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Schooled by Bess!

July 17th, 2013 No comments

Winter conditions have been challenging lately. A few weeks ago with some favourable weather I tried out one of last winters hotspots but it did not fire at all. Since then the weather has kept me off the water. On Friday, while trying to formulate a plan, I called a friend of mine, Craig Hind, who runs a fishing charter boat out of Queenstown and he kindly gave me some good information. I took it on board and put it to work.

Bess Bucholz joined me for the day. She worked as a guide in Wyoming for 2 seasons and now she lives here in Queensown. She’s a dead keen fly-angler / hunter so I’m sure NZ is getting into her blood as it did mine when I first arrived here over 10 years ago.

I warned Bess before we got to the boat launch that a day on the water with me is always a little risky. Anything could happen and often does. Only one day in two is free from mechanical issues or some other drama so be warned! Maybe I should have said nothing because the cold engine struggled to turn over with the weak battery. Then, after a few attempts, it burst into life… then died. Then the battery died. I took the lid off and wrapped the pull cord around the fly wheel and gave her hell.. She fired up but quickly died. It takes a delicate balance of revolutions v’s choke to keep her ticking over but the freezing cold morning took its toll. Once it’s warm it usually gives no trouble. The manual starts kept failing and I was getting worn out so I took the battery out of the truck which is brand new (The battery, not the truck) and connected that up. There was no more trouble from my 1978 Johnson engine. I was impressed that Bess was still happy to cross the lake with me! Many wouldn’t have..

We motored across the lake with a few spots in mind to try out. There was virtually no cloud in the sky and only a gentle breeze. Bess started with a clear intermediate and I used a Di7. I had a few misses at the first location but the second was better. I hooked and lost a few but discovered that the fish were deep. Bess changed over to a Di5 and quickly started hooking fish. When we found the hotspot, the method and the depth we had a magic hour. We hooked heaps but landed just 5. Two little ones for me and 3 good fish for Bess. I hope to get out again this weekend. I might try some more new water. Bring it on! I just hope the sun shines again..

Pints in Queenstown went down well that evening.

Thanks to Craig for the info! If you want to get out on the Lake Wakatipu, check this out. http://www.clearwaterfishing.co.nz/

If you like what you see and read please subscribe! Click the button an the top right of this page..

Stuntman Ronan..

“Tasmanian Tailers” link at the bottom..

This week on SLTV, Number 12. Tasmanian Tailers. In this episode Paul, Hairy and Myself cross a lake and then go on foot into some true Tassie wilderness in search of the elusive “Tailers”. We got some great footage of tailing trout and the craic that goes with it! Wine, snoring, cheese, early starts, weird spidery things, fishing, man-cooking, rain …. Enjoy!

James Wilkinson, Photographer Extraordinaire!

July 5th, 2013 2 comments

James Wilkinson is a  photographer and film maker. He is also a keen fly-fisherman and likes to photograph the sport when the opportunity arises. His work has appeared in and on the cover of Flylife magazine. James joined me for a day on Dunstan last weekend. He brought the rod along but the camera was given priority. Fishing was slow at best! I worked hard all day swapping back and forth between a Di5 and a clear intermediate. There were quite a few small fish about but I only landed one fish worth a mention.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable, invigorating day on the water. The cold wind never stopped blowing but we were clothed adequately. We’ll get out again once I find the winter rainbows.

All of the photo’s in this weeks blog are from James. Thanks mate!

Ronan..

This week from SLTV, number 11 in the series.. “Lost” In this episode Paul gets us totally lost in the Tasmanian Western Lakes by insisting that his shortcut would save time… We also learned to bring a proper map and compass next time!! This is worth a watch…

Submissions due today to change current legislation to help protect Ireland’s wild fish..

June 28th, 2013 1 comment

Now is your chance to have your say regarding the future of Ireland’s wild salmon and sea-trout. Please take a minute to write a submission in favour of a change in legislation which will help protect our wild fish. A sentence is all it takes or more if you desire. Your submission might be the straw that breaks the camels back! The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5.30pm today Irish time. Sincere thanks in advance to all submitters..

I took down my last blog because I was misinformed in my rashness!

Ronan..

http://www.nosalmonfarmsatsea.com/archives/674

This is the resulf of farming salmon in open cages at sea... We must stop this. Please write a submission!

This is the resulf of farming salmon in open cages at sea… We must stop this. Please write a submission!

 

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Searching Lake Wakitipu’s River Mouths…

June 11th, 2013 No comments

I have very little to report from last weekend. Dunstan was still very coloured from rain a week ago and so are many of the tributaries of the Southern Lakes so my options were limited. I went for a drive to Glenorchy on Sunday and fished all the stream mouths on the way. I did not have a single event! The day was spectacular and I got a few nice photos. I tried out my new Airflo Di8. It seems like it may be better suited to a double hander. The entire line is weighted which does not really make sense to me. The old 40+ line was better because once I had the head aerialised I could then shoot it up to 30m, maybe even more. The 40′ head was plenty to quickly get my fly to depth. I could only manage maybe 20m with the new line mainly because the heavy line was hard to pull from the water I was standing in as the line was shooting out. It may be fine from the deck of a boat though. Time will tell. I only fished with it for about 90 minutes so I wont judge it quite yet. I have no idea what I’ll do next weekend. June is the worst fishing month of the year down here. The river mouths should start to fire soon… Hopefully!

Tight Lines… Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Dry-fly fishing for sharks”. I fish with Australian politician Bryan Green for trout which appear like “Sharks” in the waves. Paul goes to Melbourne to teach casting. This is our most capped episode!… maybe due to the final scene where Paul and I (mainly me really) are clearly drunk.

“I’ll Fuckin Ram You”

June 6th, 2013 No comments

Mark and I were about 100m off the shore, drifting parallel to it and toward a heavy weed bed about 150m away. I noticed two anglers on the shore with their boat pulled up. They put in after we passed them by and started trolling down the shore. They were also heading for the weed bed which ran from the shore out into the lake across the line of our drift. My intention was to drift as far as the weeds with the most likely water being close to the weeds. The trollers were moving tight to the shore and as they got to the weeds before us they changed their course to follow them. I wondered when they would pull out to the back of us. They didn’t. They held their course and cut our drift about 10m in front of us. I reeled up. I was going to say something but thought, no, no big deal, they have no idea of lake etiquette, I’ll just leave it at that. We were clearly drifting. My engine was off and pulled up so a boat under power should give way, that is the rule. I let my boat drift close to the weeds before dropping the engine down to shallow drive to back out. Too late as it turned because I got the boat stuck in the weeds! While trying to back out the trollers started roaring back to us saying I cut their lines with my prop! They turned around to come back for a fight or whatever. I was looking forward to the argument because they were so much in the wrong. They came alongside us shouting like fools and I told them they crossed our drift, One of the lads tried to retort but Mark fired up and in no uncertain terms told him where to go. At this he said “I’ll fuckin ram you” and he roared off out in a circle with his 135hp engine and came back to ram us. My engine was ticking over and only for I pulled the bow around he would have hit us. He missed by an inch or 2. Mark was up on the bow (casting platform) at the time and as their boat passed at pace we were left sloshing in the white water behind the engine. Almost immediately after this idiotic act they left the lake. Maybe they had no more spinners. I was pleased to find my tires were not slashed when we decided to leave. We caught half a dozen fish.

Ronan..

This is my personal favourite episode from the SLTV series.. There is drama, broken trucks, broken engines, the world famous Peter Hayes, Hair, Oil, Fish, Mayhem, Wind, Rain, Casting…. It’s all happening in this episode.. Enjoy!

Fishing with Camo-Guy…

May 27th, 2013 4 comments

I travelled a few hours south to have a day or 2 on the Waiau with my good friend Guy. We got to the river with great expectations because it can fish very well late in the season. Guy was into one almost straight away while I was rigging up. He lost that fish. We struggled from then on. Guy hooked 3 or 4 and landed one, I hooked 2 and landed one. That was our tally of events for the day. We tried a range of methods from dry and nymph combo’s to swinging nymphs to swinging streamers. The next day the rain hammered down and neither one of us were keen on going out again.

This weekend has some great prospects! Two friends of mine will be over to fish so it may be time to take on the winter rainbows at the river mouths again. I hope the weather is good. The forecast for the next few days is for snow to low levels with extreme cold and wind-chill.

Tight lines all..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Tasmanian Western Lakes” part 2.. Fish, 4x4ing, frozen tents, wisdom and wilderness!

A weekend Fishing Lake Dunstan from the Boat…

May 16th, 2013 No comments

Last weekend I fished Lake Dunstan. The top end of the lake has not fished consistently well this year but last weekend was pretty good. The browns are no longer on the flats, at least not in large numbers but some rainbows have taken their place. This makes sense because browns spawn first and I expect they’re now up river. The rainbows were present in high enough numbers to deliver decent fishing. I used a clear intermediate line with a long 10lb tippet and a wolley bugger. As I drifted off the shallow into the the deeper water I counted the line down a bit. this worked but most were in pretty shallow water. I hooked about the same number of fish each day, on Saturday I landed 6 and on Sunday just one. Three were around 5lbs which were the biggest I’ve had off the lake this season. All but one were rainbows. This is the first time this season that I’ve found rainbows in reasonable numbers. This does not surprise me though, I spent most of my time fishing the shallows which is brown trout territory. To target rainbows on Dunstan one usually needs to fish the deeper water with sinking lines.

This weekend I’ll be deep sea fishing with the lads from work. I’ll bring the fly-rod so I hope an opportunity to use it presents itself!

Please sign this petition to help prevent the worlds largest salmon farm being built off the West Coast of Ireland..  https://www.change.org/petitions/simon-coveney-td-minister-for-agriculture-food-and-the-maine-refuse-the-application-from-bim-to-put-salmon-cages-in-galway-bay#share

All the best..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Tasmanian Western Lakes part 1″ Paul and I take on a serious 4×4 mission into the Tasmanian Western Lakes. We get stuck before we start but Paul solves the problem while trying not to get stuck in the mud himself! John’s TCR bites the dust, You will hear some fantastic music from the Spa Pikers and most importantly witness some excellent fishing in a truly wild and beautiful (and sometimes cold!) place. This 2 part show is one of my favourites!

Aran Islands Salmon Farm? I hope not..

May 9th, 2013 4 comments

I found myself feeling pissed off at work today. When I thought about exactly why I was feeling that way the answer didn’t make me feel much better. A very good friend of mine in Ireland, Colin Folan, sent me a link to a “Prime Time” episode on RTE covering both sides of the Aran Islands fish farm debate. I’m totally anti fish farming using the methods adopted by the Irish salmon farming industry. I witnessed the decimation of sea-trout populations, mainly through my father’s eyes when I was a child. This collapse coincided with the first farms and within a few years they were all but gone (1271 sea-trout down to 21 in one year on the Lough Inagh Fishery and down to 14 the next). Salmon farms have continued to plague wild salmon and seatrout populations ever since through pollution, disease and huge infestations of sea-lice feeding on farmed salmon but easily latching onto wild salmonids as they pass by. The program on RTE highlighted the fact that now B.I.M ( Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Sea Fisheries Board in English) are behind a proposal to build Europe’s largest salmon farm just off the west coast of Ireland beside the beautiful Aran Islands. If this goes ahead when will it stop? Will the entire west coast be dotted with ugly, polluting cages? Why can’t we learn from our own mistakes or B.C’s or Scotland’s or Norway’s? IFI (Inland Fisheries Ireland) are opposed to the farms due to the threat that farms pose to wild fish and angling tourism. BIM picked a great time to sneak in with their proposal. Ireland needs jobs and the farm could employ lots but at what cost? If the wild fish populations are further reduced on Ireland’s west coast huge numbers of jobs will be lost in angling tourism. If money was put into promotion of angling tourism, preservation of habitat and re-population of wild fish stocks, jobs would be created both in the short and long term And we would have wild fish running our rivers for ever more. One thing that really bothers me in all of this is the fact the entire debate seems to revolve around money and jobs. The welfare of wild salmon and sea-trout for the salmon and sea-trout’s sake has taken a back seat. If you have ever stood beside a river watching wild salmon and trout run up and over a fall you will know what an amazing and utterly captivating sight and experience it is, If you have not and this farm goes ahead you may never witness this on Ireland’s west coast nor will your children. This brings a tear to my eye. The farm has not been given the green light yet so there is still hope. Maybe we will keep this wild fish resource and not give it up like we did our sea fishing rights and our oil.

Below is a link to the episode, Start  17 minutes in.

By the way, The BIM spokesman on the show made reference to the fact that wild salmon and sea-lice have coexisted for millions of years, (which is true in the wild), but he neglected to mention what happens when you pack a million salmon into a little cage. The lice will find it and their population will explode due the amount of available food. Also what happens in the open ocean cannot be accurately compared to the confines of a cage. I could see the No Salmon Farms At Sea spokesman chomping at the bit to retort but he never got a chance! And to Richard from the IFA, “Does it take 3kgs of wild fish to produce 1kg of farmed salmon?” he was asked, “No” he said, “it takes 600gs of protein / fish meal to produce a kg of farmed salmon” Well my question to him is, how many kgs of wild fish does it take to produce 600gs of fish meal??  Dam evasive politics.

http://www.rte.ie/player/nz/show/10146690/

Here is a link to a fact sheet from the I.F.I, Please take 5 minutes to read over it. http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=330&Itemid

Here are Minister Simon Coveney’s details.. http://www.finegael.ie/our-people/ministers/simon-coveney/

Please sign and share this petition.. https://www.change.org/petitions/simon-coveney-td-minister-for-agriculture-food-and-the-maine-refuse-the-application-from-bim-to-put-salmon-cages-in-galway-bay#share

Stay informed!  Ronan..Ireland Sept 11 169_1024x768

The Season Ends… sort of!

April 29th, 2013 2 comments

The season ends tomorrow on most rivers but plenty are open until the end of may. For those who enjoy the lakes, most of these are open year round. Many rivers are open year round too and it’s often the case that rivers between the sea and the first bridge are open year round even if it’s closed above the bridge. Therefore, you can fish all year round over here and the winter fishing can be excellent.

Last year a group of angling friends and I descended on Lumsden for a few days to finish of the season. The fishing and the craic was great so we decided to do it again this year. Unfortunately this year due to coloured water, adverse weather and a very limited hatch every day the fishing was poor for the most part. Simon Chu and Mike Wilkinson put in some great performances catching lots of fish when the going was tough! Simon’s trout cottage was where we stayed. After each fishing day we ate well, drank well and told fishing stories.

Thank you Simon for your hospitality!

Ronan..

Ps. If your new to this and you enjoy it please subscribe. The link is at the top right of this page.

This week on SLTV. Episode 7, “Squids, Kahawai & Mugwai”, check it out below the photos..

In this episode Paul, Hairy and I try to target squid on fly at St Helens in Tasmania. First we compete to see who can tie the best fly! Paul cooks his annual lasagne feast.. We catch lots of fish but there was a disaster…

Just Under 12lbs!

April 23rd, 2013 2 comments

Double figure fish are not easy to come by in NZ. In about ten seasons I’ve only had 2. I talk no shit about doubles. I carry an accurate weigh net so that I’m not fooling myself or anybody else. It’s important to me. So often I’ve seen photo’s of “10lbers” that clearly are not which dilutes the difficulty of attaining one. In seasons passed, I targeted big fish from time to time but never as much as I did this season. This season my objective was to learn some big fish rivers and target the illusive double. This I succeeded in. I learned a lot about a number of waters that hold really big fish and finally, last Saturday, I caught one.

Saturday started with disappointment. I got some info on where a number of fish were so I went there. Rain in the mountains earlier that morning sent a burst of high and coloured water down the river so I could not see in. I thought it would be hopeless but I had to go and check it out. Luckily for me the high water pushed a lot of fish out of the depths of the pools into the shallow tail water. The fishing was unreal. the first run up I took a  few on nymphs including my 11.9lber. The next run up I had a few more and lost a fish a LOT bigger, The next run up the streamer took a few and then I fished into the depths of the pool where I could not see and had a few more. What can I say, That’s the story.

Day 2 was in a different gorge, I caught some more fish, more climbing, a few tumbles, one of which left me grasping onto a tree for all I was worth.  The forested steep sided gorge was slippery with fallen leaves and wet from rainfall. You cant just amble up a river like this which is why I love it. When I’m there, I’m there in mind and body. Full on. Intensely focused on the river and the fishing and trying to keep an eye on where my feet are landing!

I was fishing to a small pod of fish at one stage during the day. All I could see was a few tails sticking out from behind a rock about 8 foot down. I pulled the my orange rubber legs through them a few times with virtually no response. Then I put down one of my own super heavily weighted streamers and they all went nuts. 3 chased, but 2 backed off. I stripped until I had tippet in my hand and looking at the streamer in the water with a very big trout behind it. I paused. He drank the fly like a Large Mouth Bass would and with the strike I was in. The fish went nuts beside me as I was perched high on a rock. I got control of the fish as I made my way back to shore. The big jack jumped and his belly was totally black, not dirty off white as sea-run trout get this time of year but a deep navy black. I really wanted to see and photograph this incredibly marked fish but the fly left him with the next head shake.

I’m struggling to put this together this week. The photo’s below tell a few more stories!

It was a dramatic, unforgeable weekend.

Ronan..

This week on SLTV… I think we were drunk editing this! Hairy sings a great song with some inspirational lyrics… and there’s some fishing!