why:

Firstly, the fly fishing industry is amazing and I wouldn’t trade my years being a professional for anything.  I love everything about fly fishing and so many of the amazing people I have had a chance to meet and become friends with because of our mutual passion, but as a woman, and one in her twenties, I face a very different set of standards then my male counter parts.  Every day I am in shop I have to prove I know what I am talking about.  Now you might be thinking Cat is just being over sensitive and that it is the same for all shop employees.  Trust me it’s not.  Even though I PRIDE myself on being an expert on both the Arkansas River Tailwater and Fly Fishing as a whole I still face Prejudice every day.  I have guys new to the shop walk right past me and ask other customers for help assuming they are more likely to have answers I would not.  Men will call the shop and ask to talk to a guy because they need a fishing report, I have even had men walk in the shop and turn around and leave without even talking to me.  All these things and more have happened and I am sure they will continue, but being a positive person I always see these as opportunities.  With each person who came to understand that I knew what I was talking about it become a success and after eight years I have learned to find the Prejudice as comical instead of offensive.   Instead of taking it personally I see it now as their loss, because I might have been able to help them learn something.

 I thought that after all these years I was immune to any back wash from these experiences, but what I realized today was that I was not.  Whenever I fish I am still consumed with the obsession of perfection and PRIDE.

So feeling the need to keep up with my male counterpart the pressure ran high and I abandoned my spot.  I frog hopped the guys upstream from me and began searching for fish in a run that I always sight fish in.  I walked back and forth several times and couldn’t find the fish that were always there waiting for me.  Giving up on seeing them I decided to try and fish blind.  After only fifteen minutes I had altered my weight three times and switched out flies twice.  Still no fish.  I could feel the eyes of the guys around me.  I felt like I knew what they were thinking.  “Look at that chic she must be out here with her husband or dad.  What a waste of good water…. She hasn’t even hooked a fish yet.  I wish she would move and let someone who knows what they’re doing get in there.”  This is what I felt like they were thinking.  Of course this is proof of my paranoia, but after facing some of the things I have over the last serveral years I think I am a bit justified in it. 

Eventually Connell came up and after letting me know that his fish had all taken a red blood midge we decided to move up to a section of slow water we never typically fish.  This move was Connell’s idea, based on the fact that we were not seeing fish in the normal areas.  Reaching the slow water we divided it up and started fishing.  Within seconds Connell hooked a fish.  His area had a bit more current then the spot I was fishing so I decided to go up river from him.  Unfortunately there was another person fishing just above him and so I had to move into the more traditional area of quicker water.  “That’s ok” I told myself.   “I know what I am doing.  I can still catch fish here.  Maybe I just need to figure out better depth for this type of water. “  Then I hear Connell  “This is a nice one babe.”  I turn and look and sure enough there is a beautiful fish in his net.  I was genuinely happy for him but still more pressure came.  Then I hooked a fish……. Instant relief followed.  “Ok here we go.” I thought.  Then for the next half an hour I watched while Connell hooked and landed several fish, while I couldn’t get a bump.  …. More pressure and now building frustration.  At that point Connell started to try and convince me to share the run with him.  “Babe the fish are all stacked in here.” He pleaded.  

I should have just walked over and joined him but my Pride stood in the way.  I didn’t want to catch fish he found.  I didn’t want to look like the helpless female that had to have her husband find her fish.  I couldn’t let all those men watching our every move know that I was struggling and needed help.  All it takes is one mistake, one hint of weakness, and all of “their” assumption would be concreted as fact.  So stubbornly I refused.  Until finally Connell had had enough of my pig headedness.  “Cat COME HERE AND CATCH THESE FISH!!!!.”   His yelling this was mortifying.   I knew what all the guys there were thinking “It must be a pain to try and teach a chic to fish.”  So being the great wife I am I yelled at Connell, for the first time in our ENTIRE marriage, “Fine I’ll be RIGHT THERE.” 

Walking up across from Connell he shouted out directions as to where to stand and where to cast.  I wanted nothing more than to run away and hide.  All of those years of proving to people I knew what I was doing and trying desperately to overcome PREJUDICE and here I was being instructed like a six year old.  However, having already yelled at him I just quietly obeyed and did as he said.  Two casts later I hooked a fish.  I wanted to cry…. But THERE IS NO CRYING IN FISHING.  So I didn’t.  I hated that fish.  How could he back stab me I thought sourly, I didn’t want to catch fish here.  I wanted to catch them in the spots I FOUND.   Connell quickly laughed at the second cast fish and went on to tell me that it was clear that the majority of the fish had moved into the slow deep water and that this hole was just loaded with fish…. I listened to him chat while I pouted… then one by one I started hooking and landing fish, lots of fish and even landed one over 18” Then instantly I was having a blast.   After all the tension was gone and I was back on my game I looked around and realized that all those men who I thought were staring at and judging me were gone and in fact we were alone on the water!!!  I was so consumed by appearance that I had lost sight of everything.  How to adjust to the fishing conditions, how to keep an open mind and take suggestion, and mainly the fact that I was out there to have FUN. 

It was at that moment everything slid into prospective: 

-          It didn’t matter what the people on the river thought of me, only what the fish thought

-          I am a great fisherman and Connell just happened to take the area where the fish had pooled into.

-          All that time I spent fighting PREJUDICE I had let my PRIDE grow to an unmanageable level

-           Connell only wanted to share the joy of fish with me and NEVER was doubting my abilities

And lastly that I deeply love fishing and a bad day on the water is simply a chance to learn something new.   So I want to thank Connell for his help today and to also ask for forgiveness.  I am sorry I am a freak…. But you knew that right? Love You!J

If you missed the report written in that mess that is Cat’s psyche here is the quick rundown:

Fish have moved to deep slow water.  Bugs are few and far between.  The fish actively fed on Red Blood Midges and Connell’s Marklar.   Using enough weight and 6x fluorocarbon is very important.   

I know this was a very long blog but if you stuck with it here is a reward……fish porn from today…….

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Addicts On the Arkansas; Reprise

  My wife and I have decided to fish the next day and the cycle begins. 7:00 p.m. rolls around and I begin to think about the flies I will need to have for tomorrow. Check the weather forecast, high of 45 and a few high clouds. The little chill runs up my spine as I think about the midge hatch that should be smoking and the afternoon should see a few blue wings as well. I start with ten Ninjas, size 22, tie a couple FOD’s in size 20, and finish up with some size 24 of my “South Park” collection (Marklar, Tweak, and Starvin Marvin). It is much safer for anyone not tying to stay clear of the tying table. If you bump it, at the very least you will get death threats with the eyes. 10:00 p.m. rolls along and the tying has ended for the evening and on to the next task. Inspecting the rod I am to use tomorrow, the Winston B111-SX 4 weight. Pull it out of the tube and clean the ferrules, change out the leader, and even tie on the three flies I will start the morning with. Repack the rod and next, figure out the attire for the next morning. Go back to the computer and see if the forecast has changed in the last few hours, now it is a high of 46. Should be the perfect day for layering, a wicking long sleeve undershirt, a long sleeve “The Drift Fly Shop” fishing shirt and a windstopper vest will be perfect. Finally midnight rolls along and I give Cat my work plans for early tomorrow before we fish. We lay down and my brain goes immediately to the holes we will be fishing tomorrow: the drift through the bend hole, the back corner of the W weir, and the log deep runs have been fishing well as of late. Cat leans over and I can tell she is in the mood. Honey I am really tired tonight for sure tomorrow I say. Then in my mind back to the river…….drift off………..

And that is just the night before.
 With the New Year upon us I got to thinking about all the resolutions that people make in hopes of making life better. I started thinking about this blog I had written last year and hope that I never have to do anything about my addiction .
  An old addiction recovery saying went something like this “If you are NOT an addict than there is no way to explain and if you ARE an addict than no explanation is necessary.” If you understand how my fishing eves go, than you also know the day of, gets even worse. Reflecting on the last ten years or so, there is no doubt in my mind that I am completely, 100% addicted to flyfishing. Luckily for me, Cat has the same addiction. In the different addiction recovery programs, they will give you a test to let you know if you are afflicted with the particular addiction. I have decided to build my own test to determine if you are a flyfishing addict. It is very important to answer all questions truthfully.

1. Have you ever missed or played hooky from work to flyfish?

2. Have you ever lied to your spouse, parents, or friends about your whereabouts when fly fishing?

3. Have you ever caught yourself salivating while walking to your favorite hole?

4. Have you ever hid your flyfishing purchases from your spouse, parents, or friends?

5. Have you ever turned down a roll in the hay because you can only think about fish?

6. Do you own more than three flyrods and you actually think you know the difference in them all?

7. Do you spend more time repairing your waders than helping your spouse , parents, or friend

around the house?

8. Do you spend at least an hour a week hanging out at the local fly Shop, articulating your expertise?

9. Do you carry your book of fish pictures everywhere you go(Ben) and do you have more pictures of your fish than your family on your computer?

10. Have you ever had a fight with your spouse, parents, or friends as to the amount of time you spend flyfishing compared to the time you spend on them?

11. Can you recite the specs of your fly rods but can’t recall your spouse , parents, or friends birthday?

12. Is your rod and reel set-up worth more than your transportation to the river?

13. Have you ever planned your vacations around spawning cycles of fish?

14. Have you ever put on your favorite Fly Fishing shirt to go into a Fly Shop?

15. Have you ever considered throwing rocks at your favorite hole when you see a bait dunker in it?

16. Have you ever wasted your time reading or writing idiotic flyfishing blogs?

17. Have you ever been injured or have any conditions(tendonitus or better called wimpiness) due to excess flyfishing?

18. Have you ever named a pet after a flyfishing brand name?

The scale goes like this. If you answered 0 to 2 than you are a liar and you need to reread question number  16. Getting one to 16 makes you an addict, and remember that denial is the first sign of addiction. All kidding aside, having a serious addiction gene I can’t help to think about how flyfishing has partially saved my life. I have never been pulled over for DWD (driving while daydreaming of fish), arrested for public catch and release, and although close, never been arrested for fighting with bait guys. Flyfishing has given me the opportunity to share my addiction with the absolute love of my life(my wife, not Winston)although he loves it as well. Flyfishing has given me the opportunity to guide and teach my love for the sport with strangers and friends, and to meet some real awesome people that I would not normally associate with. An addiction, yes, but maybe we can start Flyfishers Annonymous and the first step in recovery will be to stop by The Drift Fly Shop and say hello. (719-543-3900)

If you are reading this blog than you are either a current friend or hope to soon to be a friend. Cat and I are both guides and shop employees at The Drift Fly Shop in Pueblo, Colorado (719-543-3900) and if you are in the area please stop by and swap stories or at least say hello. Remember, we are all in this affliction together…..