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……