Friday, December 14, 2018

One Shot at Glory....

Hello fiends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to tell a little story about my chance at glory. I don’t talk about it much, but at one point in my life I was a pretty heavy smoker. I quit in the spring of 1991 and after gaining 30 pounds in three months, I knew I had to find something to keep my weight down. I began playing a little basketball and keeping true to my personality, I was immediately hooked. I started playing several nights a week and even though I couldn’t shoot worth a darn, I loved playing D and outworking the big guys on the boards. I worked on my shot over the years and finally began to feel pretty comfortable shooting the rock. I began playing in city league and slab league and the competition was addicting.
One season while playing with one of the best teams in the league, I got my chance. It was a back and forth game all evening long and it seemed the last team with the ball was going to win. Our team was up one and with about fifteen seconds left and the other teamed got a lay-up. We didn’t have a T.O. and began to push the ball up the court. I made my way to the wing and our point guard started to drive, he had been unstoppable all night. His path to the rim was blocked and he quickly drew a double team and the ball came flying out to me. We were down to six seconds and so I felt for the seams, jumped and gave the little flick of my wrists. The ball came out with the perfect backspin and I held the follow through. It was as if time had stopped and all I could hear was my heartbeat as the ball was nearing the rim. I heard a loud clank, and the ball hit the back of the rim. The ball bounced straight in the air and then off the front of the rim. One of our players grabbed the rebound but the buzzer had sounded before he was able to get off another shot. I was devastated, I think it was the only shot I had missed that night but it was my chance at glory. We finished out the season without a loss and beat the same team in the playoffs by 20, but the one miss was the shot I couldn’t get out of my head and I never had a that shot for glory again.
The last few trips to the river have made me think about that missed shot from many years ago. One of the best things about writing the blog is that I basically have a diary of fishing conditions over the last several years. I know I have heard a lot of people recently talk about the low water this year being why the river is acting so technically finicky. Now I know the fish are a little more packed in than usual but more often that not, this time of the year you have to make the first shot count. Yesterday I fished with my brother and after I got him set up, I moved to the tail end of the run and made my first cast. The drift was perfect and after about ten feet the indicator shot down. Today, in my second stop, I took an extra second to examine the water and when ready, I made a long cast and let the river take the indicator. It was another long drift and at the tail end, I caught my fish of the day. I spent another half hour in that run and only managed one more dink that ate the fly.
This is my guide trip for this time of the year. When you get into a run to fish don’t be over anxious. Take a second to figure out how you want your flies to drift through the spot and secondly make sure you have enough line to use. I can’t overstate enough how important that first drift is this time of the year. One poor drift and the big fish are out of there. I have plenty of openings over the next few weeks so if you want to get out and try some really fun and technical fishing, give me or the shop a call. If you catch one of the piggies right now, you have earned it. I still fret over that missed shot so many years back and even if I had made it, my life would not have changed a bit. Today when I need that shot of glory, I make the first drift perfect. As always, Connell, Cat and Winston want to thank you for reading….

Monday, December 3, 2018

End of the Season.....

         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady fly fishing Adventures. I have been wanting to write this blog for the last few weeks but have had a hard time finding a connection, todays trip to the river cleared it up. As most of our readers know, I am both blessed and cursed to be a Husker fan. At one point, the Huskers were the envy of every college football fan in America, but as of late, my team has really fallen on hard times. This year was going to be different, our Prodigal Son coach was back and the hope of a “real” football team was back.
            The season could not have started worse. Opening weekend, I got to spend with my son fishing and then back to his home waiting for an opening win. New coach, new QB and a new season, I could hardly contain my anticipation. The game kicked off and then quickly went into a weather delay. We waited and waited and after several hours, it was announced the game was canceled. The following week, CU came to town with a game already under its belt and the during the first half, you could really tell that it was the Huskers first game. It was fun to watch, and really felt like the Huskers were on the right track and then, the new QB got hurt. The next several games looked like the Huskers of the last few years and then finally, in week seven, things began to change. The offense began to click and the D became serviceable. They won four out of their last six but came up short in getting back to a bowl game. The season had plenty of highs and plenty of lows.
            Here is where the connection comes in, I’m not sure if football has always been this way, but modern football really doesn’t have an off season, and this is the time of the year when both the Huskers and fly fishermen can get better. There was definitely improvement throughout the season but this is now the time to really get back to being dominant. First is recruiting, my wife can tell you that the last several years I have probably spent more time reading and following recruiting than actually watching football itself. Now I’m not a coach but I really enjoy watching recruiting highlight videos just to see how great the new recruits will be. Yesterday the Huskers got a commit from a giant defensive end and after watching his film, I can’t wait to watch him terrorize QB’s the next several years. Another way the players get better in the offseason is with workouts and technical training. The players won’t be back in front of huge crowds until Spring but they are already back in the weight room getting stronger and I’m sure the QB’s and receivers are already running drills.
            Today I went to the river and started in one of my favorite runs. On my second drift my indicator bounced and I set, I could feel the fish but he very quickly popped off. A few more drifts and then I landed my fish of the day, he was only about eighteen inches but the day was just beginning. I fished that run for another half hour and only hooked one more smaller fish and I knew this was not going to be the day I was hoping for. At that point it hit me, like my Huskers not going to a bowl game, maybe I should just spend the day getting better. Now lifting weights is not going to help my fishing but really paying attention to my technique can. I next walked into an area that gives me a chance to observe fish, not quite like watching recruiting videos but if you take the time to watch fish, you can learn so much. This morning the fish seemed to be holding in slack water and barely moving. I headed up river and began to watch a few fish move into feeding lanes and then I worked on how I could get the best drift to them. I continued to cover water and when the BWO’s began to hatch, I started looking to see if any bigger fish were rising. I saw one that seemed a little bigger than the rest and after getting into position I dropped the flies perfectly in front of him. The fly only moved a few inches and he grabbed it. He was only about thirteen inches but there is something special about landing a natural fish on a dry. The hatch was short lived and as I headed back toward the car, I couldn’t take my eyes off the river.
            The last week or so I have heard many people talk about how difficult the river has been. We should still see BWO’s for the next few weeks and some days should still be good. If your fishing prowess is not where you want it to be, maybe now would be a great time to book a guide. Spotting fish and seeing how they act and in what type of water will give you a whole new appreciation for fish. When it comes to technique, you can never know it all. Even as a guide, it is always fun learning something new. Now is the time to get bet better. As a husker fan, the glory of the spring game is just around the corner and as a fly fisherman, the fish coming out of their winter holding spots is just around the corner. Fish this morning were eating FOD’s and the Darth Baetis, the sippers were eating Cat’s Zombie Apocalypse fly. Also, I have noticed that the blog is disappearing on some Facebook pages. If you love the blog and don’t ever want to miss a post then please subscribe to my blog page. It is simple and I promise I will never sell your info.  Get your trip booked now and learn why you catch or don’t catch fish. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston want to thank you for reading…….

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tis the Season.......

Hello Friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. We have talked a little about it in the past but since I am such a difficult person to buy presents for, Cat and I very rarely exchange Christmas gifts. With that being said, it doesn’t stop the constant flow of gifts and oddities that friends and clients bring Cat.  One of the latest oddities was a dead rattlesnake that one of our friends brought her. I truly hope that our home never becomes a crime scene because there is no telling what CSI people would find in our home and buried around our yard. Anyways, the rattlesnake has yet to make it to the yard and has been sitting in our garage in an open box. The funny thing is that even though I know exactly where it is and that it has been dead for at least a few weeks, every time I walk near it or reach over it, I catch it out of the corner of my eye and it makes me jump.
If you are looking forward to the Holiday season and are thinking about gifts for friends and family, …and if you don’t have a dead rattlesnake to give, then maybe the perfect gift for fly fishermen are guide trips. Even after being a guide for several years, I still learn something new each time I book a guide.
This is the perfect time to bring up what is new in O’Grady Land. I have recently been able to expand my guiding horizons by having the ability to be booked both through the Drift, and also now Angler’s Covey in Colorado Springs. So, if you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the novice or even seasoned Fly Fisherman, give the gift of a Guide Trip. Trips can be booked online as well as by phone and please ask for Connell. I promise I will do everything I can to make it the best gift you have ever given. As always, thanks for reading……

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hook Sets.......

         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to write this blog today because on the way to the river I began to feel a little somber. Now how in the world can a guy be heading to go fishing feel a little sad, well its because I once again thought about how much I enjoy guiding. This Fall has been one of the best guiding seasons I have had, and it hit me that today I was on my own. The last two days I have watched client fish come out of the water, and my heart has nearly jumped out of my chest. Tuesday, we had an eighteen or so incher completely breach and yesterday we had a brown well over twenty come completely out of the water as if to say, I’ll show me mine, now whats you got!
          Today's plan was to really hunt the river and hit a lot of structure that I normally bypass. When I first hit the sidewalk and looked down at the river, I noticed a big redd that was hosting several browns. I wanted to point them out but after looking around, I was by myself. I watched them for a while and then headed up river. I stepped into the first run and my first drift hooked a fish, he was only about thirteen inches but I was on the board. I hooked five more in that run but none of them made it to my net. I walked up to the next run and lost two more fish. I continued to make my way up and finally I hooked one that got my attention. It was a quick battle that made my reel scream for a second and then he popped off as well. I began to question my abilities and I started wondering why I kept losing them.  Over the years, I have noticed that one of the most common errors that clients make are the up-river hook sets.
          I thought about it and really thought I was making good hook sets but decided next run I would really pay attention. The next drift hooked and landed a dink and then the next drift was a quick take and the fish was gone. I casted a few more times and then noticed something didn’t look right. My line had been sheared off right below my egg. I walked to the next run and while re-rigging, I could feel my annoyance beginning to grow. I knew this run had a snag but, I also thought it was usually good for a fish or two. On the first drift my indicator jumped and another fish was off. I knew the hook set was good and just scratched m head. I casted again and my indicator sunk, I snapped up the rod and felt a thud. It was the snag. I stretched my arm out above the snag but it wouldn’t pop loose. I hopped off the weir and with my line stretched out, I walked down and as far and across as I could, trying to pop it loose. It began to get to deep and I had to turn back. I thought about just breaking the line but I had just finished putting on new flies. Now I was determined and decided to try to get above the snag. I don’t think anyone was watching but if they were, they may have thought I was doing some sort of Pagan ritual like the kids circling the May Pole. I got all the way around and crawled back up and over the weir and after getting as deep as I felt comfortable, I stretched my arm all the way out and jiggled. I began to think why in the heck does an up-river hook-set come out of a stupid fish mouth but gets stuck on a stupid rock .........and then it popped loose. Makes sense and all is well.
          I fished a little further up-river and then back down hooking several and landing some and then finished the day catching dinks on a dry. The day was great but just not the same as sharing it guiding. I absolutely love guiding, not enough to do it for free, I still have to keep the lights on. If you are thinking about booking a trip, I would suggest you get it done now, our busy season is just around the corner. You can always book the old-fashioned way and call the shop or me, but now the shop has the ability to book on line from our web site. It was just over a year ago when Stan landed the 24 inch brownie and the season is upon us. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston. And the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

25 Again....

         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Cat and I were planning on fishing today and before we left the house I checked the river flow. 25cfs out of the reservoir. My first thought was ughhhh and then I told Cat about the drop and she had the same expression. It’s kind of sad here on the Ark because every time the flows drop below 75cfs and then when it goes over about 250cfs, the phone is in a constant ringing mode with people wanting to know how the fishing is. Cat and I took one for the team and went fishing anyway.
          We only hooked a few dinks in our first run and then we headed up and found a run in between a few other anglers. I heard Cat tell me that she had one straight in front of her and the next noise I heard was the fish dancing across the top of the river. It was a quick battle won by the fish. A few seconds later and another tail dance and another battle won by the fish. We hooked a dozen or so and actually landed a few before the fish had finally had enough and were no longer interested.
          As we were walking toward our next run I told Cat that the blog name was going to be 25 Again, she got a strange look and wanted to know if the CBD oil was making me feel a little spunky. I laughed and explained it was about the flow. We made it into the next run and while fighting a few fish I got to thinking about being 25 again, and I remembered how utterly competitive I was just about everything. If Cat had out fished me when I was 25, I’m not sure our marriage could have handled my competitive nature, then again, I probably would have been thrown in jail since She would have only been 6. We hooked several and then began to head back.
          We had a few runs we wanted to hit on the way back and then we ran into one of the more well-known guides in Soco. Now to protect his innocence and identity, we shall call him Guide X. We chatted for a while and once again I started thinking about the 25 Again. Guide X is a guide and so are Cat and I, I must no longer be 25 because I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove. We laughed and talked a little about the day and I looked over and noticed several fish rising. I told them to give me just a second and got into position. I began to think about some of the great competitors of our time, Manning vrs. Brady, Lebron vrs. Curry, Magic vrs Bird. Guide X and Cat were behind me watching and there was no ESPN or cameras on us, but I sure wanted to beat those fish. I casted and dropped the fly gently in front of the fish and as it was drifting by, my heart began to race and nothing. Another cast exactly where I wanted and the result was the same. Ten, maybe fifteen casts and I began to feel like Manning against the Seahawks. Guide X walked up and gave it his best shot as well, then Cat jumped in to see if she had the magic. If ESPN had been there, those fish were the big winners. I went back to my nymph rig and moved a short distance up river and Guide X moved back in to take another swing. First drift through and my indicator shot up river and just then I heard Guide X say, “got him”. Doubled up but his was a little more special, I got mine landed and looked up just as Guide X’s popped off. Good thing my competition is with the fish and not Guide X. hehe Iw was a pleasure fishing with you Guide X!
          We made our way back toward the car and Cat and I jumped into one more spot. We landed a few and although Cat had hooked lots of big fish today, she landed her fish of the day. What a day, I don’t ever want to be 25 again and even though 25cfs is not my favorite flow, the fish still “gots” to eat. Today was the first true BWO hatch I had seen this fall and the fish were eating it up, yep a play on words. The lower flows sure brought out the best in the fish today and what an absolute blast it was. If you are thinking about making your way to the river but are worried about the flows, don’t let the flows deter you, just make sure you bring you’re A game. The river is not super easy right now and if you’re not getting the results you are looking for, hire one of the Drift’s professional guides and learn how to take your fishing to the next level. You won’t make it on ESPN, but your rides home will have a few more smile. We have openings this week call the shop or my cell at 719-568-4927. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Guide X and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Thursday, October 18, 2018


         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. If you are checking in because you saw the title and are thinking I have some kind of inside info on this week’s Broncos or even my beloved Huskers, offensive game plan, you have been duped. Sorry guys, were just talking about our river. For those of you that aren’t sure about what turnover means, and what it means to you, this blog is for you.
          Every summer in our reservoir, the coldest water sinks to the bottom and that is the water that comes out of the bottom of the dam. If the reservoir was not there, our water would be way to warm to allow trout to live through summer. Every fall as the weather begins to cool, the cooler water begins to work its way to the top and the warmer water makes it way to the bottom. This is why our river stays warm enough to keep the fish eating all Winter long. The moving of the water causes a churning in the lake and the water coming out gets the milky green look and we lose visibility.
          Every year when the reservoir begins to turn the shop gets tons of questions as to how long it will last. I will try my best to answer. The last few years the reservoir has been really full and the weather took forever to cool so we dealt with the milky water until late in November. This year the weather is turning quickly and there is less water in the reservoir, so I am hopeful the reservoir should turnover quicker. I am hopeful that as soon as we get to November, the first real cold snap should complete the turnover, so best case scenario, I’m hoping first of November.
          So how to fish turnover water, this morning I headed out and my first run was really milky green. I put on a size 18 A&W, followed by a few small midges and I ran it through a normal feeding lane. First drift and I got my fish of the day, he was just a hair under twenty inches. I fished that run for a little while and not another take. I began to make my way up river and every run seemed to take one fish. I got into one of my favorite runs and ended up hooking a few nice fish, and then they just stopped eating. The river had sporadic bugs flying around all day and I think that is why the first drift was normally money and then I needed to move. I began working back down river and I began to see the dinks rising. I always say that little fish need love to, so I set up a doubly dry rig. I was having so much fun hooking the dinks that I almost didn’t see the big fish that was sipping. When he caught my attention, I slipped in below and I notice several shadows moving around. I tossed the flies out a few times with no success and then finally I watched one come up and take a look at my first fly. He backed away and then moved over to the trailer, he opened his mouth and sucked it in and as I set the hook, my flies came straight back at me. I casted again and the same fish moved over and sucked down the trailer again. I set the hook and came to the conclusion that either that fish had a big hole in his mouth, My fly was missing the hook, or possibly, I’m not a very good dry fly fisherman. I checked the hook and it looked fine so I’m going with the fish having a void in his mouth area.Hehe.
          Looking toward the future. As of now, we are still seeing a few tricos, caddis and pmd’s, and when temp drops and the water clears we will be back fishing the Bwo’s. Yummy!
          A few odds and ends, now I’m sure I’m going to sound a little like a homer but after going back and forth the last month fishing my Igniter and X, I just can’t say enough about those two rods. Light, powerful, and an absolute blast to fight fish(as long as the fish don’t have holes in their mouths). The shop still has a limited number of A&W’s in the shop and when they are gone, they will be gone until next year. And lastly, our tip to Belize next year is nearly filled. We have one room left and it will be first come first served. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Scott Frost & Vance Joseph and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Thursday, October 4, 2018

If It's Meant To Be.....

        Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady fly Fishing adventures. Yesterday the Drift hosted a large trip here in P-town. I was particularly excited about it because our river had been fishing so well and I love showing off our river to out-of-towners, but when we got to the water, the bugs were nowhere to be found.  Now every single one of them hooked fish and almost all landed fish and Cat will let everyone who will listen know that her client landed the fish of the day, but for me, the day left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. At one point my client said that’s why they call it fishing and not catching, when I let him out of time-out he promised me he wouldn’t ever use those words again. I almost found myself by the end of the day using the phrase “If it’s meant to be”.
          As a long time guide I have gotten to the point that I still love every fish I ever catch, but I find it way more enjoyable watching clients hook the fish of a lifetime rather than me. This morning while walking the dogs I looked around and thought I bet the bugs are out today and I really needed to get the bad tasted out of my mouth. I got home, got my gear packed and headed to the river and that is where the miracle happened. I left my house and drove to the first stop light and I had the green, I got on the interstate and began working my way through town. Light after light after light I never even slowed down and I hit every single green. Now if you have ever driven around P-town then you know what a rarity it is. Pueblo was not designed to move traffic around at a quick pace. I got to my fishing spot and as I was getting ready it hit me that I had just hit every green light and that had to be some kind of awesome omen, yep, Today is meant to be!
          The river was back to being on fire today, tricos were swarming for hours and the fish making the most of it. It’s always fun having days like this but at the same time I sure wished we had had the big group out today. Well anyway, I guess that’s why they call it……..nope I won’t say it.
          Speaking of, if it’s meant to be, I wanted to put a quick update out on next years Belize trip. We have two rooms left so get with us if you are interested. I’m not complaining but after not taking real vacations for twenty-five years, it sure is enjoyable to see what the world has to offer. Thank you Cat, Cody and Kim for reminding me that there is more to life than work. Fish today were eating Tricos and A & W’s. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Trane and the Drift Fly Shop wants to thank you for reading…..

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Ark..9/25

Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to put out a quick update of the current conditions on our river. Flows over the last week have been right around 160cfs and clarity has been very good. Fall conditions have been really unpredictable the last several years but this last week has really put me on a fishing high. The last few trips have seen lots of fish and Cat and I spent about three hours on the river today and will be smiling into next week. We have had incredible trico spinner falls, and PMD’s hatch off and on all afternoon, and caddis in the early evening.
My best guess is that we should have really good clarity for the next three weeks or so, and by mid-October, I would expect to see turnover to begin. Now I want to take a second and toot my own horn. If you have been thinking about booking a guide then get it done now, sight fishing right now is fantastic but I should probably warn you, once you see fish and get your flies in front of it and you get to watch it eat, you will never look at fly fishing the same way again. The video is of the Tricos this morning, not sure how well it will come through.
We currently have a limited number of A&W’s in the shop for sale. The A&W was designed by myself several year ago for our Fall PMD’s. The fly is working well right now and when turnover starts, don’t leave home without it. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Igniter.....

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have been a long-time follower of the blog and have read my many product reviews, then you know that my reviews are anything but normal. Rather than just tossing out a bunch of technical specs, I try to paint a picture of the usability of a product. I have been a trout guide and a part time fly shop employee for about ten years and although it may be sacrilegious, personally I don’t think castability is the most important part of a fly rod. This is a review of the new Sage Igniter fly rod.
            I wanted to start by giving my first impressions of the Igniter. As a long-time shop rat and an obsessed fly fisherman, every time a new rod comes into the shop I have to pick it up and get that initial impression. I have picked up and examined hundreds and hundreds of rods over the years and came away with a whole array of first impressions. The first Igniter I got to play with was my wife Cat’s 9 foot 5 wt. The color was interesting to say the least. I have never been one to think that color will ever make the difference in catching fish but if you are going to spend that much money on a rod, then you want it to look good. Cat liked the color so much that she matched her fingernails to the rod. Picking up the rod the first thing I noticed was that it felt a slight bit heavier than the Sage X. Looking at the specs, it is about quarter of an ounce heavier. Once we added a reel, the weight difference was negligible and when holding upright I didn’t feel the weight but could definitely feel the stability. The next thing I did was give it a good shake and there was absolutely no jiggle in the rod, it flexed down and up and came back to center almost immediately. I loved the feel and the look but was worried the flex may be a little stiffer than I like.
            Now here is the part of the review that I hope the rod designers never read. In the opening of this blog I stated that personally as a trout guide, I don’t think castability is the most important part of a fly rod. A few weeks back we had a client that was getting ready for his trip to Colorado and was telling my wife that he had been practicing and he was pretty confident at casting up to about sixty feet. When Cat told me that I laughed and asked if she explained we were only going to be fishing one river at a time. The majority of my fishing is done at twenty-five feet or less. I have guided many clients over the years that can cast a mile but the most successful trout anglers are the ones that can control their flies once they hit the water.
            Last week I headed to the Western Slope to visit my son and spend some quality time on the water with him, I brought Cat’s new Igniter to give it a test run. The rod was set up with a Sage Spectrum Lt and a Rio Grand line and I began with 5x fluoro. The river was super low and really clear so the majority of our fish were sighted out. I started by landing a few cutties in the 14 or 15 inch range that had been sitting about fifteen feet away. I use a roll/flip cast and found the rod to be deadly accurate. The fight on the smaller fish was more enjoyable that I expected. I can’t stand the super stiff rods that don’t give you the ability to feel the fish. The wind picked up early afternoon and the rod never lost a beat even tossing it into the wind. The second day we found some bigger fish and eventually had to go down to 6x, I hooked a pretty big fish but he got me into the rocks before I could really get a feel for him, but caught several in the 14 to 17inch range and the tippet was protected fine. When I got home, I enjoyed the rod enough that I ordered my own in a 4wt and have now had the chance to fish it several times. Now here is the thing that I don’t really understand and am trying to wrap my head around, when I have fished really fast rods in the past, the energy from the fish ends up going straight into my forearm. And sometimes the slower rods get to a certain flex and then stop and I end up with the same forearm strain. Here is what I absolutely love about the Igniter the most. I have now landed a few fish over twenty and today landed one that measured 23 and was a fatty. I fight fish quick and got this one landed quickly. I hooked him on 5x fluoro and the DMZ was the soft seam between the current and the dead water I was standing in, he didn’t want to leave the current and I wasn’t going in. I kept the 5x as close to the breaking point as I could and I could feel the flex deep into the rod, but never felt like the flex was at its end.  When I finally got his face to the surface I steered him across the surface and into my incredible wife’s net. After a few quick pics and a healthy release, I began to think about the rods performance and I am still smiling. The rod not only protected the 5x tippet but it also absorbed the strength of the fish and kept the stress from my arm.
            Now as for the casting of the rod, we have taken it out a few times testing and it really casts well, a haul or double haul can cast as far as you want. We were really happy that the rod doesn’t seem to be stuck as a one-line pony. A Rio Gold line still loads the rod but just lands a little softer, and the Rio Grand line can turn over a fly even if it has to go through a wall, but how often do you really cast to fish behind a wall.
            Now is the new Igniter for you, that is hard to say but I am a huge fan of both the X and the new Igniter. I think Sage has put it in the specialty category but personally I think it’s a great all around nymphing and Colorado rod. If you want to toss more dries then stick with the X, but if you want a beast to go head to head with the piggies, this rod might just be for you. Stop by the shop and give one a cast, or better yet, fish one and feel the excitement for yourself. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Gold Rush.....

            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have never seen the TV series Gold Rush, you are missing a whole lot of fun. Now gold mining by itself should be quite boring, but watching the bumbling group of Todd Hoffman’s crew is pretty hilarious. The first season they spent millions of dollars mining and only collected a few thousand dollars of gold. Every episode they would interview Todd and he would say the same thing, “we have to get serious gold this week or we could be finished”. One episode they had a professional come in and help and when he measured the pitch of the sluice box, the expert explained that it was to steep and all the gold was flushing straight through. Another expert came in to help and ended up poaching the Hoffman’s claim. They had fist fights, Todd’s dad smashed a wash plant with a loader, they had permit issues and pretty much everything that could go wrong, did. And when they finally had a season that ended in the black, the following season they headed to South America. Episode after episode and season after season it was always the same, a total cluster and at the end of the show, Todd would once again explain that if the next week isn’t better, they could be out of business. I guess after a while I no longer tuned in to see how they were doing but more about what was going to go wrong this episode and all along, a young kid was bringing in millions of gold.
            As some of our readers know, the last few years Cat and I have spent some time trying to figure out how to catch carp. Now as a professional fly-fishing guide, I have always been pretty happy with my skills however trying to catch carp have made me feel a little more like Todd Hoffman and a little less like me. I have walked miles, tried hundreds of flies, tried different times of the days and have spooked more carp than gold that the Hoffman’s have lost. I have spent several days watching people that had been successful but while with me they were blanked and if I had a TV show I would have been canceled years ago. Today, I hit the mother lode. With the flows on the Ark entering the dangerous area for trout, I have been chasing a few carp lately. This morning I got into one of my usual spots and carp were moving in. I tossed to several and I thought it was going to be just like every other day, but this time my fly landed a few feet in front of a tailer and as the fly dropped, the fish headed over to take a look. His face buried into the bottom and I lifted. The fish ripped down river but just as I was clearing my line, I lost tension and he spit the hook. I imagined me sitting around a campfire saying tomorrow will be different. I walked a little way up river and I saw another group eating. I dropped the fly in front and another fish headed over to take a look and grabbed a bite, I set, and it was on. I have never had a chance to sit in on a gold weigh-in, but I’m guessing the sound of gold pouring on to a scale is not that much different than my Spectrum screaming out line. He bull-dogged me for a while and then I finally got him turned. I can’t tell you how accomplished I felt. I headed up river and landed another that was even bigger and then finished the day blind casting and landing a big walleye. After a few years of more frustration than I can remember, today I got my gold.
            While reflecting on my successful day I began to question what was different. I want to say that maybe the most important things I have found is to be patient, don’t waste your time casting to fish that are on the move. What a fun way to spend the day on the river.
            If you are not aware, the river has dropped to super low flows and temps have spiked the last few days. PLEASE leave the trout alone during the heat of the day. If you are going to fish please get out early. The warmth of the water makes it very difficult for trout to get oxygen and a strong fight will very likely kill the fish. If you are bored you can always hire a guide and maybe you can be on the next episode of Gold Rush…Pueblo Style(A carp trip). As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Hoffman crew, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Never to Early....

          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. A few weeks back I was looking the calendar and I realized how quick this summer was coming to an end. Schools are back in session this week and my Huskers are starting fall practice. In the fishing world, the summer guiding season is coming to an end and it is a perfect time to begin planning next years trips. If you are a long-time reader then you remember me writing a blog about Cody and his Salt-camp a few years back. I didn’t understand the obsession at the time but after a few trips of our own, it all made sense. 
         Two years ago, Cat and I spent two weeks in Hawaii with Cody and Kim and out of the twelve days we spent fishing I only landed two bonefish. Now some may look at that as an utter failure but to Cat and myself, it became the ultimate challenge. We followed it with eight days in the Bahamas and then an incredible week in Belize. Although all our trips were entertaining, nothing really compared to the week in Belize. We found the perfect lodge, and have decided next years trip we wanted to share with our friends.
          We have the lodge reserved for April 13th through the 20th next year. The lodge has a total of six rooms and four are already spoken for. The days at the lodge are as follows; Breakfast and coffee is served at just after six in the morning. When finished eating your guide picks you up in their boat out back at the dock located a one minute walk behind lodge at around seven. After telling your guide what you are looking for, you spend the next several hours on the hunt. When you get back to lodge from a day of fishing you have your choice. You can relax and tell stories in the pool, you can grab a golf cart and head into town or if you didn’t get you fill of fish for the day, you can always grab a paddle board and take a quick paddle to a nearby flat. Dinner is served around seven and then once again, head to town or just sit back and tell stories.
          If you have never spent anytime fishing salt flats I want to now explain why it is so special. There are gobs of species to target on the flats but I wanted to focus on the main three, Bones, Permit and Tarpon. The majority of the fishing in Belize is spent from the front of the boat. Your guide will be on a platform in the back and will slowly inch the boat down the flats and will call out the fish they see. After the guide calls out fish, your heart begins to run about a hundred miles per hour. You dig deep and strain your eyes as hard as you can to see what the guide is seeing, and then out of nowhere they appear. Your heart now is trying to come out of your chest and you cast, if your fly lands where you want, you feel the monkey fall off your back, you take a breath and then you see the fish turn. A quick strip and you see three bones chase it down, a second strip and the line comes tight. You screech YEAHHHHH and your reel begins to scream. Now I would love to tell you how easy it is but that would be a lie, and I think that is why I now get the whole Cody thing, can’t get enough of the salt.
          Now the reason we picked the middle of April is that it is the best of all conditions. If you live in Colorado then you know how the last several winters just never come to an end. Weather here will be anywhere between ten and eighty degrees and when you land in San Pedro, temps will be between eighty-three and eighty-eight degrees, yep perfect. The bones are always in the area and April is the best time for shots at permit. The big tarpon are beginning to move in and if the wind is right, you should definitely get a shot or two. On the lousy weather days there are plenty of other options, snook, snappers and baby tarpon can always be found under the mangroves.
          So here is the reason for this blog write-up. We have two rooms left for next years trip and would love to spend the week with more of our readers. The lodge is very laid back, clean and feels like home. Prices are quite a bit less expensive then other lodges in the area. The time is now to begin planning for next years trip so please get in touch with us if spending the week with Cat and I in Belize sounds fun for you, but I should warn you, it may become your new obsession. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Bluebonefish and the Drift Fly shop want to thank you for reading……

Saturday, July 28, 2018

In the Leather...

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly fishing Adventures. One of the great things about being a fly fishing guide is that I get to help people experience some of the biggest and feistiest fish they have ever seen. The most difficult part about being a guide is that even when conditions are difficult, it is my job to get people into fish. My last few trips out have left a bad taste in my mouth and todays plan was for a little payback.
          The river was pretty crowded today but we basically got to fish every run that we wanted. The fish were eating right off the bat and after Jen had a few quick release fish, she landed the fish of the day, a beautiful 18 inch chubby. Brian was in a run a short distance away and after a few drifts I heard the familiar “fish on” scream. I set up to help and watched as the fish just went ballistic back and forth and at one time the line went completely limp, he started running back and the line came tight again. Brian worked the bow into the landing water and as I was trying to net it, it made a quick run over my net. We got him close again and as I was reaching, he said no and if I were a younger man, I might have made a dive but the fish spit the hook. I looked at Brian and he gave me the normal question, “what did I do wrong”? I noticed as I looked up that he was wearing a golf hat and I thought about the old “in the leather” saying. When golfing in the old days, if the ball was between the leather grip and the putter head it was considered good.  Shortly after that Brian hooked another piggie but this one had no intentions of playing, he took him straight into the rocks and sawed him off. Jen moved down and after a serious breakoff, she landed her second toad of the day. I saw Brian fighting another and after running back to help he got the fish right up next to me, I grabbed the net and as I was bringing it down to scoop, a quick head shake and he was off. So here is how the day will be explained, they both caught a few really nice fish, Jen got them to the net and Brian had them in the leather. Well done guys and thanks a million, it is so much more enjoyable when we can get the fish to eat.
          Now just a couple of announcements, first, the water temps are beginning to edge upwards into the dangerous range after about 2:00. So please fight the fish as quickly as you can and get them revived and back in quickly. Secondly, a friend of mine accidently left his set up in the Osprey parking lot a few weeks ago. The rod is a Hardy and the reel is a purple Galvan. If you happen to have picked it up or have heard of anyone finding it please bring it by the shop and we can get it to the rightful owner. The reel is very special and means way more to the owner than what someone could sell it for on ebay. If you bring it by, I will tie you a dozen of any of my signature flies. Thanks, and it would sure mean a lot to my friend. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Tiger Woods and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

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….