Sunday, April 27, 2014


  When I was a kid I remember almost every night going to my backyard and playing catch with either the football or the baseball until my dad’s shoulder would get sore. When it was the baseball he would start with the lob then pick up the speed and then move to the curve and the knuckle ball, oh he loved to throw the knuckler and laugh.  There were a few professional knuckleballers in those days but with low def tv, I never really could figure out what the big deal was about the knuckleball.  The pitch really seemed to disappear from pro baseball but in 1995 Tim Wakefield brought the knuckler back to the big leagues. TV was much better in the nineties and you could watch the seams of the ball float in and then the ball would dart one way or another. The pitches were only coming in at around seventy miles per hour and with the high def cameras you could watch the batters eyes bulge up and they would swing with a mighty rip. It was hard to believe but the batters that normally could hit a fast ball 450 feet would spin out and sometime even fall down they were so out of balance. It all made sense, a well thrown knuckleball made a professional batter look a little like someone trying to catch a bumblebee with chopsticks. Now every now and then the ball would begin to rotate and it would be the pitchers eyes that bulged, the hitter would grin, tee off and hit the ball into the next county. It sure was an interesting game when Wakefield was on the mound.

  I fished with an old friend today and the river felt a little like it was throwing knuckleballs at us all day long. The higher flows made wading extremely difficult, the wind made mending at times nearly impossible and the clouds made spotting fish very difficult. With that being said, there were moments when the ball began to rotate just enough and we were licking our chops. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t get a single fish to the net in a day but I’m sure my great friends and family will remind me of this day for a while. I think I hooked six fish today and had several quality battles but in the end I probably looked like those baffled power hitters that would corkscrew themselves into the ground. My friend Mitch got one good fish to the net that looked like it was around 18inches or so and he was bettered by several more as well.

  When we first got to the river today the title that went through my head for this evening’s blog was “ Going, Going…Gone”, but after spending the day on the river I really felt like knuckleballs was much more appropriate. Fishing is anything but easy but can definitely be done. I was as stubborn as those power hitters facing Wakefield and so I really didn’t adjust very much today. With the fish moving closer to the banks it would have been a great day to move back to the dry dropper techniques. Throwing the indicators over the heads of the fish I could see was putting the fish down, but I didn’t care, I wanted the homer. Also it’s a great time to watch the back eddies and the side channels for the solo fish. And with the higher flows, think of all the big stuff that is getting flushed into the river, maybe it’s even time to put on a( oh I can’t say it) a S** J*** W***. There you should be able to figure that out without me actually writing it. If you are really fiending to get on the river, look for wide flat water and you will probably run into a bunch of smaller fish drilling the surface. I ran into Eddie this afternoon and he sheepishly told me he landed a few of those small ones today and remember a single is way better than a few of the K’s I took today.

    Another option now for your fishing cravings can be to start looking at the nearby lakes. San Isabel has been open for a while, and Wahatoya, North, Spinney and Antero are not too far away. If you do get out on the river PLEASE, PLEASE be very careful wading, the water is powerful!!! As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Phil Niekro, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..

The One and Only....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Simms G3 Boot Review

  Hello all and thanks for checking in. If you have ever purchased a pair of boots from me in the shop than you have heard my spiel about saving your money and spend the extra on your waders. It’s kind of funny because people then ask me what I use and I sheepishly tell them I have feet problems and that is why I use the Simms Guide boots. We had our Simms rep down a few weeks back and he went through a few of the new features. The first new feature that can be found on both the G3 and the G4 boot is the new Rivertread souls, I was a huge fan of the stream tread in all functionality but didn’t find the tread to last all that long. The new tread is a tad bit softer for better grip but the knobbies themselves get smaller as they near the boot, yes they are self sharpening. The knobbies will be complete until you wear completely to the soul. The knobbies are still matched perfectly with the Simms cleats and that can dramatically increase the life of your boot souls.
  Now the next feature may or may not make much of a difference to you. I am lucky enough to get to spend a lot of time on the water and have really gotten very used to moving around in the water. Sometimes on guide trips I try to get client to chase fish and I have to remember that not everyone moves in the water as well as I usually can. We get quite a few people in the shop that struggle with their ability to stay upright in the river. I guess one of the problems with the old Guide soul was that the plate between the soul and the bottom of the boot was the exact same width throughout the boot and Simms felt like there was too much disconnect between the bottom of the river and the foot itself. So what Simms has done is move the plate to the outside of the soul and basically nothing under foot. Now I’m sure if a Simms engineer read this blog he would be disgusted with my oversimplification but that seem to be the best way I can describe it.
  So now I wanted to talk about my experience with the boots today. The Arkansas river flows have been on an upswing over the last week or so, so I thought today with the little higher flows would be a great day to try out the new features. The first thing I notice every time I have put on a new pair of Simms Guide boots is the support I feel up my ankles, and even though it doesn’t really matter , they are seriously sexy boots.  When I first entered the water I didn’t really notice much of a difference from my Rivershed boots(old streamtread) , but as I got in to the faster current I really began to feel the bottom a little better. We fished for four hours and moved around the river with basically no problems. There is one spot on the river that I am always a little nervous about when the flows are above 200cfs was no match for the new boots today. As I was moving around in that section I hooked and landed the fish of the day. I was a little lucky because I was able to keep the brown in his run without too much trouble. Even with the new boots I wasn’t sure I was going to chase him much if he had made a big run.
  So here is what I think of the new Simms G3 boot. I don’t know what the wear on the tread will be like but I really felt connected to the bottom of the river today. The comfort level is incredible as always with the Guide boots, my feet and knees felt great when finished. So I think you need to ask yourself why does a person use wading boots, if it is just something to put on because your tennies don’t fit over your waders, or are you looking for a tool that allows you to make the most of your ability to maneuver around a river. If you are looking for that edge in the river or if you have problems with your balance in the river then step up to the G3 or G4, and you might even look as sexy as me….

  Fishing today was incredible, Cat was actually wearing her new boots today as well and we needed all the help we could get. Fish were feeding all day and the takes and runs on most fish were explosive. The prize of the day was 22inch brownie and even better I got to spend Cat’s B-day with her on the water. Lots and lots of beautiful fish and Winston continuing to exploit his photo bomb techniques. What a great day..As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Best Video Ever!!!!!!

Hello all and thanks for checking in. Wowza!!!! What an incredible spring we are having. The winter seemed to drag on later than normal but when the fish came out of their slumber it was on like Donkey Kong. After careful observation, I am pretty sure we lost some of our larger fish last summer but the number of 14 to 20 inch fish seems to have increased considerably.Over the last few weeks the fish seem to be finishing their courtships and like “most men”, they are moving on to gorge themselves. And as if God had it planned out all the time, the BWO’s seem to be more than happy to give the fish what they want. Timing is everything!!!!!

  I have been compulsively watching the flows knowing that these incredible conditions won’t be lasting long, so I will throw in another shameless plug, if you have ever considered booking a trip to learn more about how to catch these fish, as soon as you watch this video a minimum of five times, get to a phone and call the shop…

  We have worked on this video for the last few weeks in hope of making this the most entertaining and goodlooking flyfishing video of all time. I like to think we got close but I just didn’t have enough quality videos of Cat and Winston, oh well we still think it’s great. We learned a lot going through the spring video footage: one, we have some incredible friends, two, I have an incredible wife, three we have an incredible fishery, and last, that Winston really likes getting his picture taken.

 I wanted to introduce our Spring 2014 video by stealing and using a letter from one of my favorite 80’s movies, enjoy.


  Dear Blog Readers,

We accept the fact that we got to sacrifice our entire Spring on the river because of whatever we did right, but we think you are crazy if you don’t watch and share this video at least five times. We want you you see "it and us" for what we are: in the simplest and most convenient definitions. But in the making of this video we found that each one of us is a Mechanic, a Rock Band, a Golden of Goldens, a Flyfishing Princess and a Basket Case.

Does that answer your questions?

Sincerely, the flyfishing club.

  As I finish writing I will kiss my keyboard, insert a sly grin on my face, and lightly punch myself in the arm. And always remember, “ Don’t you forget about us”. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, John Bender and The Drift Fly Shop thank you for reading and watching……

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sloppers and Mayflies

Hello All!  This is Cat, I am sorry but I stole the reins on the blog tonight and this post is going to be lacking the charms, humor, and Breaking Bad, Connell typically includes…. Sorry J
The Ark offered an amazing day of fishing today!  But, the true key to our success happened before we even got in the car.  Anyone who knows Connell and I understands that we have the whole yen and yang thing going.  While I often flutter through life “living in the moment” and often “flying by the seat of my pants” Connell is always prepared and always looking ahead.  As I was heading to the door Connell asked me why I hadn’t grabbed my raincoat.  I looked out the backdoor and the blue sky outside and I am sure gave him a “you’re kidding me right?” look, this was immediately followed by an explanation that the news promised rain……… and sure enough Connell saved the day.  We were not out there more than half an hour when the sky opened up and everyone not married to the amazing Connell made a mad exit off the river. 
With our raincoats on and fish feeding it was a good day.  We fished from Valco parking lot down to the Log Hole and then back up to Apple’s.  The water clarity was good but the cloudiness made sight fishing a little more difficult than it had been the last several weeks.  The fish fed eagerly off and on all day and who could blame them with the coming of the BLUE WINGS!! BWO’s were pop’in most the day and fish fed eagerly both subsurface and on top.  The mayflies ranged in size from 20 to 16 and midges were in on the party as well.  Between the two of us we hooked about forty fish.  Most of the fish were in the 15-16 range and unfortunately no pigs to the net today, but a few were hooked.  The hot flies of the day included the Tube Wing Midge #24, GB RS2 Grey #22, and SOL #24.  Connell also picked up fish on a parachute Adams #18.
So you might be wondering why I titled this blog Sloppers and Mayflies….. When Connell and I are not guiding on Sundays, it is our special “fishing together” day and these days always include Sloppers for dinner!  Today was no different and as we finished our day gorging ourselves on thick green chili over hamburgers we dreamed about all those fish who had gorged on our flies!! 
As always thanks for reading, Cat, Connell, Winston, and the staff at Mi Ranchito!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Arkansas River Flyfishing Report 4-3-2014

  Hello all and thanks for checking in. I wanted to put out a little river report from the last few days. Cat and I fished on Sunday and found fishing to be really good at times. The first hour and a half we were on the river the fish were feeding like crazy with several quality fish to the net. The next two hours were quite frustrating, Cat and I had several fish almost cornered and they were feeding on the top and we had a heck of a time matching the midges they were feeding on. The last hour started to pick up again and then the winds came up and we were ready to go home. Wednesday I had a pair of never evers on the water and the river blessed them with a little bit of everything. We had quite a few hookups with a few breakoffs and a lot of really really smart fish that know how to throw a fly. The first hookup of the day was a an incredible 19 or 20 inch male that was so close that we could smell him and then he said “No means No”.  I think Paul and Jeremy are now hooked and I know sleep over the next few days will include lots of Fish Goggles. We ran into Jim Browning this afternoon and Jim put on quite a show, every time we looked up he was reeling in another nice fish. After getting "Bazzingaed" by Jim's very Sheldonesque classic camera prank on the first, I could see why he was so good with his flies.

  I have been trying to warn everyone that the conditions we are seeing right now won’t last long. There is a lot of snow in the mountains and we will definitely get run off this year. Get out every chance you can while the river is still giving us its blessings. The BWO’s are beginning to hatch but just enough to get the fish a little turned on. Hatches should be on the increase every day until runoff. Flies of the day were the FOD mid day and a size 24 SOL early and late. As always thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…….