Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Gold Rush.....

            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have never seen the TV series Gold Rush, you are missing a whole lot of fun. Now gold mining by itself should be quite boring, but watching the bumbling group of Todd Hoffman’s crew is pretty hilarious. The first season they spent millions of dollars mining and only collected a few thousand dollars of gold. Every episode they would interview Todd and he would say the same thing, “we have to get serious gold this week or we could be finished”. One episode they had a professional come in and help and when he measured the pitch of the sluice box, the expert explained that it was to steep and all the gold was flushing straight through. Another expert came in to help and ended up poaching the Hoffman’s claim. They had fist fights, Todd’s dad smashed a wash plant with a loader, they had permit issues and pretty much everything that could go wrong, did. And when they finally had a season that ended in the black, the following season they headed to South America. Episode after episode and season after season it was always the same, a total cluster and at the end of the show, Todd would once again explain that if the next week isn’t better, they could be out of business. I guess after a while I no longer tuned in to see how they were doing but more about what was going to go wrong this episode and all along, a young kid was bringing in millions of gold.
            As some of our readers know, the last few years Cat and I have spent some time trying to figure out how to catch carp. Now as a professional fly-fishing guide, I have always been pretty happy with my skills however trying to catch carp have made me feel a little more like Todd Hoffman and a little less like me. I have walked miles, tried hundreds of flies, tried different times of the days and have spooked more carp than gold that the Hoffman’s have lost. I have spent several days watching people that had been successful but while with me they were blanked and if I had a TV show I would have been canceled years ago. Today, I hit the mother lode. With the flows on the Ark entering the dangerous area for trout, I have been chasing a few carp lately. This morning I got into one of my usual spots and carp were moving in. I tossed to several and I thought it was going to be just like every other day, but this time my fly landed a few feet in front of a tailer and as the fly dropped, the fish headed over to take a look. His face buried into the bottom and I lifted. The fish ripped down river but just as I was clearing my line, I lost tension and he spit the hook. I imagined me sitting around a campfire saying tomorrow will be different. I walked a little way up river and I saw another group eating. I dropped the fly in front and another fish headed over to take a look and grabbed a bite, I set, and it was on. I have never had a chance to sit in on a gold weigh-in, but I’m guessing the sound of gold pouring on to a scale is not that much different than my Spectrum screaming out line. He bull-dogged me for a while and then I finally got him turned. I can’t tell you how accomplished I felt. I headed up river and landed another that was even bigger and then finished the day blind casting and landing a big walleye. After a few years of more frustration than I can remember, today I got my gold.
            While reflecting on my successful day I began to question what was different. I want to say that maybe the most important things I have found is to be patient, don’t waste your time casting to fish that are on the move. What a fun way to spend the day on the river.
            If you are not aware, the river has dropped to super low flows and temps have spiked the last few days. PLEASE leave the trout alone during the heat of the day. If you are going to fish please get out early. The warmth of the water makes it very difficult for trout to get oxygen and a strong fight will very likely kill the fish. If you are bored you can always hire a guide and maybe you can be on the next episode of Gold Rush…Pueblo Style(A carp trip). As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Hoffman crew, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Never to Early....

          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. A few weeks back I was looking the calendar and I realized how quick this summer was coming to an end. Schools are back in session this week and my Huskers are starting fall practice. In the fishing world, the summer guiding season is coming to an end and it is a perfect time to begin planning next years trips. If you are a long-time reader then you remember me writing a blog about Cody and his Salt-camp a few years back. I didn’t understand the obsession at the time but after a few trips of our own, it all made sense. 
         Two years ago, Cat and I spent two weeks in Hawaii with Cody and Kim and out of the twelve days we spent fishing I only landed two bonefish. Now some may look at that as an utter failure but to Cat and myself, it became the ultimate challenge. We followed it with eight days in the Bahamas and then an incredible week in Belize. Although all our trips were entertaining, nothing really compared to the week in Belize. We found the perfect lodge, and have decided next years trip we wanted to share with our friends.
          We have the lodge reserved for April 13th through the 20th next year. The lodge has a total of six rooms and four are already spoken for. The days at the lodge are as follows; Breakfast and coffee is served at just after six in the morning. When finished eating your guide picks you up in their boat out back at the dock located a one minute walk behind lodge at around seven. After telling your guide what you are looking for, you spend the next several hours on the hunt. When you get back to lodge from a day of fishing you have your choice. You can relax and tell stories in the pool, you can grab a golf cart and head into town or if you didn’t get you fill of fish for the day, you can always grab a paddle board and take a quick paddle to a nearby flat. Dinner is served around seven and then once again, head to town or just sit back and tell stories.
          If you have never spent anytime fishing salt flats I want to now explain why it is so special. There are gobs of species to target on the flats but I wanted to focus on the main three, Bones, Permit and Tarpon. The majority of the fishing in Belize is spent from the front of the boat. Your guide will be on a platform in the back and will slowly inch the boat down the flats and will call out the fish they see. After the guide calls out fish, your heart begins to run about a hundred miles per hour. You dig deep and strain your eyes as hard as you can to see what the guide is seeing, and then out of nowhere they appear. Your heart now is trying to come out of your chest and you cast, if your fly lands where you want, you feel the monkey fall off your back, you take a breath and then you see the fish turn. A quick strip and you see three bones chase it down, a second strip and the line comes tight. You screech YEAHHHHH and your reel begins to scream. Now I would love to tell you how easy it is but that would be a lie, and I think that is why I now get the whole Cody thing, can’t get enough of the salt.
          Now the reason we picked the middle of April is that it is the best of all conditions. If you live in Colorado then you know how the last several winters just never come to an end. Weather here will be anywhere between ten and eighty degrees and when you land in San Pedro, temps will be between eighty-three and eighty-eight degrees, yep perfect. The bones are always in the area and April is the best time for shots at permit. The big tarpon are beginning to move in and if the wind is right, you should definitely get a shot or two. On the lousy weather days there are plenty of other options, snook, snappers and baby tarpon can always be found under the mangroves.
          So here is the reason for this blog write-up. We have two rooms left for next years trip and would love to spend the week with more of our readers. The lodge is very laid back, clean and feels like home. Prices are quite a bit less expensive then other lodges in the area. The time is now to begin planning for next years trip so please get in touch with us if spending the week with Cat and I in Belize sounds fun for you, but I should warn you, it may become your new obsession. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Bluebonefish and the Drift Fly shop want to thank you for reading……

Saturday, July 28, 2018

In the Leather...

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly fishing Adventures. One of the great things about being a fly fishing guide is that I get to help people experience some of the biggest and feistiest fish they have ever seen. The most difficult part about being a guide is that even when conditions are difficult, it is my job to get people into fish. My last few trips out have left a bad taste in my mouth and todays plan was for a little payback.
          The river was pretty crowded today but we basically got to fish every run that we wanted. The fish were eating right off the bat and after Jen had a few quick release fish, she landed the fish of the day, a beautiful 18 inch chubby. Brian was in a run a short distance away and after a few drifts I heard the familiar “fish on” scream. I set up to help and watched as the fish just went ballistic back and forth and at one time the line went completely limp, he started running back and the line came tight again. Brian worked the bow into the landing water and as I was trying to net it, it made a quick run over my net. We got him close again and as I was reaching, he said no and if I were a younger man, I might have made a dive but the fish spit the hook. I looked at Brian and he gave me the normal question, “what did I do wrong”? I noticed as I looked up that he was wearing a golf hat and I thought about the old “in the leather” saying. When golfing in the old days, if the ball was between the leather grip and the putter head it was considered good.  Shortly after that Brian hooked another piggie but this one had no intentions of playing, he took him straight into the rocks and sawed him off. Jen moved down and after a serious breakoff, she landed her second toad of the day. I saw Brian fighting another and after running back to help he got the fish right up next to me, I grabbed the net and as I was bringing it down to scoop, a quick head shake and he was off. So here is how the day will be explained, they both caught a few really nice fish, Jen got them to the net and Brian had them in the leather. Well done guys and thanks a million, it is so much more enjoyable when we can get the fish to eat.
          Now just a couple of announcements, first, the water temps are beginning to edge upwards into the dangerous range after about 2:00. So please fight the fish as quickly as you can and get them revived and back in quickly. Secondly, a friend of mine accidently left his set up in the Osprey parking lot a few weeks ago. The rod is a Hardy and the reel is a purple Galvan. If you happen to have picked it up or have heard of anyone finding it please bring it by the shop and we can get it to the rightful owner. The reel is very special and means way more to the owner than what someone could sell it for on ebay. If you bring it by, I will tie you a dozen of any of my signature flies. Thanks, and it would sure mean a lot to my friend. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Tiger Woods and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's Not You......

        Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade when the boyfriend/girlfriend thing became popular. I’m not really sure why, I didn’t really like to hang out with girls and I was way to young for the physical thing, I guess it was just an issue of self-confidence. My first girlfriend, and I will leave names out to protect the innocent lasted for a few months. It began right before Christmas with a note asking if she would be my girlfriend and a box for a yes and another for a no. She marked yes and we were hitched. My first memory of the girlfriend experience was having to cough up the cash for the obligatory Christmas gift, Valentine’s Day was next and again, my paper route money was NOT spent on what I wanted. I remember the Valentines Dance and sensing something not right and I got the break up letter the next day, what a waste of an ID bracelet. Now in those days, kids didn’t talk to their parents and would never discuss their feelings with their buds. The only person I was able to talk to was my next-door neighbor Kim. I told her about getting dumped and her answer was one that I have heard echoed most of my life. Kim listened and finally in the most caring voice, explained that it wasn’t me, and there was something wrong with the girl, I knew that already but it sure was nice to hear it from someone else. Kim was my main sounding board through high school and in my twenties, I found many other sounding boards, and yes sometimes it worked to my advantage. As I aged it became my brother, my church friends and even my dad and it came full circle when my youngest son had his first break up. For hours I listened to him cry and when the time was just perfect, I told him that it wasn’t him and that there was something wrong with the girl.
          When I finally left Brandon’s room that evening and had time to reminisce, I began to wonder about the gazillion times I heard that over the years. Was it always the other person and never me? Sounds good, but statistically speaking, at least a few of the breakups had to have been about me. I’m not a billionaire, I have been a total jerk, and let’s face it, I’m no Brad Pitt and yet according to my sounding boards, it has never been my fault. Over the last several days fishing and guiding, this old saying has been back running through my skull.
          One morning I had walked into my first run and before casting I could see two different fish chowing. They were in a feeding lane and so I knew they were eating and I looked at the bugs flying around and then the rig I was throwing, and it was a perfect match. I waited to see the fish again and then dropped the flies right in front of them. I was fully expecting the take and nothing, I casted again and again and not interested. I waited for the fish to move again and another round of perfect drifts went unanswered. I changed up a few flies and tossed another round of perfect drifts and still nothing. During BWO season when I see fish, a good drift almost always would produce a take but now I was devastated and then the sounding board was my mind echoing all those years, it wasn’t me, it was the fish.
          The next day I decided to take some time chasing a few carp. Several fish would just bail the second the fly hit the water, and a few actually followed the strip but when it came down to it, it wasn’t me it was the stupid carp.
          My last several guide trips have been mostly all first timers and I have had to explain how difficult our fish can be sometimes. Now as the most caring and perfect guide I have used the “it’s not you” saying more than once, however going back to what I said earlier, statistically speaking, sometimes it’s probably us. I tell everyone that when catching these fish, you have to do a hundred things right and the one error we make can break the deal. The fish are still really eating well but they are not at all easy to land. So if you get out over the next few days and manage to get a fish or two to the net, pat yourself on the back because you earned it. Pics are from today's trip.As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, the Late Kim Crossman and the Drift Flt Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Independence Day...

          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I was standing in the river this morning and it hit me that we had just moved into July and Independence Day is only a few days away. As most of our readers know, I don’t take my freedom lightly and I don’t want myself or others to ever forget about how we are, who we are. Several years back I was talking to an employee about their American Poly-sci class and She began to tell me about how her text book explained the 70’s and 80’s in America. I was dumbfounded and figured she had read it incorrectly but when she showed me, I saw how inaccurate it was, and made me read about history with a grain of salt. When I was a kid, I remember watching Revolution films and they all showed this all for one battle against England. Everyone seemed to be on the same page and everyone wanted freedom. Since those early days I have read enough about the time and found there were lots of Americans that wanted no part of the revolution. They said a war wouldn’t be worth the risk and we should just pay the enormous taxes and live according to how the King wanted us to live. So here is why I love Independence Day, there were enough people that said “give me liberty, or give me death”, and many gave their lives so that we could have freedom to live as we please. Today I am so thankful for our forefathers that would accept nothing less than freedom.
          I had guide trips scheduled all weekend but had to postpone yesterdays due to the fire. Fridays trip was really solid, lots of hookups and a few really nice fish to the net. Today I had two first timers and the fish were definitely eating. Good casts and drifts hooked plenty of fish and a few nice fish made it in, although it was a huge numbers day, I think they are hooked and ready for more.
The river is in really good condition right now so if you get a chance, get to the river. I have openings this week so get your trips booked.  Call the shop or my cell 719-568-4927. Enjoy your freedom and as always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Ben and George, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Worlds of Fun....

        Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As I was standing in the river this morning playing with the fish, my mind magically wisped me back to my youth and the few summer trips my family made down to KC. It was a different world that I grew up in, families weren’t constantly on the move and so the few times we took the day off and headed south, it was special. Our first trip I was too small to ride the biggest roller coaster I had ever seen, the Zambini Zinger, but I did get to ride the Finish Fling, a round room that spun and eventually dropped the floor while you stuck to the wall. When My kids were teens, we made the trip back because I wanted to see if it was as awesome as I remembered. Well the Zambini Zinger and the Finish Fling were long gone and I was a little saddened not being able to share my memories but what replaced those outdated rides was awesome. The newest coaster the Mamba was twice the size and the water rides were exhilarating. The last time we were there the outside temps were about a hundred degrees and the water rides were perfect.
          So how did I make the connection to World Of Fun today? I got to the river today around eight and the temps were already on the rise, it was only a short walk to the first run I wanted to fish and I was already beginning to burn up. I stepped in and got about waist high and I’m guessing anyone within a hundred yards heard me say AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! I looked down to see what I had fished with last and it looked fine to me. I tossed it up and made a quick mend, the indicator drifted about a foot and then, like the first drop on the Mamba, it exploded straight down. It was a quick back and forth battle and I would love to say I was the victor, but its not always about the picture. I was on my own today, Cat was working and I didn’t want to push it with Pooh because I knew I wanted to work the river hard. I moved from run to run and hooked fish in almost every spot and the fight in the fish was little like trying to hold tight in the old rickety wooden coaster. About noon I began to feel a slow down and decided to make my way back to the car, I hooked a few more but I was ready to go. What a day, not what I so fondly remember from Springtime but what a way to enjoy the summer heat.
          Flows dropped again today to 580cfs and the water definitely is green, that being said, the fish were eating until I left. Our fish get a little soft mouthed this time of the year so if you lose more than your share, don’t take it personally. Caught most of my fish on a Ninja and a few on the Winston Caddis. I have a few openings over the next week or so, so if you want to enjoy the river call the shop or my cell phone, 719-568-4927. Independence Day is Next week and I think Cat and I are heading out for a few days so get your trip booked now. As always Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Back in the Saddle.....

          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. What a glorious day in O’Gradyland! As most of our readers know, for nearly seven years, I very rarely went fishing without bringing along Pooh-dog. While packing my vehicle, Winston would stare and when finished I would nod and Pooh would run for the car. He would run ahead and always stop where he knew my favorite spots were and then a year or so ago, he began to really have problems with arthritis. At one time, I took him to the vet totally expecting that it was the end but after a thorough examination, the vet told us that his problems were manageable. Winston has been on a really strong anti-inflammatory and this summer he seemed to be feeling pretty good. The last couple of week I have been taking both dogs to the Valco ponds and Winston seemed to be doing better every day. Yesterdays swimming session went so well that today I decided I would try taking him to the river.
          It has been a long time since Winston stared while packing the car and today was no different. When finished I said come on and he had a strange look on his face, I said it again, lets go Pooh and he jumped up and headed for the car. I told myself ahead of time that I really needed to control myself and gave myself a two-hour time limit. When we got to the river it appeared as if Pooh had never missed a day. We walked down and he sat down in the water just below one of my favorite runs. I looked up and could see a tail swinging back and forth and my drift went perfectly by, the indicator jumped and I lifted. The fish headed into the current and popped off almost immediately. I turned to look at Winston and he had a slight look of disgust and I could almost hear him telepathically say, that I looked like the one that hadn’t been out in eight months. I hooked and lost a few more and then finally landed a dink but Pooh-dog didn’t mind a bit. He looked so happy to get another sniff. We headed up river and hooked a few more but couldn’t get any others in and looking at the clock, although I wanted to continue, I knew I needed to leave. Pooh is napping now and looked pretty good when we got home.
          The river now is doing well, flows have been decreasing and clarity is good. Water temps are currently great and the fish are plump and strong. If you get a chance, get out and you might even get a chance to say hi to Winston. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….