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Old boots & Old friends…

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Recently I had an encounter with a trout I’d caught about 18 months ago. The fact that I had caught him before meant that I had no great need to catch him again, or so I thought before our re-encounter. I knew where he lived, during a day on the river I was never too pushed If I fished that pool or not. On this day I did get to the pool, I scoped it up and down and didn’t see him. I did see a smaller trout of about 4lbs but never managed to get a shot to that one. When I was leaving the pool I spotted my old friend in a slack back eddy at the head of the pool. He was cruising around sipping down dries like a 3lb brown in a Mataura backwater.. But this was no 3lber! He may well be a double by now considering he was 9.25lbs when I caught him. I didn’t hesitate in getting into position well away from the trout, my heart rate increasing. I quickly removed my nymphs so I had a single size 12 dry left on the cast, my go-to dry. I felt no need to put on a smaller one. The tippet was 4x, so nice and fine. The fish turned on his beat and I sent in my cast. I was as happy as I could have been with my shot.. I landed the fly well in front of the fish and a little to his right so that on approach to the fly most of the tippet would be on the other side of the fly. He cruised towards it, raised up in the water column just a little and then continued under my fly. After seeing my offering he went into high alert moving out of the slack water into moving water. Still maybe catchable but much more difficult. I changed tactics and put a nymph on. First attempt with the nymph and I picked up some scrub on my back-cast which landed beside my old friend. With that, he was gone. He didn’t bolt off, just cruised into the depths. I was haunted by him that night, every time I’d close my eyes I’d see that head on profile with pectoral fins like a jet plane, changing to a huge pink and green flank as he turned. Now I have to catch him again. (This is fly-fishing!)

I’ve had plenty other great days on the water since my last report. Jeff and I pushed into some new terrain and found more trout than we expected. We did pretty well, catching fish on dries and nymphs.

I caught up with my great friend Bob Toffler last weekend before he headed back to the States for another northern hemisphere season. We had a wonderful meal together cooked by Bob’s partner, Carol. The following day, Iza, Bob and I fished the Mataura where the hatch lasted from morning until evening! It was fantastic fun. I got to know Bob on a visit to the US about 13 years ago. He told me that he fishes in NZ every season, and he invited me to join him during my planned NZ visit. I took him up on his offer and we’ve been friends ever since meeting up a few times a season. Through Bob, I met Guy; through Guy, I met Paul and the rest is history still in the making.

That’s all for now, Enjoy the pics and feel free to subscribe if you’re new here and you like what you see!

Oh, and Happy 40th to Mike Wilkinson! He looks a day over 39. The party meant I didn’t fish on Sunday last! I doubt any one else did either… Jeff?

Ronan..

Still waters run deep…

March 10th, 2015 1 comment

In high summer in NZ it pays not to depend completely on flowing water as the source of your fishing. Rivers get low, fish numbers tend to decrease as a result. River and stream options get fewer between December and the end of March. This is certainly true here in Central Otago. I’d say it’s also true to some extent in most districts. Luckily for me I don’t discriminate at all between bodies of water I like to fish. Recently I went to mine and Kevins secret dams. The top dam was great! Very low with plenty healthy cruisers about. There is a small stream flowing out of the top dam and into the bottom dam about a kilometre away. I went for a look.. On arrival about 1000 geese, swans and ducks got off the main part of the dam. This dam is in 2 parts; a small containment of water in the vicinity of the stream mouth makes the first part, the second is a much larger body of water (where the birds were) connected by a gap in an earth bank. Usually the part near the stream mouth does not hold many fish but on this day it did. On approach to the dam via the stream I saw about 10 fish feeding in the extremely dirty, murky water. Most fish were in the 4lb- 6lb class with some bigger. I took my time and worked on them one at a time. They were not easy. With all the weeds,  feathers and stuff on the surface and the lack of clarity in the water, just getting them to see the fly was the greatest challenge. When I believed that they did see it they did not always respond to it. I landed 3 in the couple of absorbing hours between 4 and 6lbs. These were all incredible fish. Fat, beautifully coloured and marked and very strong. I got one on a spider which I put in the path of a cruiser, one on a small damsel; I made him chase it, and one on a bright orange fly; bright to be seen in the murk. I changed fly often to suit every individual trout. Before I left to go home I had a look in the main body of the dam. It was pea green with virtually no viz. The heat of the summer and the shit of 1000 game birds had caused an algal bloom. I guess this is why the fish favoured the relative clarity and cleanliness of the water near the stream mouth.

I described the water to Guy and he said he had no interest in that kind of fishing. I get it. The water is dirty! If a splash got into your mouth you’d be wise to spit it out quickly. I don’t care though. In fact, I love it. It’s a million miles from stereotypical NZ water but to me it has something great to offer. The fish are fantastic, they feed on or near the top quite a lot, the fishing is challenging and absorbing; so much so that it removes me from the shit, weed and slime!

I’ve had a look at many more still waters recently, they don’t generally suffer low water summer conditions like rivers do. I’ve been having a ball on them. If I was a wealthy angler coming to NZ, I’d be chatting to my guide about a still water option and that’s for sure.

Feel free to contact me with any questions through the comments section or via email at ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines!

Ronan..

The Piscatorial Pot…

February 24th, 2015 No comments

Piscatorial

          1. Of or relating to fish or fishing

          2. Involved in or dependent on fishing

Months ago I agreed to run one of our fishing club events. Mike had an idea that there needed to be more events close to home so Lake Dunstan seemed perfect. It’s my home water so I was happy to organise it. I was unsure of what to do to make the day unique and enjoyable so I thought back to some Irish competitions. I had never fished the “Piscatorial Pot” on Lough Corrib but always wanted to. Both my father and John O Malley won it recently which may have helped it spring to mind.  I decided to steal that idea but needed a little more…  The Irish angling legend, Jackie Coyne, runs a competition on Lough Roisin Dubh at the end of every fishing season. Over the course of the day every angler gets an hour in a lakeboat. I also decided to adopt that idea and a new competition was born. The Piscatorial Pot (NZ).

A scrap of Macrocarpa with the lettering freehand routed into it made the base. A little stain, oil and rustication for effect. 10 minutes on ebay and I had a piss pot. Put them together and we have a perpetual pis-pot.

There were not too many fish caught over the day but Colin Kelly managed a solid fish of 3.25lbs making him the winner. James Waggett was not too far behind with a 2.5lber. Colin has been a member of the club for years and is never afraid to put in the hard yards. Spin gear or fly, kayak or bank, river or lake, Colin will be there in the thick of it. I was happy to present him with The Piscatorial Pot.. though, I’m not so sure that he was as happy to receive it!!!

We all had a great day on the water. Afterwards we enjoyed the craic, good food and beer or two.

Cicada Time

Right now it’s cicada time here in NZ. Some hatch from forests, some from barren grasslands, some are very big, some are quite small but trout love ‘em all. On Saturday Iza and I took out the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat to fish a piece of shoreline on Lake Wakatipu that has treated me well over the years. Conditions were good. We had a breeze which varied in strength but was fairly consistent and able to push a few bugs onto the water. I drove the boat into quite a big chop to get to the area we wanted to fish. I set the boat up for kilometres of shore drift, an occasional pull-start to keep us tight to the shore and we were fishing. Iza quickly hooked and lost a really good fish by this shores standards, about 3lbs. Shortly after she hooked and landed one… then another.. then another and so it continued until she had 11! Casting, striking and playing fish all nicely in tune. By 4pm we got off the lake, the wind was shifting all over the place, dropping and gusting and the rain was bucketing down. We finished with 18.. (yes, she out-fished me!)

Something interesting to note for our day afloat was that we did not see a single cicada on the wing or in the water all day. Neither did we see any trout free-rising yet we landed 18, all on chunky dry cicadas. The takes were all confident sips, no slashes or smashes and easily missed in the wave.. On a few occasions I didn’t see the rise until it was as big as a dinner plate, some Iza didn’t see until her rod was bent. This is not an unusual phenomenon. I remember fishing with my father, Joe Creane, on Lough Corrib years ago. Mayfly time but no fly on the water and nothing rising. 10 boats in the bay catching very few, all stripping wets. Dad and I had 13 on dries (most on a size 10 adams). It’s not the first time I’ve seen this in NZ either. Fly on the water or not, trout will recognise a large dry as food at certain times of year.. It might be worth fishing one in October or any time for that matter! I bet you’d be pleasantly surprised..

That’s it for now.. If you want to win The Piscatorial Pot, Join the club.. The Wakatipu Anglers Club that is..

Ronan..

Variety is the spice of trout fishing…

February 11th, 2015 2 comments

I think the reason I can immerse myself so completely in NZ trout fishing is in it’s diversity. The diversity lies in the location, the method used to catch the trout and the trout itself. Within an hour or so of my base in Cromwell I can be in the arid, rocky moonscape of Poolburn or Manorburn dams, the lush rain-forested rivers of Glenorchy, the meandering waters through the green fields of the Maniototo, any number of gorges from the easy going to the gut busting, the Mataura and it’s many tributaries, any one of the Southern Lakes; a little more drive time and I’m on the Coast, East or West. Gin clear water, river mouths, surf, lakes; some of which are tannin and some clear, some big some small. These examples just scratch the surface.

In any one of these locations an angler can put a multitude of methods and techniques into action. A single size 18 dry on the Mataura to a 3″ streamer at the Haast River mouth for example. You could also swing a 3″ streamer on the Mataura of course… and this means that every location could potentially work with any method so the list of “method” and “type of water” combinations is vast. It pays to think outside the box a little. Much of the early fishing in NZ was with wet-flies fished down and across. It still works! Though I rarely use it. If I could only sight fish I’d probably get a little bored of it, Just the same if blind nymphing was the only option. Variety of methods versus water keeps it interesting!

Here in Central, the only option of species to catch is brown and rainbow trout (and a few perch) but with the number of ways to catch them it’s like having numerous species. Most importantly for me though, it’s the individuality of the trout themselves. Each one is different to the next, especially with browns. Their own differences, sometimes subtle sometimes complete, is definitely a major part of why I simply don’t and won’t get sick of this. Fishing for really beautiful fish is now an addiction just like big fish hunting.  Have a look at the photo’s below, Every fish in it is a genetically identical yet completely different. I’m so thankful for this diversity among trout. If they were all the same I don’t think I’d be half as keen as I am.

Some good stuff planned this weekend!

Tight lines..

Ronan..

Ignorance is bliss!

February 4th, 2015 1 comment

I had fished the river once on a southbound mission on the West Coast with Paul. We had just finished fishing and filming an epic journey to one of the most remote rivers in NZ (http://globalflyfisher.com/video/revolution) and the 8 days that followed were fishless.. including the day on this river. So, I knew about it. I knew it could be good but in my limited experience on it it wasn’t. I had no idea where I fished it all those years ago. I looked on the map and picked a random access. Down the road Iza and I went, through a gate, crossed a creek and to the river. I took a stroll 100m up river and saw 3 trout which I didn’t catch. This reminded me of the difficult fishing I had that day while Paul was writing a front page for Sexyloops.. I though that was what we were in for the following day. I prepared myself for difficult fish but it turned out that they were not that tough at all. We had a ball!

Here are the best pics from our northbound trip up the coast in early Jan.. I’m way behind on my blog! I might just have to omit the last month to catch up.. but some great things happened up to 9lbs… well, 8.75!

Ronan..

Blind Fishing..

January 19th, 2015 7 comments

There are those who only want to catch trout on a dry and those who only want to sight fish. These are two great ways to catch a trout, no doubt about that, but its not the only way. Far from it! I’m not going to list out all the methods one can use to catch a trout but I’ll mention one. Blind fishing. Blind fishing is fishing likely water with a dry, nymph, wet fly or streamer on river or lake. I want to touch on blind nymphing on rivers. Some NZ rivers are thought of as sight fishing only but very few truly are. No matter how good a spotter you are you wont see all the fish even in the clearest of water. I remember fishing the Oreti about 12 years ago and trying to spot fish. All I did was spook them. I started realising that I was spooking them from a specific type of water so I started blind fishing that type of water. Quickly I landed some fish. This started a steep learning curve for me, partly because I was novice spotter so blind fishing made sense but also because blind fishing just worked! On certain rivers I could blind fish a pool more quickly and productively than trying to spot it. In more recent years I’ve been relying more on my eyes than on blind fishing but I have never forgotten the value of prospecting a deep riffle or bouldery run. Blind fishing is still a major part of my angling. I believe the trick is to move quickly, no more than 2 or 3 blind casts in any area then move up at least a leader length. Try to get the most out of your drift to get the nymphs to maximum depth. A trout will often take at the very end of the drift as the nymphs raise up in the water. Much blind fishing will take place in deeper runs or riffles so if one looks fishy, don’t be afraid to change over to a weighted nymph rig to suit the depth, even in summer!

I think the biggest bonus of blind fishing is the quality of the fish you’re likely to catch. I have a theory that relates to regularly fished rivers. The fish that are easy to see are quite often recovering after being caught a day or so before. They may be feeding but due to being caught recently their energy levels are not so high and they favour easy, slow water to recover fully. There, they are also easy to be seen! They get caught again and the cycle continues, each time they get caught they get a little more worn out. Their markings fade, condition decreases, they get darker because their eyesight worsens; they perceive their surroundings to be darker than they are so they in turn darken to blend in. A self propagating fuck-up. A dark fish is easy for an angler to see. I won’t cast to an unusually dark fish for this reason. —– A fish caught blind from a deep run is usually a fit powerhouse. They have to be to thrive in such water. Their markings are sharp and striking, they may well never have been caught before because most anglers will walk past them on a “sight” fishing river. I have proved this theory to myself time and time again. Blind fishing has great rewards!

The pictures below show a good cross section of recent fishing adventures.. More to come from the New Year mission up the West Coast where Iza and I fished some of the clearest water I’ve seen..

If you’re new here and you like this, please subscribe! The more the merrier…

Ronan..

Harihari Coastal Walkway…

January 7th, 2015 2 comments

The fishing never stops but writing about it has taken a downturn lately. It’s just been really hard to find the time! Here is a snippet from a recent week on the West Coast..

Iza and I decided on the Harihari Coastal Walk as an activity during our week out west. To be honest, walking for the sake of walking bores me to tears. I walk to get somewhere, to do something, a means to an end. That said, if a walk is really spectacular I can have my arm twisted (or if Iza wants to go).. We gathered up what we needed for the walk and set off to the track. At the beginning of the 2.5 hour loop there was a sign advising safe times to walk to avoid high tide, there was also mention of the Poerua River Mouth. This got me thinking..  We were leaving at the worst possible time to avoid high tide but in my reckoning, the best time to fish the mouth. How could I not bring a rod on this walk? I nipped back to the truck and grabbed the 8wt and minimal tackle. High tide was no problem as the rocks were easy to scramble over and the seas were calm.

On arrival at the mouth a quick glance told me how to fish it. I started up river a little and worked it down with a di5 and a couple of streamers until the surf got uncomfortable. I fished the top of the tide and about an hour of the ebb. The fishing was good! I had one good kahawai and a couple of browns. One was a spectacular golden trout. It’s unusual to catch fish like this from a river mouth but there was a huge tannin stained lagoon flowing in on the opposite bank and I assume that’s where this fish came from. That lagoon would definitely be worth an explore too. I may have to come back. I did check out the river farther upstream but it seemed void of life and extremely flood prone and unstable.

After a great 1.5 hours on a beautiful beach we finished the walk which I actually really enjoyed. Rich in history and very varied with coastline, rivers, native bush and forest, mountain views, great company and of course fishing!

Fella’s, If  your passing Hari Hari take her for a beautiful walk and don’t forget the rod!

Ronan..

Please subscribe.. Good stuff on the way!

Keep Your Nerve…

November 27th, 2014 1 comment

I’ve been up to my eyeballs lately and it has been hard to find the time to write. I’m busy at work, working on visa stuff, doing a few jobs around the house, nursing a few injuries, the list goes on.. Needless to say I’ve been on the water every weekend (bar one, I had to rest to allow my hand and back injuries to recover so Iza and I went walking locally.. hence the flower pics!!)

Dunstan is fishing well. Good sight fishing to be had around the edges and on the flats. I know the boat would be great on it but mine is out of order just now. Last weekend I had the best fishing on the silt flats blind fishing a couple of spiders. I fished them the same way my father would, just figure of eighting, staying in touch and waiting for resistance. Great fish too. Some over 4lbs and in great condition.

Mark and I found a gorge on a local river on Google Earth. It had and entry point and an easy exit about 6-8ks farther up. What was in between didn’t look too tough but you can’t be sure, I learned that before! So, we took it on even though the water was high. Sort of a mistake as it turned out. Sight fishing was tough in the deeper pools and damn all fish were out in the water we could see. The going was tough. Just about every step took extra effort and moving up stream in the river was very limited with the steep sides and deep water. Basically we bush bashed, climbed and bouldered all day. I love it. Being in a gorge is one of the best things about NZ fishing. Tough gorges, like this one, see very few anglers. One needs to be a little bit adventurous (some might say mad, but not me) to enjoy them. It’s important to realise the risks involved and not be Gung ho while in the thick of it. When climbing I try to assess the risks as I go. If a section appears dangerous, I look to see if there is something to grab on to if I slipped, a crack, a sprig of thyme, whatever. If there is nothing I’ll find another route. Occasionally you have no choice but to make a risky manoeuvre. At these times you need to keep your nerve, don’t hesitate. Always try to help your fishing buddy.

This gorge seemed to go on forever! We thought we were near the end but we weren’t. We thought it was flattening out but then it got steeper, we thought it was getting easier but it got harder. Mark was getting impatient. He just wanted out, some of the riskier climbs were taking their toll. I wanted to see it through. Thankfully there was no place to climb out and shortly after we made it to the bridge. The fishing was not so good but the gorge was awesome.. in the true sense of the word.

Guy was here recently. We planned a trip to the coast but we turned back with the rainfall increasing as we drove west. We fished Dunstan instead! Good old reliable Dunstan. Hail, rain, snow or sun, it will fish.

Great to fish with Kevin, Mark and Guy recently!

Ronan..

Ps. Here is a short article I wrote for Manic Tackle Project recently.. http://www.manictackleproject.com/friday-fly-day-ronan-creane-contributes/

Iza’s First Fish On Fly…

October 31st, 2014 No comments

So much time has elapsed since my last blog that I don’t know where to start! I’ve had 8 days on the water since writing and I don’t have the energy to write about it all. There were a number of highlights; some big fish, some stunning fish, fishing with Robie, fishing with Iza..

The best bit was coaching Iza on to her first fish on fly. We fished together on the secret dam on a Saturday with very mixed weather. mostly rainy and cold! She hooked a fish or 2 but didn’t land any. She did hook and land a fish but I made the cast. valuable fish playing practice none the less..

On Sunday we fished a local tributary of the Clutha. We fished from the confluence up. Not too far up I spotted a trout happily feeding in the eye of a pool. The water was swirling around so a drag free drift was difficult to achieve. Iza could see the fish from time to time so she knew where her fly needed to land to drift into the trouts lair. All the hours spent practising on lawn and water kicked in and she was sending in consistently decent shots. Eventually he ate. I saw the dry above the nymph check but I wasn’t sure if it was an eat, Iza noticed the dry stop too but struck without hesitation and hooked the fish. She played it well and when I fumbled with the net she dragged it up onto the bank. So I had dam all part to play in her first fish! She did it all from strike to land.. I put the fish in the net while I got my camera out to record this special moment. I left the net down and stepped away then turned around to take the photo. As I did I saw the trout zoom out of the net towards freedom! It was disappointing not to get a photo but it was great fishing event!!

Robbie Mcphee and myself fished together for a few great days last weekend. Iza joined us on the last one and she got a lovely 4lber in the first pool. This time the photo was a success! Cheers Robbie! She also hooked and lost one of about 6lbs so its all starting to happen for her…

I remember my first fish, I’ve guided many onto their first fish on fly.. Some close friends, Nigel, Tom, Fuzz, Jamie, Nico, Irene, Adam, spring to mind.. Justin, Eamonn, Kevin.. Have another go!! Its a special moment.. It was for me anyway!

The stories from the the other missions will have to be told in photos!

Ronan..

PS. Submissions to stop the “round the mountain cycle trail” ruining the upper Oreti valley must be in by the 3rd. All info here.. http://www.sexyloops.com/blog/2014/10/18/the-oreti-needs-your-help/

 

The Oreti Needs Your Help!

October 18th, 2014 No comments

Much of the following is from an email from Chris Dore..

As part of the “Round The Mountain Cycle trail” the developers wish to push up to 60,000 cyclists per year through the Oreti Valley in Southland, New Zealand. This is also one of New Zealand’s (and the worlds) top trophy trout producing rivers. Aside from angling, visitors rate highly the wild, natural and scenic environment of the upper valley through the ‘walk only zone’, the location of the proposed cycle track.

Whether you have visited this area in the passed or whether it is on your wish list, please write a submission mentioning how you feel about sending in bulldozers and extracting gravel from quarries to be excavated in this valley, and the resulting cycle trail and proposed bridge across this most remote and untouched area, also how the construction, maintenance and daily cycling tours through the valley may affect your desire to visit this stunning location.

There is a perfectly viable, more cost efficient and lesser environmentally damaging route available down through the Mararoa river valley which simply makes more sense. The Oreti is one of the best trophy trout waters on earth and should not be jeopardized. It’s that simple.

Submissions close Nov 3rd and can be emailed to emailsdc@southlanddc.govt.nz in a word document following the general format of the prescribed RMA submission form ( form 13) located in the link below. Even a couple of sentences will make a difference.

Anyone can submit on this, including international interests and it’s important we do so.

Mention you are supportive of the cycle trail with the exception of the proposed route from the Mt Nicolas road bridge, down through the Oreti valley including the proposed bridge spanning the river and associated structures. There is a viable and less disruptive route available down the Mararoa with the safety of a nearby road should cyclists get into trouble.

The natural landscape of the upper Oreti valley is highly important to the amenity value of the Oreti, and aside from the world class trophy brown trout fishery, draws hikers, hunters, bird watchers and mountain bikers who appreciate the remoteness of this location, the wild and natural landscape with relative ease of access.

Submission forms can be downloaded here… http://southlanddc.govt.nz/my-southland/around-the-mountains-cycle-trail/stage-two/

Here is a template..

Submission on Application Publicly Notified
(Form 13 under Resource Management (Forms, Fees and Procedures) Amendment Regulations
2006)
Sections 96, 97 and 127(3), Resource Management Act 1991

To: Southland District Council
Name of Submitter: JOE BLOGGS
This is a submission on an application from Southland District Council for a resource consent (or for a change or cancellation of a condition of a resource consent) to: Construct and operate the Around the Mountain Cycle Trail.
The specific parts of the application that my submission relates to are: The Construction and operation of a cycle trail from the Mt Nicolas Road bridge, down through the upper Oreti Valley to centre hill, the proposed bridge across the Oreti river, and buildings throughout the trail in this area.

My Submission is:
I have no problem with the cycle trail as a whole. It’s just the proposed section from Mt Nicholas bridge to Center Hill that should not be allowed. This IS one of the BEST trophy trout waters in the world and should not be jeopardized. The construction, maintenance and use of the area as a cycle trail would only detract from and possibly ruin this amazing fishery. I ask that the Mararoa valley be used instead. I can’t stress enough the importance of this section of the Oreti as an accessible trophy trout water for visitors and locals alike.

I seek the following decision from the consent authority: That the application is not approved while containing the section of cycle trail running from the Mt Nicolas road bridge, down through the upper Oreti Valley downstream to and including the proposed bridge across the Oreti river Iinking to the track along centre hill road.

I do not wish to be heard in support of my submission. (Or I do)

Signature of submitter:
Date:
Contact person:
Address for service of submitter:
Telephone: Fax / email:

Thanks all…

Ronan..