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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..

Probably the most beautiful trout I have ever caught!

January 21st, 2013 6 comments

After walking all day, getting very few shots and only a small fish each, Mike and I were ready to pack it in. There were a couple of backwaters just up ahead so I suggested we take one each before quitting. Mike took the small one while I took the big one.. I made a few blind casts with the bugger out into black water while carefully spotting the edge. No sign of life. I figured there were no fish in it and looking at Mike fishing his backwater I think he thought the same. Then to my right I noticed movement. I looked and saw a fish of at least 8lbs. He was very close to me so ducking suddenly would have been more likely to spook him than just standing still so I made a very quick, short cast to intercept his path and then froze.  My only movement was short retrieves to give life to the fly. Suddenly a big gold flash from the dark water and the fish was following…. I stripped line until the fly was about 4′ from the rod tip, then I thought the fish ate so I struck. I was wrong. The fish disappeared into the black with an unhurried pace. I took a few short casts into the vicinity but nothing happened. A few moments later, assuming the fish was spooked, I hitched the fly and started reeling in. Then it happened again. God spoke! Honestly, I dont know why but I unhitched the fly and took a final shot and nearly had the rod pulled from my grip. Immediately the fish jumped and I knew what I was into; a very big, spectacularly marked brown trout with an unusually red tail. I knew it’s tail was red because I could see it glowing with the sunlight shining through it as the fish jumped repeatedly in the first minute of the short battle. Mike came straight over with the net. He saw the fish as it jumped and knew he had to help. This fish was too important to lose! After a few short lunges away I got his head up and Mike netted the fish. I weighed it, then we took a few quick photo’s and released him. It was truly one of the most amazing, rewarding, satisfying, thoroughly electrifying, fish I have ever caught.. An end to a difficult day that put both Mike and I on a natural high. One fish can really turn a day around!  We stopped on the way home and had a beer or 2 at the local. Deserved!

Ronan..

ps. If you enjoy my weekly report please subscribe at the top right of this page. The more the merrier and there will be a prize drawn at random from the first 100 subscribers!

9.25lbs of happiness.. Hence the slightly manic, ecstatic grin!

Addicted to Craic…

January 15th, 2013 1 comment

NZ is a calm country. When kiwi’s hit 25, having the craic becomes less important and priorities change. It’s not so clear cut in Ireland. Having the craic is always on the agenda. Not necessarily priority but not far from it. At least it is with my friends. This craic addiction coupled with 3 weeks of shite weather kept me off the lake every day bar one. The photo’s tell the story. It’s a simple, pikeless one!

I had 20 days in Ireland and spent one fishing. I have no regrets! The reason for the trip was to spend Christmas with my family, have the craic with my friends (the likes of which I simply don’t have in NZ) and to be John O Malley’s best man at his and Bronwens wedding. Thankfully I didn’t mess up the speech (they told me it was good anyway!) I was a nervous wreck before it! After it I let lose and went banana’s. We all did.

I had serious intentions to fish in the north of Thailand. I was going to book in advance but the mahseer fishing was about 1200usd for 3 days. Bollocks to that. I quickly found some great people and some funky bars and my craic addiction took over. I fished one day which was pretty expensive and not so great so I was not overly keen on going again. I have no regrets. 6 nights, one day fishing and dam all sleep.

Ireland and Thailand, Thank you… I needed that!! I really needed that…

Ronan..

New Zealand – Ireland – Thailand – New Zealand……

December 14th, 2012 No comments

I’m at Christchurch airport right now and my bag is checked through to Dublin. Snakehead has just appeared on the agenda for Thailand in a few weeks so hopefully my next blog (probably in about a month but possibly sooner) will have 3 countries and multiple species in it which will make a welcome change from trout.. I’m happy to be heading home for what will surely be an epic trip.

Last weekend was tough. I broke in 2 fish which I shouldn’t have and one was possibly a double. I hooked 5 in total and only landed one. Day one brought tough sighting conditions but day 2 was perfect and I blanked! I fished lots of new water and I’m excited about getting back there for some really big days in the new year..

If I don’t get a report up before Christmas and New year I hope you all have a great one!

Fish hard..

Ronan..

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Farewell Dale…

December 6th, 2012 No comments

Sean McCarthy from Tasmania was over for a month and we hooked up for a fish last weekend. The weather has been infuriating lately. Blue skies Monday to Friday, then the weekends turn bad. This weekend was no exception. The nor’wester was blowing at gale force both Saturday and Sunday and then Monday was beautiful. Thankfully the weather is crap right now so maybe this weekend will be good? The forecast looks good and I expect to be on the water with Graeme and Dorothy Williams From “Insight Flyfishing” so I’m hoping for the best.

Aside for the maddening conditions it was great to fish with Sean again. The truck was loaded up with all the gear needed for a full on fishing mission. It was like fishing with Paul or John again.

In a little over a week I fly home to Ireland for Christmas with the family and to be John O Malley’s best man at his wedding. I’m looking forward to the change of pace, Guinness, no 5.30am alarms, winter pike fishing, family, friends and some mahseer fishing in Thailand on the way back to NZ.

While writing this I heard the very sad news that Dale E Pearce has passed away. Dale, you will not be forgotten. I’m really glad that I got to know you. It was always fun to be in your company whether drinking or fishing! You’re a legend in my book. Thanks for the laughs! I often think of that weekend at Moke Lake when I ended up crashing in the back of your van with you! There were some severe hangovers the next morning and what a fright we both got! Tight lines mate.. (I will find that farmer where you said on Benmore and get permission to fish that water, or maybe I won’t get permission….)

Ronan..

Fear.

November 29th, 2012 No comments

The fishing was generally bad last weekend. Guy and I fished together in my boat for most of Saturday. Little rainbows were active at times and we managed a few browns. Peter, now a New Zealander but born in Hungary, had a good day on the shore but the numbers of cruising browns were way down on the Benmore I know, probably because the lake was so low. On a positive note the weed beds are as healthy as I’ve seen for years.

On Day 2 I was on my own. I went to one of my usual haunts to fish some flats, edges and backwaters only to be greeted by a howling nor’wester. The wind in NZ is unrelenting and often ruins the fishing. I started on the shore because I didn’t want to chance putting the boat in. I got one and lost one. The flats were as clear as could be with the right amount of water covering them and plenty weed beds evident. One can only cover so much from the bank so I walked back to the truck and put the boat in. I had to fish the flats and from the boat is the best way to do it. It was seriously hard going. The wind was pushing the boat down the drift so fast that I could barely strip fast enough to stay in touch with my fly. I need a drogue! Sometimes I’d throw out the anchor to give an area a chance but drifting, albeit at super high speed produced more fish. Conditions like this demand a lot from an angler. Casting, boating, angling, and sanity will be put to the test. I don’t know anyone else who would do this!

When I was walking back to take the boat out I felt some fear but I had no choice. The decision was made and in a sense I was no longer in control. Something else drives me at times, from somewhere deep inside and I’m glad it does. I’ve had some great and terrifying experiences because of it. Fear is good.

Ronan..

25 Trout, 2 Seagulls and Almost no Engine Trouble…

November 21st, 2012 No comments

The last Cromwell gathering of anglers was fun and another one is on the horizon. “Wild Foods and Fly-Fishing” will be the theme. The land around Lake Dunstan moves with rabbits and hares, The lake is full of trout, Deer and pigs roam wild not too far away and although the west coast is a few hours away I’m sure a mission there to gather muscles, blue cod and crayfish could be arranged. I think early February it will take place. From memory, wild mushrooms will be easy pickings then and hopefully my potato crop will be ready even though they have not broken through the earth yet! My idea is simple. Everyone will be welcome. We will all fish on the Saturday and eat a wild food feast that evening cooked by me and my helpers (you don’t know who you are yet). We will drink. Some of us will push through till dawn. Then we will arise and fish the Sunday. Some of us will use boats on the lake, others can fish the rivers, whatever. It’s an event to bring people together, feast, fish and get pissed… in any order you see fit. Watch this space!

The season is in full swing now. Sean from Tassie and Teoni just stopped in for dinner and a few beers, Glen Ogden will be here soon from Victoria, Kristian from Denmark is also coming for the full season, and the legend Graeme Williams,( http://www.insightflyfishing.com.au/)the Northern Territories best guide, is also coming for a visit soon. Paul and I fished with Graeme a few years ago and it was a truly excellent experience. Richard Howard will be coming from Ireland (I’ll get to your email tomorrow!!) The social side of angling will soon be in full swing. Guy is coming through tomorrow and I may well head North with him for the weekend to fish around Omarama. Sean will be there too and maybe Chris Dore.

The weekend gone by was a great one on the water. Daltona gave only minimal trouble. Kevin and I fished together on Saturday morning and we both did well. As luck would have it for him the sun came out and the rain stopped shortly after he left the lake! I enjoyed some magic fishing in the flat calm. The top end of Dunstan is a unique fishery. Because the Clutha flows in there, there is a constant currant flowing over the flats. On flat calm spells the boat will drift along over the flats covering lots of water just as you would in a wind but because its calm you can read the water much better. I had about 25 trout for the weekend… and 2 seagulls!

Ronan..

ps. I’m exhausted writing this. When I read back over it nothing goes in! It is the way it is now anyway! Enjoy.. :)

 

 

 

 

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