Where the Rivers Meet the Sea – South Westland, New Zealand.

August 20th, 2013 No comments

Much to my regret, it’s been a few years since I’ve been to the west coast. I lived there for a while about 9 years ago and I have an unexplainable kinship with the place. It does something for my soul that I struggle to put into words. I feel totally grounded there, calm, sort of connected. After spending a couple of days there I feel better, happier, rejuvenated.

Day one. Paul and I travelled together in convoy. Paul brought a couple of Kayaks, one of which came off the trailer en-route! Those moulded plastic Kayaks are very tough. The road was no match for it. The Kayaks were a great advantage for getting to gravel bars and across lagoons and just general access.

The fishing was challenging. It was new to me so I was feeling my way bit, trying to read the water and get a feel for a good approach. Before too long I got a nice 3.5lber on one of Paul’s magnificent streamers. With the falling tide a drop-off came into casting range and that’s where the fish took. I expected more in the same spot but apart from a couple of touches, nothing. We each had a few more hits as the morning progressed but nothing hectic. After that quiet spell I hooked a big fish on low tide. I was using my Di7 to get deep. When I hooked the fish I was experimenting with a rapid, jerky retrieve. After beaching the trout I noticed something hanging out of the rear end, I pulled it out to find a good size green crab! I never heard of trout eating crabs but why wouldn’t they? I’d be more surprised to learn that they don’t eat crabs! With the rising tide, the already slow fishing pretty much stopped. Don’t get me wrong though, slow fishing does not mean bad fishing. I had great day with better company in one of my favourite places on earth.

Day two. Jo Meder joined me in the morning and we hit for the same spot as Paul and I fished the day before. I was keen to learn whether time of day was more or less important that time of tide. I expected the time of tide to be more important but it turned out that the morning was best once again. The same time as the day before but the tide was an hour higher! The last hour to low tide did not work at all and this was best the day before. All the action came in the same hour for me, I had 2 trout and a flounder. They all ate Jo’s silicone smelt pattern. In the afternoon we went exploring. I drove down the true left bank of a nearby river but did not get a good feeling. The water didn’t scream fish so I drove roughly 40 minutes, mostly off-road to the other bank… It screamed fish. It pays to heed your instinct.  Before long Jo was bent into a good one. The bar of silver took a white clouser fished deep. This was Jo’s best fish for a long time and made has 1200km round trip worth the effort. Soon after I was into one which took right on the corner between the heaving surf and the powerful river.  Paul Macandrews streamer did the trick again! This time a bigger one to suit the heavier water. Jo managed one more and then it went quiet.

All up the fishing was epic over the 2 days. Mostly pretty slow but the anticipation was always positive. Changing tides and conditions could improve the fishing at any time. Aside from the fishing, and at least as important, was the location. I cannot tell you what a special, magical, beautiful, ruthless, tough, powerful, spectacular place this is… I’m trying but words fail to do it justice.

“Go west young man”

Ronan..

Ps. Paul and Jo, Thanks for the flies, the company and the craic!

Also, some big fish in SLTV down at the bottom!!

 

In this instalment of SLTV, Ep 14, Big Fish Week part 2. We have the biggest campfire ever on the west coast (the last time I was there I think!), The good fortune went my way this week… I catch some really big fish including a double, or was it all a dream??? Have a look!

Haast Beckons…

August 14th, 2013 No comments

The last couple of weekends have been tough! The fish seem to be in the middle of a change and off the feed, probably to with spawning and / or a new moon and / or the barometric pressure and / or too many pints the last 2 Saturday nights in Queenstown and  / or simply fishing the wrong water. No excuse though! Thats the way it goes from time to time..

I had an enjoyable day on the water with some friends from Singapore. Yewlin, Chuan and myself gave it hell all day with barely a pull. We tried 4 very different locations and a range of depths but could not find a fish. I was especially surprised not to find a few fish near the stream mouths or the Kawarau outflow. Maybe some fish have run the rivers? By now many browns will have finished spawning but I expect most rainbows are yet to spawn but can’t be too far off.

This weekend Paul Macandrew and I are hitting the west coast. We plan to fish some river mouths around Haast for sea-runners and estuarine trout. We will fish from kayaks. I’m really looking forward to seeing the coast again and fishing with Paul. I miss the sea! I just don’t get enough of it here in Central and Haast is a truly special place for me, I lived there for a few months years ago. Jo Meder will be joining me for a fish on Sunday. I have never fished with Jo so that will be something different. If you fancy coming along get in touch.. ronan@sexyloops.com.

This season I’d like to explore the West Coast. I have never really searched hard over there and there is endless new water to try. I believe it’s a place that demands full attention for successful results. Half measures simply won’t do. It will get my full attention hopefully for a week or 2 and should be the source of some good, interesting reports.

That’s all for now… Bring on the weekend! I hope the weather will be good.

Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Episode 14. Big fish week part 1. We get our gear confiscated for not carrying licences, we master blackberry tossing, we drink beer, climb cliffs, eat manfood, fish hard, catch some really big fish… 4 men, one ford laser.. This is part one of a 2 part show. Enjoy!!

Categories: Expedition Tags:

Where is the core?

July 31st, 2013 No comments

I think if I lived in any other part of the western world with incredible fly-fishing on my doorstep, there would be a core group of hardcore anglers who simply live to fish. Here in the the southern lakes region of NZ there are not many. There are guides who love their game but fish only a few days in winter, and in summer have little time to fish themselves, some keen anglers have other priorities such as family and skiing in the winter months, some just talk about it but rarely actually fish hard at all, I don’t see many young people getting into the game; these people should be the back bone of the sport but they are few and far between. The clubs seem to lack youth, though not due to lack of trying, and this is a shame. I find it hard to believe that in a place like this I don’t know a single person who fishes as much as I do. (If Jeff was here that would not be true!!) Imagine as a skier or snowboarder having every mountain to yourself every time you go out. That’s pretty much how it is for me throughout the winter months on the lakes. It was the same last year. This is a fun, exciting sport but it needs an injection of new life and some fresh thinking…. That, or just keep it for those who are currently involved. There’s an argument for both I guess.

All that said, I’m meeting up with the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club in a few weeks for a weekend on the Central Lakes and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m excited to see their approach to the water and how it differs from mine.

Last weekend I was hoping for bigger and better things but the lake fished reasonably well. I picked up a dozen or so fish over the 2 days, the best about 2.5lbs. They were all well marked and brightly coloured and a mix of browns and rainbows. The weather was good and unseasonably warm. There are not many places in the world where you can fish in the middle of a built up area with planes taking off over you all day, jet boats whizzing passed and numerous other water users about and still catch plenty fish. This is a truly superb place for a fly-fisherman.

I put my back out badly at work on Monday so I think I’ll be out of action this weekend.

Go have a winter fish! Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Backcountry Fjordland part 2. Sean, Fraser, Paul and I take on some wilderness for a few days. We all get some sort of bug on different days but manage plenty excellent fishing. Some great footage of fish eating dries in this episode and some great Blue Duck footage too.

Take it to the limit…

July 23rd, 2013 No comments

Last weekend I took on the mass of water that is Lake Wakatipu once again. It is a massive body of water at 80ks long and averaging 230m deep, 420m at the deepest point. Like all the Southern Lakes it demands respect. That’s not to say a fella can’t enjoy tearing along a trough, and then powering up and over a crest into another trough. At the end of day one, crossing back through the rolling swells was really exciting. Looking ahead, reading the waves and planning my route based on what I could see and feel all at 50kph. I could not photograph or film it because I needed both hands on the wheel and throttle. I’m sure I was having as much fun as the folks sliding down mountains..

I had 13 fish over 2 days. Day one was pretty choppy and the conditions cut my day a bit short. Day 2 I got out earlier and finished later. I had to deal with a sloppy wave at first caused by multiple wind directions. Once I got across the lake the water was pretty peaceful and the exploring began. I basically fished the mouth of every trickle, stream and river that I found. Most produced a fish or two. Tactics were simple; a Di7 with a weighted streamer fished over the drop-off. If I didn’t hook up very quickly I’d leave again in search of another mouth. The wind was dropping all day and the temperature was rising. It was a fantastic day on the water and I made the most of it. I checked the topo map at the end of the day to see how far I roamed, about 85ks! Now I know a full tank will get me about 86ks. Good to know.

I have a different plan for next weekend. More new water. Watch this space, I think something great will be in it!

Congratulations to my Dad, Joe Creane, on winning the McConville Cup on Bilberry in Co. Mayo recently. There are not many that will worry him on an Irish lough, and that’s a fact!

Tight lines all..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Ep 13. Backcountry Fjordland. In this episode Chris Dore gets married (Paul and I are groomsmen), we all get drunk a few times and we catch lots of fish.. even while hung over! Seriously though, some good footage in this!

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!

 

Categories: Expedition Tags:

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!