Monday, May 27, 2013

Binge Fishing the Delaney Butte Lakes !!!

  I will start this post by using the same addiction metaphor that I have used so many times and describe this weekend the best way possible as “Binge Fishing.” I had stayed away from the river this past week in hopes of hitting the Delaney Butte Lakes as pain free as possible. We arrived at around 6:00p.m. Thursday evening and after a long and tedious 14 minutes of setting up camp and the pontoon boats it was on to the fishing. We fished our pontoons till dark and after I quit Cat pulled out her 8 weight. Her first time streamer night fishing was a success with two beautiful browns to the net. Friday and Saturday were nearly identical waking up by 7:30, having a bowl of oatmeal, and then in the pontoons till 1:00 or so when the wind would pick up. Then a quick snack and a 3 minute drive to South Delaney Lake to show the shore line cruisers how we do it P-town style. Then it was back to camp by 6:00pm for a quick bite to eat and the back on the pontoons till dark. Sunday was following the same pattern till on the way back to camp we decided that we were exhausted and were actually fished out. Like tweaking for three days straight only we didn’t stop because we ran out of money.

  The Delaney Lakes were in prime condition with fishing being as close to off the hook as it can get. The Chironomids were hatching at blizzard like proportions and my brother in law Jim caught his biggest Rainbow ever, a fatty at just over 21 inches. My personal “George Washington” (In The Shadows of Greatness; Part 1) Mark was on fire as always hooking fish seemingly every time I looked over at him. Cat and I caught so many fish that next time we go we will install an Abacus on our boats to keep track.

It is funny how terms we use so often can really slap you in the face when you see things a little differently. For example we throw around the terms “football and toad”  for any fish that look like it’s not starving and then when we catch the North Delaney footballs we feel a little sheepish we had ever used those terms before. The first rainbow I landed Thursday evening I can honestly say was the absolute biggest 19 and a half inch rainbow I had ever landed. In the video, Cat is fighting a 19 inch bow on her 8weight and the fish puts an absolute charge into her saltwater rod. Several of the fish while being anchored were strong enough to actually spin our boats. My new Winston B3-SX 6 weight passed the test with an A++ rating giving me all the power and feel I needed. The saddest part of the whole weekend was looking back at the pics and the look on my face gives the impression that I was not nearly as excited with the fish as I really was. I will blame the look on either the constant beatdown from the sun or possibly from my lack of regularity from eating camp food.

  We finished with so many pics that the only way we felt like we could do the weekend justice was to make a short video. As I have been saying over the last month and seeing today’s flows on the Arkansas this type of fishing is an awesome way to curb that affliction of addiction that we all have (refer to Addicts on the Arkansas question number 16). The tactics we use are just as successful on Antero, Spinney or most of the mid elevation lakes. If you are interested at all in this type of fishing please contact us at The Drift and we can steer you in the right direction, but be prepared for both the mental and physical fatigue that accompany fighting true Footballs…As always thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the video. Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop….

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cat and Connell Spring 2013 Season Finale!!!!!

  It was ten years ago or so when it hit me that I had been wasting way too much time watching tv. Cable was costing me fifty bucks a month and what was I getting from it? I decided to get rid of cable and just ran my tv off an antenna. With no ESPN or Fox Sports my tv watching quickly dwindled to late night reruns. A few years later my wonderful wife started watching House and when I joined her I became hooked again, shortly after that it was CSI, Bones, NCIS, Numbers and very quickly I was hooked back on the tv. When I think about my daily plans it is sad how it revolves around what is on tv. Monday it is Castle, Tuesday it is NCIS and NCIS LA, WED it is CSI and Friday is Blue Bloods and the Sunday starts my week with my faves The Good Wife and The Mentalist. How did I ever get so wrapped up in this?

 This past week the series were all finishing up with their “Season Finales”, full of action and cliff hangers.  The networks are already advertising their summer series B rated dramas. I wrote a few weeks ago about some of the Lakes around here and it hit me how my life seems to parallel the TV dramas. As we near the runoff “hopefully”, we begin to prepare for our summer series. Cat and I have trips planned for The Delaney’s, the Taylor, and Cat will be guiding in Alaska for a month but I don’t want to forget about what an AWESOME Spring drama we have here on the Arkansas tailwater. So, in honor of Castle asking Becket to marry him, Patrick Jane whittling down his list of Red Johns to 5, Deeks kissing Kinsey(made Cat gasp), Holmes naming a bee after Watson(Cat’s fave), and Alisha Florrick “possibly” changing law firms, we have decided to do our own Season Finally. We have seen a very bizarre spring full of spectacular fishing, good fishing and even a little “what the” fishing and wanted to share our “Season finale” with you.  We try to do something a little different with each new video and this time we decided to add a few pics from some of the guide trips this spring. We have guided seasoned, intermediate and quite a few never ever fly fisherpeople and although we love to see our clients land the monster of their dreams, we also love the look of joy on the face of each person when they hook and land that first and most special fish on a fly rod. We put together the video like a true season finale with most of the “pretty” and exciting at the beginning and the end(Cat,Winston and clients) and me in the middle.As always, Thanks for reading and watching, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…

  Enjoy…The Arkansas River Spring Season Finale!!!!!!


   We hope that you find the video enjoyable and want reiterate that just because the seasons are changing doesn’t mean that fishing has to end. Summer fishing possibilities are endless and we at The Drift would love to help you plan your summer fishing adventures. We have fished all over this state, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Scooter has spent quite a bit of time on the San Juan. In other words, where ever your summer plans take you, we are here to help. As this blog is going live I see the river came up to over a thousand last night, be very careful if you fish it here in P-town. Thanks for continued support and hope you have a great summer!!!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Want It All...

  I am not sure if other people are this way but I think I have spent way too much of my life worrying that I was missing out on something else. There was a song that was very popular when I was younger that said, “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now”, my motto as a youth. When I was younger I could never fall asleep until the tv went off air in fear of missing something important (keep in mind this was prior to cable). I was always the last person to leave a party and even as I have aged, I still check my phone way too often to see if I have any missed calls. I have noticed that the fear of missing that “epic” fishing day has been rattling through my mind most of the Spring. Every cloud in the forecast, every fish picture I see at the shop, all the fish stories, and even the stories of other spots to fish gets me wishing that I was everywhere catching every fish. November 27th 2004, changed the fear of missing anything (cat’s and my anniversary), and today from 2:00 til about 6:00, there was no fear of missing anything because I was exactly where I wanted to be.

  Cat, Winston and I got to the water at around 11:00p.m. today and found the fishing to be a little spotty. We hooked a few here and there and then finally I spotted a couple red stripes in the Mysis hole. I spent half an hour stalking those fish and only hooked one of the piggies. Cat was below in Peyton’s Place and was catching a bunch of smaller fish. We worked our way down river and got into the Glory Hole just before 2:00. I could see one nice fish on the inside seem and first drift through drilled him. Cat had been picking up fish on the Bling so I decided to bring out the J-Bomb and that was what he had taken. I noticed a really nice fish move in and second drift through he took it. The battle was a blast, thirty yards downstream he came out of the water a few times and when he landed he rolled up on the line. I lost some of my leverage but was still able to work him to the net.  A 23 inch measured beauty with the J Bomb deep in his jaw. I switched places with Cat and she started hooking fish every few drifts. Landing fish was difficult all day long with at least half of the hooked fish coming unbuttoned during the fight.

  The fish started looking up and I went ahead and tied on a dry, yes there was a little dust on that corner of the box. I had forgotten how fun it was to toss out a dry and watch the fish destroy it. For our readers and nonbelievers that I actually threw a dry, I snapped a pic of the Adams in the bows mouth. I could see a beautiful bow sitting back in the corner and I started cast to him. I set the dry just in front of him and I watched him move up and grab it, I set the hook and nothing. Ten minutes later and I got him to take it again. All I can guess is that the fish is missing both lips because twice the Adams was in his mouth and when I set the hook it came flying back at me.

  We started working our way back up river and found a few more willing fish in the tree bend. Cat landed her best fish of the day a 20inch brown. I think I need to teach her how to hold the fish so they look as big as they really are.

  As we were heading back to the car Cat and I did a couple of fist pumps because we knew that there was no other place that we would have rather been today and we didn’t miss a thing. Flies of the day were the J-Bomb, Cream Bling Midge, size 18 FOD and Cat caught the brown on a True Blood. As always, thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…..

FYI. With Winston's ever increasing fame he communicated to me that he would like to teach his own sightfishing classes. I took a pic of his first trial run with Cat....prices are negotiable subject to what type of cook you are...




                                             Winston's sightfishing instructional class...

                                              Dry Fly!!!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Snow Day!!!!!

  I was heading to the river today and my heart was nearly jumping out of my chest from excitement looking at the swallows and the snow. Winston was in his seat in the back and had his usual blissful grin plastered across his face. My hands were a little sweaty and I was having a very difficult time sitting still, this just might be that epic BWO day I had been waiting for all spring. As I was pulling into the State Park an old Pat Benatar song (Hell Is for Children) came on the radio and I was magically whisked into a flashback of the Omaha blizzard of 1975.

   The school day started like any other and then the snow began to fall outside. The snow and wind quickly started to pile up and after about an hour the intercom beeped and was followed by a list of kids that their parents were there to pick them up and they were excused for the day. Every fifteen minutes the intercom would beep and another list of “not me” would roll by. Two hours went by and more than half of my class was gone. I knew I was most likely stuck at school for the entire day because our family only had one car and I knew my dad was not going to be able to get us. Even still, every time the intercom made the beep to add to the list I would say a quick prayer, hands clasped together begging God to make sure my name was called, followed by an eleven year old pity party when my name wasn’t.  Thinking back to what a wonderful student I was, I am sure the teacher was praying for my parents to show up as well. Our class was down to about 3 or 4 kids with myself and my neighbor Kim Crossman when the intercom made its beep and listed Kim and then Grady O’Connell. WooHoo!!!I didn’t know this Grady dude but it was close enough to my name that I jumped up and ran to the office. Kim’s dad was there to pick us both up, I really didn’t care who was picking us up but was just elated that now I was FREE!!!!

  I got to the water today about noon and was psyched to see the swallows swarming the entire river. I headed straight for Peek-a-Boo and started casting; third cast and I landed a beautiful 16 inch rainbow. Fishing was strange today; I would catch 5 fish and then go half an hour without a bump. I kept surveying the water and even though the swallows were swarming, I didn’t see any bugs.  I ran into Scooter and we spent the afternoon fishing together. The pattern never really changed with fish being a little spotty. With the water being raised earlier in the week and the low light conditions of today, we had to rely on memory of these flows rather than sighting and then casting. Our best action came between 2:30 and 3:30 when we were stalking rock clusters that we have mostly ignored the last several months with the lower flows. Flies of the day were the True Blood, FOD and Ninja midge.

  I have been in the Subway business for twenty two years and have known for quite some time that our business is hugely weather related (rain and snow = slow sales). One of the great things about flyfishing is that the snow and rain can bring about some of the best hatches and keep some of the crowds away, so it is kind of a win win or lose lose situation however you look at it. With my tendonitis acting up in my wrist I have been trying to be real picky about the days I fish. I saw last night that a storm was supposed to move in today but was also supposed to be accompanied by high winds. I wasn’t planning on fishing today but after a few hours of work I saw that it was starting to rain but no wind. The gears in my mind began to turn and I decide the fish needed me more than my employees.

  It’s crazy how 37 years later snow and a song (Kim had the Pat Benatar album and played it all the time) can trigger the exact same childish emotions that controlled me as a child. The second I decided I was heading to the river it was like I was that eleven year old once again skipping all the way to the office…I was FREE!!!!! So when people tell me I should grow up, I decline because I don’t ever want to lose that joy in my life. As always, thanks for reading Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop…