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....