Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Day At The Lake

Hello everyone! This is Cat writing today, and I hope you all had an amazing weekend.  Today The O’Grady family (Connell, Cat, and Brandon) made the trek to Wahatoya Lake. 

After careful planning (thank you Connell) we were able to fit 2 pontoon boats, 1 float tube, all the fishing equipment three avid (and gear head) fly fisherman need, air pumps, fins, 3 fisherman, and 1 cooler into my X-terra.  Needless to say it was a tight fit, but full with fish hope the hour and a half squeeze passed quickly.

We have come to adore this lake over the years, and today didn’t disappoint.  We got to the water about eight and the weather, and more importantly the wind, was ideal.  Connell’s rig was in the water a total for two minutes and we had our first fish on.  Though out the rest of the day we all landed several fish and hooked many more.  Typically we don’t count, but today Connell wanting to know exactly how many he boated.  He ended the day with 32 and the largest fish was a healthy seventeen.  Brandon and I both landed several fish as well, but Connell got the big fish……this time J  Typically the average sized fished landed in this lake is 16 inches and tops out around the twenty inch mark, but today the average was closer to 14 inches.  The numbers however, made up for the lack of size.

On a finial note, I got a first today!! For the first time ever I landed a crawdad on a fly rod….. it’s ok to laugh at me having pride in that, I know it’s silly, but it was the coolest thing.  I had what I thought was a light hit and then set the hook.  As I brought in the “fish” I thought “wow this thing must be tiny.”  When it broke the surface I just about shrieked.  My brain couldn’t wrap around what I was seeing at the end of my line.  Lifting it out of the water I figured it out quickly but was concerned about how I was going to get the hook out of it.  This turned out to not be a problem though.  The crawdad was not hooked but was holding on.  He had his claw clamped down on my fly.  It wasn’t until he was dangling five or so feet above the water that Mr. Crazy Crawdad decided to let go.

Enjoy the pictures below and as always thanks for reading!! Cat, Connell, Brandon, and Pinchie the fly loving crawdad.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Tail Wag!!!!

  Hello all, I can’t say many things give me those warm fuzzies quite like a big, earthshaking, rythmatic, tail wag. Now before you clean minded people get offended and you dirty minded people get to excited, I am talking about my dogs. When I get home from work everyday, Winston and Mushka always seem to meet me at the door with Mushka spinning in circles and Winston with his football in his mouth and both have their tails wagging about twenty miles per hour. They seem so happy that I am home. When we happen to leave for any extended period of time is when things can get interesting. When we return home, Winston will get so excited that he can’t help but to try and jump up at us, now he knows that is not okay, but he just can’t help himself. Halfway up in the air you can see he remembers he’s not supposed to jump up and you can see his hind legs partially buckle from his inner battle between glee and minding and for the next few hours he will follow me around the house and by the next day everything is back to normal. Mushka, on the other hand does anything but normal. After an extended away time, she greets us at the door with an absolute tail wagging frenzy and then quickly heads to our room and hides under the bed to let us know how angry she is with us being gone, we have tried at times to talk her out from underneath but she snorts a quick growl and we leave her alone. The next morning, our normal routines return. Those earthshaking tail wags make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that I think I will start giving my fishing reports in a one to five wag scale.

  Wednesday evening Cat and I returned to our river in hopes of finding our river wagging its tail at us(5 wag). Friday evening I made another trip and found the river to be at times like both our dogs. The flows had been steadily dropping over the last few weeks and the 600cfs levels told us it was time to give her a whirl. The first thing we noticed was that clarity was basically zip. I was hoping for the tea green but it was definitely brown. We headed down to one of our favorite spots and hooked a few fish, then I headed to a place that I knew would be hot and didn’t bump a fish. We hooked several but the biggest fish must have been eating from his tail, or maybe the water was even to dirty for him to see. Fishing is not easy or very pretty right now(one or one and a half wag) but if you live here, might as well spend an evening or two on the Ark, See how she treats you.

 As you can see by my report, the river is much like our dogs. At times it nearly jumps in our lap being so glad we are back fishing and other times it’s hiding under the bed just giving us a growl. We are never really sure what the water will do but my hope is that it drops to about 300 and stays there through the end of August. I can only guess from last year’s clarity issues but I think it is something we will be dealing with well into the fall. Fish were on Depth Chargers, True Bloods, Hare’s Ears, and Winston caddis. Looking forward to getting back on the river and seeing the hot sexy tail wag but for now I guess I’ll just have to enjoy being on the water. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Mushka and The Drift fly Shop want to thank you for reading and have a 5wag day….

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Master Your Craft"s"

  Hey all and thanks for checking in to The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. One of the things that I pride myself on is the fact that I believe that if anything is worth doing, then it is worth doing right. It seems that most of my life, in addition to WORK, I have found myself bouncing from one obsession to another and after feeling as though I have gotten to my apex, I move to the next. At the young age of 10, I won the city of Omaha diving championship, the next year it turned to BMX, where I won several trophies. In college it was ping pong, basketball, billiards and then I saw the mountains and all I wanted to do was ski faster than everyone else. As age got the better of me, golf, softball, guitar and finally Fly fishing has taken over. I have “worked” hard at perfecting my craft and about the time I think I know it all, I realize that I don’t know the proverbial squat. Earlier this year, my family was invited to spend an evening with Cody, and one evening opened a whole new way to fly fish. Cat and I have had many invitations over the years to float fish but have never been able to put the pieces together to make it work. Most of you know our good friend and “Lake” guy Cody, not sure why we call him that cause he puts a hurt’n pretty much every where he fishes, but he has decided that his newest obsession will be to become the best float flyfishing guide of all time. Now one of the great things about being friends with someone like Cody is that he needs schleps like Cat and I in order for him to hone his craft. Sunday looked like the perfect day since the weather looked to be scorching hot, and “Great Friends” like Cat and I were totally ready to help Cody hone his craft.

  The drive up was less than exciting looking at the river that should have been brought to you by Hershey’s, but remember, this was all about helping our friend. When we got on the water I was totally relieved to land my first fish in the first few casts so I really didn’t have much to worry about after that. The fishing most of the day was hot and cold. Hook several and then wait ten minutes or so. My fishing moment of the day was watching this little 10incher slowly bring his nose to my fly, hesitate for a sec and then suck it in. Makes me smile just thinking about it, I had forgotten how cool it is to watch fish hit the surface. At one point Cody let me row for a while and even though I was excited I was really nervous, this is Cody’s NEW boat. The first half a mile or so went pretty good and then Cody told me that just ahead was an area called the Rock Garden and started giving out directions. Most of our readers know how well I do with directions and as we were entering the rapids the thought of killing us all started filling my head, when Cody started telling me which way to aim the bow. What the heck is a bow I said? He slapped me once in the right side of my head and said that way, jkjk but as we rolled out of the rapids, I nearly released my bowels and adrenaline started pumping through my veins. I rowed for a while more and before we entered the serious stuff, Cody jumped back on the oars. Cottonwood rapids and the black hole were an absolute riot. After my little stint of rowing I watched Cody a little for the rest of the trip. I realized how good he has already gotten with the “little rows” and going through one of the serious rollers I watched as the boat begin to turn he did this thing with his oar that I don’t think I could even explain and the boat straightened , and we bounced down the run. What a pleasure it was to watch.

  Now do I want to go out and buy my own boat and learn to do what Cody can do? Not yet, but I think Cat and I will try to “help” him as much as we can. Hehe. A big shout out and thanks to Cody, he has brought so many cool new adventures to us. Lots of fish hooked today and Cat had the prize to the net, about a 14inch brown, and if asked if it was a good day fishing, the answer would be it was way better, I got to hang out with some of my good friends today.  

  The river in town seems to be improving a little and I hope to make it over one day this week, we will keep our readers informed when the river wakes up. As always, Catt, Connell, Winston, Cody and The Drift Flyshop want to thank you for reading…..

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taylor River 2014

  Hello all and thanks for checking back in to the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. I had a friend come into the shop last week and while looking me in the eye he exclaimed that he had a serious problem with me. If you know me at all, then you know that this didn’t bother me a bit…NOT!! Inwardly, my heart cried just a little as I snarkingly said “whatever.” He then went on to explain that it had been four weeks since my last blog, and that he and our other followers expect a little more consideration, and a little more writing. Well just like the Grinch, my heart began to swell to 100 times its regular size and my emotions ran back in forth from joy, to humility, and then to pride. I tried to explain that I need to fish before I can write and that a new blog was on the horizon, so to all of those who have been patiently waiting ….. Thanks and here you go.

   As I sit down today and break the rust off my keyboard, I have been reflecting on our yearly trip to the Taylor and hope that you all find the story and the video as delightful as I do.

  I have written before about how our trips to the Taylor are more about family, camping, nature experiences, and the ability to turn my cell phone off for three days more so than the fishing. This year however, seemed a little different. Cat, Brandon, Winston and Jimbo were there from the family and Kevin and Brenda, our friends, made it this time as well. So, with all the family fishermen there, it was a little more about the fish domination than usual. With that in mind, I think I learned a little more about why these trips are so special, they seem to bring me back to my fishing roots.

 I remember when I was in high school and taking a vacation to Yellowstone and the surrounding area, the scenery was breathtaking and the desire to actually catch a trout was nearly overwhelming. I remember sitting on the Shoshone River with my night crawlers weighted to the bottom for hours waiting for a bite. The wind would blow and I would set the hook and reel as fast as I could to check for fish. It was always the same, a big wet dead worm that had been washed clean by the river. I would cast out again and find myself begging and bargaining with God to please let me catch one. Years later, The C&R section of the Taylor can put me in a similar state of mind.

  We are lucky enough to spend most of our time on the Amazing Ark tailwater and are lucky to be close enough to the river that so much of our fishing is during the two or three hours of each day when we know the fish will be feeding the hardest. With that in mind, so often I feel like I own this section of the Arkansas. Not so much the case on the Taylor. Thursday, we got on the water at 9:00am and finished at just after 6:00pm without a lunch break or anything to drink. Friday we were back on the water at nine again and fished until 9:00pm with an hour lunch break. Saturday was 9:00 until 7:00 with a half hour break and Sunday we fished until we nearly fell over. The river at times was so much fun, the fish would move into feeding lanes and three or four casts in a row you would get hookups and then the fish would turn off and move into zombie mode. This zombie mode would seem to last forever and that was when my fishing roots would return. Okay God, make them eat and I will….fill in the blank. Another ten minutes and back to, God why have you forsaken me. And then without warning the fish would start eating again and I would forget all my promises. Okay, I might be over exaggerating a little but I think you get the point. It is difficult to feel total fish domination when the River sometimes throws you curves.

  The trip itself was incredible, lots and lots of rain. Cat as usual; found some incredible bugs and caught lots of fish. The scenery, weather, food, family and friendships were incredible. We also met lots of new friends. We all did pretty well at times, Jimbo went off for about an hour on Saturday hooking up on seeming every other cast. Brandon, was consistent but will dream about his last hookup of the trip for a while. Kevin, pounded out fish day after day and I caught a few myself. I landed two fish at just over twenty one inches and lots of dinks and at times felt like I knew what I was doing. Winston thoroughly enjoyed the cool air, camp food, and the ability to run back and forth to all our fish for photo bombing. I would have to say that he was pretty upset with the two blue jays we had in camp. B and Jimbo would throw peanuts and the birds would swoop down and get them before Winston could, he had the look that was easily read as “this is seriously wrong.”

  On the way home Cat and I were listening to the radio and we heard an oldie but great song and like usual, changed the words, we realized that we just summed up our Taylor 2014 trip. Please sing along, I know you will know the song.


   Standing in the Rain, with his head hung low

  Couldn’t catch a fishie, even throwing roe

  He heard the splash of a fish, he could picture the scene

 Turned his head to the sound, and like a distant stream

 He saw one fly rod, just blew him away

 Saw stars in his eyes, and the very next day

 Bought a beat up flyrod, in a second hand store

Didn’t know how to cast it, but he knew for sure

 That one flyrod, felt good in his hands

Didn’t take long, to understand

Just one flyrod, fished way down below

Was a one way ticket, only one way to go

So he started flyfishing, ain’t never gonna stop

 Gotta keep on flyfishing, someday gonna make it to the top

      And be a Trout bum hero

 In a River without a name, in a heavy down pour

 Thought he passed his own shadow, by the Hog trough hole

 Like a trip through the past, that day throwing bait

 And that one flyrod and his whole life changed

So now you gotta keep fishing, Ain’t never gonna stop

Gotta keep on fishing, somday gonna make it to the top

  And be a Trout Bum hero.


 Well we laughed the rest of the way home and now have that song now fully entrenched in all our memories. While going through the footage for the video we realized that as long as our cameras are rolling we pick up some incredible and hilarious things. The stamp on the outhouse wall must be for me after eating camp food and watch to the end for a huge laugh, but be observant. Connell, Cat, Winston, Brandon, Foreigner, Kevin and The Drift Fly shop want to thank you for putting with my writing. Enjoy the Video…