Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Is Coming......

              Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I have wanted to use that title ever since Cat and I binge watched Game of Thrones last year. My original idea was that after the first snow fall in late October, we would take a picture of me with my gear on, lying in the snow with my rod draped across my body. If you’re not a Game watcher, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about but for the Game fans and in my own imagination, I would be just as sexy as Jon Snow. Well the November weather never really cooperated and by the time our first snow fall occurred we were already nearing my not so favorite part of winter. As I have written for several years now, January is not my favorite time of the year to fish but I will try to give a few tips to make your late winter on the Ark fantastic.
                I wanted to start by giving a quick update on the river as of late. The  Arctic freeze that came through last weekend dropped the water temps in to the low 40’s and have made the hatches a little unpredictable. One day the fish are gorging and the next day it’s crickets, proverbially speaking that is. Cats bug collecting has found a plethora of juvenile baetis nymphs, lots of midges and still aquatic moth and caddis larvae. Today I hooked several quality bows and got two to the net, and I felt like I worked for and earned every fish I bumped. Alex was out as well and had one of his best days in a while landing several in the fifteen to eighteen inch range.
                Now on to the winter tips; first, if you want to get out on the water please do not take yourself so seriously. And what do I mean by that, if you are on the water that that means you are not at work (unless you are a guide), you are not at the mall shopping, you are not yelling at Kubiak through your T.V. , you are not stuck at a boring holiday party, and lastly, you are not at your computer obsessing over college football recruiting(well maybe that’s just me). Now with that out of the way and on to the water, use the lull times to work on you technique. One of our shop friends Rich, has been working on his mending by using the New Zealand strike indicators and it is paying off in a big way. With the NZ indicator any poor mending will give you immediate negative feedback by sinking your indicator. If you can get the NZ indicator to float I can guarantee you will catch more fish in the future. Thirdly, if you are obsessed with big fish, winter can be a great time to get your best fish landed. Low flows coupled with cooler water can get you just enough edge to get that dream fish to the net. And lastly, and relating to the not taking yourself so serious part, when the dinks start rising, throw on a dry and check your ego at the door. For such small fish, they sure are smart.

                Now on to the business part of this blog; last weekend’s arctic blast put a bit of a damper on Christmas shopping so the Drifts shop hours will be adjusted over the next few days in hope that you get all your dreams and wishes. Thursday will have normal hours from 8:30a.m. to 5:30p.m., Friday we will be open from 8:30 til 6:00,(an extra half hour) and Saturday we will be open from 8:00 til 4:00 for all the procrastinators. Thanks to all our friends that made it to last weekend’s Fishmas party and to those that missed it, Cat, Winston and I want to wish you a truly Merry Christmas. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Jon Snow, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

                Alex's fish of the day !

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Zombie Apocalypse Fly.......

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. While sitting here watching the Walking Dead I began thinking about why different people watch different shows for many different reasons. Cat and I began watching the Walking Dead a few years back, and for me, I like the excitement, the drama and even a little of the comical gore, but for Cat it is more of a fantasy thing. I never quite understood it until one day Cody, Cat and I started talking about the show. The two of them began foaming at the mouth and talking about how awesome it would be to live in a Zombie Apocalypse. They planned how they would get food, their shelter and all the best ways to kill off these killer zombies. I guess it shows what a wimp I am because my thought was I sure would miss my hot shower. I also had to bring up the fact that our fly fishing days would be over. I guess this is where the conversational rules changed because Cat said that at that point we could still fish, but we could only fish with one fly for all our eternity. Now I was a little intrigued and since the two of us are considered “tail water experts,” I figured that Cat was going to put the rest of her fly fishing eternity into the hands of the FOD.  Now before my chest could even pump up, she told me her fly would be a size 20 Adams. What the …., I then had to jump in and say “what will you do for floatant” and Cat followed with “what are you going to do for weight.” At that point I knew I was either way overmatched for this kind of battle, or way too old and boring, and the conversation then turned to something else really important.
               On Friday Cat and I headed to the river and she got to let her Zombie Apocalypse fly make her point. By the time we got to the river the hatch was already on, I moved into a feeding lane and Cat started eyeing the risers. My first cast hooked and landed a fourteen incher and I figured it would be another typical killer nymph day. Cat started below me and her “ciggle” was immediate. For the next hour, I did not get a bump and the “ciggle” could be heard every few minutes. Not that we count, but after she had me down about fifteen to one, I went ahead and went to a dry as well, and what do you know, I could do it also. We caught sippers all afternoon and Cat was able to show off her expertise when she got a twenty incher to the net.
               Today Winston and I headed to the river on our own, when inviting Cat, she grinned and said she was still a little sore from out fishing me on Friday. As we made it to the river the fish were already looking up, and without any Cat pressure, I went straight to an Adams and what a blast. First cast landed a twelve incher and after that, every other cast produced a take or a fish. I saw one pair of lips that looked a little bigger than the rest and after a couple of pretty good drifts he hammered it. I got him to the net and he measured out between fifteen and sixteen inches. After about a dozen or so smaller fish, I moved down river into a feeding lane. I switched back to my nymph rig and my confidence came back in a big way. First cast landed an eighteen incher and in the next half an hour I landed six in that same range. Winston was once again proud of his papa.

               It sure is great to have such a wonderful family and friends. If a Zombie Apocalypse ever does happen, I am in good hands. Cat and I will pack the guns, the fly rods, and the dogs and head to Cody and Kim’s house. I may have to go without a hot shower but I think on any given day, with an Adams, FOD, or even Cody swinging something big, we would have fish to eat. Unless of course, the fish are affected by the same Zombie virus, but that’s for a different blog. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Abraham & Glen, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

The Zombie Apocalypse Fly

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

" 10 "

               Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. The movie “10” came out in 1979 and pretty much blew everyone away. The movie was hilarious, sexy and actually changed American culture. Corn rows became the hairdo of the hotties and the number 10 became the word for anything awesome. And I don't know any man that didn't have a Bo fantasy. Now nearly forty years later, myself and Bo probably have more defined wrinkles than she had corn rows but the number 10 is still totally meaningful to me as a fly fisherman.
               As most of you know, Cat spent four long years in college getting her biology degree and took several classes on entomology and ichthyology. What she found was that there is both fly fishing science and book science. Now over the years, at times I have had to ask Cat about temps, about bugs and about a multitude of scientific fishy things. What has happened is that through all the tutorage, I have developed some of my own fishy science. And yes, many times Cat will tell me that I have the right to be wrong. But anyway, I have come to the conclusion that the magical number “10” is what I am looking for every fall. It seems to me that right about the time the water out of the damn drops into the 50-degree mark, the river turns on, and fishes very well until the temps drop below 40. This year the warm temps has kept the water temps up and the fishing conditions very unpredictable. Hatches were nearly impossible to predict and some days you really saw very few bugs at all. On Saturday, I was teaching my nephew how to fly fish and I saw my first “real” BWO hatch of the fall. Monday’s trip had giant BWO’s hatching early and then a huge hatch in the afternoon. I went home and checked the temps and what do you know, the beginning of my magical number is here.
               After yesterday’s bug frenzy, Cat and I decided we better get out. I’m not sure how many great days we will have but I know how many degrees we have. The first hour was a little slow with not much action and then the river came alive. The dinks and medium sized fish were gorging on the surface and the piggies were definitely moving into the feeding lanes. Now my favorite part about this time of the year is how technically fun the river can be. If you are in a feeding lane, have an accurate cast and a drag free drift when the bugs hatch than you are gonna have a good day. If not….the fish will let you know.
               Late in the day, Cat and I started talking about what we think of the fighting ability of our new Sage X’s. We have caught plenty of fish this fall and are absolutely in love with the weight and cast-ability of the rod but really haven’t really been able to develop a strong opinion of the fighting ability of the rod. Well after the next several fish, and in my best Forrest Gump voice, I like it a lot. Cat’s next hookup was an 18-incher that began to take her down river into a faster riffle and she was able to turn the fish, steer it around a rock, and finish by filling her net.  I didn’t even need to ask, her smile said it all. And then it hit me, I was thinking about the magical number “10” and how awesome my next ten degrees will be and the I looked down at my rod. Sage may call it the “X”, but in English that translates to “10”

               If you have been considering a guide trip, to learn or to just catch fish then the next 10-degrees should be the time to get it done. Medium to strong hatches should drive the fish batty. Dries for dinks and nymphs for the piggies, whatever your pleasure, we can help. FOD’s and Hi-vis baetis were the ticket today. Now I do have a little bad news to report before I finish, when I got back to my car today I saw that someone had a broken window. The river has been really trouble free for the last few years and I am hoping this was an isolated incident. A few hints to help but not a guarantee, spend the extra five minutes and drive into the park and be very careful of what thieves can see when they look into your car. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Bo Derek, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Gift of Fly Fishing 2016!!!!

               Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Cat and I hope you all had as great of a holiday weekend as we had. That being said, about thirteen hours of sleep and a return to my diet is just what the doctor ordered. Black Friday is the time when many Americans hit the stores for all the “best sales” out there. One store will advertise  65 inch SUHD TV’s for $399 and the next store will have HP laptops for $99. In the advertising world, these specials are called “loss leaders,” what that means is that these items are sold at a loss just to attract customers. The retailers hope that after someone purchases a loss leader or gets in the door looking for one, they go into such a spending frenzy, they buy tons of really “head scratching” stuff. Now I am fully aware that Christmas is about the birth of my Lord and Savior and that it should really have nothing to do with getting or giving gifts, but I have to admit, I have received a few “head scratching” gifts and allowed them to get under my skin. I wrote a few years back on this subject and have wondered how our readers have fared since. If you remember correctly, we categorized husbands into five, three, and one star husbands and then listed presents that fit the husband quality. So how have you done guys? I am sure that anyone that has enough class to read this blog is a five+ star husband, so I want to help you get the perfect gear for your time on the water. No loss leaders and definitely no “head scratching” stuff here. 
               For starters, I wanted to talk about what I think may be the best all-around fly rod ever produced. Power, feel, super light-weight, and the absolute ease of casting the new Sage X makes it the perfect gift for the 5 Star husband. The Simms G3 waders and boots, with their quality and price cannot be matched and also make the perfect gift for the perfect husband (bring sizes please). And lastly, the perfect gift for the absolutely best husband would be a guide trip from the most knowledgeable guide in the shop, Cat (she really is a great guide---but me explaining this to the world helps make me a 5-star husband)
               Now If you only check into this blog now and then or have not worked hard on being that perfect husband then maybe the 3 star category is where you fit. Being that I am a Sage homer, I will start with the two products that fit this category. The first is the Sage Pulse fly rod. The first time I saw the Pulse I fell in love with the color, and every true fly fisherman knows how important the color is. The rod is quick, light, and easy to cast and even with its low price, can still be a lifetime rod. The next item is the Sage 2200 reels, flawless functionality, looks and low price make this the perfect gift for the pretty good husband. Now for the next gift, and I hope the Sage people aren’t reading this, is the newest member of the Scott line, the Flex. The Flex is the upgrade of the A4 and feels to me like a quicker and visually better looking model than its predecessor. And lastly, a guide trip from me would be a perfect gift for all pretty good husbands. And you never know, a day with me and your man may realize how annoying it is to hang out with someone that never shuts up.
               Now for the people that just stumbled upon this blog or just don’t care enough to earn the extra stars, I have no answer. Be a better more deserving husband next year and we can talk then.
            As for women that fish, you are already 6 stars in our minds and we thank you for that. If you already have all the gear you need (yeah right) then maybe the accessory isle might the spot for you. The Simms Rogue fleece jacket is the absolute perfect gear for southern Colorado. The inner fleece is ideal for layering and the outer shell blocks just enough wind to make it the perfect stand alone for fall and spring. One of the more forgotten tools for fishing are lines. A new line can make your rod feel like it just had a tune up and we are fully stocked for the season (please bring rod weight). For the hands, we have a full line of Simms gloves that can keep you on the water longer and give your wife the relaxing day without you. We are also happy to share the fact that Simms has worked really hard on building a line that is both functionally tough, and has the fit and look to make women eager to get on the river. And lastly and for everyone reading, Cats novel is the perfect way to spend January (you all know how I like January). Get a couple or a case and give them out, but just get them. Novels can be found by clicking HERE.

               As we enter this holiday season we at the Drift want to be your lifetime fly shop. No loss leaders, no commissioned sales people, just fly fishermen that absolutely love the water. Come by and we can make your Christmas season awesome. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Dr. Chamberlain Shay, and the Drift Fly shop want to thank you for reading………

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Family Day !!!

              Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures Blog. I wanted to start by wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. I know it is the time of the year that we are supposed to be thankful for what God has done in our lives and for me it very easy. Twelve years ago on the day after Thanksgiving I made my vows with my best friend and incredible wife Cat. I think that was last time my whole family has been together at the same time and they still remind me about it to this day. You see, as Cat and I were heading into the mountains for our honeymoon, the rest of my family was making their way back to Omaha and a blizzard that turned the usual 9-hour trip into a 20-hour trip. Well they all made it home safely and the last 12 years for me have been nothing short of magical. This year my nephew was here celebrating his marriage and the whole family is back together again.                      
         Jimbo made it out a day early and we got to spend the day on the river. The river continues to be quite stained and fishing is still hit and miss. We hooked several quality fish and tons of the super dinks. I know it sure is nice having the warm days but we sure need a couple of seriously cold days. We are beginning to see the blue wings and he fish are really responding during hatches. Fish were on the FOD, Bling and the True Blood. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Tom the Turkey, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading. 

For those who haven’t already heard, Cat has written a book and it was recently published. Before you get too excited... it isn’t about fishing, but it is still amazing work fiction. Buying it would help makes Cat’s dreams come true and maybe down the road we could get her to write one about fish. Click HERE to learn more about it and purchase.

And if you aren’t big into reading fiction, but still want to help her out please visit her facebook page and share it with your friends who are readers. Click HERE to visit her facebook page.

Here is a little taste of what Cat's Book is about:

                                          Winston and my X

                                          Robert and Katy

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Been There Before....

           Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Winston and I headed to the river today and like usual, my mind was on the move. I have been pretty quiet about my 8-2 Huskers this year because I figured as soon as I started talking, the bottom would fall out. Two weeks ago I was watching the awful OSU game and I really found myself getting annoyed. Not just by the fact that we got smoked like a Christmas turkey, but more so by a few actions of a few of the Huskers. At one point the Huskers were already way down and they got a first down. The player jumped up and gave the first down sign as if he was saying, “I’m a bad man.” As an observer, I was thinking maybe he ought to check the scoreboard. Now on the good character side, I remember when Jerry Rice was playing. Maybe one of the best receivers ever and after every TD there was no celebration and he would just hand the ball to the ref. I remember seeing an interview with him and they asked him why he didn’t celebrate and he said that he always wanted to act like he had been there before. He was so easy to root for, except in Super Bowl XXIV of course. Anyway, while reminiscing about acting as if I had been there before, my mind drifted to Winton’s odd behavior today, and a few of my own reactions on the river.
            Last weekend I spent a few hours with an old fishing friend and his pup. I hooked one fish and after it came out of the water a few times I could feel that it had slipped and was now foul. I remarked “darn” and then the fish came completely loose. I had to laugh because I could remember several years back I had had one of my more embarrassing moments on the river in front of Steve. I was still a little green and I had hooked what felt to me like a fish that needed to be named Moby, and after a brief and ferocious battle, the fish snapped my line. At the top of my lungs, I screamed a word that has no business in public and then stood in utter silence. I started walking off and looking up I saw that Steve had moved up in front of me and he was staring at me as if he was trying to figure out who could be using that kind of language. Yep, it was a little embarrassing and a couple of thoughts went through my head. Do I really want to be known as the potty mouth guy and maybe I should act like I had been there before.
            So the other thing going on today was that Winston was acting really strange. When Pooh-dog was young, I remember several times getting really annoyed because he would keep getting between me and a fighting fish. The last several years he has really been great and has only really gotten in the way of one fish. Right off the bat today I started hooking fish and every time I turned around, Winston was under my feet and would cut me off to the fish. Has my fall been that bad that he had forgotten how to act? A couple of times I actually had to walk him back to the bank and made him sit but as soon as I hooked another fish he was right there beside me again. At one time, I remember looking at Winston and under my breath saying “come on, act like we have been here before.” Good thing my mind keeps me entertained.
            Fishing today was much better than the last few days with several fish in the 14 to 18inch range and a whole bunch of dinks. We saw a few BWO’s today, but midges seemed to be the soup of the day. FOD’s, Blings, and Tube Wing midges were all productive today. Winter Storage began two days ago and as of right now the river is running at just under 90cfs. The next few nights are supposed to be really cold and hopefully the reservoir completes the turnover. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Jerry Rice and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading………

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Giving Season......

             Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. When Cat and I first began writing this blog several years ago, we really had no idea what it would grow into. Some of our earliest blogs would get 15 or 20 readers throughout the week. Cat had always wanted to be a writer but as for me I couldn’t understand why anyone would ever want to sit down and write. Then one day it hit me, I could share jokes, stories, I could tease others and I could even talk about great new cool gear and throw in a tip or two, and maybe the greatest thing about the blog is that no one can ever cut me off, the stage is mine(hehe). We have probably written to much personal info but it seems that we have really developed a personal relationship with our readers. Now every once in a while, something from the blog will come back at us and all we can do is blush.
               Yesterday I walked into the shop and a reader and friend was in and said that he had something for me. I immediately felt a little sheepish and then he went on to remind me about my run-in with the killer beaver this summer( ) and then said it may be a little late because I’m walking so well now. He pulled it from around his back and it was a walking stick that he had carved from scratch. The staff has a beaver holding a fish carved out of the top, it has flies carved into the wood and then has Winston and Cat eyes burned into the wood. The final touches were the flies burned in throughout the staff. Now I have to admit, I had no idea how to take this and it absolutely blew me away. This project was incredible and had to have taken months to complete, while looking it over I was stunned, I don’t think I had ever received a gift that had taken that much time to complete. I asked Joe why he did this and he said that he felt like we helped him learn how to fish. I got it home last night and I kept finding myself walking into the other room and checking it out. Now I have never been very good and taking compliments or even more so gifts so in my best Connellesque way, I will put my humor into this. It seems that our blog has touched people enough over the years that readers and friends want to give us gifts. I wanted to start by saying that Joe has set the bar awfully high and it may be very difficult to equal, but just in case you want to try, tickets to Belize might be pretty cool(hehe). Okay that was my joke, but thank you so much Joe, the staff is incredible.

               Now on to the fishing, as with most of the fall, fishing has been real hit and miss, my trip out on Wednesday was fantastic with several big fish hookups and four sixteen inchers to the net. Thursday I fished by myself and hooked one good fish and several dinks. Today’s trip was a little slow with a breakoff, a few losses and a couple of quality fish to the net. Today we got to meet up with Steve and Cajun and Winston got to hang out with a new friend on the river. I think the problem we are dealing with is that with the warmth of the water, there is just too much food in the water to really get the fish gorging at any one time. If you are thinking about a learning guide trip then the next two weeks should be the perfect time to get it done. The river crowds will really pick up right around Thanksgiving so right now is a great time to cover a lot of the river. Fish were taken on FOD’s, Black emergers and Cream Blings. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Joe and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…

                         From Today

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Down On the Bayou........

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. For the most part, Cat’s and my marriage has been pretty basic over the years. Now don’t take this the wrong way, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but my job has kept many new adventures from coming to fruition. After selling the business last spring, we were really looking forward to adding some spice to our fishing lives. The new knee slowed some of those plans and then a few weeks ago, Cody called the house and told me that he had an open spot for a trip to Southern Louisiana to chase the usually aggressive Redfish. Like most “guys” outing proposals over the years, when asked my original thought was “sorry I can’t because of work,” and then it hit me.... I could go!
         I was a little apprehensive of doing anything without Cat, but she kept insisting that it would be awesome, and honestly how could it be anything else, I was going with Cody after all. Now before we jump into the trip, I wanted to talk a little about how perfectly timed this trip ended up. With my Huskers somehow having an unbeaten season, I dared to believe. Heck, if the Cubs can do it, miracles are possible. Anyway, during the fourth quarter of last week’s game, I actually started to believe and like usual, my heart was ripped from my chest in overtime. I think I hid it pretty well but idle time last week certainly landed my thoughts back at the game. The amazing thing about fishing trips, a quote from Metallica, “Nothing Else Matters.” They have to be anglers.
            We flew out early Wednesday and right off the bat, I was worried that a missed connection in Houston might be a nasty omen, but we only ended up missing about an hour. We rolled into New Orleans just after lunch and found an incredible little hole in the wall Cajun restaurant north of downtown. Our ride south out of Nola was a little surreal with the remnants of Catrina still everywhere.
          Our lodge was an old river boat that sat in a canal. This was not Cody’s first rodeo for redfish, but for me every experience was a new one. It’s amazing how your senses go crazy when you get away from your norm. The humidity, the salt, and just the smell of the Bayou had me on my toes for two days. The first day was a little stressful because the fish were just not normal. The south has also had a very warm fall and the warm water temps have kept the reds from moving up into the shallows. The first day we saw one fish that had moved up and Cody was on deck and made the perfect presentation. The fish exploded on the fly and on his third attempt he finally ate the fly. The clouds and wind kept us from seeing anymore and we made our way back to the lodge.
           The second day was a different story; I think I had four different shots but couldn’t get a take. Cody had one take but the power of the fish broke the line. We were able to see fish that day, but for the most part they weren’t as aggressive as usual. We could tell the guide was frustrated and he then went looking for a school of Black drums. I had never seen anything quite like it, the fish were big, strong and a well-presented fly was eaten. We landed several in the 25lb range and the trip was made. We made our way back to New Orleans last night and since it was my first trip, we had to make our way to the French Quarter. I’m glad we made it to Bourbon Street, but if I make another trip I will do my best to avoid Nola.
            We made it home this morning with no problems and I realized that my Huskers play OSU this evening. Hmmm, maybe a trip to Belize this week. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, (Cody, Mark, and Ronny T), and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..