Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jimbo In the House !!!

        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…….. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Space Camp.....

Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. Boy things sure have been Spicy and fun around the shop the last few weeks. Our home river has morphed back into the killer river that we have all fallen in love with and Cody has brought life back into the shop with his new found adoration of the salt. Cody has just made it back from his second extended trip to the salt.We were laughing the other day about how Cody has kind of reminded us of Howard from the Big Bang Theory. Well first of all they dress and are built alike, jkjk, but in the show Howard goes to space and when he gets back he can’t stop talking about space. Whether at the Cheesecake Factory, at school or even at home with Bernadette every comment is compared to what he had done in space. Now unlike on the show, I’m not sure I will ever get tired of his enthusiasm for the salt. We did have one kind of funny thing happen in the shop that first made me realize how closely Cody sounds like Howard. I was sitting in the back finishing my lunch and Cody was working a project next to me. A couple of guys moved to the back of the shop and I could see that one was trying to impress the other by asking about a particular brand of sunglasses. Now I have heard of the brand and I think it was one of the inexpensive brands that BassPro sells. What happened next still has me giggling today; Cody jumped up and began to show these two guys the Smiths that we have in stock. He then went on to tell the guys about how when he fishes here in P-town he uses one colored lens but in the salt he uses the other. He then went on talking about the importance of that particular shade while walking the flats. Now I’m not sure Cody ever realized but I think he kind of crushed the poor guy that was trying to impress his friend by dropping brand names. Well like I said earlier, I don’t think I will ever tire of the enthusiasm Cody has brought back from Hawaii and Christmas Island.
            I think this is the perfect time to brag on my friend Cody and also talk a little about some of the new things we are trying to bring to The Drift. As our readers know, The Drift works very hard at trying to be the most ethical flyshop on the face of the earth. When Cody made his first trip to the Salt he did quite a bit of research before making all his purchases for the different places he was going. He was a little annoyed by how many purchases he was encouraged to buy that were totally useless and was frustrated by some of the things that now seem simple but was not told about before. Now with his new love for the salt and wanting everyone to enjoy it as much as he does, he is now setting up a few new programs to help people fall in love like he did. First is still in the works but he is beginning to work a way to host Flyfishing trips to Hawaii and Christmas Island. Hawaii has some of the largest and most powerful bonefish in the world and Cody is now hooked up with the people that can make it happen. How great would it be for you to be able to take your spouse on the most romantic and prettiest vacation ever and to be able to sneak off and spend a few days chasing bonefish. Secondly, Cody will now take appointments for a sit down with anyone planning on making a trip to the salt? Getting the correct rods, lines, flies and even shoes can make or break the vacation of a lifetime. Cody has taken his expertise of chasing and sight fishing trout, guiding and fishing in Alaska and has become super proficient and extremely knowledgeable of fishing the Salt. There will be no charge for the sit down but we do hope some of your purchases are made with the Drift. Now if you can’t make the trip right now, next time you see Cody ask him about the salt, or space and sit back and enjoy.
            Now on to our river, if you have been following the flows this week then I’m sure you have realized how much they have moved, this week should have been brought to you by Duncan. If you don’t get it then you’re younger than me. I think today I found that I have my own personal lucky charm.  As I was finishing getting wadered up a friend Mike Bonney showed up and I talked to him for a bit. I immediately walked down to the river and hooked half a dozen fish or so right away. Then the river just kind of died off for me. I was walking back up river and shared a few words with Mike again and low and behold, I hooked five fish very quickly. The river went quiet for me again and as I was heading out I ran into Mike again, I told him that I thought he was my lucky charm and figured I better fish a little more. Thank you Mike, I hooked and landed my best fish of the day. Fish today were eating but very picky, any mistake and the fish let you know. Fish were on the caddis larva from the shop and the FOD. I’m thinking now that when I eventually take my trip to Hawaii we might have to take Mike with us. Anyway, I sure hope you get the chance to talk to Cody and watch his eyes light up. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Mr. Bonney, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

  Cody'd Trigger fish from Christmas Island.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Staring Down Perfection... Easter Video...

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. As I am sitting down to write this blog I could not help but notice that currently the Rockies are perched high at the top of the NL West Standings at an incredible 3-0. I am shocked and pleasantly amazed, but now what do I do. Do I head to the store and buy 2015 Rockies paraphernalia, or should I just be glad that they won’t lose any more than a total of 159 games? Do I make plans now for the World Series, or do I wait for Tulo and Cargo to make their annual trip to the DL. As our readers know I have never really made any bones about the fact that I had become such a fair weather fan over the last few years. And it’s not just me; Winston has been documented with the same ailment.
I remember a few years ago when Cat and I spent two weeks just outside New York City. Sports radio is king of the airways; the season was a month in and the talk of Rivera, Jeter, Rodriguez(pre PED bust) filled the airways and I remember feeling a little jealous. I couldn’t stand the Yankees, they only win because they spend more money and they cheat. Whereas Rocky fans we get to talk of the Glory days of Gallaraga and Bichette, Yankee fans get to talk about Ruth, Berra, Mantle, Dimaggio, Gehrig, and even Mister October himself, Reggie Jackson. Have any baseball movies or songs been written about our players? 27 World Series wins and 40 total trips compared to the Rockies 0 for 1. If you follow sports at all and even mere mention of the Pinstripes makes you ill, there is no denying that the Yankees have been the absolute cream of the crop of not only pro baseball but all sports franchises.
            As our long time readers are aware, a few years back the rod I had been fishing went out of production. Now being a guide and part of a flyshop “ forces me” to always fish current gear, (hehe) but as strange as it all sounds we kind of get connected to our gear. I began looking a few years back for a new rod to fish but really had a hard time settling in on anything. I can’t tell you how many rods I fished but every rod seemed to have its good parts and some not so good parts. Too heavy, too soft, too fast, not enough backbone, I felt a little like Goldilocks saying  please let me find a rod that’s just right. As luck would have it, our Sage rep came into the store at just the right time. He had loaned me a One, in a weight I had not fished before and also sold me an Accel to try as a new rod. I fished them both over the next week and eventually had to send the One back. I really like the Accel, but like that girl that dumped you in high school, I could not get the One out of my brain. A week later, after a few sleepless yearning nights, I went ahead and bought my very own One and have not looked back.
            So how does all this fit together you ask? I received an e-mail last month from Sage manufacturing that asked me to become part of the Sage Elite Pro staff. The requirements were that I fish all Sage products and do my best to promote the Sage brand. My biggest fear was my lack of knowledge about Sage reels, I always thought they were cool but had never purchased them since we don’t carry them in the shop. I have told the story before about a flyshop that years ago had deceived me, and that Cat and I have always promised that no matter what, our integrity would come before our shop or any of our shop products. I went ahead and ordered a few of the Sage 4200 reels and can truly say that I like them as much if not more than any reel I have ever fished. I tried to show a little of the reel in the video. The shop currently does not carry the reel but we can get them in for anyone interested, also let me know if you want to see one up close and I can get it by the shop. So my last fear was what happens when the One eventually is replaced? Will I then maybe have to lie about a product? And here was my “AHA” moment; as the Yankees have been the ultimate of the sports franchise world, Sage has been the same in the world of flyfishing. It may be because they spend way too much on R&D, and some people may cringe when they see the Sage logo but there is no denying, Sage is the king of flyfishing and I am happy to be part of their future. This year I will certainly root for the Rockies but if for some reason the Yankees came calling….see ya….

 I wrote earlier in the week about our day on the river over Easter and how good of a day it was. Cat and I were hooked up so often that it was hard to even film each other. My GoPro battery went dead with a few hours left in the day and I couldn’t believe how many clips I had taken that day. I put together a short video of the day and hope you enjoy it. Fishing right now is incredible and I would encourage you to get on the water when you can. We have no idea when the water will come up so take every opportunity now, I guess its kind of like rooting for the Rockies, and unfortunately we know that runoff is on the way. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Yogi Berra, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A New Creation.....

Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. I wanted to start by wishing you all a very happy Easter. As a Christian man I have always looked at Easter as a celebration of my eternal salvation and my life as a new creation or new beginning. Now I know that Flyfishing will never ever even be in the same ocean as salvation but I will try and make the connection anyway.
As most of our readers know I grew up as a spinner and bait type of fisherman. I thoroughly enjoyed every second with a “pole” in my hand, whether actively casting or propping it up and locking down with a rock. Stink bait that was so awful that you had to wear gloves to touch, spinners, worms and even the dreaded power bait and the outcome was almost always the same, a lot of nada. I think in those days I used the whole (you don’t have to catch fish to have a great day fishing) mantra on a regular basis.
Years later I got to watch my friend Mark teach my dad flyfishing and I knew that someday, that would be me. It’s now been many years, but I still remember my first day flyfishing. I had bought my first flyrod and it was time to head to the river. Available flies consisted of two big Princes and some type of dry that I had tied a few years before. I got to the river and put on my neoprene waders; I tied on one Prince and stuck on my foam indicator. As I was walking down to the river a flyfisherman was just leaving and I asked how he had done. He told me he caught several fish and that they were eating his olive colored nymph. I was like sweet, I have a prince. He showed me his fly and I was a little confused, he said olive but the fly was green. Oh well, the guy must have been confused and I hopped on down to the river. I started just above Juniper Bridge and after only a short hour or so my indicator did something funny and as I lifted I could feel the fish on the line. I landed one more fish that afternoon and that was all it took, I was a flyfisherman, a new beginning and a new creation. If you are wondering if I ever figured out that color quandary, the answer is yes. I was lying in bed a few nights later and it occurred to me that they were talking about green olives and not black, yes I was quite green at one time too. It must have been a Subway thing.
   Friday I had a guide trip out and one of the clients was a never ever, Bryan. I started Bryan off with a few quick casting instructions and then moved on to the importance of a proper drift. I moved Ron, who has flyfished before, into place and as I was walking back to Bryan, Ron’s first drift was exploded on by what looked like a really sunburned back of an NFL lineman. Ron had a bit of a stunned looked on his face and a little shakily stated that I had picked the correct nymphs. Shortly after that Bryan hooked his first fish of the day and battled a beautiful 17 incher to the net. He told me that he certainly didn’t expect to catch anything that size and that his day was already a success, music to guides ears. A short time later Bryan was hooked up again but the battle took a little longer. I was quite impressed with his natural ability and nearly cheered when he managed a gorgeous, measured 22incher to the net. I explained that all my clients catch fish that big, oh wait, April Fools was last week. Well they hooked fish all afternoon winning a few battles and losing a few more but in the end, Ron told me that he didn’t think it would be difficult to get Bryan to go fishing with him again. The statement was confirmed by an e-mail on Saturday “Pardon the pun but I believe I am now hooked for life, Bryan”. Yep I, know it’s only fishing and has no bearing on eternity but he is now a new creation, Bryan is a flyfisherman…
  What an incredible Easter. Cat and I started the day going to church with some friends and then headed to the river. It was an incredible day with fish feeding all afternoon. If you make it to the river this week start the day with the new caddis pattern we have in the shop with the second fly a FOD and the last should be a small Bling. When the BWO’s begin to explode switch out the Bling for a loop wing emerger. Fishing is off the hook right now so enjoy it every chance you get. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, the Easter Bunny and The Drift Fly shop want to thank you for reading….

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Incredible New Fishery!!!!!!!!

              Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. I am sitting down to write this blog with great trepidation. As we all know, the last several years have turned our beloved Arkansas River into one of the most productive tailwaters in the State. With the awesomeness of the river growing the crowds have followed. Cody and I were reminiscing the other day about the earlier years on the Ark when you could fish all day long and not see any other anglers. Now a few years ago when I first began seeing the writing on the wall with the crowds, I began wondering why the Fountain Creek never had fish in it. I live a couple hundred yards from the creek and it does me very little good. Cat and I did some testing of the water and secretly were able to get some stockers in it without anyone knowing. Almost every morning on my walk with the dogs, I would go and search out my transplanted fish. It was hard to get a real good idea as to how it was working until just last week. It reminded me of the Ark as the fish come out of their winter slumber. Hundreds of fish and not a sole knew they were there. I couldn’t believe my eyes, they were even bedding up. I watched in amazement while the fish would move from side to side and pick bugs off the surface. It was like the videos of New Zealand with giant unspooked trout eating off the surface. When I saw it I could hardly contain myself and went home and told Cat. The next step was to see if we could catch them.
            We secretly walked down to the Fountain just behind the mall and could see fish everywhere. As I looked around and no other people around and the fish everywhere, it took everything I had to hold back the tears. Cat set up on the first pod of fish; we were seeing a few Green Drakes and Stones flying around so Cat put on her best imitation. First cast was dead perfect and I watched this beautiful unspooked 21 inch rainbow turn its head and grab the fly. The battles was intense, the fish tailwalked about eight feet before diving and heading down the creek. A two minute chase ensued by Cat netting this absolutely beautiful bow. As we released the bow, we stood in utter shock. It was as if time had frozen, complete silence echoed in our brains and finally Cat looked at me and began to tear up. We fished all afternoon and caught more fish than we could count. As we got close to the Hwy 47 Bridge we made sure we stayed as low as we could so no bypassers could see what we were doing. At one time we had a few homeless people walk up on us and ask us what we were doing. I could not lie or fib at all and I explained that we were just looking for Zebra Mussles.

            So as you can see, it is with great trepidation that I have written this blog. On one hand we want to keep the Fountain as our own little piece of heaven, but on the other, how do we keep this from our friends. It may not be the most picturesque creek in the world but it sure makes me glad I live only a few hundred yards from the fountain. Flies that worked today were big Green Drakes but subsurface we could only get them to eat big hooks with brown feathers and thread on them, I know it sounds gross but it may be the result of the Springs sewage treatment spills over the years. I will try to get with the State to see if this can be strictly a C&R section. Personally I think for safety reasons it should. Anyway, Connell, Cat, Winston, April Fools, Photo Shop,and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….