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Maybe 13lbs! I might find out before the season ends…

April 9th, 2013 2 comments

Sometimes when fishing in a forest lined gorge, low light is better for spotting than bright sun. The sun creates extreme shadow, contrast and glare coming through the trees, sometimes the the banks are illuminated so much that it’s impossible to adjust your eyes to the dark water. Diffuse light from an overcast day creates less shadow and contrast with more uniform light in and around the water making spotting much easier. Also there is little or no glare because you are always spotting against trees or cliffs.

Robbie and I fished a gorge on Saturday during a blue sky day. Spotting was very tough for the reasons I just described. We covered about 10 – 12ks of river because blind fishing was not really an option and we just walked until we found fish. There were not many out. We had one each.

At the end of the day, almost at the last pool, we sat and watched it for a while. Then I spotted one sitting high in the water not moving at all. The trout was in a back eddy, hidden against a black rock making him hard to see. Robbie suggested I take the shot so I didn’t hesitate. I crossed the river and changed my fly before getting into position. I had a strong feeling a nymph would spook the fish so I put on a size 10 cicada. I got into position directly behind him. I took the shot which landed perfectly about 2 foot in front of the fish. Then I waited. The fish slowly started to move and my first thought was that he was going to accelerate away spooked. Then I realised he was rising in the water… slowly… really slowly. I told myself not to strike too quick. I watched the tip of his big snout lazily take down my fly. I let it go back under the water and then I struck. Nothing. Fuck. My strike was maybe a little slower than usual but that was the slowest I have ever seen a trout move. I should have reacted equally slowly. Lesson learned.

Robbie mentioned 13lbs afterwards. It was a very big fish, that’s for sure but not that big I think… Who knows. I have to go back but the season is almost over and its a serious mission to get there!

Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Part 3 of my introduction, you’ll learn Fraser’s porn name, and that he’s a mean Irish dancer.. Also he hooks a lot of tree’s and an occasional fish. More great fish footage here too from a stunning Fjordland river.. Enjoy..

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Thunder and Lightning in Fjordland…

April 4th, 2013 2 comments

Take my advice and never go into Fjordland if rain is forecast. I learned this lesson in style one time. It rained, the river rose rapidly and we were on the wrong side of it. We rashly stuffed everything we had with us into our packs and attempted a 4 man crossing. This means we all link arms, put the biggest fella up into the current and the lightest lad downstream. We only just made it across to the safety of the rough track out.

Jeff and I had intended going into Fjordland together but I got caught up on the beer with some great friends from home so I was a day late. When Jeff went in, the forecast was good. A day later it was terrible. Heavy rain and storm was forecast for that night and for the next 2 days. With that forecast only a madman would go in but I had planned to meet Jeff in there so I went against my better judgement. Partly because I said I would and partly for Jeff’s safety’s sake. I know he can take care of himself, but my conscience would not let me rest if I did not go in, and what if the shit did hit the fan? It’s always easier for 2 to face it. He had no idea what was coming.

I got in, made camp, went for a fish, made a huge fire, chilled out, then Jeff appeared back after his day on the water. The rain had started but it was not too bad. The fire and wine kept us happy anyway. After our steak dinner it pissed down so we had to retire to the tents. Shortly after going to bed, thunder and lightning roared and electrified the valley and the rain got heavier. I was very close to getting up and getting out while we still could. Jeff was thinking the same but we both decided to brave it. The rain pounded the tents and the thunder storm was getting closer. Sleep was not possible. Again I thought we should go before the river got too high to cross but we stayed put. Then silence… and sleep.

The rain stopped during the night. We woke to nice morning, the clouds were high and white and moving swiftly across a blue sky but things felt settled. Or was that optimism? Maybe it was, I’m not sure. The river was high but fishable and crossable. To error on the safe side of caution we took our tents down and moved them to the safe side of the river. You may wonder why we didn’t pitch our tents there in the first place. Well it’s illegal. That’s true but the real reason is because I could not find Jeff’s camp when I got in so I made camp roughly where we planned to meet and also in an obvious, easy to see place. Jeff was camped way farther up than usual. When he found me we decided to stay there and take our chances as the rain was light.

Fortune favoured the bold once again. There was no more rain. The fishing was epic.

Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Part 2 of my introduction to the series. In this episode from Fjordland I modify expensive boots, break and fix my reel, Paul catches the ugliest fish, and we have a little competition. We catch 29 browns! But who catches the most??……

Two 10lb plus Trout…

March 27th, 2013 4 comments

Fishing for really big trout is an addiction. There are lots of options available to me but at the moment I’m targeting big fish at a few locations. I cant help myself! For Easter the plan is a little different. Jeff Forsee and I are heading into fjordland. We are unlikely to find fish of the size and calibre you’ve been seeing and reading about in my recent reports but who knows, there are a few big fish in there. Big fish is not the purpose anyway. It’s about getting into the wilderness for a few days and making the most of what ever opportunities we get. Fjordland is good for the soul.

The weekend gone by was another epic one. Kristian and I got ourselves organised on Saturday for 3 days in the wild fishing with packs on. The idea being that we fish until we’ve had enough and then make camp where ever that is, we then continue from there the next day. This is a great way to explore but the walk out after a few days fishing  can be really tough!

We had Saturday evening, all day Sunday and Monday morning to fish. I got a 9.5lb stunning red trout on arrival on Saturday. First cast actually! That was it.

Saturday was different. While Kristian was cooking some breakfast and I was contemplating the day ahead I noticed a sprightly individual moving at pace up river. In no time he was at our camp. It was Robbie Mcphee. At the speed he was moving I expected it would be!  These can be awkward situations. How do we all divide up the river? Robbie and I met once before so that made this chance situation a little easier. We chatted for a while and decided we would fish together! Once we got our gear packed away we got to it. We went shot for shot. In the early part of the day we basically had 3 chances each. I landed one 6lber, lost a really big fish and broke in a small fish. Robbie landed 2 close on 9lbs. Kristian landed an 8.5lber, a 10.25lber and a 10.75lber. I’ve only had one over 10 in all my years here.

We had a few more shots in the afternoon but only landed a couple. I had both, some redemption from my morning efforts! They were both very memorable fish; the first, Kristian had the first shot but snagged a rock, then Robbie had a go but snagged a tree, then I took my shot and sent my fly into the zone and got the fish. I learned from my 2 predecessors and took up a better position. The other fish was from a very deep pool where i let my single size 14 nymph sink to the bottom. I watched the fish cruise near where I expected the fly to be and struck at the sight of a mouth flash. It was a satisfying moment when everything went tight! That fish was about 7.5lbs.

It was Kristians day. 2 over 10? That does not happen every day. Well done man!

The next day was nothing to write home about but all up it was a mission I’ll never forget. I know Kristian and Robbie wont forget it either. Robbie and I will fish together again soon, I look forward to that.

The winner of my competition from my first 100 subscribers is Eadaoin Ni Bhraoin, subscriber number 31! Congratulations to you Eadaoin, 2 return tickets to NZ in the post, sorry, no, 2 dvd’s!

Finally, This week on SLTV, My introduction to the series. This is the first of a 3 part show from Fjordland. In this show you will see the best footage of the hell that can be sand-flies ever filmed! Also some fish and some new characters…

I’m exhausted! This weeks report might seem a bit thrown together.. I wont get another chance to write it though because Easter and a new adventure starts after work tomorrow. Good night!

Stuntman Ronan..

ps. To view the images full size click it, then click it again when the thumbnail appears, and again to enlarge it even more!!. Wordprees made a change and I cant go back to the old way. Very annoying.

SLTV- “Ronan Creane – Day 1″

The Three 9lb+ trout…

March 19th, 2013 5 comments

It didn’t take long to convince myself to head straight to the river after work on Friday. Plan was to target some of those big fish from last week at night. After a long drive/hike/climb I made it in just before darkness fell. While the light was failing I took a few shots but everything spooked! This was totally unexpected. A week ago they were hard to spook during the day. I went up into the forest and made camp while giving the pool time to rest until true nightfall. I got a small fire going and set my sleeping bag on the forest floor. Once that was sorted I kicked back for a while and enjoyed the absolute peace with only the sound of the river. Then it was time to launch my night time attack! Unfortunately the night was so dark I simply had to shine my headlamp to get down from the steep sided forest to the bouldery river. This would not have helped my quest even though I kept it brief. The total pitch black night made it tough but I managed ample casts into the zone with no joy at all. I was happy to return to camp, drink some wine and eat some chicken from the BP, then a little more wine.  I slept soundly after that.

The next morning I thought things might be different. I fished from almost pitch black into daylight. When I could see into the pool I realised they were not in their usual spot. They were spooked. Right, time to move on.

I walked for a long time before eventually finding a pool with fish in it. Not one or 2 fish either, shitloads, and they were big! I had a dry dropper combo rigged so I started with that. I kept missing fish. Brief hookups then nothing. Finally I landed a silver hen of about 6lbs. Then more misses. After checking my rig I realised a hook was broken. Ok, start again. Forget that bad start. Re rig the way I know I should. But I was not 100% sure! I just ran out of 8lb tippet so I used 6 because I thought they were finicky.. I landed a fish on that but then broke in one. Changed again to 8lb scraps. Landed some more then lost all in a bush. Right. Straight 10lb tippet. The fish didn’t care and by now I had figured out the retrieve, depth and casting position.

Once I finally had everything right, I nailed it for a while. Eventually they got wise to everything I showed them however. This is normal. Then I launched a Mr Glister at them. The last of the big fish took it on the drop. For the day I had at least 20 fish events, probably 25. I landed 8. Five were between 4 and 6lbs and three were 9lbs plus. The best one was over 9.5lbs. No double but what an unbelievable day. If I started with the correct rig and method it’s not know the sort of day I’d have had. The thing is, I should have known exactly what to do from last weekend. Sometimes instinct is wrong! But that’s ok, that’s fishing and I’m learning. Some of the break off’s made no sense though. I even had 10lb tippet smashed! Maybe I’m not realising fully the sheer power of these fish. Now that I’m writing this I realise it! After almost every fish I had to change my fly because it was bent out. It takes lots of pressure to bend a Kamasan B175. Also the tippet had to be changed almost every time because it was scratched and frayed. These fish run with insane power, they bore under rocks, and whatever else they can, To land these fish you need to be almost as quick as they are to keep the strain on them, and keep the strain from the right direction. I realise fully that It was an amazing day, the best big fish day I’ve ever had but I cant help feeling that I should have done a bit better. I guess I always feel that way!

That day on the water was last Saturday. Sunday was my 22 year fly-fishing anniversary and St Patricks day. My first day was with Dad and Granddad all those years ago. Maybe my grandfather, Paddy, gave my some help on Saturday! Who knows… Here’s to him anyway! And Dad of course who is well and truly alive!! He’s planning his next trip to NZ.

Ronan..

Below the pics is this weeks episode from SLTV, “Camo Guy and the 9lb trout”  How apt!

ps. WordPress changed a bit, now you have to click a picture 4 times to view it full size as opposed to once before. What a dumb change.

In this episode Paul’s slightly competitive nature shines through, Hence the title of this blog! :DAlso you’ll meet Camo Guy. Guy has been a great friend to Paul and I over the years!

New Zealand Sea-run Browns… (& “Frazer’s Hat” from SLTV)

March 12th, 2013 4 comments

After covering a couple of ks of virtually fishless water we approached the gorge. A gorge always excites me. There is no set path; they are dangerous, moody, wild, alive, powerful, and beautiful and many other things to inspire an angler. On this day there were few fish in the gorge but optimism pushed me forward.I can only speak for me but I know something was driving Kristian too. We found a few in one pool but one cast from me spooked them all. We moved on. One fish in the next pool looked at my fly then disappeared. We moved on, constantly climbing rock walls and boulders so the going was slow. I climbed myself into a point where I could not go up, down, across or back. I felt fear because I was high up, much too high to jump. I took a breath and carefully turned around and edged my way back to relative safety. From there I jumped into the river into waist deep water. The whole point of my climb was to keep my balls dry. We moved on. More climbing and on a few occasions we had to help each other. It’s important when gorge fishing to look out for your buddy. We reached a point where it seemed we had to leave the gorge and drop in farther up. We started climbing. On the way up I took a glance into the pool from the cliff and spotted a trout rise. I could see him and he was big. Very big. Come what may we were fishing that pool. We surveyed the pool and its surrounding cliffs and boulders. I figured I could go downstream and cross and then climb in over a bluff. Kristian decided to swim because he’s afraid of heights. We both made it in safely and what greeted us was unlike anything I had ever seen before. At first I could not believe my eyes so I got into a better position. Kristian could see very little from river level so I suggested he stay put until I see exactly what we are about to fish for. I had not yet climbed down to the river so I crept through the trees and around the pool. Looking in from a better angle I could see what we were up against.  A pod of about 50 sea-run browns from 3lbs up to god only knows what. Rock, scissors paper for the first shot. I lost!

Most of the fish were facing a swirling back eddy out of the main current so a drag free drift was going to be very difficult to achieve. Kristian started with a dry/dropper combo. No joy. Next a double nymph rig with more weight. He hooked and landed a small fish which took the nymph while retrieving, an induced take of sorts. That was a valuable clue. I stepped up to the casting rock and before long had a good fish on. These fish fight hard and dirty! They know every snag in the pool. This fish also took a retrieved trailing nymph. For the next while we had some magical fishing. We learned how to fish for them as we did it and what we learned is very interesting. It’s exactly what I was taught about Atlantic salmon fishing back in Ireland. Change the fly often, Change the retrieve speed and form, Change your position, and most importantly rest the pool. Using these disciplines we landed 6 and lost/broke in about as many. We got them on dries, nymphs, wets and Lures. We held off on the big lures until the end of the day (another salmon fishing trick). I launched the Dore’s Mr Glister and the whole pool went ballistic! Strip-strip-strip and there are 10 huge trout chasing creating a bulging bow wave in the pool. One took and I lost him. I cast in again. The same thing happened and again lost the fish. 3rd cast, the entire pool spooked. That was it.

We did not want to leave but light was failing and we had a gorge to climb out of. Back at camp we discussed a plan for the next day. We decided to have another go at the pool. It seemed slightly unethical but we both had to go back. The plan was to go straight there in the morning and settle in for the day. That’s what we did. We brought a few beers, food, etc. I lost the rock scissors paper again so Kristian had the first shot. He had one pretty quickly. I struggled but got a small one on a dry after resting the pool after Kristian’s event. For the rest of the day we did not land another fish. I lost a huge fish and another good fish. Our curiosity was settled and another valuable lesson learned. Do not repeat water! I learned more over this weekend than I have all season.

On another note, below the photo’s from a truly epic weekend is this week’s instalment of SLTV, “Frazer’s Hat” This is a great show!! What happened to the boat at the end was not a trick. Frasers little outboard never worked again. Paul is really good at breaking anything with a petrol engine, or a diesel one.. or anything really… Enjoy the chaos, I know you will…

Stuntman Ronan..

Ps. If you enjoy what I write, photograph and film please share it on facebook or email links to your friends. It’s all origional and it’s free! By the way, only 6 subscribers needed to make 100 and the prize draw!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexyloops TV….& other manshit.

March 7th, 2013 4 comments

I have writers block. No idea what to talk about. Too much happened since the last fishing blog and it’s all become a blur. There have been lots of friends through, both old and new and from all over the place. That’s been great!! (a bit too good actually, I am no longer allowed to have guests)

The lake has been very bad at times to excellent other times. Everything is extremely low. The rivers and lakes need a freshen up. I will promptly report back on this coming weekend before it all becomes a blur again!

One thing I thought about doing recently was running the entire SLTV series through my blog. So I’ll do it! I know I have many subscribers and I’m sure non-subscribers who have never seen or heard of it, so, to you folks, I suggest you watch it like a tv show. I will bring you a 10 minute fly-fishing film at least once a week. Both Paul Arden and I are the hosts (though I don’t appear until episode 4). The shows are from NZ, Tasmania and The Northern Territory in Australia. They are filmed, edited, directed and produced by Paul and I. Without further ado, Here is Episode 1. “Paul Arden”. (I put it below the pics  so you don’t forget to check them out!!)

Tomorrow is the start of 2.5 serious days fishing!

Work to live… Ronan..

Saturday March 2nd, Anti Fish-Farm March in Eyre Square Galway @ 12.00 noon…

February 22nd, 2013 No comments

I was born into fly-fishing. Fly-fishing was the centre of  my my fathers life, my grandfathers and my great grandfathers. As soon as I was old enough to cast a fly I joined the family tradition and not because I was forced into it, I simply knew I had to. It was for me. I remember my dad and my grandad heading off in the evenings to target seatrout on the Ballynahinch, Inagh and Cashel systems. I remember bags of fish on their return. I remember Declan Ridge calling to the house on Summer evenings before he and dad would take on some stretch of river or lake less than an hour from home. Declan always had a Dairymilk or two for me and my siblings. I remember the craic and banter in the pubs after competitions, I remember listening in to dad’s and his friends conversations about fly-fishing for seatrout and it’s intricacies. Sometimes I’d try to add something just to be part of it. I remember the decline. In the space of a few seasons there were no fish. No more Declan or his Dairymilks, no more conversations till the wee hours to inspire a 10 year old, no more seatrout.

Thankfully in the last few years seatout and salmon numbers have increased a little on some systems. The future is potentially bright but there are plans afoot to massively increase the number of salmon cages around Ireland (In a sentence, salmon farming is the reason for the virtual extinction of seatrout in Ireland). When will Ireland recognise the value of it’s wild waters and migratory fish? I don’t know.. I do know we must do something to save it. This is about as much as I can do from NZ. To my readers living in Ireland, why not make an effort to go and march in Galway on Saturday March the 2nd starting in Eyre Square at 12.00 midday. The following groups and clubs will be there amongst others and you hopefully..

NARA National Anglers Representative Association
TAFI Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland
SAVE BANTRYBAY
Salmon Watch Ireland. (formerly Stop Salmon drift nets Now)                                                              FISSTA Federation of Irish Salmon & Seatrout Anglers
Tuam Anglers Ass.
Cregmore/Athenry Anglers Ass.
St. Colman’s Anglers Ass.
Milltown Anglers Ass.
Corofin Anglers Ass.
Galway City Salmon Anglers
NSFAS No Salmon Farms at Sea

THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Ronan..

Dad and I in 1980. Seatrout are no longer present where these fish were caught due to salmon farming… Without salmon farms they would return in time. Lets fight to give them a chance!

 

A simple approach to fishing large terrestrials.

February 14th, 2013 2 comments

One simple observation I made last weekend was about fishing large dries in calm water. Because the water is calm the fish will see a large fly from a long way off. A good approach for a cruising trout or one on station is not to cast the fly near the fish. Instead cast the fly well to the side of the fish and try to induce him off his lie or beat. The plop from a big fly is often enough to trigger this.  Advantage being the fish is travelling toward your rod tip and therefore the tippet will be on the trout’s blind side of the dryfly. This massively increases the chances of a confident take and a solid hook up.

It was great to fish with Fraser again.. He was unlucky to break in a very big fish at the end of the day. The fish took his dry (as described above) and took off off like a freight train, as he did the line jumped from the ground, around Fraser’s forceps and everything locked up. Simply impossible to put the brakes on a fish like that on his first run. Next time Fraser!

I have no idea what’s on the cards for this weekend… I think I might go a little nuts. It’s in the post.

Ronan..

ps. Good to meet Scott Loudon and Ben! Thanks for the stout…

Also, only 17 subscribers to go until I hit 100 and the prize draw! Get in quick!!

Cicadas to sea-runners to speeding tickets….

February 7th, 2013 No comments

Last Saturday Mike Bonn and I took the Wakitipu Anglers Club boat out on Lake Wakitipu to target Cicada feeders. I have not fished for trout feeding on Cicada’s very often but one observation I made in the past stud true on the day. The trout were sipping down the big morsels like little mayflies. There were very few smashing rises, In fact,we only saw about 10 free risers all morning. If they were smashing them we’d have seen heaps! They were clearly zoned in on cicada’s because our big, shop bought cicada patterns were all they wanted. I have often heard about fish hitting cicada’s very hard but I have rarely seen it happen. The truth is that once a cicada lands on the water he’s not getting off it again. Trout zone in on this behaviour after eating a few and instinctively adapt their behaviour to match ( I hope I worded that correctly Bob Wyatt, feel free to comment!!) Cicada’s range widely in size and colour so maybe they only sip down the medium sized grass green ones!! Who the hell knows.. Regardless, Mike and I had a great few hours on the water. Afterwards I went to James and Caroline Wilkinson’s Wedding.  Thanks James and Caroline.. Great fun had by all! (apart from getting a speeding ticket while trying to keep up with Jeff on the way the the river the next day!)

Wednesday, Waitangi day. No work so Jeff Forsee and myself set out to catch a big searun brown. I’m tired now so I’ll keep this short! Basically, Jeff had to open about 15 gates before we got to where we wanted to go, then a 300m climb into a gorge, then about 5ks of very rough gorgy terrain to get a shot at a handful of fish. They were tough! We each had a 7lber. I lost 2 more one of which I reckon was 9 plus. Then the walk out. Down the river first then up a stream, then up and over a mountain, down a gorge, and back out the same gorge to find the truck a few k’s down the track. Fitness helps about as much as stubbornness! My knee gave up but still worked. Thankfully it’s almost fine today but my legs are sore! Jeff said his were too and Kanai is still asleep. Was it worth it?…  Fuck yes.

Ronan..

 

 

Strip-Striking Trout…

January 31st, 2013 3 comments

I’m just in from my best Dunstan outing so far this season. I had 10 in 2.5hours, All but one on a single simple mayfly pattern I tied for the Mataura last season. I started with a bugger and caught one. I often start this way to connect with the lake. Once I have a feel for what’s going on I adapt to my environment. The fishing was fast and exciting. Fish were up, tracking along the surface and rising multiple times. One fish, which I did not catch, rose about 100 times, constantly changing direction. I got my fly in front of him a few times but he was locked on to something else. The fish were rising like caenis feeders on Lough Corrib so I’m guessing their main diet during this rise was something tiny. I never thought to have a close look in the water and find out! It didn’t matter anyway. The important thing was to be able to put my fly about a foot or 2 in front of a tracking fish, any more and the fish would probably change direction and not see my fly. There were no mayfly hatching by the way. The lake should provide this sort of action for the next few months and I’ll be in the thick of it.

A few years ago while fishing for lake edge cruisers with a single nymph I found myself strip striking! I’ve been doing this for a long time now and this is why.. When you see a fish approaching (or cruising away from you!) you get into position and take your shot. You know roughly where your fly is as it sinks. You watch the fish carefully looking for any change in direction or movement of his mouth when he is nearing your fly. If it moves you strike. If your almost sure, you strike, maybe. If your 50/50 you strike?? I don’t, at least not with the rod. If you strike with the rod and the fish has not taken you will probably spook the fish. If you strip strike you gain 3 advantages. 1, If the fish has taken you will hook up with the strip strike. 2, If the fish has not taken your fly, your fly is still in the zone. Finally 3, you are far less likely to spook a fish with a strip strike as you would be with a rod strike. With a failed rod strike you also have to recast! There are other applications for the strip strike in trout fishing. It’s very useful when lure fishing. A fish might be so close to your fly that you think he has it taken. Don’t strike with the rod! Strip strike and keep your fly in the zone. The strip often induces a take too..  Try it out if you haven’t done so already!

Tomorrow night is card night for the boys (I won about 150 bucks last time) and on Saturday I’m off to James Wilkinsons wedding. James did you invite some single women?? I sure I’ll squeeze in a few hours on a river somewhere… but maybe not!

Thanks to all my new subscribers! I will endeavour to keep this interesting.. Below are some random shots from about 2 weeks ago to today.

Tight Lines.  Stuntman Ronan..