Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sage Sonic Review.....


Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. It’s been a while since I had written a blog but after playing with the new Sonic the last few days, I felt like I had to put out a review. I wanted to start by saying that even though I am a really big Sage fan, I had decided many years ago that my integrity is way more important to me than just selling rods, so anything I write will be my true thoughts. The rod I am reviewing is the 590 and it is set up with a Sage Spectrum LT and lined with a Rio Grand fly line. Now, on to my review the new Sage Sonic.

The introduction of the Sonic this year was really strange. We were right smack in the middle of the shutdown so we were really limited in the rods were able to get in. The shops first order in was a couple of 5 wts and one 6. I was working the day they came in and got to do the unboxing. Now I want to backtrack just a little, I know it may be sacrilege in the fly rod world, but to me, I am less interested in how a rod casts and more into how it feels in your hand and how it fights fish. That being said, I threw on a line and took it out front. My initial impression was that I was surprised how light it felt in my hand and even though it really makes no real difference, I liked the color. I stripped out some line and picked it up and the line just shot out. I felt a little smile appear and I started picking spots around the lot and basically hit every spot. Short cast, long cast, it didn’t matter, the rod was deadly accurate.  I wanted one but unfortunately, with Sage having limited production, I had to wait.

Earlier this week I was finally able to get in my 5wt and I brought it on yesterdays trip to see what it could do. Johns first few casts were a little quick and choppy but after rounding out and slowing down his roll cast, his casts were right on. Our first fish hooked was one of our 13-inch tanks. During the battle, I paid close attention to how the rod reacted. I could watch the tip bounce with every head shake but the rod never looked out of control. After a short back and forth, we put the wood to him and the rod had plenty of power. A little while later, I looked down and John had another fish on. I hustled down and could see the rod had quite a bend. Even though the battle took an extra minute or so, John and the Sonic were flawless and we got the fish landed. We snapped a quick pic, and after releasing the fish, he smiled and told me that now he needed to go home and figure out what gun to sell so he could buy his own Sonic. At the end of the day, I asked these guys if they minded me giving it a few throws. I wanted to take a few shots at fish that I knew would be tucked under a tree. The Sonic is a little softer than the Igniter that I normally fish and my first two side arm casts skipped in a little short. My third cast was under the trees and after a really quick drift, I saw a flash and it was game on. The fish went up and then down river and tried to get me under some brush. I gave him a little tug away from the brush and the he headed for the rocks. I got him below the rock and just as I started smiling, I felt the dreaded ker-chunk and the hook slipped. I felt just enough of the rod to know that I wanted more.

Today was pretty cold but I wanted to get another shot with the Sonic. I started the day with some effortless long roll casts. I have never thought of myself as an great caster but even with the wind and ice, the rod casted like a dream. My first three fish today were a 16, 17 and 18 incher. The fish were a little less violent than last week but still had some serious punch. Wow, now here is what I absolutely loved about the rod. The perfect combination of feeling every headshake and still having plenty of power to move the fish where I needed him to go. I moved into a quicker, riffle run and hooked several. Takes were all well below me and I just really couldn’t seem to get the hook set. I’m not sure if it was the fact that the takes were so far below me or if I just needed a little more power. To finish the morning, I went into one of the more unusual spots. Due to the surroundings, this spot requires a 30-50 foot steeple cast with huge downstream mends into the wind. Now if you are reading that and all you read is gobbly-gook, don’t worry. I very rarely put clients in this situation because it is so difficult. I got in place and ripped out line until I was well into my running line. I had a target spot in mind but wasn’t sure if I could get it there. I did a quick forward cast, came straight up and let it shoot. Wow, ten feet further tan I had expected but dead on line. I rolled a huge downstream mend and after just a couple feet of drift the indicator shot down. It took me a second to get all that line under control but then it gave me an extra minute to feel the rod work.

Hopefully, this little review will help. As I have always said, the quality a rod is way more than just how it casts and the new Sonic seems to be the perfect combination of feel, power and just looks. I will finish with my own ratings on a 1-10 scale.


Feel and weight in hand….…..9

Casting ability……………………..10

Fighting Feel……………………….10+

Price and value……………………10




Pics are from yesterdays guide trip and this morning. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Spinney Stories 2020

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Before I get into our trip to Spinney today, I wanted to talk a little about our drive home. As you all know, Cat is not a morning person and I am only a little better in that regards. So, after getting up before 6:00, driving two hours, and fishing all day long, we were pretty spent for the drive home. It was as if Collin Robinson had been talking to us all day long(if you don’t get it, watch What We Do In The Shadows”. We were in serious Zombie mode when Phil Collins “In the Air” came on the radio. We both bobbed our heads and I had to throw in my dirty lyrics and when the big drum number came up, we both broke into our air drum frenzy. We started laughing and at the same time, stated that that must be the biggest air drum lick in Rock and Roll history. There are a million great air guitar songs but that one has to be the best. Let us know what you think.
            Now on to South Park. I had only been able to fish Spinney once this year because Cat and I have been so busy, and that trip was rough, I had only caught one fish. Reports have been really varied and we really kept our expectations low. We explored a new section today because in my mind, I thought I had it all figured out. We rowed out to the depth we were looking for and I had a fish show up on my screen. I set my indicator, tossed it out and just as the indicator turned up, it shot down. I gave a big set but the fish was long gone. I got it back in and in just a minute or so I landed my first fish of the day. At that time, I smiled and thought I had it all figured out. Cat was sporting her brand-new Fishpond El Jefe net and had a bit of an unusual start. She worked the fish in close and as she was netting it, one of her flies got caught in the net so then when she would try to scoop the fish, the fish was able to drop below her. Eventually it broke the line and she wondered if the net was going to be a little too big for her. Needless to say, after lots of successful fish landed, she really likes her new net. As for me, the lake fished well in quick bursts today. I would hook three or four and then it would die for twenty minutes or so. I finished the day with 23 trout, 1 brown and the rest bows or cutbows and one baby pike, and NO, I don’t touch pike. Cat didn’t keep count but didn’t think she had caught as many.
            Now on to conditions here. The river dropped a little here today and I’m guessing fished pretty well. Please just be very careful when wading at these flows. Last week we announced our Guiding permit for Lake Isabel and just wanted to remind people of that. You’re not going to catch any Spinney sized fish but it is a great introduction to lake fishing.
            Lastly, Cat and I will be making our way to Florida next week for another attempt at Tarpon. So far, in our game, the tarpon have won in a rout but we are feeling it this time. We will be back at the end of next week and will be available for Lake Isabel trips. Wish us luck, we need it!!! Maybe for the plane rides, I will be trying to figure out what sons have the best air piano spots, I’m thinking maybe LA Woman….Sorry about the pics, we don’t take our phones out in our boats. As always. Connell, Cat, Winston, Phil Collins and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Spring 2020 on the Ark with Video !!!!!

           Hello Friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to start by saying a huge Wow!!!! Over the last month or so our world as we've known it seems to have turned completely upside down. My morning routine has always been the same, I get up and share breakfast with Winston while reading the Bible and then after a little quiet time, I turn to the internet for the daily news. Over the last month, scanning the internet has been very difficult to read. When I first heard the news that Colorado was on lock-down, I died a little inside. I have not been out of work since I was 14 and that was several years ago haha. Yes, I have an incredible home life but being on the river just makes everything seem a little better.
            When we realized that we could still legally fish on our own, Cat and I got to spend a few days playing on the river. We had been wanting to do another video this year, but we found it difficult to find the time to fish together, and now we finally had a few days at the same time. Now a few things about the video, most of it was shot in one day last week in town, the river was running just over 900cfs and it is very clear how 225lbs can stay so much more stable than 125lbs. Also, at 900cfs there are fewer really great runs that hold fish. Since the filming, the river has dropped into the 700cfs range, the Bwo’s are really getting the fish eating, and the fish are spreading out. Now, what we really hope is that with all of the craziness going on right now in this world that it puts a smile on a few of your faces. I know it did for us. And lastly, we want to extend a Huge thank you to all of our incredible friends and guests this year. You have been Awesome!!!
            As for the river, I’m not sure exactly how this stay in place thing will play out. I already see that there is talk of allowing people to get back to work as long as they wear a mask. The next five weeks on the river should be the best of the year. What we are currently doing at the shop is packaging up a “guide special” of the exact flies that I have been using on the river. We are now accepting reservations for guide trips between now and the end of May, get your (best dates of the year) locked in and if your date arrives and the trip cannot happen, for any reason, we will refund your full deposit.
            Now to finish, I just want to give out one more huge thank you for your continued support of the Drift, Cat, and I. We hope you enjoy the video as much as we did making it. Please stay safe and hope to see you soon. As Always, Connell, Cat, Winston, all our Guests, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for watching and reading………

Monday, February 17, 2020


Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I was thinking about something an old friend said to me many years ago. This gentleman was normally a very jolly, happy go lucky guy that always had a smile on his face, no matter what was going on around him. One day we were standing talking when a group of geese flew overhead and his face got very serious and he said you see those geese. I said yep, and he said, have you ever noticed that when they fly in the wedge, one side is always longer than the other? I said I guess, he asked, you know why? Like I said, not sure I had ever seen a serious look on this mans face before, so I thought about it for a second. Could it be possibly that whether they are flying North or South that it had something to do with where the sun is coming from? Could it be the wind direction and maybe that is how they are most aerodynamic? Could it possibly even be some type of inherited trait as to where each goose lines up or possibly even some type of pecking order and I looked at him and said, I have no idea. Old Leonard giggled and said it is because there are more geese on one side than the other. Yep, an old bird from Kansas got me and sometimes the best answer is the simplest.
The last three or four weeks in the shop have really got me thinking about the simplicity of fly fishing. I can’t tell you how many different experiences I have heard about: best day ever, fishing sucks, only eating size 26, only eating size 12 euro style nymphs, etc etc. Last week the TU fishing tourney was going on and when they were announcing the winners and asked what was working, they all named different flies. And to jump on board, Cat and I have had the same type of experiences, some great, some good and some quite frustrating but what I have tried my hardest to do is keep it simple.
So, what do I mean by keeping it simple? The current Euro craze has taught me something really important, the “drift” is by far the most important concept in fly fishing. A perfect drift with the wrong flies will be far more productive than a crappy drift with the right flies. The river is in full “winter mode” right now so on most days, the pickins is kind of slim for the fish and a perfect natural drift can initiate a response. When I was younger, I was part of an organization that had a bumper sticker that said KISS, keep it simple stupid and so if you get to the river in the next few weeks and are struggling, remember KISS. Get that perfect drift and if they don’t eat, move to the next run and repeat.
Now onto the river, the other day I started noticing Spawning redds showing up. Yep, it’s the time of the year again when the fish make the future of our river better and we, as stewards of the river can help. Please understand that these are not bass, if you see fish on redds they are either preparing or actively spawning and need to be left alone. Also, please be quick and extra careful with quick pics right now, the future depends on you. If you don’t know what a red is or looks like, please stop by the Drift or any flyshop and we will be more than helpful. I will finish the blog with this, if you see me and ask for fishing advice and I tell you to kiss off, its actually a good thing(hehe). As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Leonard Calkins and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Fight Club........

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Well if you saw the blog title and are hoping to hear a story about me throwing down on the river, you will be a little disappointed. Many years ago, I realized my mach-turtle speed, two left feet footwork, and lack of being able to handle pain, assured me that I am way more of a lover than a fighter. The movie Fight Club came out in 1999 and I remember everyone telling me how awesome the show was. It didn’t seem like my kind of movie but when it got to DVD I went ahead and watched it. When the movie was over, I’m not sure I had ever been so confused about a movie. Who and what was real? And as far as I could tell, the main idea of the movie was to explain how much the main character enjoyed getting beat up. Yep, like I said, it made no sense to me but many people just loved it. I think today's trip to the river may have helped me understand just a bit.
            Before I get to today's trip to the river, I need to give a little background. Last Saturday, Cat was out of town and I got to work the shop. I got a few calls and had a few customers in that day expressing their concern over the lack of fish they had been seeing in the river over the last week or so. I explained as nicely as possible that with our lower water temps this January, our fish have really begun to slow down and go deep and the river just needs to be attacked with a slightly different frame of mind. Lots of perfect drifts and don’t yank, but check, every time your indicator moves. And mostly, just remember that you are standing in a river in JANUARY, just enjoy it and allow the catching to be a bonus.
            I saw the weather this morning and figured if the fish were looking for a day to eat, this would be it. I wasn’t expecting a lot but once again, I was standing in a river, the only way it could have been better would have been if Cat and Pooh were with me. Anyway, I headed down to the first run and really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I saw three or four quality fish sitting up in a feeding lane and the one-year-old naturals were going nuts on the surface. I got set up for the big fish and my first cast was perfect. My heart was racing and as my flies drifted past his face, I fully expected an explosion, but nothing, it was like getting punched in the ribs. The next four drifts were perfect and nothing but denials. I tossed to the next fish over and bang, and then you have to be kidding me, he was foul and it felt like a side kick to the head. He took me down river then popped off but now I was looking at the little guys. First drift through and it was on and then off before I could even get excited. I moved back up to the big fish and after hooking and losing a half a dozen fish, I decide to make my way up river. It felt like going a couple of rounds with my arms tied behind my back.
            I headed up river and got into another stretch where the fish were out eating. I caught a couple but by schooled by a few more. As I was heading up to the next run, the Fight Club movie all made sense. I had not been physically beaten but mentally they were beating me bloody, and guest what, I didn’t care and I even wanted more. Run after run, the fish were actually out today and even though I don’t feel like I won the whole match, I certainly landed a few jabs and I can’t wait to get back out.
            The river over the next three weeks or so should see a little of everything. Fish on most days are hugging the bottom but singles are already moving out to eat. Today’s hatches were fantastic and saw lots of fish selectively eating. Everyday the sun is getting a little higher and we are just a few weeks away from some of my favorite fishing of the year. If you are wanting to learn how to sight fish, it’s time to start getting your dates locked in. Trips over the next few weeks may feel like fight club but if you get it figured out now, February will feel like the last two minutes of final round of a Rocky fight. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Edward Norton and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

That's a Wrap......

Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly fishing adventures. I guess it’s the time of year to look back and do a little reminiscing about the last year and, WOW, what a year! From a fishing stand point, last January we saw warmer than usual temps and the usual Jan-lull was non-existent. Spring saw fantastic fishing and Cat and I had two awesome trips to the Salt. Summer was a little depressing with the high water but I will never complain about farmers getting the water they need; I like to eat. And this fall saw some of the best Blue wing hatches I have ever seen, even I spent a few days tossing dry flies. And best of all and in all honesty, we had some of the most enjoyable and awesome clients I have ever had the chance to fish with.
As for our personal lives, Cat and I had our 15th anniversary. Winston was doing so much better. We got to spend time with almost all of our out of town family and we got to spend some real quality days with our beautiful granddaughter.                                                                                                                             
Now looking forward to 2020. Water temps have really taken a dip over the last week and fish are beginning to move into their winter lies. Over the next several weeks it is really important to come to the river with a proper attitude. The twenty and thirty fish days are gone(unless they stock), however this is the time of the year when most people catch their biggest fish ever. Takes can be super subtle and with the fish being a little sluggish, 6x fluoro should handle even the super slabs. Once we get through the first week of February, I start licking my chops. The sun gets a little higher and the singles and doubles make their way out of their winter lies and we get some of the techiest and most incredible sight fishing of the year. So, here is your call to action, if you are looking to get a trip booked, January is a great time to work on technique and reading the water and have a shot at the pig of your dreams. If you are looking for some help sight fishing, and this should come with a warning because you will never see the river the same way again, get your day locked in between February 10th and the end of the month.
Now, about the near future. The Fly Fishing show will be this weekend in Denver, I will be at the Blue Bonefish booth all weekend and Cat will be there with me all day Friday. If you are up there, make sure you drop by and say hello. Now, as for the blog, Cat and I have discussed maybe changing the format from a written blog to a podcast blog. If we move to more of a podcast we will keep the content much the same but it would also give us a chance to do more product reviews and also we would add in some interviews. Let us know what you think and give us your ideas on what you want to see or hear. Pics are just some of my favorite of last year As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and the drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….