August! From the Lakes to the Coast…

September 2nd, 2018 No comments

August has been superb! Not long after arriving back in NZ from Ireland, I joined Robbie, Tom and Jeremy for a couple of days on Lake Benmore. I went and got the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat to give us some options around the lake. After the couple of days with the lads I held on to the boat since nobody was using it. It has been fantastic! Pretty much all the lakes are fishing well, some very well! Catching up with friends has been as good as the fishing. The weather has been very settled, warm and sunny with very little wind. Ideal fishing conditions, although at times a little more wind would have been an advantage to make the boat drift.

There are a few rivers open in this area, but August around here is best on the lakes. Brown trout are well and truly finished spawning and are back in the lakes trying to regain condition. They also haven’t seen an angler for a while so this combination makes them very keen to eat a fly – any fly! Fish on Lake Dunstan have been happy to eat small streamers even in the flat calm on 3x. A few more weeks and this simply wont work unless the wind is blowing. It’s fun out there. I’ve fished it 3 days from the boat averaging 8 per day. Benmore was a little slower but it will be improving daily as fish continue to drop back to the lake. Hawea didn’t really fish for Guy and I. It certainly did 6 years ago but such is fishing.. I’d been dying to get back there ever since 4 super weekends in a row in August 2012. Everything was the same; lake level, wind, conditions,  just no fish! This is how it was – Hawea 2012

The West Coast has eluded me since Jeff, Nick and myself filmed our episode for the second series of Pure Fly New Zealand. Mark and I went over for a couple of days recently. The main thing I wanted to do was the river mouths. The last week in August is when you have the most amount of whitebait running with the least amount whitebaiters chasing them! Therefor you have the place to yourself. I have hit some excellent fishing during this week in the past, but it was very quiet for us. The tides worked out well. On day 1 we arrived there in the morning an hour before high tide and fished for 2 hours. I got one small fish. The top and bottom of the tide are usually the best so we left the river mouth and fished the lower reaches of a river for a few hours. On the coast many rivers are open year round from the main highway bridge to the sea. This was good! I met 5 and landed one well conditioned, buttery brown. Then back to a different river mouth for low tide. I got 1 and touched a few more. The river mouths are a pretty gruelling fishery. They require dogged persistence and confidence.

Day 2 we took on a lake. It started slow but the fishing just got better and better. Boat and bank. Sight fishing to cruisers and blind stripping buggers on intermediates got the fish. Shitloads of them!

I’m not sure what fishing is on the cards next! September is here and I’ll be making the most of it. The lakes will only get better…

Tight Lines All!!

Ronan..

For bookings and information on guided fly fishing for the coming season, contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website Ronan’s Fly Fishing Missions

A Heatwave in Ireland & Becoming “MR STEEL TESTICLES”, 2018.

August 8th, 2018 No comments

When Iza and I arrived in Dublin we were surprised to walk into a wall of heat getting off the plane. I thought we got off at the wrong country! We boarded a westbound bus and watched the temperature rise to 30 celsius by the time we made Galway. It turned out we landed right in the middle of a heatwave! The weather continued for weeks. I had a few days after trout and salmon but the lakes were like bathwater and the fishing was useless. Generally, when weather doesn’t suit one species, it suits another. Even this theory was pushed a little off centre. I heard the pike fishing was poor during the heatwave. The extreme temperatures, which were unprecedented in Ireland, don’t do shallow water fishing any good. No surprise there. When the water cooled down a little, the pike fishing was okay but the trout needed further coaxing – rain and cool weather was desperately needed! Even the inshore pollack fishing suffered. I have never felt Roundstone’s beaches so warm. The heat was great for swimming, snorkelling and the like but not for fishing. The one species I didn’t chase that maybe I should have was mullet. Their numbers are on the rise again after declining for a while. In the latter end of the trip I got wise to a few great spots to chase them but I didn’t make it happen for one reason or another. I’m probably better off! Mullet around Connemara are, in my experience at least, virtually impossible to catch.

During my last few days in Roundstone the rain came with a vengeance! Dad and I took on Lough Inagh and a river beat for the rain day expecting / hoping salmon would run. I’m sure they did but we didn’t intercept any. The Inagh, Ballynahinch system rose as fast as I’ve experienced. Usually the first hour of a rising river is good but we missed that (it was at about 4am!). After an hour or so on the river we went to Inagh. It didn’t fire either, though I think I rose one grilse before it got too dirty to fish anymore in the afternoon. The lake rose at a rate of about 1 foot per hour. As Kylemore and Inagh settled in the past few days the fishing has improved.

One thing I have learned over the 6 weeks at home – I prefer Irish weather to be Irish! Wind, rain, an odd good day, cloud and cool. With global warming upon us, this type of heat is probably going to become more common in Ireland. Look out Spain!

And now for something completely different. Petanque! Myself and Justin have being playing our own version of the game for a while. Justin decided to run a competition. The plan was to gather the old crew together, get on the beer and play Petanque to the proper rules. We had a couple of ideas for the trophies so I spent a couple of hours in the workshop knocking them out! Last place, “The Hand of Ineptitude”, Second last “The Kick in the Arse”, “aka Christy” because there was a left foot on the trophy. Funnily enough, Daniel Day Lewis was in town. What are the odds? I should have asked him to present it! Second place, “Just Out of Reach” (hence the back scratcher!) and First place, “MR STEEL TESTICLES”. Of the 6 lads in the competition (James, Justin, Nigel, Niall, Tom and Myself) I knew I’d be well down the rankings, probably last. By some miracle I came back against James from 8 – 2 down to win 10 – 9 in my first game. That was the beginning of my lucky streak. Somehow I gained the title of MR STEEL TESTICLES, 2018 in a tie breaker against Justin. All the trophies will become perpetual with names engraved for the future of the cup! Who wouldn’t want one of these on their mantlepiece for a whole year?? The craic was mighty and half of us pushed through til dawn.. I need to get a set of balls to practice for next year!

The 6 weeks in Ireland was more family and friends oriented than ever. Adaline enjoyed her first trip to Roundstone and met her first cousin, Casey. It was a pleasure to see them together. Paddling pools, a christening, a 40th, trips to the beach, dinners at home, Kila in Galway, a few carpentry projects to make life a bit easier for the recipients, Guinness, seafood the likes of which is simply not available in NZ (thanks to Vaughans and O Dowd’s), snorkelling, swimming, an odd pint, the list goes on. Home is home!! So much to do we rarely ventured far from Roundstone. Family and friends, Thanks you all.. and a special thanks to those who travelled to see us!

Back in NZ now, Next season is 2/3 full but still plenty spots available. If you’d like to lock in a trip, please get in touch, ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

Winter Monsters!

June 15th, 2018 No comments

We’re lucky around here to have an abundance of winter fishing opportunities. There are 3 large rivers and lots of lakes in the vicinity. All are open to the angler willing to brave the elements (which usually aren’t that bad) and take it on. I haven’t been out this winter as much as I have in recent winters, with my new role as a father taking priority. I’m loving that, even if it does cut into my fishing time! Soon enough she’ll come with me.

I’ve had 4 days floating down local rivers recently. The most fun thing about the pontoon boat is that it needs 2 people to float properly, so somebody has to join me. It’s usually not too hard to find a fishing buddy. After a busy guiding season its the perfect way to catch up with the lads. Whether we catch fish or not, floating down the river is great way to spend a day and have the craic.

The most exciting prospect in Otago winter fishing is the chance of a big fish. Some very large rainbows and browns migrate all these rivers every winter. A rainbow over 6lbs is a super trout and they’re the ones I’m after. I recently broke my rainbow record with a 9lber. A tank of a trout about a foot in girth which accelerated after my fly as I was lifting to recast. Sometimes when my brain has told my arm to recast, I cant stop the rod in time when I see a last moment chase from a trout. This time I managed to stop with the rod at about 45 degrees. The trout engulfed the fly and I struck from 45 to beyond 90 to set the hook! Such close quarter, chaotic, last second, visual fishing really gets the heart pumping. Much of the fight was close to me but I had to apply the pain when the fish ran towards some reeds. I turned him just as Tom was there with the net. An 8wt and strong tippet was a big advantage. What a moment! I was awestruck!

Another fish worth a mention was on a float trip with my good friend, Chris Dore. Chris had walked upstream to swing an edge while I worked a deep drop-off. This is a spot that I’ve had great success at over the last few years. It’s all about getting the fly deep. I don’t use a sinking line because its not very versatile for the multitude of water I cover in a day and I don’t want multiple rods on the boat. I use a very heavy fly on a 16 – 17 foot leader and try to get it deep. when I think its deep enough I let it sink some more. lots of stack mending or whatever it takes to get the fly deep. paying line off the reel is a good one now and again. When I’m where I want to be I stop the line and let the current take up the slack. A very slow retrieve from the depth is best. Takes can be savage or very gentle. This one was gentle. A faint tap, followed by 2 more faint taps at which time I strip struck into a heavy head shake. A magic moment again! I live for this. I knew it was a big fish. Heavy gear to shorten the battle once again paid dividends. If these fish get into the main flow it could be game over so I don’t feel over gunned with an 8wt. After landing the fish I had hoped I’d get Chris’s attention to come and get a great photo, but he couldn’t hear me calling out to him. I took a quick shot with the 10 second timer and let him off. Typical of migratory salmonids, the larger fish run first. I expect they’ll move off the radar soon. I’m glad I got my piece of the cake!

Dougal, Tom, Jeff and Chris; Thanks for floating with me! They were some of the highlights of my season.

For guiding bookings and information for next season, contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website ronansflyfishingmissions.com. I do not offer guided float trips!

Tight Lines!

Ronan..

Fly Fishing Near Chicago..

May 30th, 2018 No comments

On a short trip to Chicago with Iza last year to see my Aunty Ita I managed to squeeze in a fishing day. One thing that excites me about fly fishing in a place I know nothing about is figuring it out. The first thing was to find a location. I wanted something near the city to see if decent urban fishing existed. There were quite a few lakes in the vicinity of the city and all held fish. The surrounds of these lakes were built up housing estates. After some research I chose Busse Woods Lake. It’s quite big, made up of a number of interconnected smaller lakes with good scope for casting a fly without hooking a pedestrian. Target species? Whatever eats the fly! I tried a number parts of the lake before deciding on a location to focus on. After a short walk along the shore there was nobody around. The people congregated close to car parks or formed tracks but once I got onto a wild lake edge the people / anglers were only visible in boats. I walked the shore, blind casting looking for structure or anything fishy. I picked up a little bluegill and a couple of small bass as I hunted the margins. Then I spotted a decent swirl. I put on a silicon smelt and sent in a number of casts in the vicinity of the movement. I had a take but no hook up, then a follow, another follow; all from the same fish I’m pretty sure. Finally a solid hook up and I landed a healthy largemouth bass, about a pound in weight. I continued my mission around the lake which was mostly very quiet but I picked up another wee bass and a crappie big enough to fight back. As the sun started to set I was about walk back along the shore but I heard some voices, I pushed on a little and met an old man and his dog. We chatted for ages about life in general, only occasionally mentioning fishing! He put me wise to a much easier way to walk back to the car. All up, a very successful day in my book!

For bookings and information about the 2018-19 NZ season, contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

 

Seize the Carp!

May 22nd, 2018 No comments

Travelling to fly fishing destinations is not usually cheap, but there are some affordable options around the world. Portugal is one. Target species is carp! Initially I thought about hiring a guide but with a little research I found some decent info and decided to wing it. As luck would have it, my old mate Tonio was in the country and keen to meet for a fish. He also had quite a lot of experience with Portuguese carp so the stars really aligned for me. My research had pointed me towards Lake Alqueva and I also got wind of some small lakes near Evora. This was the area Tonio knew so Iza and I booked our accommodation in Evora and then on the Monsaraz beside Lake Alqueva. Fly fishing really does bring you to some super places. Evora was a nice little town but Monsaraz was something out of a fairytale! A quaint, rustic, romantic little walled village full of character and history. The perfect place to bring your other half. No need to mention the lake full of carp which occupies much of its magnificent vista. I met Tonio the evening before our 3 fishing days began. We drank a few beers and chatted about old times. Roll on the next three days!

Day 1 and 2 were good. At times the carp were few and far between and we walked kilometres of shoreline in search of them. My flip-flops on day one were a very bad choice of footwear with lots of walking on uneven ground and mud! I don’t know what I was thinking!! When we did find carp they were not easy. As I had learned in the Azores, travelling fish were hard to entice but a fish with his head down and tail up – actively feeding fish were catchable. I was armed with my 6 wt Hot Toroedo and a Harfin reel. 3x tippet seemed to be the right choice for the carp we were encountering. We were using small buggers to begin with but I experimented with other flies, even catching one on a buzzer! One fly really seemed to have some magic though. It was a simple size 12, unweighted nymph with a claret body of possum fur and a red game tail. Once I put this fly on I really started catching. I gave a couple to Tonio and he also did well on it. We fished 3 different lakes landing about 16 carp over days 1 and 2 with the best fish around 5lbs. Good fun and challenging but where are the big fish?? We did see one 8lb plus fish come to think of it, but it was a fleeting opportunity.

Day 3. One of Western Europes largest dams, Lake Alqueva. Tonio had little info on this huge lake so we just picked a random spot near the bridge looking back up towards Monsaraz on the hill. We covered a few ks of shoreline only seeing about 6 fish. we didn’t land any but to our delight they were a lot bigger. Three times the size of what we were seeing on days 1 and 2. We decided to pull out and go somewhere else in the hope of finding better numbers. Tonio had an idea to drive quite a long way, then we followed our noses down some dirt tracks back to the lake. On arrival we knew we in better water. Lots of points, bays, drop-offs and weed beds. The banks were firm and gravelly and not muddy like a lot of previous water. We had lunch in the shade of a cork tree before hitting the water. I couldn’t help but think that maybe the handle of my fly rod originated right here! I went right and Tonio went left. We had walkie talkies to stay in touch. Tonio was just out of sight when he came through on the radio. “I’m in” he said, “and it’s big!” I replied “I’m in too, and it’s big”. The claret nymph once again. My first fish was also my biggest. I’d say 12 – 13lbs. After seeing the larger fish earlier in the day I upped the tippet from 8lb to 14lb. I was very glad I did. The moment these fish feel the hook they go ballistic! They’re incredibly fast, powerful fish and they run! I was delighted with my fish. Tonio was too. We knew the lake had a reputation for fewer but bigger fish so we were hoping to land one each. That was not to be however! Around the next corner there was another one, mooching around in a dense weed bed. I cast the nymph about a foot in front of the fish and let it settle, one twitch as it got to depth and I saw the carp move in slowly, then a quick motion of its mouth and I struck instantly. Chaos! This fish was as good as the first if not better. He went straight out into the lake against tight drag almost to my backing. Then I made a mistake! I told Tonio over the radio that I was in again and inadvertently eased up on the fish as I fumbled with the radio. He got into the weeds and broke me. Lesson learned! The next fish I landed. I ended up hooking 8 and landing 5 for the day, all between 8 and 13lbs. All sight fishing. I know Tonio also had a great day landing a number of fish. A well timed strike seemed to be the key to success. The place is spectacular too. Wide open, wild space dotted with cork trees. I’m not sure what the best time of year to go is but I was there last September.

For anyone living in Europe this fishery is very accessible with regular, inexpensive flights to Lisbon. We saw some great deals from Boston too. There is a fly fishing guide operating out of Evora. He can pick you up at the airport and take you to his base. He has a package deal with accommodation, food and transport included and it’s reasonably priced. You can contact Jose Rodrigues through his website – http://www.carponflyadventures.com. The other option is to go it alone! I was lucky enough to have Tonio to show me a few lakes near Evora. With respect for local anglers, I won’t name these lakes but just look on a map. My guess is that all the lakes have carp (but maybe I’m wrong!). A simple plan if you were to go unguided would be to base yourself in Monsaraz (or anywhere near the lake) and fish Alqueva every day. The lake is vast (250KM2, 1200km of shoreline) with a multitude of different types of lakeshore. The fish are big. Walk, stalk, you’ll find fish! I can’t recommend it highly enough. There are black bass there too!

On a final note, it was really great to hang out and fish with Tonio again. It’s been a long time! We fished almost an entire season together in NZ about 10 years ago. I met Tonio and Paul for the first time a few years before that. They were filming “The Instructor” which I happily got involved in. That was the beginning of my involvement with the madness that is Sexyloops and the beginning of my friendships with both Tonio and Paul. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since! We had a superb 3 days fishing! I hope it’s not 10 years til we do it again.. Many thanks, Tonio!

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

If you’re thinking about a trip to NZ next season and you’d like my guidance, please drop me a line. Well over half of next season is booked up already. Contact me on www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

 

 

Take a Kid Fishing!

May 12th, 2018 No comments

I’m at home looking after Adaline today as Iza is back to work. With the baby having a nap I found myself with a little free time. A day fishing I had at home last summer sprang to mind so I decided to find the photos and tell that story..

A good friend of mine has 2 sons who are mad keen fishermen! They’ve been following some of my exploits here in NZ and I had promised to take them fishing. Last July I took them out. Oisin had his own fly rod and had used it a few times, while Sam had not cast before. Sami was 7, Oisin 10. We set out. I had decided to take them to Ballinlough in Co. Mayo because it’s a stocked lake and the trout are usually pretty willing to take a fly and a lot bigger than mountain lake trout. We were on the water at about 11. After a few casting lessons we got down to business. I kept the boat in areas of the very shallow lake where I knew trout lived. They were not easy! I had quite a few casts myself to no avail. Oisin was fishing very well, keeping the fly where it needed to be. Sami was bouncing around the boat full of questions and enthusiasm, occasionally taking the rod for a few casts. Eamonn was fishing hard. The hours flew by with no fish to the net. Then a few fish started to move to adult damsels. Eamonn quickly hooked one of these but it broke off when the line jammed in the reel. Possibly the biggest fish in the lake. He moved another one or 2, then things went quiet again. With an hour left I decided to change tactics to try to get the boys a fish. I suggested that we troll flies for a while. To Oisin’s credit he wanted to keep casting! I explained that he needed to keep the flies in front of him and not let them drift under the boat! With renewed vigour he upped his game. I put on a damsel nymph under a dry and explained to him how to fish it. Within half an hour his dry went under and he lifted the rod. I didn’t need to tell him anything. He made the cast, saw the take, struck the fish and played it all the way to the net. This one trout meant so much to these boys, and to Eamonn and myself. To see the utter joy on their faces. No envy from Sami, just happiness for his brother and for being there. It was a truly ecstatic moment for everyone in the boat and ranks right up there with any of my fishing highs. I was a little relieved too.. these boys think I know what I’m doing!! Whenever I’m home next we’ll do it again. Hopefully the fish will be a bit more cooperative! Keep fishing, Oisin and Sami (and Eamonn)!!!

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

For guiding bookings and information in NZ contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

River Keeping!

May 10th, 2018 No comments

River keeping is something I’ve been thinking about lately. How many times have you fished a pool and though “if only that branch wasn’t there I’d be able to cast to that fish!” Well, I often though that. In recent years I’ve made some effort to remove offending branches and its paid off. I want to take it to the next level though. As of now I’m going to carry a saw instead of the little saw blade on my Victorinox knife. As a guide I’m always searching out new water. Occasionally I find something great that receives little or no attention so a little river keeping goes a long way here. There are a few small streams I know of which have become totally choked with willows over the years. Many beautiful pools have become totally unfishable but it doesn’t need to be that way. Lets say you fish that stream 3 times a season, and each time you fish it you bring your saw and spend half an hour making a pool or a run fly friendly, think how quickly it would become totally open again! Better again if some of your friends do the same! Or, you could just go nuts and round up a posse and spend a day clearing it! Fuck it, bring a chainsaw! Have a think about it. I’m sure a river or a pool on a river will spring to mind. Its something you could do over the off season, just take care that you’re not walking on redds. Time to buy an aggressive saw that will fit in your pack! A machete too, maybe..

With some semi-planned down time around mid March to mid April I got quite a lot of fishing in! Some of the family were over so dad and I fished every day we could (which was most!) This trip was a little different to other trips for dad. Mom and my sister were also here to meet our daughter, Adaline, so it was family time. All the fishing we did was in day trip distance from home. Every evening we relaxed, ate great food, drank some nice wine and just enjoyed being together. I can’t wait til we can do it all again! We fished all sorts of water. Big lakes, dams, tiny streams to big rivers. With regular, heavy rainfall it wasn’t easy to find clear rivers but with local experience and a little luck we were able to find rivers and streams clear enough to fish. Dad had always wanted some dry fly action on a tiny stream. We had one super day which was just that. It’s quite hard to find consistent dry fly water but this wee stream seems to be one. Great fishing!

Robbie and I also had a super couple of days chasing rainbows and browns in his neck of the woods. Better than expected with blistering bows and one very large brown! The worm fly was deadly – either because of the regular high water washing real worms down the river or because it just looks like too much food to pass up. Both are true. It did make me think though after I picked a 4″ dead earthworm out of the river. “These worm flies are way too small!!!” I think I’ll tie some huge worm flies! They have to work..

One of the most interesting things I’ve witnessed this season was on one of the local, high country reservoirs. Dad, Tom and myself went up for a day with no expectations because it rarely gives up its fish easily. The day began as per usual trying to figure out how to catch this elusive quarry. Dad and I saw a fish or two moving and I lost one not long after starting on a bugger. Tom was moving down the shore and we followed. Tom was seeing some and getting one or 2. When we got to the shallow end of the bay things changed. We could see good numbers of trout bow waving in glary, flat calm, shallow water. They were clearly chasing something. Tom was in the right place landed 4 more on a bugger. I landed one and lost a couple. By the time dad arrived it was all over. We kept a trout for dinner and it was stuffed with 1 inch, grey fry. The edges of the lake were alive with them. I never noticed them there before so maybe it has something to do with all the recent rain? I hoped it was going to be a regular, late season event. The lake is know for it’s cicada fishing but nothing else really so it would be really cool to lock in seasonal event and learn it. Dad and I went back up for his last fishing day of the trip. We were expecting great things but absolutely nothing happened. The fry were there, the wind was exactly the same, all conditions the same just no fish at all – only 4 days later!

Jeff, Kota and myself had a magic day exploring a couple of small mountain streams. With snow on the ground and high altitude views it was a magic day to be alive, fish or no fish!

May is when many fish start their migratory run up river to spawn. These running fish can provide some of the most exciting fishing of the season – for me anyway. I think it might be my favourite time of year! Locally, its very hit and miss but I’ve learned many hot spots over the last few years. Fluctuating flows means that the learning never stops but there are consistencies in pretty much all river flows. The larger fish tend to run first! I’ll be getting amongst it as often as possible.

Thats all for now. I have some good guiding stuff coming up from a couple of multi-day late season trips. One with Chuan – always eventful!

Plenty spaces available in May and over winter. There’s still lots of great fishing to be had even though the season is closed on most brown trout rivers! Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

ps, here’s my latest film on Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/267765023

 

 

What Defines a Trophy Trout?

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

When we think of trophy trout many of us think about the elusive 10lber. Clearly a trout of this size in NZ is a trophy but there’s more to consider. Rainbow trout live about half as long as a brown trout making it much harder for them to reach 10lbs in weight in a natural, wild environment. I have never caught a 10lb plus rainbow. I have landed at least 3 of over 8lbs which I believe to be trophies. From my own experience, I would equal a 10lb brown to an 8lb rainbow. It may be more relevant to say that a trophy trout is relative to the fishery. Anyway, I’ve gone away from the point I had intended to make. There is another trophy trout available in NZ. I think the ultimate prize is not only a very big fish but a very beautiful one too. I think that the odds of catching a big and a beautiful fish are stacked against you, so it’s okay to reduce the “trophy” weight a little! On a recent 5 day trip with my friend and client, Marcus, we got one of those. It was the last fish landed out of 24 for the trip! The scenario was interesting. We were deep in the backcountry and time was running out. We got to a pool and there were 4 visible trout. Mostly around 5lbs but one was clearly bigger than the rest. Certainly 7 plus. I know this section of river to hold some of the most stunning late season trout I’ve seen and I really wanted Marcus to catch one of those. We both agreed, go straight for the big one even though doing this would most likely spook the rest. Marcus sent in a good shot and the fish ate but no hook up. The fish stayed happily in position so he tried again with no response from the trout. I made a number of fly changes with no joy. The other fish were getting a little agitated but generally pretty happy – then I spotted a new arrival to the pool glowing with striking orange colouration. Marcus had seen him moving from the left side of the pool to the right, I missed that but as soon as I saw the fish I knew he had to be our number 1 target. He maybe looked a little smaller than the big one but these orange browns are unique to this river. I’ve been lucky enough to land a few over the years. Our attention moved to him. He ate the first nymph Marcus cast to him but didn’t stick. A few casts later the trout decided to move around the pool passing right under Marcus, eyeballing him as he went.. I passed him my streamer rod before the fish left the pool. Sometimes a spooked fish will still eat a streamer. Marcus sent in the shot, strip strip strip and the trout nailed it! The battle was chaotic including me nearly falling into a deep hole of swift water in my attempt to net the fish. Thankfully the fish stayed on and we landed him downstream a short while later. A truly spectacular trout – he hit the scales at just under 8lbs. One I wont forget. The photo I got does him some justice but it was hard to get a great shot in the low light of the gorge. A trophy trout? You decide!

This blog brings me up to date with my guiding escapades. I’d like to give an account of all the days out but the photos and captions will have to do! I’m loving the evolution of my guiding career. More and more repeat business, forging great friendships with those I guide, more multi-day trips, fewer Queenstown pick-ups. Next season is filling up incredibly quickly so please get in touch if you’d like to lock in a trip.

I managed lots of time to fish myself in the last 2 months so my next blog will be about that.. Some big / beautiful fish, fishing with dad, Robbie, Jeff, Kota etc.. I’ve also started doing a little editing again. I have 3 short films on Vimeo. Here are the links..

Willow Grubbing https://vimeo.com/265928287

Fishing with Dad and Shotgun Kevin https://vimeo.com/264378584

In the Gorge https://vimeo.com/263071289

Thats all for now.. Still plenty spaces in May! For bookings and information contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

Five Days With Marcus..

 

A photo tells a thousand words! The last 6 weeks of guiding..

 

 

Aoife Creane Takes the Piss (Pot), 2018.

March 22nd, 2018 No comments

In 2015 the Wakatipu Anglers Club asked me to host an event for the club on my home water, Lake Dunstan. I was happy to do it but I wanted to host something a little different, so I came up with a competition for the perpetual Piscatorial Pot. I can’t claim credit for the idea as there is already one on Lough Corrib in Ireland. This year was the 4th year of the competition and its gathering momentum, even if the fishing is always pretty hard! As luck would have it My mother, father and sister were over from Ireland to meet Adaline (and see Iza and I!) so I registered my sister, Aoife and my dad, Joe in the club so that they could take part in the competition. A win for dad would put his name on a Piss Pot in each hemisphere so he was off to the lake with a solid battle plan. The anglers arrived and hit the water, some on the bank and some in various floating devises. I took Aoife out in the pontoon boat where she did her best to rid the lake of lagarosiphon. Chatting to a few anglers during the day it was clear people were struggling to land a trout! The 2017 winner, Wesley Seery was standing on top of a high cliff near O Malleys Bank looking down on the water. I called up to him to hear how was doing, “I lost 4” he said. Then Aoife shouted that she had one. My response was “just drag it in there and I’ll take the weed off” but then the weed jumped! By some miracle she hooked a trout on her first day with a spinning rod. She played it well and directed it safely into my net. “The winner” shouted Wesley.. “Hardly” I thought, “but it’s possible!” Shortly after the wind came up so we went ashore. The pontoon boat struggles in the wind! Aoife and I fished the shore at the 45th parallel for a while before heading back to the house a little early to help with the barbecue. The fishermen started appearing after 5 o clock. “Any joy?” I’d ask, “No” they’d say. More and more arrived but the answer remained the same, “No”. There were still a few good anglers who had not reported in but I could see Aoife’s excitement was getting hard to contain.. The last anglers arrived. No fish! Aoife’s excitement was justified. She had the best catch of the day with one rainbow trout of about 3lbs. So, on her first day fishing she managed to beat some top class anglers to take the Piss Pot, as its affectionately known! Congratulations Aoife! She’s also the first female club member to win any Wakatipu Anglers Club cup. Needless to say everyone was delighted for Aoife and her fantastic achievement. We all celebrated for her even though she was in bed at midnight.. the Irish contingent of the club with Brayden pushed through til 4am.. I just want to say one thing “Conor O Boyle” haha..

I’m way behind on my blog! I can’t possibly add all the photos I’ve set aside for blogging, but I have added a few pics from some guide days since my last blog. The fishing has been really excellent as the pictures below will tell. The Lakes & Still Waters option is getting more popular as it should!! I’ll try to get another blog out very soon to catch up.. I still need to add a few stories about fishing with dad. The story of a 10lb trout I guided a month ago too! Speaking of big fish, I have included a photo of my good friend Robbie Mcphee’s monster Kingfish from a recent trip to Golden Bay at the top of the South Island. The fish measured 110cm and was estimated at 36 – 38 lbs. Surly the biggest landed on fly to date from the fishery. An amazing result which left a few local anglers pretty gobsmacked and envious (I heard!!)!

More to come soon. It’s pretty full on right now with work and family! Aoife just left today but mom and dad are here for another week. Work tomorrow but then dad and I will fish 5 days. Can’t wait for that. The rest of the season is pretty packed but there’s a few spots in early April and most of May is still available. Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some guided fishing! ronan@sexyloops.com or check out my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

All the best for now, Ronan..

GUIDING GALLERY

Trout Flats!

January 24th, 2018 No comments

In my questionnaire I send to clients prior to their fishing trip with me I ask “Would you like to fish river, lake or whatever’s best on the day?”. Most say river full stop. Others say “river preferably but a lake if its going to be amazing” I can never guarantee “amazing” so river it is!!. Some say “whatever’s best on the day” but nobody says “lake please!” It’s pretty clear that the average clients understanding of lake fishing is does not really apply to NZ. I think they believe it to be standing in one spot and blind fishing all day. They could not be more wrong! One could fish that way but they wouldn’t do very well generally speaking.

For me, it’s usually sight fishing. Often along a lake edge which we walk and stalk. When an opportunity presents the angler must quickly and accurately intercept the fish with his or her fly. It’s different to a river because we rarely find fish on station waiting for food. Therefor every opportunity is time critical. We must follow the fish or back off if he’s coming towards us, sometimes diving for cover so he doesn’t see us. We don’t want to follow for too long because he may well turn to the deep or cross paths with another fish, another opportunity. Certain lakes offer lots of different shoreline types adding to the appeal.

Sometimes we find fish working a beat. This gives us a chance to plan our attack! Trout will often cruise a set route over and over again. If we see a trout on a flat we may be able to view the whole beat. A good approach then is to cast to the near side of the beat when the trout is at the far side, then wait for the fish to come back and cruise to where our presentation is waiting. Usually a nymph suspended under a dry at cruising depth. The trap is set! This is very exciting and extremely productive and I love it! Interestingly, my clients and I regularly stumble upon this type of fishing in backwaters on many rivers. Not a single client didn’t enjoy it, and certainly nobody asked to be taken back the main river immediately (so you see, you do like lakes!! You just don’t know it yet!!)! Another good thing about the lakes is that they stay pretty cool in hot summers like this one. I have had a number of days recently when trout get a lot quieter in the afternoon as the water heats up on small to medium sized rivers.

Another form of lake fishing is the cream of it. Trout flats. These are wide expanses of ankle to waist deep water of pretty uniform bottom where trout cruise. The approach is walk and and watch! I like to get out to knee deep water where I can slowly walk along stalking pretty much the 360 degrees around me. Sometimes there are lots of trout on the flats, other times few but the quality of the fishing when it’s on must rival bone fishing (I’m guessing, I’ve never done it!). I recently had a 2 hour spell with a client on a trout flat where we had multiple shots coming at us at any one time. It was feckin bananas. The whole day was good but that spell was as good as it gets! Reel screaming, knuckle busting runs from big healthy brown trout. Trout flats are not always easy wading with soft sand and silt often making up the bottom. However, some are firm and easy to wade.

Blind fishing is not to be sniffed at either, though I do understand why this is not top of the list. Being brought up on Irish Loughs, blind fishing was the way to catch fish so I’m very at home doing it here. It’s great from a drifting boat but also great from the bank. On days where you have no sun to sight fish a flat, blind fishing a couple of light PT nymphs can be excellent. Deeper weeded flats are often best blind fished regardless of conditions. The takes are electrifying! Blind fishing requires endurance casting. To be good at at you need to be able to cast repetitively for 8 hours straight. Thats how we role in Ireland anyway!

Tight Lines everyone!

Ronan..

Anyone planning a trip to NZ, I still have some spaces in February, March and April – May too! ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com