Saturday, May 28, 2016

The One Armed Bandit....

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As most of our readers know, I do not take my freedom for granted and in the spirit of this holiday, I would like to thank the soldiers and their families for protecting my freedom. Now with that said, on to the fishing. With Memorial day approaching, it meant only one thing in the O’Grady’s world; time for the Buttes. After watching our last few lake videos and feeling like we were ready for a break, we decided that this year we were just going to fish and not worry about making a video. Our normal schedule was a little messed up because Jimbo wasn’t able to make it out until the day we were finished, so for the most part it was some alone time with my incredible wife.
          I want to stray a little from the trip here, but hopefully it will make sense later on. I don’t get a chance to often talk about my Mother (who lives in Denver) and my older brother and sister who live in Omaha, but this blog has given me the perfect opportunity.  You see, this part of my family has an obsession as well. Before I continue, I will make it clear that they all pay their bills and none of their kids have ever missed a meal, but when my sibs and mom get together, they love to head up to Cripple Creek. I have tried a few times to go with them, but I just can’t ever seem to catch up. Nickel machine after nickel machine are always the same for me; a double bar, a second double bar and just as I start to get excited, a nasty old diamond comes up and says please play again. We tease each other a little, my mom asks how can I go out in that kind of weather just to catch fish and then she tells me how much money I could save if I just ate what I caught. I ask her why they would make the long drive up to Cripple creek just to feed the machines. Anyway, back to the story and maybe a casino theme.
          The trip really started when we walked into the fly shop in Walden, North Park Anglers, the employee walked up and very politely asked if we needed any help. As we began to ask about patterns, he smiled and said, “Hey I know you guys.” Our chests pumped just a little and I began to feel a little like Joe Pesci walking through the casino in the namesake movie, and then he went on to tell us that he had fished the Ark last winter and had met us in the shop. A little deflated ego and on to the Buttes. We pulled in and got our favorite camping spot. We quickly set camp and started working on our pontoons when a boat came by very slowly. One of the guys said, “Hey it’s the O’Gradys,” we looked up and thinking maybe we knew them, replied with a hello. He then said “we’ve seen you on youtube.” Well the ego stroke that was missing from the shop arrived and put a little pep in our flippers.
We fished for three hours Wednesday evening, battling the wind and the cold and we had a total of two fish to show for it. Afterward, we ran over to see the Master of the Delaney’s Mark and got a few tips. Thursday was by far the best day fishing, from 9:00am until around 1:45pm fish were eating and we were on them. At 1:48pm a storm rolled in and we had a hard time even rowing the hundred yards back to camp. Friday morning started good, with the fishing being really hot from 8:30am until about 10:00am and then the wind reared its ugly head. I don’t know if it has to do with the size of the lakes, but at Spinney the wind can roll in and you can still catch fish, at the Delaney’s however, when the wind rolls in the fishing stops. Friday evening when the wind calmed just a bit and was out of the North, Cat and I trekked up into the north end of the lake. We hooked several fish, but after about twenty minutes the wind picked up and turned square into our faces. Saturday morning fishing was strange, Cat did really well and even began to tease me a little. My first fish of the day was named 220 because it took me two hours and twenty minutes before I finally caught a fish. It got a little better for me with a few fish landed, a few misses and a break off, and just before noon the wind and a nasty storm moved in.
          So back to the casino theme. After packing the X-terra and saying our goodbyes, Cat and I started talking about the trip on the way home.  We began expressing our frustrations with having to spend so much time not fishing and all of our efforts to get out of the elements. We began to ask ourselves, why do we continue to put ourselves through these trips? Cat then looked at me and said, “I think I’m addicted to watching the plumb-bobber explode downwards.” and it hit me, she is exactly right. Lake fishing is very different than what I normally do, but it is so similar to slot machines. You put your cash into the machine, just like the money we spend on our gear. We look for a depth and we cast our rod, or pull the slot arm. First drop is a triple bar, or a perfect cast. The second drop is another triple bar, your flies hit the bottom and you plumb-bobber straitens up. Ding, ding, ding and your indicator explodes downward and as you set the hook, you quickly wonder, is this the thirty incher that you came here for? The third window rolls down and it’s the third triple bar and the machine goes crazy, you have no idea how much you just won, but you quickly imagine it is in the thousands. I ask my family at times why they continue to pay for those big beautiful casinos to stay open and I guess after putting up with how frustrating the Delaney elements can be, I get it. Okay family, I promise I will never make fun of your obsession again.  
          Now on to a little disclaimer, if you have a problem with gambling than call the Gamblers Anonymous hotline. If you want to experience a little part of the lake addiction than call the Drift, we can help you. I wanted to finish off the blog by giving a shout out to another friendly fly shop in Colorado. If you are in the North Park area stop by North Park Anglers, we have been in on several occasions and have always had professional, helpful and friendly service. Next a quick thank you to Mark, I can’t believe how much I have learned from you over the years and lastly, sorry Jimbo for not getting to stay up there to fish with you a little longer.
          With the current snow pack level sitting at 178% of normal, I expect the river to be at full runoff for a considerable period of time this year. DON’T GET LEFT OUT!!! The mid and upper level lakes should have excellent fishing opportunities this summer. Knowing how daunting fly fishing lakes can be, through the end of June the Drift is continuing to offer the One Armed Bandit Special, a free sit down with Cat or I with the purchase of any Sage Accel, or Fishcat/outcast pontoon boat. The sit down will consist of rigging, safety, accessories, flies and still water strategies. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, The Master Mark, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kicking It At Spinney (With Video)

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. On my way to Spinney this morning, my mind was beginning to write today’s blog and about how today was day three of retirement. Driving back to P-town the whole theme changed. Last spring while fishing the different mid-level lakes of Colorado, I began to notice what I thought was a minor problem with Cat’s setup. I tried getting her to fish my Accel, but she continually told me that hers was just fine. Finally, I bought her my exact same set up and begged her to try it out. She did and our later trips to Spinney last summer were just good enough for her to begin to turn from the dark side to the light. Soon after, while fishing my “One”, Cat landed her best fish here on the Ark and there was no turning back. In my mind, now that we were now firmly on the same team, we would stand shoulder to shoulder in the Sage corner and figured we would spend the rest of our fishing days in blissful Strawberry fields, and there would never be even a hint of unrest again. It was unbelievable for a while, shoulder to shoulder, proudly waving our “Ones” as if our bond could never even field a crack. And then today happened, even though we are no longer competitive and we fish as one, Cat, with no regards to my third day of retirement fishing party, smoked me like a Christmas turkey.
          The day started like normal, while kicking out on Spinney, amongst many bored looking anglers, I hooked and wrestled a two foot pike to the net. My first pike that is, and they are slimy and spooky looking. I continued to move out and Cat found her groove. After about an hour and only one take, I kicked back towards Cat and she asked if I was killing it as well. There was plenty of time and no need for false exaggerations, so I sheepishly said no. We spent the next five hours within about thirty feet of each other and nearly every time I looked up, she was fighting another fish to the net. In most circumstances, I had a great day, when my wife smokes me about 4 to 1, I know I should gripe, but it was an absolutely glorious day.  I’m not sure what the deal was with the Northerns today, we had never landed one before and we got a total of 5 to the net today, Cat has a few wounds as proof of hers.
          It looks like the river here in P-town dropped a little today, but my own personal guess is that it will be short lived. The Arkansas drainage snowpack is currently sitting at 150% of normal and I think we are looking at another extended runoff. Mid-level and high-mountain lakes are going to be the drug over the next 6 to 10 weeks or so. We at the Drift know how intimidating a new way of fly fishing can be so we will be extending our lake special through June. If any customer purchases a Sage Accel or a Fishcat/Outcast pontoon boat, they will get a free sit down with Cat or I and we will go over strategies, rigging, fly choice, safety, and hopefully answer any questions to make your trip to the lakes and enjoyable one. I used to think that I was the one you should ask for but after today…..As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Accel, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The First Day...

                    Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have been following the blog over the last few months than you probably know how awesome the last month has been on the Ark. However, and much like the season finales on TV, all great things come to a close. Some are cliffhangers and this year there seemed to be quite a few cast finales and even show endings. In the spirit of the season, I actually wanted to let you all in on a new development in Cat’s and my life. Just over twenty-five years ago, my baby brother had this crazy idea to get some cash together and buy a Subway that was going out of business. We started with basically nothing and after several years we began to make a serious go of it. We have seen a little of everything, some years I could feel my blood pressure trying to blow the top of my head off every time my phone rang, and other times, I couldn’t figure out why God was making it so easy on me. The last few years had been especially difficult so when the opportunity to move on came about, we decided to take it. As of close of business on May 17th, Cat and I are no longer Subway franchise owners. 

                    I woke up this morning absolutely terrified. I had a little bit of running around to do and then I came home to quiet. The dogs looked at me a little strangely and I began to wonder if I had made a mistake. I didn’t see last night’s finale of NCIS so I decided to watch it. I knew it special agent Anthony Dinozzo’s last episode and I was dying to see how they pulled it off. Ten minutes in and I knew this was the best sign off ever. I was glued to the show and as the show was ending, and like the manly stud that I am, I had to turn my head so that Cat couldn’t see the tears. Tony was heading off to live his life. Wow, what an ending, Cat and I looked at each other and said, “let’s go fishing.” We knew that the higher flow was bringing the spring season to an end, but what the heck, lets enjoy every second.

                    We got to the river at around 12:30 and the swallows were thick. We have been fishing this river long enough that we have a pretty good idea where the fish are at just about all flows. The first stop made us look a little silly, but soon we began to see fish. We spent a few hours fishing and we even spent a little time kicking back and enjoying our existence. We hooked a total of eight fish but did not get a single fish to the net. I worked one all the way back to me but just as I was lifting his head, I think he smiled a little and spit the hook. We were able to spot out two big browns, one we hooked and the second freaked himself out when he hit Cat’s indicator. As we were heading back to the car, I started thinking about how much more dramatic Dinozzo’s exit from the work force was, and then I realized, it’s just a stupid TV show. What a way to spend the first day of the rest of my life.

                    I’m looking at trying to get a few health problems taken care of over the next few months. Hopefully, by fall my schedule should be much more free with no limitations for amounts of guide trips. As for river conditions, the water today was much clearer than we expected. If you do decide to give the river a try, please just keep a few things in mind. First of all, don’t go alone, 1390cfs can put you in danger in a hurry. And secondly, bugs have not really changed, fish are still gorging on BWO’s and midges. There seems to still be a little bit of fishing left but please stay safe: finish the season in a Tonyesque way or maybe even like me. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Special Agent Anthony Dinozzo, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fantastically Awesome !!!

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. As I was standing in the river today staring over and watching my Incredible wife matching me fish for fish, I couldn’t help but reminisce a little about the absolutely fantastic spring this has been. It was a little difficult to drift off much because the fish were once again en fuego. During the few lull moments of today my mind did get a chance to wander. I remember in college sitting in speech class and listening to another student make the noise “um” I don’t even know how many times. His second speech, another student and I decided to count and we had a little wager on how many times the “um” came out. Later in life, and I’m not condoning this, but at the bar in Winter Park, we had a drinking game every time a touron used the word “Rad”. I know that word ages me a little but I am very aware that I am not a young guy anymore. What I have been a little worried about though, is over the years when I listen to those super nice, always complimentary people. I remember playing with one of those guys in a golf tournament one time and after hitting one three fairways over, the super nice guy in all sincerity said, “well that would have been a fantastic shot if it had gone just a little straighter”. Yep, I think I threw up a little in my mouth after hearing that. So anyway, back to the blog, if you have become so sick of me enthusiastically, bragging on how Incredibly awesome the conditions have been over the last month, then this blog will not make your day any better.

            Cat, Winston and I got to spend the day together on the river. We had been fishing the same area so much lately and after telling so many customers that the whole river is good, we decided to expand our horizons a little and spread out. First spot we stopped we noticed a few fish eating in a riffle. Second cast and a beautiful tub-tub 17 incher to the net. Cat jumped in next and drilled a few. All day long, fish were eating. I would love to say that I landed all, most or even the majority of the fish I hooked but that would be a lie, but regardless, what a day!

            With the heat looking to make its first real appearance next weekend, my best guess is that we don’t have a lot of time left. Get to the river if you can, you may even learn a few new positive adverbs. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Music to a Guides Ears.....

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures Blog. Oh what a Spring we are experiencing; this has been the most enjoyable Spring that I can remember. Some of the days have been downright silly and some days have been technical but still awesome. Today’s trip is where the blog title comes from. Doug is a repeat client but his last two trips to the Ark have been in winter time and you know how well I like January, fish had been caught but it was Dead winter. We got into our first run at around 11:00 and just a few drifts in, it was on. Nearly every good cast and drift today produced a take. The big fish of the day was landed about an hour in when Doug wrestled a beautiful 20-and-a-half-inch toad to the net, and yes we have a new member of the 20-inch club, congrats my friend! The fun didn’t stop there, we spotted out another fish and the reward was a 19-inch brown. As we began making our way back to the car, we started cherry picking all of our best runs from the morning. We got into one run and Doug battled a tubby 16 incher to the net and after taking a quick pic. Doug looked up, handed me the rod and said, “why don’t you take a few casts, my arm is cramping up”. Yeah baby, music to a guide’s ears, worn out from catching fish.

          Once again, if you have considered taking a guide trip, call the shop and book now. The weather coming in this weekend could make for some incredible fishing. Fish were on FOD’s and Ninjas today. Pics are from today and Saturdays trips. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Doug and the Drift fly shop want to thank you for reading…..

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Pooh-dog Special...

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. One of the great things about having the best fly fishing Cat and dog on the face of the planet is all the questions I get about one or both. For example, everyone wants to know how I trained Winston to be such a great fly fishing companion. Then they go on to ask if fly fishing is the Pooh-dogs favorite thing in the world. As a professional guide I should say yes but in reality, it is truly only his third favorite activity. For a long time we have not known what Pooh Dog loves best, but we found out when Jimbo was here a few weeks ago. I was beginning to feed Winston, when Jimbo stepped outside and picked up Pooh-dogs ball. Without so much as a wag, Pooh leapt outside leaving his food untouched.
I had always known he loved chasing the ball, when I take him up to the school he cries with excitement. It is hilarious to listen to him wail with joy. After we get there, I throw the ball about 25 or 30 times and watch as he begins to slow down. When his paws can move no further he takes his ball and drops to the ground, but he does so about fifty yards from me. As I approach or call his name, Pooh turns his head away from me and looks the other way. As an observant dog owner, I know what he is thinking; he is so tired from doing his favorite pastime that he can’t run anymore, but at the same time he does not want to admit that it’s time to go back to the car and go home. I always thought it was a little selfish and annoying on his part, but I think over the last week I have gotten a little glimpse into his mind and why he refuses to call it quits.
            Fishing and guide trips over the last few weeks have been absolutely outstanding. Today, Cat and I caught so many absolutely gorgeous fish that we just wanted to sit down on the bank. Too tired to go, but not wanting to quit. I wonder if Winston thought we were a little annoying and selfish. Well a burrito on the way home and we all have a little better understanding of each other.
            I wanted to finish the blog by offering an end of the season special for our guide trips. We have no idea how long this perfection will last but to celebrate Cat and Connell will give their clients a free extra half hour on the water for any half day trip booked and completed before runoff. This is the best fishing I have seen in years and Cat and I really want to share it with you. Call the shop or my cell 719-568-4927 and ask for the Pooh-dog special or for Cat or Connell specifically. I only have one request, please don’t sit down and look the other way, let me know ahead of time when you are too tired to go on. As always Connell, Cat, Winston(aka Pooh-dog), and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……