Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. My wife does not tease me much, while I’m in earshot at least, but one of the things she likes to mention is my inability to be cordial or social on the water. Now understandably so when I’m guiding, I’m all business and clients get 100% of my attention. When it comes to my free time however, Cat loves to point out how Cody always has his “posse” following him and that his instruction never stops, and Travis and Alex never fish alone. My usual comeback is that I’m too busy catching fish(hehe), but I think it’s just when I’m on the water, I’m there to fish. When I was pouring concrete as a youngster, I remember when my fellow laborers would start talking too much and my boss would tell them to exchange phone numbers and call them when they are not on the clock. Yep, there is time to talk when the fishing is done.
Now the one time where my lack of being a social fisherman bothers me is our yearly fishing trip to the Taylor with my brother in law Jimbo. As anyone who has fished the Hog trough can attest too, the area can be one of the trickiest bit of river in the state to fish. We normally get on the water around the same time and after a few quick tips and a few gifted flies my visitation ends and I enter the zone. As we sit around eating our late night dinner, we all start our recapping of the day. And here is when the guilt sets in, Jim always catches fish but I can see it in his eyes that he thinks we are holding out on him. I tell myself that the next day will be different and that I will spend more time helping him. Then the next morning we get to the water, the fish are feeding and next thing you know it is another guilt ridden late night dinner.
So anyway I began telling Jim a few years ago that the answer to his success does not lie on the Taylor, but here on our beloved Ark. I told him that if he could make it out here in April, when the flows are great and the fish are eating, it would be easy for me to spend some quality time on the river sighting out and hooking tailwater fish. After several unsuccessful planned trips to P-town, Jim finally made it this past weekend, now if you saw the flows last weekend, then you know my guilt was only slightly less than our Taylor evenings. Not at all what I was hoping for but we made the best of some difficult conditions.
On Sunday, Cat, Brandon, Jimbo and I made our way to the upper Ark. We started at the Spikebuck area and picked off a few and then a wall of mud rolled through. We headed up river and found some clean water and began picking up fish. While I was helping Jim land a one I began noticing other fish beginning to rise. I went ahead and put on a double dry and had a blast for about an hour. I forget how awesome it is to watch those fish drill the surface. As we were finishing that day, we looked up and saw the boys (Cody, Travis, and Alex) floating by and snapped a few pics. On Monday, Jim and I fished here in P-town and the 1000 cfs did not make it easy. Jim picked up a few early and got to work on a few picky fish in the afternoon. I landed a couple and Jim found out how quickly a hooked Arkansas fish can make you look silly. On Tuesday, Cat, Jim and I made our way down to Wahatoya. There we got in a little practice for our Delaney trip. We hooked a few smaller fish and then I hooked into what I could feel was a really good fish. I battled him for a while and I knew he wasn’t a rainbow and after getting him close a few time I thought maybe it was a big fat brown. When I finally got him to the net I had to laugh, it was a 16 inch Smallie, my biggest Smallie ever on a flyrod. The three days did not turn out exactly how I expected, but I think Jim is one step closer to joining those “laugh-alongs” at the Taylor.
The river here in town sure has been putting a crimp on the fishing but I don’t think all is lost for the season. Water has been moving up and down seemingly daily. I was looking at the graph and was guessing whoever is controlling the dam had a bet going on as to whether or not they could make the graph look like NYC’s skyline. Even at 1000 cfs there are still fish to be had, just make sure if you make here that you have the right frame of mind. Be very careful wading at these flows and find a backchannel or rock structures that are easy to get to. Fish are still eating BWO’s and big midge larva. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Brandon & Jimbo, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..