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Dries, Wets, Spiders, Buggers & Buzzers!.. with the Canterbury Fly-Fishing Club…

August 27th, 2013 No comments

I met John Roche at the Otamatata pub on Friday evening last. He asked me along to his club gathering at the Central Lakes so I happily obliged. We drank a few pints of what is probably the best Guinness in NZ with two of his fishing buddies, Martin (England) and Dave (scotland) and discussed fishing. The craic was great in the pub but with an early start on the cards I decided to head to our lodgings with the lads before it got too late. The following night was different but that’s another story…

After John dropped 2 groups of anglers off at different locations around the lake we were away!  My initial thoughts were towards sinking lines so I set up the clear intermediate and the Di5 with buggers. We went to an area we both knew well and fish were rising. We persisted for a while but the sinking line tactics were simply not working so it was time for a change. I went to a single dry and had a decent fish almost straight away, John used a buzzer suspended under a dry. This accounted for a small fish (and a good one for me as described in the photo below!!). There were quite a lot of fish rising but they were quite boat shy, or more likely, casting shy. A good method from a boat when fish are rising in calm water is to limit casting until a fish is well in range. Blind casting needs to be a controlled, conscious effort with as little false casting as possible. Cast where you think fish are. Try to read the rise forms to pick up on the direction the fish is moving and at what speed (roughly!) Flailing about will keep fish perfectly out of range.

Next to a couple of unweighted spiders. These worked well for me fished slowly so John tried the same tactic. It was new to him. It’s important to catch a fish quickly on a new tactic to instil the confidence necessary to fish it properly. John had a quick fish on the spiders and then a few more giving him a new approach to fishing calm water.

In the afternoon things sowed down as sun heated things up. I fished from the boat with Martin after lunch and we had a few on buggers over the weed beds (which got wiped out the next morning by Meridians weed killer drop). We got off the water at about 5.30.

Day 2. I fished alone from the bank. I was sight fishing with a lightly weighted spider. The folks from the club tried some new water but I worked on the same lake. I put in big walk to get to the other side but it was no good so I walked back. The best sight fishing was near where I parked but they were tough (apart from one I lost twice before hooking and landing the 3rd time!!). As I was fishing the shore down I was aware of lots of terns feeding all the time a few hundred metres back up the shore. There were no fish rising amongst them but with all the fly coming off, keeping so many birds feeding all day, there had to be fish under the surface. I put on a team of buzzers and got as close to the birds as I could. I had an hour of some of the best buzzer fishing I ever had. It was non stop action with perfectly mended fish. Immaculate actually, so I took a few to eat. One observation I made, and not for the first time, is that cruising fish are often in worse condition than fish taken blind from deeper water. Cruisers are often lethargic and opportunist whereas a fish from deeper water tends to energetic and well conditioned from always competing for an abundance of food. A weak fish would be chased out, hence the cruiser.

If I was quicker to crack the fact that buzzers were the key, it’ not known how many fish I’d have had, but it’s hard not to sight fish when it’s there for the taking. That’s the thing I love about fly-fishing though. Every mission is a learning curve. I watch, I adapt.

On another note, Meridian Energy dropped the level of  Lake Benmore to the limit to spray weed killer on the lake weed. I assumed that they dropped the lake so that they could spray the exposed weed and keep the majority of the substance out of the water, other wise why drop the lake at all?. I noticed no weed on the exposed sand and mud, dead or alive. Some was evident in the lake. On Sunday morning a chopper flew over the lake and dumped a full load of weed killer straight into the water about half way across. There was no dumping on Saturday even though choppers were passing regularly, probably because there were a number of crafts on the water. That was it, one dump in one small part of the lake. This made me think! Was this the only dump? If so, Why? How much weed could be killed with one very localised dump? Is it even worth the effort? Or is it so potent that that’s enough? If so what else suffers?  Of course, there may have been other times when the weed killer was applied to other areas. I’m not digging for any conspiracy theories! I’m just relaying what I saw and thought… Although, with a $300,000,000 profit last year, I guess they can do what they want!

This weekend? Who knows..

Pete! Get well soon mate.. You’ll be reading about yourself very soon!

Ronan..

Ps, If you’re new to this and you enjoy it, please subscribe at the top right of this page!

This week on SLTV, Ep 15.  Northern Territory Salt 1. Paul and I head to the Northern Territory to fish with fly-fishing legend, Graeme Williams. We catch lots of species including queenfish up to 87cms. Plenty crocs and kangaroos too!  http://www.insightflyfishing.com.au/

Where the Rivers Meet the Sea – South Westland, New Zealand.

August 20th, 2013 No comments

Much to my regret, it’s been a few years since I’ve been to the west coast. I lived there for a while about 9 years ago and I have an unexplainable kinship with the place. It does something for my soul that I struggle to put into words. I feel totally grounded there, calm, sort of connected. After spending a couple of days there I feel better, happier, rejuvenated.

Day one. Paul and I travelled together in convoy. Paul brought a couple of Kayaks, one of which came off the trailer en-route! Those moulded plastic Kayaks are very tough. The road was no match for it. The Kayaks were a great advantage for getting to gravel bars and across lagoons and just general access.

The fishing was challenging. It was new to me so I was feeling my way bit, trying to read the water and get a feel for a good approach. Before too long I got a nice 3.5lber on one of Paul’s magnificent streamers. With the falling tide a drop-off came into casting range and that’s where the fish took. I expected more in the same spot but apart from a couple of touches, nothing. We each had a few more hits as the morning progressed but nothing hectic. After that quiet spell I hooked a big fish on low tide. I was using my Di7 to get deep. When I hooked the fish I was experimenting with a rapid, jerky retrieve. After beaching the trout I noticed something hanging out of the rear end, I pulled it out to find a good size green crab! I never heard of trout eating crabs but why wouldn’t they? I’d be more surprised to learn that they don’t eat crabs! With the rising tide, the already slow fishing pretty much stopped. Don’t get me wrong though, slow fishing does not mean bad fishing. I had great day with better company in one of my favourite places on earth.

Day two. Jo Meder joined me in the morning and we hit for the same spot as Paul and I fished the day before. I was keen to learn whether time of day was more or less important that time of tide. I expected the time of tide to be more important but it turned out that the morning was best once again. The same time as the day before but the tide was an hour higher! The last hour to low tide did not work at all and this was best the day before. All the action came in the same hour for me, I had 2 trout and a flounder. They all ate Jo’s silicone smelt pattern. In the afternoon we went exploring. I drove down the true left bank of a nearby river but did not get a good feeling. The water didn’t scream fish so I drove roughly 40 minutes, mostly off-road to the other bank… It screamed fish. It pays to heed your instinct.  Before long Jo was bent into a good one. The bar of silver took a white clouser fished deep. This was Jo’s best fish for a long time and made has 1200km round trip worth the effort. Soon after I was into one which took right on the corner between the heaving surf and the powerful river.  Paul Macandrews streamer did the trick again! This time a bigger one to suit the heavier water. Jo managed one more and then it went quiet.

All up the fishing was epic over the 2 days. Mostly pretty slow but the anticipation was always positive. Changing tides and conditions could improve the fishing at any time. Aside from the fishing, and at least as important, was the location. I cannot tell you what a special, magical, beautiful, ruthless, tough, powerful, spectacular place this is… I’m trying but words fail to do it justice.

“Go west young man”

Ronan..

Ps. Paul and Jo, Thanks for the flies, the company and the craic!

Also, some big fish in SLTV down at the bottom!!

 

In this instalment of SLTV, Ep 14, Big Fish Week part 2. We have the biggest campfire ever on the west coast (the last time I was there I think!), The good fortune went my way this week… I catch some really big fish including a double, or was it all a dream??? Have a look!

Haast Beckons…

August 14th, 2013 No comments

The last couple of weekends have been tough! The fish seem to be in the middle of a change and off the feed, probably to with spawning and / or a new moon and / or the barometric pressure and / or too many pints the last 2 Saturday nights in Queenstown and  / or simply fishing the wrong water. No excuse though! Thats the way it goes from time to time..

I had an enjoyable day on the water with some friends from Singapore. Yewlin, Chuan and myself gave it hell all day with barely a pull. We tried 4 very different locations and a range of depths but could not find a fish. I was especially surprised not to find a few fish near the stream mouths or the Kawarau outflow. Maybe some fish have run the rivers? By now many browns will have finished spawning but I expect most rainbows are yet to spawn but can’t be too far off.

This weekend Paul Macandrew and I are hitting the west coast. We plan to fish some river mouths around Haast for sea-runners and estuarine trout. We will fish from kayaks. I’m really looking forward to seeing the coast again and fishing with Paul. I miss the sea! I just don’t get enough of it here in Central and Haast is a truly special place for me, I lived there for a few months years ago. Jo Meder will be joining me for a fish on Sunday. I have never fished with Jo so that will be something different. If you fancy coming along get in touch.. ronan@sexyloops.com.

This season I’d like to explore the West Coast. I have never really searched hard over there and there is endless new water to try. I believe it’s a place that demands full attention for successful results. Half measures simply won’t do. It will get my full attention hopefully for a week or 2 and should be the source of some good, interesting reports.

That’s all for now… Bring on the weekend! I hope the weather will be good.

Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Episode 14. Big fish week part 1. We get our gear confiscated for not carrying licences, we master blackberry tossing, we drink beer, climb cliffs, eat manfood, fish hard, catch some really big fish… 4 men, one ford laser.. This is part one of a 2 part show. Enjoy!!

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