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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

 

 

Adaline Betty Creane! (and an 11.5lb trout)

December 31st, 2017 No comments

The biggest bit of news since my last blog has not been the 11.5lb brown which equals my second biggest to date, it’s been the arrival of our daughter Adaline Betty Creane. She hit the scales at 6.5lbs. Mother and baby are doing great, though I’m a little worse for wear. Nobody ever thinks of the poor father! My paternity leave was timed to perfection. The due date was the 19th of December so I kept the 16th to the 28th free in the hope that she wouldn’t be late. As I was driving out of the driveway after dropping off my client on the 15th, I got the call from Iza. “Get to the hospital”! was the gist of the call. Some complications meant that she went in the chopper from Dunstan Hospital to Dundedin Hospital while I followed in the 3L V6 Maxima keeping to the speed limit the whole way there. After a long labour Iza popped out the most beautiful little thing I’ve ever seen (apart from Iza). We didn’t know the sex, nor did we care. We got just what we wanted in this healthy bundle of joy!

I have had quite a bit of time to fish myself in the last couple of months and most of that effort has been on the lakes. Fraser and I had a weekend away recently in the Central Lakes. We stayed at Buscot Station Backpackers (there is no other place I want to stay near Omarama!). Day 1 we had a look at the canals then went to check out a spot I stumbled upon last winter. We found a few fish but we needed sunshine to get the most from it. We left to try some other spots but returned early the next morning hoping for some midge eaters. We didn’t find any but the cloud broke up quickly for a perfect blue sky day. There was just enough wind to put a gentle ripple on the water opening it up for perfect sight fishing. A soft ripple like this often makes it easier to see fish farther away than with flat calm. The fishing was insane! We landed 12 trout for a morning session, most between 4 and 5.5lbs. I felt a little sorry for another angler on the opposite shore, he hooked none. A small gold bead PT nymph did the trick. I suspended it under a dry at trout cruising depth. Simple! One of Stu’s I think..

Another day worth a mention was on a local dam day with Robbie. The first farm dam we fished was very low but there were a few feeding fish. The exposed weed made it quite hard to fish. I hooked a few but we landed nothing after a few hours fishing it. We moved to the middle dam, I always thought it was the top dam but the farmer told me about another – the top dam! Anyway, the newly named middle dam was super. The water was high and there were a few trout cruising the margins. Short accurate casts did the trick. Any fly – these fish were opportunist feeders. We caught a few fish, all beautiful hard fighting specimens. One of them was certainly in my top 3 stunning fish this season. I really enjoy to fish with Robbie. There is no greed for fish, no ego, just a genuine love for the game and everything that goes with it from the friendships to the flowers on the banks to the fish. We’ve become great friends over the years, ever since he appeared at mine and Kristians camp way up a back country river at 9am. I was bleary eyed as I looked from my sleeping bag after hearing some rocks move. “Who the hell could have made it this far up river by 9am” I thought to myself.. I then answered my own question.. “It could only be Robbie Mcphee”. It was of course. What did we do? We all fished together. That day we landed about 10 fish from 6 to 11lbs with 2 doubles. Here is the blog! http://www.sexyloops.com/blog/2013/03/27/two-10lb-plus-trout/

Speaking about doubles, I managed to land a monster of 11.5lbs last November. Some solo wilderness exploring certainly paid off!

I’ll leave the photos to tell the other stories! Dunstan has been fishing great but I don’t bother taking many photos there anymore. The silt flats are still firing if you’re light enough to wade them and the willow grubbers on the edges will drive you to drink!

Not too much in the guiding gallery today since I had 2 weeks out. The highlights are in there though. January is booked up so all going well the next guiding report should be pretty colourful.

I’ll take this opportunity to wish my great friend Paul and his wife to be, Ashly all the very best in their life together. I wish I could make the wedding but Paul’s spontaneity is hard to plan around. That is going to be quite a day. Miena will never be the same again! All the best, mate! Next time I’m in Malaysia you’ll have the air conditioned houseboat. Bliss!

I still have some availability in Febuary and plenty in March and April. Let me know if you’d like me to guide you on your NZ adventure. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Happy New Year everyone.. May it be filled with happiness and fly fishing!

Tight Lines, Ronan..

GUIDING GALLERY

 

Guiding Magic!!

December 7th, 2017 No comments

The season so far has been pretty flipin’ amazing! It feels like every day is a blue sky day. Rivers are low and clear and the fishing has been top notch. The winds have been light and favourable most days so there are really no excuses not to be out there reaping the rewards. So far the rivers are reasonably full but that will change if this dry weather keeps up. I have noticed a few rivers like wading in bath water of late – sooner or later the fish will shut down considerably if we don’t get an occasional fresh or cold night! Right now it’s all on, so we’ll just deal with the downsides of this hot summer if or when they present.

I have made some time to fish myself since my last blog – indeed I landed my joint second biggest brown ever at 11.5lbs but more about that in the next blog. This report is about guiding! It’s going well. I’ve been busy and really enjoying it. Most of my fishing addiction is satisfied from guiding so that makes it easy to get up in the morning. The pictures below tell the story since my last blog pretty well, but I want to tell one myself. I was on a 4 day road-trip with a 3 day wilderness heli trip straight after it. I really wanted a day off to prepare and organise but couldn’t make it happen. Planning on the road is not easy! I was bouncing a few ideas back and forth in my head, I called a few mates for some opinions, a few emails to the heli companies I like to use.. Finally, the night before the trip, the plan was made. The brief from my client was around something that I would get excited about doing myself. Well, that would have to include some adventure, some unknown. The plan was to fly to the bottom of a gorge, fish hard for 3 days then chopper out from the top. I was familiar with the bottom and the top but the upper middle bit I knew nothing about. There is something about fishing in a gorge that excites me. There is some risk involved, it’s easy to get bluffed making it necessary to climb out and drop back in. You never know what you’re going to get from extreme terrain to monster trout. Proper gorge fishing is not for the faint hearted.

Day 1. The fishing started in an uncanny way. Marks first retrieve of his first cast connected his streamer to a 5lb rainbow. Instant action! Quite unbelievable. The day was pretty easy going but really good. 8 fish landed and the river was getting more exciting as we advanced. We spent the first night in a backcountry hut with steak, spuds, beans and beers. Luxury! Day 2 was different. I knew that to get through the gorge we needed to go hard on day 2. We threw on the packs at 7.30am and didn’t stop fishing till 6pm. As with day 1, the gorge got more and more exciting and interesting as we progressed. Some bush bashing became necessary and an odd climb out, all adding to the sense of adventure – but it was real adventure because neither of us had been there before! The fishing was excellent. The only thing we didn’t find was a large brown or rainbow. I thought we might find one in there somewhere. That said, we did have one follow the streamer of about 6lbs which certainly qualifies as big – just not really big! The gorge was stunning. Lots of pools; many deep and blue, incredible cliffs, rock formations and waterfalls. At the end of the day we pitched the tents and tucked into a simple dehydrated Backcountry meal. Mine was shite. I did carry in a bottle of red in a plastic bottle making it a bit more palatable! The bottle of red was no match for the sandflies however. They were almost as bad as I’ve experienced! By the end of day 2 I reckoned we had gotten through most of the gorge. I didn’t know for sure how far it was to the top flat but I did know we’d make it there easily over day 3. On the morning of day 3 came the tightest part of the gorge. Totally surrounded by beech forrest on both banks. The banks were so steep that little sunlight ever made it through to the river. The fish didn’t mind, they were in there and still happy to eat our presentations. We pushed on, both of us quietly excited about getting out of the gorge and onto the flat back into the sun! Before too long we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It was about lunchtime on day 3 that we made it out of the gorge. The whole thing was a great experience, as much for me as for Mark. For me it was more about the place than fishing (not because I wasn’t fishing!). The thrill of walking up on a pool I had never seen before, seeing whats around the bend, learning the unknown.  For Mark I’m guessing it was both in equal parts. With the remaining few hours we clocked up the tally to 33 trout over the 3 days before the helicopter came to take us back to base. After the drive home I was fecked!

Many thanks to everyone I guided since my last blog! It’s been a pleasure.

Tight Lines,  Ronan..

There are quite a few days available over the rest of the season. Drop me an email if you’d like to book ronan@sexyloops.com, or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

ps. I’m taking the latter half of the month off for paternity leave! Hopefully I timed it right. Iza certainly looks like she could pop at any moment! Exciting times, thats for sure!

 

Raging Bull!

November 9th, 2017 No comments

Recently Jeff and I went out to learn some water neither of us had fished before. We started fishing at the end of the road with the intention of covering as much water as we could squeeze into a day. That we did. We ended up venturing up a tributary to see if it held fish. It did hold some, not many but certainly enough to warrant a trip in October when many post spawning trout have not yet dropped back to the main flows. We pushed a few ks up this tributary. Both of us got a few good chances but even with well placed first casts, these fish melted away into the river.. Not to worry! We pushed on through dense tussock hoping to get another shot, suddenly the ground shook, Jeff took a step back while falling over. I looked up to see the curly white hair on the face of a large bull and Jeff’s rod poking him in the face from the ground. As Jeff rolled out of the way of the rampaging bull, I took a step back while turning to run but instead fell 5 feet over a bank into the river. I immediately jumped up, soaked and dripping, looking to see the bull coming over the bank too. No sign of him as I looked left and right. I called to Jeff, “I’m okay” he said.. I asked where the bull was and he told me he ran off. It was close! It could easily have been a lot worse. I don’t think the bull intended to charge us. He was hunkered down in the tussock and we walked right up on him and spooked him! We all scared the bejesus out of each other. I got a bang on the leg and my whole body hurt the next day, I guess I got a good jarring when I hit the shallow river bed. Jeff was okay. We fished on for another hour or so before calling it a day. We kept our big brown and white friend in sight as we retreated home. That was fun! I do love a good scare to feel alive.

My personal fishing has been great! Lots of new water and of course some old favourites. I managed to get a big fish on the board before the end of October. A real beauty at 9lbs even. I’ve locked in some good new water which I’m looking forward to going back to myself and with clients when weather and water plays ball.. We’ve just had an angry weather system pass through dumping lots of rain and snow all over the place. It looks like things will get back to normal over the next few days. More about my own recent exploits in the top gallery below.

GUIDING UPDATE

I’ve been pretty busy with guiding. Some new clients and some repeats. I’m really enjoying how friendships are forming with the people I guide! Theres a pretty extensive gallery below documenting a great season so far. A couple of recent trips I’ll mention. The first was a heli-trip with Shaun and Mike. We had a super couple of days after flying into the wilderness. We got well and truly away from it all! Fishing was really good each day with plenty browns and rainbows eager to eat dries and nymphs in a most spectacular setting. Shaun brought a nice bottle of red along which accompanied a well earned steak, spuds and beans dinner. There may have been a little whisky too! The craic was good and the fire burned bright until we hit the hay. There was no rush out of bed the next day as we waited for the sun to reach the valley floor. Probably a good thing!!

More recently I took out my regular client, Kevin for 3 days. We hit the road and went south! Day one was freezing and very windy. Kevin had 7 eats with 2 landed including a super rainbow which came blind to a blowfly. Day 2 warmed up a bit and the wind played ball for most of the day. Kevin absolutely nailed it!! Well placed first casts and happy fish combined to produce a day to remember. Kevin landed lots! All but one in the 5 – 7lb class. As good as it gets if you ask me. At the end of day 2 I asked Kevin if there was something specific he’d like to do on day 3. In a very relaxed tone he hinted at a very big fish. Okay, I said! I have a plan.. but we must be prepared to blank (aren’t we always!!). Day 3 included a monster walk. Big fish hunting usually requires lots of walking. We saw only 3 fish for the day but Kevin made the few casts count and landed a personal best at 9.25lbs and another 7lber. These were three intense days of fishing. I was happy to have a cancelation for the following day because I was totally wiped out!

My season is filling up quickly so get in soon if you’d like me to guide you on your NZ adventure! Contact me at ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines!

Ronan..

 

 

 

Message in a Bottle!

October 15th, 2017 No comments

Shane and I decided we had time to walk in to the Black Lake and be back in time for dinner. The walk was usually 2 hours but Shane thought he might have a quicker way in if a certain bog road on google earth was firm enough to drive on. Thankfully it was and we had no issues getting to the end of the road. We tackled up and set off walking across the mountain with high expectations. Shane had visited the lake few times with plenty fish to the net each time. We got there after an easy 40 minutes, the sun was occasionally poking its rays through the grey clouds and there was a firm breeze blowing. I took the west shore and Shane took the east.. I was expecting quick action but it didn’t come. I could see Shane wasn’t catching either. We persisted down our shores and met at the bottom. I picked up one wee trout. Tiny, but still approximately 3 years old. Wild trout will grow as large as their environment permits and these acidic mountain lakes generally do not contain an abundance of food for trout, and so, they don’t grow very big. They are good to eat if you catch a few but today the catch was returned unharmed! We both agreed that there was no point fishing any more so we started the march back to the van. We wondered why the fish were simply not on? They had to be in there. Who knows! We could only speculate. We passed an old roofless stone building on the way – a very small one at about 7′ x 5′ inside. We went in for a look. I noticed a few old pots in the wall, also some kindling and a couple of sods of turf. Shane got down there for a closer look and could see a bottle with a cork in it. He tried to get it out but could barely reach, it was way in under the wall. Stubbornness got the better of him, he eventually he got it out with the aid of a stick. There was something in there.. a note we guessed. We could see paper wrapped in plastic. I popped out the cork. It took me a while to jimmy out the note but it came out eventually. Sure enough it was a message in a bottle which read: 26/6/05..  Hello to whoever found this note in years to come. My name is Jordan Keane 12 years of age. Me and my dad camped here this night. I caught a really big fish here about 12 inch long and caught 32 fish from 4.30am to 12.30am. Good bye We put the note back in the bottle, and the bottle back under the wall for the next person to find. We continued back to Shane’s van with a good story to tell and made it home in time for dinner. Iza, Irene, Shane’s brother, Tom and his girlfriend were there too. All friends from our early teens, its important to do this! Eat, drink, fish and be merry!!

I also did the rounds fishing some of my home waters. James and I had an enjoyable day out on Corrib. I’m no longer in the know on the lake so I chose a long drift which brought us passed many familiar points, bays and islands. Early in the day a beautiful bar of gold made a side swipe at my dry mayfly and stuck! A beautifully marked native Irish brown. There is a certain reverence towards an wild Corrib brown that I don’t feel anywhere else! James and I had a few more chances but we finished the day with one. A pint or 2 in the evening rounded off the day nicely!

John and I also had a day on Corrib. A very unusual day it was in that we put up a heap of trout but got nothing to the net. We must have risen 25 trout for the day on dries and wets. We altered our retrieve, fly size, fly patterns etc but nothing changed. That evening the pints were necessary after a frustrating day!

I had a great session after Irish Pollack off Roundstone. A Di7 with a short leader and a white marabou and possum sculpin head did the trick. Iza was with me putting her new camera through it’s paces and got some great shots! Lumpy seas, a spectacular seascape, willing pollack and great company made for the perfect afternoon. Dinner for the family compliments of the Atlantic Ocean that night!!

The way things worked out, Dad and I only managed 2 days fishing together. We fished 2 lakes we both love and have both guided on many many times, Lough Inagh and Kylemore Lough. The fishing was pretty slow on both lakes but we managed a few good quality seatrout in the 1 to 2 lb class in both locations. With our day on Kylemore we decided to try something different after a slow morning, so we went after large cannibal trout. We heard some reports that they were in the lake whch is no surprise, they are quite common in Inagh just a few miles away. We had a tip as to their whereabouts; the shallow near the bottom bridge, so we worked this area. The plan was to fish over the drop-offs with fast sinking lines. This is not easy from a drifting boat in black, peat stained water because its impossible to tell the depth your in by looking at the water. My thinking is that the most likely water would be along the sloping shelf from the shallow to the deep. Regularly poking the rod down to find the bottom kept us on the right depth – no depth finder! Every time we could not hit the bottom with the rod tip we’d go back on the drift in an attempt to drift along the sloping drop-off. We worked it hard for hours. I had one follow to the surface from a fish between 3 and 4lbs and so did dad. When we almost had enough of it I connected with one – a big one! It immediately broke the surface, certainly 6lb+, and then the fly came out. I couldn’t swear that it wasn’t a salmon but my instinct (or maybe blind optimism) tells me it was a large brown. A monster for a Connemara lake! For the last hour we worked the the top of the lake near the river mouth in the hope of a salmon. Dad got a solid seatrout not long before we called it a day but we’ll have to wait til next year for a salmon. Special thanks to Nancy for giving Dad and I a boat for the day. It’s always a pleasure to listen to her stories about the old days and the new. Did she ever tell you about the day she caught 7 big salmon out in front of the house? It’s a good one! Thanks also to my good friend, Macca!!

One other thing of note happened while in Ireland. I asked Iza to marry me and she said yes! I don’t want to go into the entire proposal story but it involved casting the ring to her on an 8wt on the wild west coast of Roundstone!

The NZ season is well under way. I’ve had very successful guide days so far! More on that very soon. If you’re thinking about some guided fly fishing in NZ this year why not drop me a line! ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines everyone!

Ronan..

 

Fly Fishing The Azores..

September 24th, 2017 No comments

I did a little research on fly fishing on the Azores Islands but nothing I read was overly positive. Some fish species could be targeted from the seashore on fly; big flies and a super fast retrieve seemed to be the way from an article I read. Lakes held multiple species but I read nothing about any great fishing, only a bit about catching tiny stocked rainbows – feck that! Initially I figured I wanted to take on the sea. My rough plan was to find a sheltered spot on the lee side of the island and blind fish into deep water with a di7. If i spotted surface activity then I’d adapt. Iza and I had 4 days on the largest island, Sao Miguel, with day 3 my only dedicated fishing day. Over day one and two I realised that shoreline access was difficult. Town harbours were accessable and a very good option from what I saw on a leisurely stroll with Iza. We saw mullet and some other small palagics I couldn’t Identify. My gut feeling was that these fish were there for the easy source of food from bread throwing tourists (like me!) so they were down the pecking order as a target species, also I didn’t want to hook a passer by in the face. The point of the main pier in Ponta Delgado looked better than the inside harbour but I never made it out there for a proper look. On a day trip to the most accessible of 4 lakes I found carp! I fished to them for about an hour with a little interest then they shut down completely at about 1pm. The next day was my fishing day.. sea or lake? Having found no seashore spot that took my fancy, this stunning lake which formed in a volcano crater was it. I started at about 8. Earlier would have been better but I found lots of carp feeding over some sand / mud flats. I quickly hooked and landed one on dad’s diawl bach, then hooked another which broke me in the weeds. Action continued. I wont bore you with details but I’ll mention what I think I learned over the day. Cruisers were tough. I may have briefly hooked one. Fish with heads down tail up – actively feeding fish – were catchable. Depending on the depth of water I used a weighted or unweighted PT nymph – one of Stu’s. The key was to make them see it! Due to their foraging in mud or weed and putting up clouds of silt, this was no easy task. Sometimes took many casts to get the fly in just the right spot. If I could pull the fly slowly across the bottom right in front of the fishes face he may well eat it. The next problem is hooking them! I believe they can suck in and spit out the fly in a second so timing the strike was difficult. My best results came by staying in touch with the fly with a slow retrieve and hoping to feel or see the take. The takes were rarely obvious so I resisted the urge to strike. I had about 7 fish eat the fly that I’m sure of. I landed 3. I also sight fished a pike on a size 12 PT.

So, to sum up. Lake Sete Cidades was good! Carp fishing as described in a lake that’s split in two by a bridge, one side is murky green, the other side clear. Both sides fished well. If I had another day at them I’d start at first light. They mostly shut down during the heat of the day, at least they do in September. There are also pike, perch, zander, trout, bass and others. The potential here is incredible. There are no power boats allowed. I’m not sure about electrics. I only fished the easily accessible lake (Sete Cidades) and only from the shore, though kayak rental is possible. I didn’t see another angler. Lake Fogo is even more beautiful and remote. I doubt you’d see another person if you took it on. It’s crystal clear too.

The seashore has to have an abundance of fish, it’s just a matter of finding the spots away from the sea cliffs which dominate the island and learning times of year when different species come close to shore. If my life was different I might just move out there and learn this largely untouched seashore and lake fishery! Nice climate, great food, cheap good beer, beautiful women, friendly people, world class big game in the deep sea. What more does a fella need?? Maybe somebody reading this will take the plunge! I hope so because I want to go back a hire a guide who knows the score!! To say I only scratched the surface here is certainly true, scratched it with one nail. I had about 12 hours fishing with only half an hour on the sea on one of 9 islands.

I wrote the above on my mobile phone while in transit from the Azores to Portugal’s mainland. It was fresh in my mind and I had the urge to write so I did.. What followed was 3 days fishing with my old mate Tonio, before it came fishing in Irleand, USA and Malaysia.. I wish to feck I used more transit time to write because the season is about to kick off here so finding time to write will be tough once again.. If you’re reading this because you’re visiting the Azores, don’t hesitate to drop me line! I’ll tell you what I know – though its pretty much all written here!

Tight Lines All!

Ronan..

For guiding bookings for the upcoming NZ season email me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

 

 

The Possum and Marabou Streamer…

September 16th, 2017 No comments

A quick pre-prepared blog while on the road / wing! This winter I didn’t use any streamers but this one. It’s been excellent so I thought you might like to know the tying. It’s simple to tie as the pictures below show. I always try to design my flies to be as easy to tie as possible. I try to limit components and try not to add any complex procedures which take time. Parachutes in dry flies for example – waste of time. I’ve been tying this pattern with one or two 5mm tungsten beads depending on desired weight and more recently with the sculpin head. Initially I used the sculpin heads because I ran out of beads but after tying a few I wanted to tie more! They’re fun to tie and very effective. Have a play with this pattern. Try a multitude of possum / marabou colour combinations. Add sparkle or whatever takes your fancy. I just ordered lots more marabou colours and helmets to try more combinations.. The black and blue was deadly!

For guiding bookings and information see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

(ps, sorry the slide show is not in order! When I export the pics they get mixed up.. nothing I can do about it..)

Fishing the Kawarau with Santillan!

August 17th, 2017 No comments

There’s a great crew of Anglers in these parts. I joined the Wakatipu Anglers Club many years ago and through it I met many great people who I’m still friends with now. As the years go on Members come and go, so it continues to be a great place to meet fellow anglers. We regularly try to meet up for a day out but with everyones busy lives it’s hard for 2 fellas to juggle their responsibilities to come up with the same day off to fish. I try to make the effort to get out with my friends as much as I can; its important to me. On this day, Santillan and myself made it happen. We were hoping to encounter one of the monsters that turn up in the Kawarau every winter. No one is entirely sure where they come from. Some say they’re from the wharf in Queenstown where wild fish are artificially fed to monster sizes. Others say they can’t be these fish because trout don’t migrate downstream to spawn. Maybe they’re just huge fish from further down river or from Lake Dunstan? Who knows! It would be pretty easy to tag a few of the wharf fish to find out, but as yet this hasn’t happened for one reason or another. I’m sure it will at some stage because it would be great to know. The monster fish I’m talking about range from 9 to 20lbs. Interestingly, at least in my experience, fish between 3 and 9 are rarely caught. Please correct me if I’m wrong, somebody! Fish from 1 to 3 are in good supply but are still hit and miss, but often when you find one, you’ll find lots!

Santillan and myself set off in the morning very early but a few things conspired to delay our drift commencement. With fish being pretty quiet for most of the early part of the day, our late start worked to our advantage because we didn’t have many fish to slow our downstream progress! We landed 6 of our 8 fish in the last 2 hours and ended up back at the truck earlier than usual! I haven’t known Santillan for very long so a float trip was a great way to have the craic for the day. He’s a sound man (as we say in Ireland) and a feckin good angler!

Tight Lines, Ronan..

For guiding bookings and information see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me ronan@sexyloops.com