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!

 

Gorgeous Gorges…

April 17th, 2013 2 comments

Last Saturday I went and explored a bit of water I knew very little about. That’s what I felt like doing. I knew from driving alongside it at the start of the season that it had a 4-5k gorge which I thought I’d get through in the day. I’d say I got through 2ks of it max! It was very slow going with lots of climbs, some quite technical. I felt like spiderman with a flyrod at one stage, I was spreadeagled across a rock face over a deep pool inching along it very slowly! (A new super-power Kristian??) No risk of course; if I fell off, I’d land in the river, get wet and swim out. Next weekend is more gorge fishing. At the end of the season I’ll be kicking back with some friends in Lumsden for 5 days. We will fish short, fish filled sections of the Mataura each day. It will be so easy I might feel guilty. The walking and lack of climbing I mean! I expect the fishing will be challenging demanding good fundamentals.

Have a great week!

Ronan..

Ps. As you’ll see from my photo’s I have updated a lot of my gear. For info on any of these products check out http://manictackleproject.com/ The Lamson reels are so so nice!

This week on SLTV, Episode 5. New Zealand to Tasmania. Its not easy to fish, film, row, net etc all at the same time from a kayak! In this episode I beat Paul 10 trout to 4 on a lake in NZ, Then Paul beats me 5-1 on a lake in Tassie… That still puts me in front I do believe! But were not competitive at all…

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..

Categories: Expedition Tags:

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..