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….


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spinney Stories 2018


          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Today I am writing about the greatest fishing story ever told and I hope you enjoy it. I’m going to start by stating that we fished Spinney today and fishing was incredible, I will be needing some ice this evening. The fishing story however is about the most amazing person I have ever known and one of the oddest but quite possibly the most amazing fishing feat that has ever happened.
          Before we get into the story, I need to give a little background on todays event. I’m sure most of our readers and most anyone that has ever spent anytime with Cat knows how incredibly knowledgeable she is about fly fishing. When Cat was first offered the job in the shop, the owner at that time explained that she needed to know everything, about everything that has to do with fly fishing just to keep face at all times. She studied knots, different graphite, different drag systems and even bugs, well not sure that was studying but just reading. Anyway, so last week Cat was working in the shop one day and a gentleman came in and said that he had met someone catching a lot of fish on the river and they told him to come by the shop and get some help. At this point he looked straight at Cat and asked if she knew when someone would be working in the shop that could help him with knots. Cat told me the story and I shook my head and said, did you tell him to come in on the third Thursday of every month, because that is when the knot guy is here. Cat said she should have but told him that she could help. The guy then went on and said he means the really good knots, you know like the ones for fly fishing. I had to stop listening at that point and I’m sure he was very impressed with Cat by the time he left.
          So here is the amazing fishing story. Cat had just finished landing and releasing a Spinney piggie and as she was resetting her indicator when a fish ripped her rig from her hands. On great days this happens quite frequently and usually you just grab the rod and finish the fish off normally. Unfortunately, this time as her leader was shooting away, her indicator caught the top of the rod and spun everything into a nasty old birds nest. There was about fifteen feet of line hanging off the end of the rod and she felt a little like she was now fishing Tenkara, not ideal for Spinney. She tried to lift but couldn’t get the fish any closer than about ten feet, she began to wind the line on her hand but the fish began to fight and the line started cutting into her hand. She was stumped, she didn’t want to break her line because she just remembered that she had forgotten tippet and she would have had to tell me. She noticed that the fish wasn’t to freaked out if he could stay in the ten-foot away zone so Cat got a great idea. Yes, this could be scary, that will be written on Cats tombstone. So, with nothing to lose, Cat reached up as far as she could and cut her line. The line going to the fish she wrapped on her hand just enough to keep it in place and the she quickly reached to the top of the rod and with her left hand, was able to clean up the nest. Wow so far, next she unwrapped the line from her hand and shoved it in her mouth, she quickly pulled the tab from her mouth and tied a perfect blood knot. Anxious but a little nervous, she began to let the line out and put the fish on the reel. A quick battle and Cat landed a beautiful 19inch piggie, she gave it a little wiggle and the fish swam off as if it had never been caught. Now I know that one of Rush Limbaugh’s favorite saying is beating liberals with half his brain tied behind his back, but how nice would it be for Cat to go back in time and answer that guys question. Yeah, I know the really good knots, how about if I teach you while blindfolded, with a fish attached on one side, and the rod hanging by a thread on the other. You see, the most amazing fishing story ever.
          Spinney was absolutely amazing today, If I was forced to throw out a number I would guess I landed 93 today. Fun was had by all; Tyler and his crew were hooking fish all day and every time I looked up it seemed half of us were fighting fish. I didn’t catch any monsters today, they are very difficult to hold but I got one that measure off at 24 inches. One thing about the El Jefe net is that it makes your fish look small. Cat got the big fish of the day, that measured at 25 on the dot, what a hog. If you are thinking about trying the lake fishing, get it going now. With the purchase of any Fishcat or Outcast pontoon boat, you will receive a free sit down class with Cat or I and we will go over rigging, safety, accessories, reading the lake and hopefully everything to get you started on these amazing days. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Tyler, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…











Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Opportunity Is Knocking......


          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. After answering the phone in the shop about river conditions a few days ago, I began thinking about a friend of mine that years ago, told me that all waters go through its ups and downs. At that time, our river had just began coming into its own and I kind of laughed and thought ours will only get better. After two and a half years of drought conditions and then followed by huge runoff years, I realized how right my friend was. So, this is where the “when opportunity knocks” mantra comes from. The lower flows have afforded us an opportunity that we have no idea when it will come around again. Fish are eating and very happy, bugs are sporadically hatching all day, and the anglers on the river have been friendlier than I have ever seen. Yesterday, my client and I were walking by a guy that was re-rigging and told us we could fish his spot because he just got broke off. So here is the best answer I can give on river conditions, I’m not sure how long the excellent conditions will continue and more so, don’t waste the current opportunity and come and fish.
          Now, I want to tell you about an opportunity for our readers. As most of you know, Cat and I just spent a week in Belize and had an incredible time. Leading up to our trip, honestly, we were really nervous about heading to another country for an unknown adventure. Thankfully, we ended up at an incredible lodge and very quickly our fears were relieved.  The place and the fishing were incredible, I have a tattoo to prove it..haha. Prices were much less expensive than the other lodges we looked into and not an ounce of quality was sacrificed for it. Each morning we rose from a comfy bed and had breakfast and coffee waiting without us lifting a finger. The friendly and insanely skilled guides arrived at the lodge at seven and off we went for a full day of fishing for bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon. The fishing was only paused to gnash down on lunches prepacked for us and which never failed to fill the belly.  The boats would bring us back to the lodge around three. The evenings were filled with soaks in the pool, a trip into town to take in some local culture, and amazing dinners. Needless to say, we found it very hard to leave.  
If you are not aware, saltwater fishing is everything that I love about fly fishing. We rarely cast until we see fish and then after watching bones chase down your fly, you get to listen to your reel scream. Its not easy, but nothing worth while ever is. We have decided that we are going back next year and Cat and I will be hosting our first saltwater trip. We have our date set for the 13th through the 20th of April 2019. Yes, I know that that is a year out but you can never start planning to early. The lodge is set up for the vacation you choose. For the hard-core fisherman, six guided days will give you tons of opportunities. For the families, the lodge can get you snorkeling or diving. One of the couples that we were there with, swam with the nurse sharks. Maybe one of the best things about the hosted trips is that Cat and I have been there before and we get to spend the week with our friends. The lodge is limited and a few of the spots have already been taken so if you are interested at all, don’t hesitate and get in touch with us. Call us at the shop 719-543-3900 or my cell 719-568-4927.
The pics posted are from Glenn’s trip today, we had another excellent day of hooking fish but a little more difficult time getting them to the net. The smaller bow, 18 incher, was taken on a dry, I should probably add that it was on Cats zombie apocalypse fly. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, the Bluebonefish, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….















Sunday, April 22, 2018

How Bad Do You Want It ?

          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. It is that time of the year again where you have to ask the question many times a day. I have told the story before where years ago I was fighting this fish up and down the river and when he had had enough of me, broke my line. At the top of my lungs I yelled a few, not so pretty expletives, and stormed off up the river. I turned the corner and saw a friend and embarrassingly, asked him if he heard my tantrum. He told me he heard something and then kept his distance, I’m guessing he figured I had some serious anger issues. I don’t think I have at all gotten bored with fishing but these days I am way more excited fooling fish than actually landing them.

            The river right now is coming into prime condition, flows are just over 400cfs and the BWO’s are popping. With the water warming up, the moss is just starting to cover the bottom and making the footing a little slippery. Now with these conditions, nearly every hook up, you have to ask yourself how bad you want to get him landed. On Wednesday I had a client in a place where he was hooking a lot of fish but they were nearly impossible to land, they would stay just across from us and then they would head below us and grab the current. The reel would scream and once the line started going under water, the hook would pop out. On Friday I fished by myself and anchored up on a run through the middle of the river. I hooked several fish and the biggest looked to be about 18 inches. Now I could have chased each one down and across to get them in a safe spot but I just didn’t want to work that hard.
            Todays trip was a father and son and what a great day. The first few hook ups we had to stand still and the fish were able to beat us. I got Dillon into a run and his first hook up looked to be an awesome fish. I grabbed the back of his waders and told him we needed to follow, the fish headed towards some rocks and he got is rod way up in the air. We chased him down river and were able to get him into some quiet water and get him landed. He was an absolutely perfect, eighteen-and-a-half-inch brownie. We walked back up into the run and hooked a few more but couldn’t chase the rest down. Mark, hooked the next fish and we quickly chased him down river and in true father/son, rivalry, he landed an eighteen and three-quarter inch rainbow. They continued to hook fish all afternoon but the frustrating part happened when Dillon hooked what looked to be a twenty plus inch fish, he got below us and I didn’t feel like we could safely chase him and the piggie flipped us a fin. We didn’t get him landed but laughed anyway and Dillon will have something to think about when shutting his eyes this evening. The last two fish were an eighteen and seven eighth and an eighteen and seven and a half eighth. Yeah, I know, the last two were lengths were estimated. What an awesome day!
            If you get to the river over the next few weeks make the decision quickly, is the fish worth it or not. Do you want to have to walk all the way back up river and more importantly, are you putting yourself in an unsafe spot? Running down a slick river can turn bad in a hurry and there are plenty of other fish that are eating. I have openings early this week so give us a call 719-568-4927 and as Always, Connell, Cat, Winston, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….