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A Late Season Extravaganza!!! Yes Indeed…

April 28th, 2016 No comments

CRANE-FLY-FISHING…

Earlier in the season while fishing with Dean Whaanga he told me about fishing the Crane Fly in his neck of the woods. He told me that it usually fires after the first frost late in the season and that he’d let me know when its happening. Recently he called to tell me “its on” and to invite me to join him the next day. Luckily, I wasn’t guiding so I was there with bells on. John Roach of the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club was in town so he came along too. I was excited to see and try this style of fishing which was pretty new to me. Fishing the crane fly, or daddy-long-legs as I prefer to call it, is well known on the Irish loughs but fishing them on NZ rivers is quite unique. I guess there are not too many rivers with a high enough crane fly populations around them that they get blown onto the river in sufficient numbers for trout to lock-on to them? A frosty start followed by a warm, breezy day is ideal. We didn’t get that, but the day warmed up a little and wind increased but there were not too many daddies about. Possibly due to the lack of a frost in the morning. For a while during the day there were a few on the surface and we saw a few rises. It was enough for me to see the potential of this type of terrestrial fishing. The trout seemed quite keyed in on daddies anyway because we all had a good few eats off the top. We landed two 6lbers, two 4lbers and lost 6 more! It’s always good to learn about a new way to catch a trout, particularly something seasonal and dependable like the cicada or mayfly. I have it marked in my calendar for next season!

A SPECTACULAR TROUT…

On a recent trip to a Wakitipu feeder stream I found what I was looking for. I wanted to encounter some browns moving up from the lake to spawn in a few months time. Along with a number of rainbows, I had 5 browns in the 5 to 7lb range eat or attempt to eat my fly. I only landed one but that fish alone was worth the trip. A very pale coloured trout, it was indeed unique, unlike any trout I’ve seen before. A unique fish like this is at least as satisfying to catch as a really big fish. It’s the brown trout’s infinite differences in shape and colour that make it the species I want to target more than any other. I hooked and lost another fish around 5lbs with what appeared to be a yellow back, again unlike anything I’ve seen before. I really wanted to see this fish out of the water. On hooking, I briefly saw a very deep, silvery flank. I’ve been back since in the unlikely hope of finding him but without success.. Wakatipu feeder streams are open until the end of may so I’ll be back!!

SQUAWKING, FLAPPING AND CRASHING! (AND A VERY BIG TROUT!)

Over the last couple of days Tom McAuliffe and myself went to a river we both enjoy. As luck would have it Robbie was there too so we all fished together on day one. Just before we met Robbie on the river he had landed an 8lb brown. Shortly after we saw another big trout and then things went quiet for the day. In fact we didn’t spot another fish! I had a couple of follows from a dark pool while blind fishing. Shortly after at the head of the same pool it felt as though I became connected to the reef I was fishing across. It was no reef!, it was a solid brown of about 5.5lbs. A real tank of a trout; I was happy to get it under the difficult circumstances. Two great fish for the day but the lack of trout about was a little concerning.

On day 2 it was just Tom and me. We decided to go hard into the wilderness and hope for the best. I had been in a few times before this season with poor results due to terribly low fish numbers but I’m a sucker for a good gorge! As before fish numbers were low. All season long I was hoping the fish were in hiding, under rocks in semi hibernation as these fish tend to do but now I’m confident the fish just aren’t there. Maybe its a cyclical thing and they’ll return but I’m worried to be honest. The number of shags living on the river is also a concern. These creatures feed on fish and only fish. More about that another time. About half way through the day we found the first fish (apart from one I spooked). It looked really big, maybe a double! Sitting apparently dormant against a rock at 90 degrees to the very slow current at the bottom of the pool. A weird position to say the least. Tom won the rock, scissors, paper to take the shot. I advised him on the approach I’d use since he was new to this type of fishing. A very long leader and a heavily weighted streamer, cast well above the fish, let it sink to the bottom and strip it passed its face. The leader had to be long so as not to line the fish in deep water, also to get the fly far enough up stream to give it enough time to sink to the bottom and still be upstream of the fish when it reaches the bottom. While we were setting up, the big trout decided to jump and then do a rapid loop of the pool for no apparent reason. This was a great sign! The fish was awake and not doggo. Tom made a number of accurate casts and from my vantage point I could see the fly passing just in front of the fish but it never flinched.. Then it became awake again, starting to swim up from the rock it was lying against just as Tom landed the fly in her vicinity. “Let it sink” I said, as I watched the fly drop into the fishes lair. “Strip, strip, strip” Tom did so.. I watched as the fish charged and inhaled the fly. Tom could see nothing from his position in the river but I could see everything form my vantage point. “Strike!!”, I said. She was on. After a dogged, heavy fight we got the fish into the net. We thought she might have been a double but the net doesn’t lie (I hope), just over 9lbs of magnificence. Tom was on top of the world and so was I.

Over the next while we saw a few fish. We had a couple of grabs to a streamer and missed one on a nymph but nothing of any size. There was one pool I wanted to get to before we called it a day. We had to push hard and waste no time to get there. We arrived quite late on the Autumn day. On arrival we saw nothing obvious. We carefully made our way up the pool trying to spot every inch of it as we went. In a backwater on the far side of the pool we saw 1 then 2 then possibly 3 or even 4 fish rising. My jaw dropped with anticipation and awe. At least one was a very big fish. Then Tom spotted a huge fish at the tail of the pool where we had just crossed. Now totally on the back foot, which fish do we target? behind or in front? The fish behind had to have been aware of us due to his position. He started to make his way up the pool. A shot had to be taken quickly. I had a dry and nymph on and took the shot. It seemed a better option than Toms streamer in the shallow, glassy water at the tail of the pool. The fish enquired, then enquired again firstly to the dry, then looked at the nymph. When I moved the nymph off the bottom he followed it a number of times before swimming away into the safety of the dark water. I was disappointed because this was a really (really) big, beautiful, catchable fish. However! We had possibly 4 rising fish to target so I looked forward with a confident smirk, Tom looked at me with the same smirk, we took a few steps forward, both considering the best plan of attack. Rise after rise, both of us eager to take them on. “That’s close enough” we both agreed.  With that 2 paradise ducks came squawking, flapping and crashing into the pool, sliding 25 foot right on top of all the rising fish before immediately lifting off again. Birds gone, fish gone, silence. Dumbfounded, I managed to ask Tom “What the fuck just happened?”,  “Fucked if I know” he replied, “para’s”. That was it, all over. I landed a 2.5lber in the next pool but it didn’t even take the edge off how I was feeling. Utterly heartbroken and time to head out. I hate Paradise Ducks!

That’s all folks! 3 days left of the brown trout season and I’ll be fishing all three of them I do believe!

Ronan..

Ps. Internet problems led to a one day delay in getting this out so just 2 days left of the season! Jeff and I fished today and landed 10 fish up to 8lbs! More on that in the next blog. Also, I wanted to write about filming and upcoming NZ fly-fishing TV show with Jeff Forsee filmed by Nick Reygaert but I’m out of steam now so next blog maybe. I also had a few great days and nights in Southland with Robbie Mcphee and Chris Jackson, stars of New Zealand Trophy Waters ( http://www.fishingvideo.co.nz  ). We fished, ate, drank and were merry! Very merry!! Also great to fish with and catch up with one of my first made friends in NZ, Bob Toffler. See you next season, Bob!

MAY IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS! For any guiding bookings or enquiries, ronan@sexyloops.com

Shallow Water Tactics & Guiding Highlights…

April 5th, 2016 No comments

I went exploring some still waters recently, 3 in total, none of which I had fished before. I found fish in each one though some were so spooky they were damn near impossible to get a shot to. Even when I managed what I thought to be a perfect presentation they fecked off! When the clouds rolled in on that one I fecked off too. I’ll be back for another round when the conditions permit. As luck would have it I was on a dirt track that I had never been on before to fish that lake. As I followed my nose back to tar seal I stumbled upon a multiple acre, quite deep looking lake I had never seen or heard of before. I hopped the fence and went for a look. Iza was with me which was a good thing because she spotted a trout that I missed! I took a quick shot which landed a bit too heavily and the fish went away. Annoyed at myself for my bad cast Iza and I walked the shore. I spotted a rainbow which had many looks at my dry and nymph but he never took the fly. It was getting late so we ventured back down the shore towards the truck. I was keeping an eye where the first fish was sighted and luckily it was back. This time my cast was right. The fish cruised at pace to the dry but went straight passed it and picked up my large nymph hanging under it. The dry was ripped through the surface film and the aerial battle was on! Everything about that fish was extremely satisfying, from getting a second chance to the fantastic take to the golden prize in the net.

The last of the 3 still waters held very few trout but I managed to hook and land one of the better ones I saw. This one took a little pheasant tail suspended just above the silt about 2 foot down. Another very satisfying fish! With some simple tactics these flat calm still waters are not as tough as you may think. A nymph suspended under a dry is the best general approach. You can leave it out there and wait for the fish to find it. A single nymph or spider is another great method but requires quite a bit more skill and experience to fish it properly. Accurate casting and timing is essential here because your casting to a cruising trout. You must place the fly far enough in front of the fish so that by the time he gets to it, the fly is not on the bottom (though this works for another method, letting the fly sink to the bottom and moving it when the fish comes into range). Landing the fly close enough to the fish so that he hears the plop is a good thing, he’ll often come to investigate the plop and eat the fly. Too close to the fish the plop will spook him, too far away and it’s ineffective. You need to know the sink rate of your fly, I generally add a turn of lead or two to break through the surface film but not sink like a stone. The advantage of the single nymph or spider above a dry-dropper is that you can move the fly into the trout’s path should he change direction. You cant generally do this with the dry-dropper because the skating dry will usually spook the approaching trout.  A single dry can also be useful. I’m not holding back information by not naming flies, the flies don’t matter. Small and sparse is best! Trout Hunter 4.5x nylon has been useful for calm water this season, both river and lake. It’s a great compromise between sturdy 4x and dangerously fine 5x. It has incredible strength with a wind knot in the cast! Check it out..

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM RECENT GUIDING MISSIONS…

NZ fly-fishing is rarely easy and March was no exception. It started with fish feeding well and more than happy to eat flies but seemed to get tougher as the month progressed. My clients and I had to work hard for our trout and we had some great and rewarding results because of it. It was good to fish with Chuan again. We had a hectic week involving farm huts, tiny cabins, smelly feet (not mine), beers, an odd whiskey, good food, 4x4ing, a range of fishing from fantastic to, well, shite and great craic! We spent the week targeting medium to large trout from the back-country to the low-country. Through big walks, climbs and persistence we did pretty well landing 19 trout with four between 5 and 6lbs.

It was a pleasure to share some of my knowledge with some anglers from my own neck of the woods. Irish lake anglers David Daniels and his Brother Stephen did well on the central lakes with 5 each for their day. Yesterday Kevin P Hehir took on a NZ river with me. An instinctive angler, he adapted quickly and hooked 9 trout landing 7. We used both dries and nymphs and both sighted and blind fished effectively. The brown trout season has a few weeks left and I have some availability so if you’d like to book you can contact me. May is still open for business with many rainbow rivers and most lakes still in season. ronan@sexyloops.com

The Latest From My Fly-Fishing & Guiding…

March 15th, 2016 No comments

Lake Dunstan has always been an amazing fishery. I remember my good friend John O Malley catching 18 from the grassy bank one afternoon, I’ve had numerous days on the silt catching big numbers of fish, I never cracked the 20 but very close. It has always had a lot to offer in the way of different types of water; silt, weedbeds, flats, willows, moving water, still water, shingle, stalking the edges, blind fishing, buzzer fishing, etc.. The one variable that always affected a fella’s chances of success is the water height. The lake fishes best when it’s full. In the past, the power company controlling the water, Contact Energy, seemed to hold the lake at the same height for a number of days. If it was full it was likely to stay full for a while. During those days if the lake went flat calm the trout activity on the surface had to be seen to be believed. It simply came alive with fish. This season a change has been made that has reduced Dunstan to about half (at best) the fishery it was. The lake is dropped about half a meter every day leaving the top of the lake largely void of water. Usually it’s high in the morning and you have until about lunchtime to make hay! There are some options when the lake is low but the top end of the lake, the best bit by far, is now pretty much unfishable from the bank in the afternoons. The other sad thing which can only be due to the “tide” I believe, is that when the lake goes flat calm there are only about 10% of the fish moving on the surface compared to pre “tide” days. I suppose nothing can be done, I don’t expect Contact Energy will change anything for the relatively few fly-fishermen who enjoy the top end of the lake. Dam shame.

Thankfully there are still plenty great lakes in NZ. Most people come to NZ to fish the rivers (and why wouldn’t they?!) but the lakes are certainly worth a look too. In times where the rivers may be high and coloured, or low and warm the lakes will remain fishable and reliable. I fish them because I love them, and not necessarily because the rivers are off form. Iza and I recently had a day one one of the central lakes where we landed 18 for about 5 hours on the water. We weren’t seeing any on the edges so we waded out to deeper water and blind fished over weeds and whatever feature we could see. I fished my fathers method of “figure of eighting” a couple of nymphs while Iza used a tried and trusted bugger! Both did well and the fish were magnificent. Mostly reel screaming rainbows.. Give it a try!!

More recently Robbie, Mike and myself took on a favourite piece of water of mine. Mike had never fished it. It’s always great to share something fantastic with a person whom you know will appreciate it. We had 2 days, one big day in a gorge and one on slightly easier farm terrain. Both days proved great even with adverse conditions on day one. We wanted a grey day with diffuse light so as not to cast any shadows into the pools in the tree lined gorge. We spooked a good few fish because we simply could not see into the water with the contrasting shadows! Interestingly, its not always a blue sky day you need for spotting fish! There were a few highlights from the trip. I’ll mention the best one, it was watching Mike (I want to say this in a diplomatic way but fuck it) skulldrag his personal best brown out of the river! For some reason he had the drag on his Abel reel set up for GT’s or something. After hooking the fish on a well presented nymph all hell broke loose into an aerial battle. Mike met hell with hell and didn’t give an inch. Honestly, I don’t know how something didn’t give. 10.7lb tippet and Robbies nymph tied on a strong hook would have helped. The fish toppled Mike into the river twice during the fight but Robbie was there to drag him out again. After the battle we got the fish into the net.. he went 8.5lbs. The following day Robbie managed one almost the same size on a cicada he tied ten years ago. A very different fish she was, built like a brick shithouse. We all landed plenty fish over the 2 days including some really stunning fish. You’ll see when you get to the photo’s below! After day one in the gorge we were all pretty wiped out, back to the cabin afterwards where I cooked up steaks for the men! A little wine and a fire in the stove soon put me snoozing in my chair.

I’ve been very busy guiding since my last blog which is why this blog has once again taken so long to put out! I’m loving the job. As Paul say’s, Its like fishing yourself. Certainly, I get a lot from a days guiding that I get from a day fishing myself. The rest of March and April are pretty quiet so if your planning a trip to NZ and want a guide then drop me an email! The cooler March days have certainly improved the fishing. Check out the gallery below of some of this seasons guiding highlights!

Until next time, Tight Lines and Screaming Reels!!

Ronan..   ronan@sexyloops.com

GUIDING GALLERY- Some recent highlights

PERSONAL FISHING GALLERY- The Photos From Above..

A COUPLE OF YOUTUBE FILMS FROM HAPPY CLIENTS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK7ITGY3Jas

http://youtu.be/5Ea1YqhuB0k

THE PISCATORIAL POT FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/piscatorialpot/

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY LATEST COLLECTION OF MEDIA.. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT, AND PLEASE SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA! MANY THANKS!

 

 

 

 

The Fly-Fishing Connection…

January 26th, 2016 No comments

You’d think after 5 years writing this blog that I’d be somewhat computer literate. Well, far from it. I just wasted 3 hours of my life trying to make photos smaller on Iza’s Mac (2mp or less to fit in wordpress blog). With Windows you just select the pics, click “make smaller” and its done. On the Mac you have to select the photos, export them (fuck knows where they go) then make them smaller after you’ve found them, then import them, then export them back to iphoto but they wont make it there, they’ll get lost on the way,  then do some other shit to them, then you loose them, then you try to do it all again a few times before giving up and without pulling out whats left of my hair. I did well not to make bits of this computer while the steam was leaving my ears and curses hurtling from my mouth.

Firstly, to all of you who enjoy my ramblings on NZ fly-fishing, sorry its taken me so long to put this together. Life got away on me a bit leaving me little time to write. Which is a good complaint I guess!

I had a great 2 day mission with Bob Wyatt and Robbie Mcphee a good while ago now. It was weather for waders, freezing cold mornings and lots of rain but the sun eventually made an appearance. We all caught fish on a range of tactics. We spent the night in a farm cabin, no better place to catch up. A glowing fire, good food and few beers with good friends is hard to beat, to be honest I think the fishing came second.

The house in Cromwell has been a hive of activity for the passed couple of months with friends coming and going, mostly flyfishers but not all. My old friend Sean stayed for a few days. The fishing was tough then but we managed a few good fish. Then Nico arrived, Nico’s first fish on fly was an artic char on Lough Inagh in the west of Ireland a few years ago. What are the odds? They are a rare wee fish indeed in Ireland. We had a couple of days on Dunstan and he managed a couple of good fish on fly. That was Christmas day, we kept one to eat raw as a christmas dinner starter, it was fantastic! Mark Adamson was next, we had a feckin tough day on a west coast river where we managed one decent trout. The surroundings were spectacular and the sun was shining which made a tough day a little better!

Since then we’ve had Fergal Cormican, another friend from Ireland come and stay for a few days as he learned how to take on NZ rivers and lakes, we fished Lake Dunstan around Ranfurly for a couple of days where we found a few good stretches of the Taieri and its backwaters.. A great training ground for both river and still water angling.

I recently had a day on the water with Dean Whaanga up the country a bit. We checked out a truly spectacular valley to see how a recent flood might have reshaped the river and surrounding creeks. We found a few fish but they were difficult. At that time fish seemed to be difficult everywhere, possibly due to falling barometric pressure, I’m not sure.. I don’t pay too much attention to that kind of thing because I’ll be going fishing regardless! We landed a couple of fish and had a great day on the water. I met Dean when I first came to NZ in 2002 at my good friend Bob Tofflers house, we all enjoyed a feed of mutton birds! I’m delighted to have fished with him finally. It was a pleasure to see a fella with 30 plus years of guiding under his belt has not lost any enthusiasm for fishing during his time off..

The most recent visitor was Con O Flynn, also a friend from Ireland. We had 2 big days on the river together, I took him into one of the toughest gorges I know of. I asked him was he fit! He said yes and he looked like he could handle it so off we went.. Theres a point in the gorge where you need to get out and drop back in farther up. We got to that point and climbed out, then climbed back in. No problem. I looked for my usual crossing point to continue up river and I could see it, I just couldn’t get to it. I could see another crossing a little farther down river which looked easy so I decided on that one rather than going up river to climb down to my usual crossing. This turned out to be a mistake, Con took a dip in the river as he crossed and then going up on the other side of the gorge proved quite difficult because of a crevice keeping us from my usual way, we had to keep going up! We got there in the end and then we could continue up river with only a couple of minor climb-outs to get around bluffs. We found a few fish but not as many as I was expecting, saw a couple of brutes. Con landed a solid brown and hooked a much larger fish which straightened the hook. It was really great to bring a fella like Con into a special place like that. Win, loose or draw its a great place to be alive as long as your the type of person who can appreciate it for what it is. We left it all on the river. See you next time, Con! We have some unfinished business with NZ trout.. Thanks for everything!

I’m expecting a visit from Ken Whelan any time now, he’ll be passing through with his Brother, Brendan on their way south. I expect we’ll fit in a mission at some stage, David Lambroughton will also join us hopefully.

Between friends coming and going, Fly-fishing and trying to set up my guiding career things have been very busy indeed.. Long may it last!

Tight Lines Eeryone.. A little tip for you all, 18 is the new 16!

Ronan..

ronan@sexyloops.com

 

Some Thoughts About Big Trout…

December 3rd, 2015 No comments

I realised a year or two ago that fishing for really big trout is more about the fish than the fishing; while fishing for average sized or smaller trout is more about the fishing than the fish. Of course both can cross the divide into the other category but generally speaking this is true. For me at least. Really big NZ fish, say in the 8lbs plus class, are often really stunning here in Otago and worth the effort in hunting down. They are few and far between and very hard to catch. Not necessarily because they’re “smarter” than smaller fish (they’re not really!) but because they often take up lies that are very difficult to get a fly to. The bottom of a deep pool for example or under a submerged log, and sometimes they are just really really spooky! These very big fish wont be seen every time you fish a river, some days they may be out visibly feeding and once in a while they may take up a part of the pool where you can get an easy cast to. You just have to persist, be there at the right time. If you can get a fly to one of these big trout without spooking it at all, (there are varying degrees of “spooked”) you’re almost as likely to hook it as a 2lb trout from a riffle. Landing it of course is a whole other story. When it all comes together and you get one of these trophy trout into your net, it’s a real high. If it turns out to be one of the really beautiful fish it’s even better again!  Since the last blog I hunted down some of the big fellas with good success.

Jeff and Myself went and checked out some rivers on the west coast recently. We fished some water I had not seen for a few years. We had a mixed bag. One great river and one not so great but both were absolutely spectacular. The fishing is described in the photos below but there was one little event I’ll have to share with you. (sorry, Jeff!) We were given conflicting information regarding which gate to drive through to get to the river, I thought we were to go through the left gate, but we were told right.. so we both agreed to go right, at least we could come back if we were wrong, right? Jeff fumbled with the padlock before realising it was actually open and that the key we had didn’t fit it anyway. He opened the gate and I drove through. Jeff closed the gate after him and then I waited for a while, “whats the delay” I thought, as I jumped out of the truck. “Ronan, I fucked up” Jeff said. He had closed the padlock and we had no key to open it. There we were, miles from anywhere with the truck locked on the wrong side of the gate. Some Irish/American ingenuity prevailed, much of it inspired by a Macgyver episode I had seen years ago. We managed to open the gate in reverse without doing any damage at all so we knew we could get back out. After driving for a short distance we realised that we had indeed gone the wrong way. We should have gone left! In the end we got to the river and the fishing began.

Have a look at my facebook page to see the results of my happy clients! Plenty spaces still available for the season.. ronan@sexyloops.com for bookings and information.

https://www.facebook.com/ronans.flyfishing

Tight Lines..

Ronan..

Onwards and Upwards… (and Iza’s curved cast!)

November 14th, 2015 No comments

I’m adjusting well in to my new lifestyle. Not working as a woodworker for 44 hours a week means I have time to think, time to consider my new job as a fly-fishing guide and do whatever it takes to make it work. My guiding season has been slow to start as I expected, but I have a busy period coming up which I’m really looking forward to. My website is not off the ground yet but its happening. I’m at the beginning of something great and I’m enjoying it. I’m also quite excited about where it will lead. Exploring new water is now more important than ever before and I’m lapping it up.

I’ve been enjoying quite a range of fly-fishing lately. I’ve targeted a few big fish, mostly average sized fish, some salt-fly and quite a bit of exploration. Tomorrow I’ll be checking out a river that I have fished before but not for a long time. I’m looking forward to it. More on that on my facebook page tomorrow evening. (https://www.facebook.com/ronans.flyfishing)

One thing I’d like to share from a recent trip to the coast is the story of a challenging brown trout Iza caught. We were walking along a high bank together and I spotted a big fish down below happily feeding in a deepish riffle. The wind was blowing hard up river. The only place to take the shot from was on top of the high bank about 10 foot above the river. Because of our elevation we had to stay well behind the fish so as not to spook it. The cast was a difficult one. Quite long and from a hight, so leaving it very open to being whipped away by the wind. I suggested that she compensate for the wind and cast well left of and to the back the fish and let the wind carry it up. She said that I should take the shot but I convinced her to take it. She did, the first cast fell short but the second one was a pleasure to watch. The cast went left, the wind caught it and carried it up in a curve to the fish. The dry and nymph landed about a meter in front and the trout started to rise to the dry immediately; sailed up and confidently ate it. The strike was bang on and battle was not an easy one. Between scrambling down the high bank to the river, and being connected to an extremely strong fish she did well to land it. A fish like that makes any day a really great one.

I’m at a transition of sorts with my blog. For the last 5 years my blog has been about my own experiences, trips with my friends, my observations in and around the sport of fly fishing. To a certain extent I want to keep it like that but I also want to share my guiding experiences. I guess for the moment I’ll use what ever content and photo’s I feel like and in time a healthy balance of my guiding and my fishing will evolve.

If you’re planning a trip to NZ and need a guide why not get in touch! You’ll be in good hands.. ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight lines everyone.

Ronan..

PS.. If you like this, please subscribe!

 

 

Dry-Double-Nymph-Rig…

October 29th, 2015 No comments

There was a serious downpour of rain a few nights ago which rose the rivers around here but they’re in good order again. Another weekend has almost landed so, as usual, I can’t wait to get back out there.. actually, it’s going to be a long weekend for me, maybe very long! I gave up the day job as a woodworker so I’ll have plenty time to concentrate on my guiding and what ever else may come along. I have a few ideas.. Exciting times!

The trout are starting to look up! I had a couple on my dry (aka strike-indicator) last weekend. I fish a dry instead of a fluff strike indicator. I like always having the chance to take a trout off the top. It’s not perfect though. There have been many times where I cast to a fish trying to cover him with the nymphs allowing the dry to land close to the fish. The fish spots the dry, swims vertically then turns downstream as he eats, I remember Paul Arden calling this a compound rise?? It’s very easy not to hook these fish! But for the most part, I prefer it. A buoyant dry, usually about 4-5 feet to a weighted nymph, then about a foot off that to an unweighted or lightly weighted size 16. For smaller streams I usually shorten the dropper or fish one nymph under the dry. In fact, I have no problem changing my rig to suit every fish I see but the dry-double-nymph-rig covers most bases. The fact that they’re so far apart means they can also be fished independently. Cover with the dry first, then the nymphs or visa versa..

November and December are starting to fill up a bit but there are still plenty spaces! ronan@sexyloops.com for any questions or guiding enquiries.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog. Hundreds of entries from NZ and around the world!

Tight Lines everyone.. We can fish the rainbow rivers from Saturday!

Ronan..

 

The Elusive, Almost Mythical 10lb Brown Trout…

October 20th, 2015 No comments

During a mission to North Canterbury with Jeff Forsee at the end of last season, I witnessed something that made me re-think what I thought I knew. Jeff was onto a fish on his bank, a big one. The fish was deep. Jeff persisted with a range of weighted nymphs until he had the heaviest one in his box on, with the little trailer off it. He felt he was not getting deep enough so he pulled out a box of split shot and added some weight, then a little more weight. I’m not sure just how much shot he added but eventually he hooked the fish. A long battle was ensued but we finally got it into the net. That fish was one of the most spectacular fish I’ve seen and it turned out to be Jeff’s personal best. Afterwards, I thought to myself “would I have caught that fish?”. The answer, probably not. I had no split shot and my heaviest nymph was the same as Jeff’s. The only time I ever used shot was in Croatia years ago because of their single fly policy. I thought I had no need for it. I remember Paul Arden talking about split shot for early season NZ fish. I simply thought “just tie a heavier nymph”, which is true but split shot is handy, quick and easy to add and there’s no limit to how much you can put on (within reason!). I had to see this in action to really see the value of it. Shortly after that trip I got some split shot.

Recently, in Otago, about half way through a great day, I sighted a large trout happily feeding. He was moving from shallow to deep water feeding constantly. After a number of careful casts the fish became aware of my presence. He went a little doggo but then continued to feed, this time in deep water only. This gave me a great and rare advantage. The fish continued to feed despite my presence. I could not spook him easily so I cast and cast and cast. As long as a fish is feeding he’s catchable so I persisted. I put on my heaviest nymph, then added lead, then more lead. The river was boiling and up-welling making it hard to get even a heavily weighted rig down, but once in a while, as Robbie pointed out, the current went “clean”, no up-welling. At one of those moments I placed the cast in the right place and the added weight got my fly into the zone. The fish ate. I knew It was a big fish, I’ve caught lots of 9s and this felt just plain heavier. I gave him stick none the less and eventually landed him with Robbie’s help on the net. There were a few unnerving moments as he went under banks and around rocks but we landed him. 10lbs on the dot (Though Robbie thinks he was more, despite the weigh-net!). Thanks, Jeff for the lesson in lead and Robbie for the help landing one of my personal best brown trout.. Finally we cracked a double together!

Tight Lines All..

Ronan..

If your planning a trip to NZ, why not get in touch with me! I’m available to guide and happy to answer any questions you may have.. ronan@sexyloops.com

 

Big Trout in 150kph Gales…

October 11th, 2015 No comments

A day on the Clutha at the end of September got me fired up for the new season which was fast approaching. I explored another new section and found a great variety of water in a fairly small area. Side braids, backwaters, and the main river all in close proximity. There were quite a few fish present too. I adapted my methods as I fished the variety of waters and picked up fish in each one. Dries, nymphs and spiders all accounted for a few fish.

Last weekend was the first weekend of the new season. October is probably the best month of the season if river conditions are okay; the big “if”. The small tributary streams still hold a good stock of trout after their spawning escapades of the previous June and July. Usually the tributaries are nice and full from rain and snow melt but sometimes too full, October often brings high rainfall and rivers which are too high to fish with any comfort. With good river conditions (like right now) it’s all on and great fun. As the season progresses the water recedes and the fish numbers decrease as they fall back to the main river. Larger rivers fish well in October too. Even those with a resident stock of trout often seem to have more fish about than in high summer, although, this is a sweeping statement and could be not be applied to all rivers. Either way, I love October. Plenty fish about and usually very catchable! Sometimes browns can be in poor shape having not mended well after spawning but over the years I’ve learned where to avoid so as not to catch ragged fish.

My opening weekend was a great one. I had loosely planned to go to the coast but the forecast put me off that idea. My chosen river for Saturday had some serious barriers in the form of mud slides and road slumps, but the new truck carried me over. Minor slippage gave me a pang of fear due the severe slope of the rubble on the track and drop below it but all ended well. That day I walked a solid 8ks of river but did not see many fish. Possibly due to the high and slightly coloured water. I hooked and landed 3 out of the 5 I saw. All great fish up to 7.75lbs. When I saw the second fish of the day I decided I’d have lunch before I made my cast. Usually I take the shot quickly but this time I thought, “No, I’ll have lunch first”. The fish is always in that lie so I was confident I had all the time I needed. I had never caught a fish from that lie before, possibly it’s always the same fish but also quite possible that they move around a bit and a number of fish utilise the same lies, but thats another story! I ate my lunch and forgot about the fish. I thought about the season ahead and the one just gone. I usually bring a beer with me for my lunch, as I got to the end of it I moved to the rivers edge. I said a few words to the river and to whoever / whatever and shared a libation. I felt good. Happy. I packed up my stuff and changed my rig to suit the fish up ahead. He was still there. I worked on him for a while before eventually hooking him on a #16 nymph tied to a heavily weighted Hair & Copper to get it to depth. A really spectacular fish he was. Two of the three fish were. At the end of the day I got a lift back to my truck from Shane and Eddie from the Athol Hunting & Fishing Club. They were travelling the opposite direction but gave me a lift back anyway. Much appreciated, fellas! Every NZ angler knows the value of a lift back to the truck at the end of a big day on the river. They also gave me a cold beer. Legends.

Day 2 saw me battling the most mental winds I have ever cast into. To be honest, it wasn’t always casting, sometime it was a case of just fuck the flies at the fish. I cant think of a better way to describe it. The wind was gusting to 150kph so you know what I’m on about. The willow trees were roaring and I was always looking around to see if one was about to fall over. There was plenty evidence to support my fears. The good thing about the fish on the day was that they weren’t concerned by my bad casts. The piles of fly-line which I landed beside them for time to time just looked like another willow branch for them to avoid (there were heaps!). With all the movement of bushes and trees from the gales, me and my movements went unnoticed by the trout. I could get very close. Sometimes no fly-line out, just a short leader and tippet and slam the nymph down in front of the fish. Watch for the swing or any evidence of a take and lift the rod. I landed quite a few in the insanity! Good fish too.

My old mate Robbie Mcphee is joining me this weekend!

(as it turns out the weekend is now over and Robbie has gone back to Dunedin. I wrote this on Friday but didn’t get a chance to edit it! We had an amazing weekend with 11 trout between 5 and 10lbs. Watch this space!)

Happy Season everyone..

Ronan..

There are plenty of spaces in my guiding calendar! If you’d like to hire me as a guide, please contact me, ronan@sexyloops.com

Lake Wanaka, Lake Dunstan and the West Coast in September…

September 24th, 2015 No comments

About a year ago I noticed some good looking water on Lake Wanaka from the top of Rocky Mountain. The weekend before last I went to check it out. The day was perfect, little or no wind with bright sunshine. I spotted the edges and saw very few cruisers. The few I cast to were extremely spooky and just fecked off from even the most delicate presentation. I was there for about 2 hours without catching before I started putting it together. I noticed some fish rising well out, some in range, all sporadic. I saw a few chironomid on the top. I thought it would be worth putting on a team of two buzzers on a long 4lb tippet and fishing it blind. After about an hour I got one. Once I found a reasonable concentration of fish I got a few more. It went to plan! I found a few fish and figured out what they were at and got some. When fish are difficult to catch it makes it all the more rewarding when you do catch! It’s worth mentioning that as I get older I’m getting more disciplined in this type of fishing. In the past I needed to be doing more. Stripping I guess! Now I can stay focussed while just staying in touch with my flies for as long as it takes. Like my father! Alhough it will be many more years before I come close to his skill level with a team of buzzers.

The following day I went to Dunstan, my home water. It never fails! I know it well at this stage. After my buzzer fishing on Lake Wanaka the day before it seemed like the right choice for Dunstan too. I battled the silt and blind fished the water in front of me as I steadily walked to keep covering new water. Critical when blind fishing. The more water you cover the more fish you cover, it’s as simple as that. I had about 10 fighting fit browns and a rainbow, mostly on the buzzer. In the afternoon I tried out some new water on the lower Kawarau. I had a couple on the woolly bugger. Another great day, Its always a bonus to successfully try out some new water.. Great to catch up with Mike Wilkinson, Kevin and Alan Mc Intire on the lake too!

The weekend just passed was a mission to the coast. The forecast was for sun and light winds. Ideal conditions. It turned out we had very strong wind for most of Saturday. That coupled with big surf made the going difficult. I heaved out the flies all day long to no avail. I might have had one touch but probably not. Iza, on the other hand, did well. Her soft plastic fish imitation fooled 2 trout and a Kahawai. One of her trout was the fattest seatrout I’ve seen on the coast. Stuffed to the gills with something, whitebait or toheroa most likely. One of the Wakitipu Anglers Club members had a  trout stuffed with toheroa! On Sunday the winds were light and there were very few people around, not even whitebaiters. With the place to ourselves we still couldn’t get a fish. Not even on Iza’s spin gear. I hooked and lost a good trout in the morning which was the highlight of my fishing for the weekend. The Wakitipu Anglers club, with which I’m a member, also had a gathering there at the weekend. I haven’t heard many results but I don’t think many were caught from the river mouths. This is usually a great time of year over there so I don ‘t know why the fishing was so bad. The whitebaiters are saying that the bait has not turned up yet so maybe its all about to happen…

I’m taking bookings for the season ahead, so if you’d like me to guide you on your NZ trout adventure contact me here! You know you’ll be in good hands.. October is only a week away! (ronan@sexyloops.com)

Tight lines, another weekend is almost upon us!

Ronan..

ps..      If your in this area the Wakitipu Anglers Club is a great club to be a part of!