Thursday, February 21, 2019

One Fish, Two Fish....

            One fish, two fish, right fish, wrong fish. Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady fly fishing Adventures. I have written before about how my views of lost fish have changed over the years. Yep, in the old days, every lost fish was well over twenty inches and many brought screams that could make a sailor blush. Not that I no longer care, but I can’t remember the last time I threw a fit over a lost fish. These days, I can see some pretty strange things and I just find myself laughing instead of getting mad. Yesterday, I fished by myself and had one of those happenings.
            The last few weeks I have been taking shots at a certain group of fish and have had been whipped more times than I like to admit. Yesterday, when I originally walked by this group, I picked out a fish, got set up in the exact perfect place to cast, and sent through a perfect drift. I watched the fish and I knew the flies were getting close. I saw the bow move and open his mouth and I grinned and lifted. I couldn’t believe it, nothing. I tried a few more drifts but they were that quickly on to me so I moved on. I headed up river and caught plenty more but couldn’t get those fish out of my head. A half an hour or so had passed and I made my way back into the run. I could see a few at the front of the run that were actively eating and then I caught something out of the corner of my eye. This fish was sitting alone(I thought) at the back of the run and then I watched him move a few inches and eat a bug. Yep, my target was in my sights. I tossed my flies directly in his drift and I watched intently. I knew my flies were getting close and the fished moved, but strangely. I could tell he hadn’t eaten my fly, and didn’t want to set, in fear of a foul hook or spooking him. Then I saw a flash and out of the corner of my eye, caught my indicator screaming across the water. I lifted and then realized there was a much smaller, or wrong fish, sitting right next to my target. He popped off and the whole group was now in lockdown mode. Yep, there was a time when I might have been pretty upset, these days, getting beat, even by a hidden dink, can bring a bit of a giggle.
            Today I wanted to fish a different section and Cat wanted to join me. Fishing and checking out the hooters made for an awesome day. We wanted to get into the section I fished on Super Fish Sunday and were surprised the sections were open. Cat jumped in and began putting a hurting on the dinks and I was struggling a little, drifting a deeper run. I landed a few but got a little bored and Cat jumped in. I moved up into the next run and I turned and saw Cat fighting a fish. I headed down and she got the better out of the run I had just left. We headed back up river, hitting a few runs on the way out and then we looked up and saw the owl just looking down at us. He was nice enough to let us snap a few pics and then flew off. It sure is awesome to just look around and enjoy what there is to see.
            On my Facebook posts I have been letting everyone know, that if you are planning on booking a sight fishing trip, this is the time now. The river is low and clear and you have to make a good drift. I have openings next week so get your trips booked. Most fish have been on the Chocolate Noon Midge, the Top Secret and Cat did pretty good on a peg egg today. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Super Fish Sunday.....

         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly fishing Adventures. While walking the river today my mind kept drifting to a place that it hadn’t been in years. A few years ago, and I think it was a combination of the Broncos really playing poorly and the players disrespect of the flag, I decided I was done wasting my time watching the NFL. The preseason games were fairly easy to ignore but as the season started, Thursday and Sundays had me feeling like a druggie going through withdraws. As the season went on, I began to feel a release from the addiction and Sundays became my Freedom Day. It has now been two years since I have sat down to watch a game but while fishing today, my mind was actually wandering toward today’s game. Now I can’t really say it is actually the game I was thinking about but more a few of the parts.
            I’m not a person that ever really does anything half-arse, unless maybe it is a menial task, and my mind wandering is no exception. You may not be aware of this really amazing stat but my Huskers have had at least one player in the SB for 26 straight years. Hard to believe when you think about a few of the teams the Huskers have had over the years. Now this years cast of players are a few of my favorite Huskers of all time. No, they never won a Natty, heck they never even won a conference championship but man were they fun to watch. Most people just think of the Texas game when they think about Suh, but my favorite memory was against Colorado. Alex Henry had just put the Huskers ahead with a 57 yard field goal, and with just a little bit of time left, CU had a chance with the ball. Suh tips the pass and intercepts, now he should have just kneeled but he headed for the end zone. The QB tried to tackle him but he gave him one of the best stiff arms ever and then steamrolled him on the way for the score. Burkead, was just one of the most professional players I have ever watched. He wasn’t the fastest and not the strongest, but when you really needed six yards, Rex would give you eight. And who could ever forget watching and crying your eyes out when Rex’s little friend took the ball in the Spring game and ran fifty yards for the TD, I tear up just thinking about it. My dad of course didn’t want anyone to ever see him cry, so he would always say our defense wasn’t aware of the play.
            So, like I said early in this blog, when my mind wanders, it’s pretty specific and big time, so here is my fantasy of how the game plays out. The game is a real defensive struggle, Brady(sorry Steve) can’t get anything going all day, because Suh is hitting him every time he turns around. The offense only clicks when the ball is handed off to Burkhead so in the second quarter, they bench Brady(sorry Steve) and just play Rex at wildcat. Rex gets his third TD of the day middle of the 4th quarter to get the team within a field goal. The Rams get the ball back to ice the game and are driving when the Pats put Rex in at safety. Yep he picks off a pass and the Pats get the ball back with three minutes to go. With time winding down, Brady is reinserted into the game and back to pass. Suh beats his man and hits Brady so hard that his face mask pops off. The ball gets fumbled backward and in the complete melee, the refs decide that because Suh didn’t ask permission, his hit was illegal, and the ball stays with the Pats. As things quiet down, the whole world is watching at the fact that Brady is still down and when he finally wakes, he is wondering where his side kick Robin is. As the nation watches, the 99% cheer and the Patriot fans realize their reign is ending. When the game comes back on, I switch channels because once again, I don’t really care, but I do dream specific and big.
            Now on to fishing and my Super Fish Sunday. I wasn’t in a big hurry today so I got to the water a little late. I jumped in one run and was a little frustrated when I didn’t get a single take. I moved up to a group of fish that have been outdueling me for the last few months and to my surprise, today they were eating. I picked one out and first drift through, I watched him eat. I set the hook and his head came out of the water and gave a big head shake. The spot is one of the more difficult places to actually land a fish but I managed him to the net. I got back in place and the remaining fish didn’t seem distracted. I hooked four more and got two of them landed and then I started thinking about going after a fish that was Super Fish Sunday worthy. After all, if you are going to fantasize, then do it big. We have had a few people in the shop this last week showing off pics of a piggie that was caught in town and I decide to head that way.
            When I got to the spot, I saw it was prime and ready. I jumped into place and eagerly watched the first drift went through. I put through another drift and the indicator shot down. My heart began to race and immediately I could feel the power and girth in the fight. My monster fish fantasy just began to flash through my head and then I felt the absolutely miserable and dreaded “kerchunk”. It Was a total roundhouse kick to my gut, I felt the same way the nation does every time a Patriot play goes to review. After a second, I could still feel him but he was definitely now foul. I thought maybe if I ever actually got him in, maybe I could just get a pic of his tail swimming away. He then slipped completely and was gone. A sly little grin appeared and now I felt a little like the nation when a Patriot play goes to review and for the one time in history, they were correct. Sad and frustrated and just a little sheepish.
            Anyway, I fished the next few hours catching fish all day long. Another spectacular day on our river. This may have been the best January I have ever seen the river fish and it looks as if February may be as awesome. Now its not easy fishing, but really good.
            One more thing I wanted to add before I sign off. Next Saturday, TU will be holding their annual Frostbite Fishoff tourney in Pueblo. Other than really one P-town exception, anglers have really given the competitors their space and I am sure they thank you. If you are planning on fishing next Saturday, PLEASE fish below Pueblo Blvd. If you want to learn something new, maybe get out for a while and watch a few of the anglers tactics. I have it on good authority that one of the competitors is part of the US team. Also, TU may still be looking for volunteers so if you can, check with the Pueblo TU website.
            I can’t believe how well the fish are doing right now so it is a great time to get out and learn how to catch more fish. I will have an opening late this week and middle of next week so get your trips booked. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Rex and Suh, and The Drift want to thank you for reading….

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year, Same Awesome River!!!!!

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly fishing adventures. I wanted to start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and hope that 2019 is your best year ever. The last few weeks have been a little strange for me watching more college football than I have watched in years. The house was really quiet for the Holidays and although I really enjoyed the together time with Cat, I was beginning to feel a little stir crazy. I figured the river would be crowded today but there was no way I was going to spend another day wasted in front of the T.V., so today's plan was to walk the river, look at fish, and occasionally throw a fly.
            I got to the river a little after 11:00, and it already seemed crowded. I started walking up and noticed the dinks were going crazy. I jumped in and the first ten or so were a blast. I started moving and checking out all the rock piles and then I looked down and saw one of my favorite Winter holes was open. I jumped in and after several drifts, the indicator moved and it was on. 
            My first thought was that it was a giant sucker but after a few seconds I could feel the head shake. As he neared the surface, his cherry red side flashed and I knew he was a special fish. What went through my head, was Alex telling people that this is the time of the year when most people land their biggest fish. I was fishing 6x and one 22 and two 24 midges so I was a little nervous, but my Igniter won the battle. Now here is where thing got a little funny and hoping its not an omen for the year. 
          I moved into the shallows with the fish and net in the water and removed the hook from his jaw. I snapped a few pics of him in the net and then tried to move him next to the rod (the winner), but he was a little difficult to get my hand around. After fidgeting for a second, I got him in place and did two quick cluster pics, set him on the net for a measurement and set him free. I was elated he measured off at 23 inches and I don’t remember the last time I caught a fish that big. 
        The sun was perfect for the pics and my fish was going to be the envy of the river. I casted a few more times and hooked and landed a chunky 14 incher. As I was releasing him a friend came up and we got to talking. I hate the old (check out my phone) thing but I planning on showing it off anyway. I looked through my pics and had to laugh, I had two pics in the net and a dozen or so pics of my palm. I had to rethink the old joke about having a picture of my palm in my wallet.
            Anyway, I fished that spot for a little longer and landed a few more nice fish and then it felt like they were on to me. I headed down river and found another great winter hole open and I jumped in. I hooked and lost two more tanks, and then finished by landing an absolutely perfect 18 incher. What a great day on the river!
            Over the last few weeks the river has moved into complete winter conditions. What does that mean? The little fish are extremely active for a few hours most afternoons and the big fish are sitting in the slower and deeper runs. There were lots of people on the river today but the spots where the fish are seemed to be open. I saw lots of midges and a few bwo’s. We should be seeing the same conditions for the next six weeks or so. If you are thinking about booking a trip, it’s a great time of the year to work on technique and learn how to read our river, and I promise that if you land a really big fish, I won’t screw up the pic. All fish today was on either the New Moon or Chocolate Noon Midge. As always, Connell, Cat, and Winston want to thank you for reading….

Friday, December 14, 2018

One Shot at Glory....

Hello fiends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to tell a little story about my chance at glory. I don’t talk about it much, but at one point in my life I was a pretty heavy smoker. I quit in the spring of 1991 and after gaining 30 pounds in three months, I knew I had to find something to keep my weight down. I began playing a little basketball and keeping true to my personality, I was immediately hooked. I started playing several nights a week and even though I couldn’t shoot worth a darn, I loved playing D and outworking the big guys on the boards. I worked on my shot over the years and finally began to feel pretty comfortable shooting the rock. I began playing in city league and slab league and the competition was addicting.
One season while playing with one of the best teams in the league, I got my chance. It was a back and forth game all evening long and it seemed the last team with the ball was going to win. Our team was up one and with about fifteen seconds left and the other teamed got a lay-up. We didn’t have a T.O. and began to push the ball up the court. I made my way to the wing and our point guard started to drive, he had been unstoppable all night. His path to the rim was blocked and he quickly drew a double team and the ball came flying out to me. We were down to six seconds and so I felt for the seams, jumped and gave the little flick of my wrists. The ball came out with the perfect backspin and I held the follow through. It was as if time had stopped and all I could hear was my heartbeat as the ball was nearing the rim. I heard a loud clank, and the ball hit the back of the rim. The ball bounced straight in the air and then off the front of the rim. One of our players grabbed the rebound but the buzzer had sounded before he was able to get off another shot. I was devastated, I think it was the only shot I had missed that night but it was my chance at glory. We finished out the season without a loss and beat the same team in the playoffs by 20, but the one miss was the shot I couldn’t get out of my head and I never had a that shot for glory again.
The last few trips to the river have made me think about that missed shot from many years ago. One of the best things about writing the blog is that I basically have a diary of fishing conditions over the last several years. I know I have heard a lot of people recently talk about the low water this year being why the river is acting so technically finicky. Now I know the fish are a little more packed in than usual but more often that not, this time of the year you have to make the first shot count. Yesterday I fished with my brother and after I got him set up, I moved to the tail end of the run and made my first cast. The drift was perfect and after about ten feet the indicator shot down. Today, in my second stop, I took an extra second to examine the water and when ready, I made a long cast and let the river take the indicator. It was another long drift and at the tail end, I caught my fish of the day. I spent another half hour in that run and only managed one more dink that ate the fly.
This is my guide trip for this time of the year. When you get into a run to fish don’t be over anxious. Take a second to figure out how you want your flies to drift through the spot and secondly make sure you have enough line to use. I can’t overstate enough how important that first drift is this time of the year. One poor drift and the big fish are out of there. I have plenty of openings over the next few weeks so if you want to get out and try some really fun and technical fishing, give me or the shop a call. If you catch one of the piggies right now, you have earned it. I still fret over that missed shot so many years back and even if I had made it, my life would not have changed a bit. Today when I need that shot of glory, I make the first drift perfect. As always, Connell, Cat and Winston want to thank you for reading….

Monday, December 3, 2018

End of the Season.....

         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady fly fishing Adventures. I have been wanting to write this blog for the last few weeks but have had a hard time finding a connection, todays trip to the river cleared it up. As most of our readers know, I am both blessed and cursed to be a Husker fan. At one point, the Huskers were the envy of every college football fan in America, but as of late, my team has really fallen on hard times. This year was going to be different, our Prodigal Son coach was back and the hope of a “real” football team was back.
            The season could not have started worse. Opening weekend, I got to spend with my son fishing and then back to his home waiting for an opening win. New coach, new QB and a new season, I could hardly contain my anticipation. The game kicked off and then quickly went into a weather delay. We waited and waited and after several hours, it was announced the game was canceled. The following week, CU came to town with a game already under its belt and the during the first half, you could really tell that it was the Huskers first game. It was fun to watch, and really felt like the Huskers were on the right track and then, the new QB got hurt. The next several games looked like the Huskers of the last few years and then finally, in week seven, things began to change. The offense began to click and the D became serviceable. They won four out of their last six but came up short in getting back to a bowl game. The season had plenty of highs and plenty of lows.
            Here is where the connection comes in, I’m not sure if football has always been this way, but modern football really doesn’t have an off season, and this is the time of the year when both the Huskers and fly fishermen can get better. There was definitely improvement throughout the season but this is now the time to really get back to being dominant. First is recruiting, my wife can tell you that the last several years I have probably spent more time reading and following recruiting than actually watching football itself. Now I’m not a coach but I really enjoy watching recruiting highlight videos just to see how great the new recruits will be. Yesterday the Huskers got a commit from a giant defensive end and after watching his film, I can’t wait to watch him terrorize QB’s the next several years. Another way the players get better in the offseason is with workouts and technical training. The players won’t be back in front of huge crowds until Spring but they are already back in the weight room getting stronger and I’m sure the QB’s and receivers are already running drills.
            Today I went to the river and started in one of my favorite runs. On my second drift my indicator bounced and I set, I could feel the fish but he very quickly popped off. A few more drifts and then I landed my fish of the day, he was only about eighteen inches but the day was just beginning. I fished that run for another half hour and only hooked one more smaller fish and I knew this was not going to be the day I was hoping for. At that point it hit me, like my Huskers not going to a bowl game, maybe I should just spend the day getting better. Now lifting weights is not going to help my fishing but really paying attention to my technique can. I next walked into an area that gives me a chance to observe fish, not quite like watching recruiting videos but if you take the time to watch fish, you can learn so much. This morning the fish seemed to be holding in slack water and barely moving. I headed up river and began to watch a few fish move into feeding lanes and then I worked on how I could get the best drift to them. I continued to cover water and when the BWO’s began to hatch, I started looking to see if any bigger fish were rising. I saw one that seemed a little bigger than the rest and after getting into position I dropped the flies perfectly in front of him. The fly only moved a few inches and he grabbed it. He was only about thirteen inches but there is something special about landing a natural fish on a dry. The hatch was short lived and as I headed back toward the car, I couldn’t take my eyes off the river.
            The last week or so I have heard many people talk about how difficult the river has been. We should still see BWO’s for the next few weeks and some days should still be good. If your fishing prowess is not where you want it to be, maybe now would be a great time to book a guide. Spotting fish and seeing how they act and in what type of water will give you a whole new appreciation for fish. When it comes to technique, you can never know it all. Even as a guide, it is always fun learning something new. Now is the time to get bet better. As a husker fan, the glory of the spring game is just around the corner and as a fly fisherman, the fish coming out of their winter holding spots is just around the corner. Fish this morning were eating FOD’s and the Darth Baetis, the sippers were eating Cat’s Zombie Apocalypse fly. Also, I have noticed that the blog is disappearing on some Facebook pages. If you love the blog and don’t ever want to miss a post then please subscribe to my blog page. It is simple and I promise I will never sell your info.  Get your trip booked now and learn why you catch or don’t catch fish. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston want to thank you for reading…….

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tis the Season.......

Hello Friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. We have talked a little about it in the past but since I am such a difficult person to buy presents for, Cat and I very rarely exchange Christmas gifts. With that being said, it doesn’t stop the constant flow of gifts and oddities that friends and clients bring Cat.  One of the latest oddities was a dead rattlesnake that one of our friends brought her. I truly hope that our home never becomes a crime scene because there is no telling what CSI people would find in our home and buried around our yard. Anyways, the rattlesnake has yet to make it to the yard and has been sitting in our garage in an open box. The funny thing is that even though I know exactly where it is and that it has been dead for at least a few weeks, every time I walk near it or reach over it, I catch it out of the corner of my eye and it makes me jump.
If you are looking forward to the Holiday season and are thinking about gifts for friends and family, …and if you don’t have a dead rattlesnake to give, then maybe the perfect gift for fly fishermen are guide trips. Even after being a guide for several years, I still learn something new each time I book a guide.
This is the perfect time to bring up what is new in O’Grady Land. I have recently been able to expand my guiding horizons by having the ability to be booked both through the Drift, and also now Angler’s Covey in Colorado Springs. So, if you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the novice or even seasoned Fly Fisherman, give the gift of a Guide Trip. Trips can be booked online as well as by phone and please ask for Connell. I promise I will do everything I can to make it the best gift you have ever given. As always, thanks for reading……

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hook Sets.......

         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to write this blog today because on the way to the river I began to feel a little somber. Now how in the world can a guy be heading to go fishing feel a little sad, well its because I once again thought about how much I enjoy guiding. This Fall has been one of the best guiding seasons I have had, and it hit me that today I was on my own. The last two days I have watched client fish come out of the water, and my heart has nearly jumped out of my chest. Tuesday, we had an eighteen or so incher completely breach and yesterday we had a brown well over twenty come completely out of the water as if to say, I’ll show me mine, now whats you got!
          Today's plan was to really hunt the river and hit a lot of structure that I normally bypass. When I first hit the sidewalk and looked down at the river, I noticed a big redd that was hosting several browns. I wanted to point them out but after looking around, I was by myself. I watched them for a while and then headed up river. I stepped into the first run and my first drift hooked a fish, he was only about thirteen inches but I was on the board. I hooked five more in that run but none of them made it to my net. I walked up to the next run and lost two more fish. I continued to make my way up and finally I hooked one that got my attention. It was a quick battle that made my reel scream for a second and then he popped off as well. I began to question my abilities and I started wondering why I kept losing them.  Over the years, I have noticed that one of the most common errors that clients make are the up-river hook sets.
          I thought about it and really thought I was making good hook sets but decided next run I would really pay attention. The next drift hooked and landed a dink and then the next drift was a quick take and the fish was gone. I casted a few more times and then noticed something didn’t look right. My line had been sheared off right below my egg. I walked to the next run and while re-rigging, I could feel my annoyance beginning to grow. I knew this run had a snag but, I also thought it was usually good for a fish or two. On the first drift my indicator jumped and another fish was off. I knew the hook set was good and just scratched m head. I casted again and my indicator sunk, I snapped up the rod and felt a thud. It was the snag. I stretched my arm out above the snag but it wouldn’t pop loose. I hopped off the weir and with my line stretched out, I walked down and as far and across as I could, trying to pop it loose. It began to get to deep and I had to turn back. I thought about just breaking the line but I had just finished putting on new flies. Now I was determined and decided to try to get above the snag. I don’t think anyone was watching but if they were, they may have thought I was doing some sort of Pagan ritual like the kids circling the May Pole. I got all the way around and crawled back up and over the weir and after getting as deep as I felt comfortable, I stretched my arm all the way out and jiggled. I began to think why in the heck does an up-river hook-set come out of a stupid fish mouth but gets stuck on a stupid rock .........and then it popped loose. Makes sense and all is well.
          I fished a little further up-river and then back down hooking several and landing some and then finished the day catching dinks on a dry. The day was great but just not the same as sharing it guiding. I absolutely love guiding, not enough to do it for free, I still have to keep the lights on. If you are thinking about booking a trip, I would suggest you get it done now, our busy season is just around the corner. You can always book the old-fashioned way and call the shop or me, but now the shop has the ability to book on line from our web site. It was just over a year ago when Stan landed the 24 inch brownie and the season is upon us. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston. And the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..