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Posts Tagged ‘Central Lakes’

Ronan’s Fly-Fishing Missions ~ News and Guiding Highlights!

January 13th, 2017 No comments

Once again, It’s been hard to find the time to write! I’ve been busy guiding, that’s for sure, but this is also a very social time of year. Friends pass through on a regular basis, mostly fishing friends so we fish if I’m not working and we drink a beer or two in the evenings. Today is a rare day in that I have the day off with the house to myself! Where do I start?!

Dad arrived on November 17th. A little later than usual but I thought this would be a good thing in the hope that the terrible weather we were having would pass. I didn’t! The conditions locally made many rivers unfishable much of the time due to rain, rain and more rain. Rivers ideally suited to 10 cumecs reached 200! It made guiding difficult too because most clients want to experience river fishing. Dad, on the other hand, is in his element on the lakes! We spent the first 3 days fishing together out of the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat. We had excellent fishing with a multitude of tactics from dries to buggers to nymphs, to di5′s to floaters to blind to sight. “Adapt when you need to” was the name of the game! We had 4 days in total from the club boat landing 55 trout up 5.5lbs. There is always great lake fishing to be had when the rivers are in flood!

When time off from guiding permitted, we hit the road for multi-day blocks. Usually 3 days. Conditions remained tough with lots of windy, dark days but you just have take what you get and make the most of it. Almost regardless of conditions you’ll get your chances if you put yourself amongst it. Walk, search, blind fish, spook a few, spot a few, catch a few! We had an occasional blue sky day, these were blissful and we made hay!

One of the highlights of dads time here was a trip to a small still water. Robbie Mcphee, Iza, Myself and Dad all went there for a day. I enjoyed it because I wanted Dad to figure it out for himself. I just suggested he hit the far bank and he’d know what to do. I knew I could advise him on some tactics I use but there was no need, he’s an instinctive lake angler with 60 years experience! He put a deadly method together over the course of the day landing 4 in the 6lb class. He fished 3 small spiders and nymphs, slowly working them over weed beds and casting to sighted fish when the opportunity presented itself. I landed a few crackers too. Iza had the fish of the day with a magnificent 7.25lb specimen. Robbie lost a monster and landed a few. Aside from the fishing it was just great being there with some of the best people on the planet.

I kept a good bit of time to myself over the Christmas period to fish. I recently bought a second hand 2 man pontoon boat and I was dying to take it for a test drive! Robbie and I took her on Dunstan for her maiden voyage and what a craft she is! Brilliant to fish off and easy to manoeuvre!! It’s total team work, the man on the oars manoeuvres the angler into the perfect position to cover fish. We landed plenty for the day! Some craic out there with the sun shining (Christmas day I think it was!) and a few beers in the cooler. It was mostly sight fishing with small nymphs and damsels. Since then we brought it to the coast. We checked out a lake for the day really getting to grips with how the boat handles. We landed 5 each on Day 1 Exploratory Mission.. that evening we went to camp at a nearby river mouth where we caught 2 kahawai and 2 seatrout from the beach and lagoon. The next morning the weather took a major turn for the worse with gales and rain. We got out of there as the rivers started to rise… very quickly!

On a recent trip to a favourite river of mine I got dive-bombed by a Karearea! He (or she) swooped down narrowly missing my head.. She (I’ve decided this angry bird is a she!) swooped again and again each time getting a little closer. I was watching her all the time, well aware of here whereabouts by her shrill cry. I decided to take out my camera and film her attacks. For some reason she had no interest in Robbie, only me. I filmed a few swoops, one of which came very close. We were walking all the time, not intentionally pissing off the old bird. Then all seemed quiet. I was walking in front of Robbie as we marched down river to fish back. Then WHACK. Like being hit hard in the head with an open hand slap, knocking my head to one side and my hat off my head. Robbie saw it all. The same bird has since knocked a a good friend of mine, Fraser Hocks, to the ground! Tough bird I’ll tell ya.. those are two hard heads!

In case you didn’t know, it’s willow grub time! You’ll be needing some of these.. http://stusflyshop.com/browse-by-gear/stus-superior-flies/mixed-packs/banana-fly-mix-x12/

For information and bookings see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com (More reading below!)

MY GALLERY

GUIDING NEWS

Guiding has been thoroughly enjoyable this season! I’m learning from it all the time, both for my own fishing and in becoming a better guide. There have been some tough days but then NZ trout fishing is challenging, there is rarely an easy option, you work hard for your fish! Fishing has been good lately.  The trout are looking up and are very keep to eat off the top. That’s what NZ summer fly fishing is famous for!

A recent 4 day road trip with a couple of Irish competition anglers is worth a mention. I knew these 2 fellas would be as keen as could be to get onto the water and immerse themselves in NZ fly fishing. They had almost 2 weeks to fish after their 4 guided days so my brief was to arm them with all the technical abilities they’d need to make the most of their trip and to have a great time while learning it! Day 1 was an introduction to technical fishing to difficult fish. Simple dry / dropper tactics with small flies and fine tippet did the trick. First time accurate casting was the most important thing. A very valuable piece of information to know first hand. Day 2 was about searching every bit of water. We found fish in skinny side braids, backwaters and main flows. This day also gave the lads a lesson in sight fishing riffles. They did well seeing these fish which can be amongst the toughest to spot. Day 3 was full on river Fishing! We successfully touched on blind fishing but it was mostly sight. They lads got to see first hand which fish are not worth spending much time on and which fish are. Watch the fish, see what he’s doing and act accordingly. Day 4 was all about blind fishing. Reading the water, fishing quickly and efficiently so as not to waste time and cover as much water (and as many fish) as possible in a day. Don’t repeat casts / keep moving. This 4 day trip really brought home the value of a multi-day trip for me. Multiple days mean I can take the angler to where ever the the fishing is best and impart some invaluable knowledge on NZ river fishing.

Some other great moments for me this season was teaching total beginners to cast in the morning and watching them progress to casting to, hooking and landing a fish before the day was out. This is truly a great achievement!

For information and bookings see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com

GUIDING GALLERY

 

Dries, Wets, Spiders, Buggers & Buzzers!.. with the Canterbury Fly-Fishing Club…

August 27th, 2013 No comments

I met John Roche at the Otamatata pub on Friday evening last. He asked me along to his club gathering at the Central Lakes so I happily obliged. We drank a few pints of what is probably the best Guinness in NZ with two of his fishing buddies, Martin (England) and Dave (scotland) and discussed fishing. The craic was great in the pub but with an early start on the cards I decided to head to our lodgings with the lads before it got too late. The following night was different but that’s another story…

After John dropped 2 groups of anglers off at different locations around the lake we were away!  My initial thoughts were towards sinking lines so I set up the clear intermediate and the Di5 with buggers. We went to an area we both knew well and fish were rising. We persisted for a while but the sinking line tactics were simply not working so it was time for a change. I went to a single dry and had a decent fish almost straight away, John used a buzzer suspended under a dry. This accounted for a small fish (and a good one for me as described in the photo below!!). There were quite a lot of fish rising but they were quite boat shy, or more likely, casting shy. A good method from a boat when fish are rising in calm water is to limit casting until a fish is well in range. Blind casting needs to be a controlled, conscious effort with as little false casting as possible. Cast where you think fish are. Try to read the rise forms to pick up on the direction the fish is moving and at what speed (roughly!) Flailing about will keep fish perfectly out of range.

Next to a couple of unweighted spiders. These worked well for me fished slowly so John tried the same tactic. It was new to him. It’s important to catch a fish quickly on a new tactic to instil the confidence necessary to fish it properly. John had a quick fish on the spiders and then a few more giving him a new approach to fishing calm water.

In the afternoon things sowed down as sun heated things up. I fished from the boat with Martin after lunch and we had a few on buggers over the weed beds (which got wiped out the next morning by Meridians weed killer drop). We got off the water at about 5.30.

Day 2. I fished alone from the bank. I was sight fishing with a lightly weighted spider. The folks from the club tried some new water but I worked on the same lake. I put in big walk to get to the other side but it was no good so I walked back. The best sight fishing was near where I parked but they were tough (apart from one I lost twice before hooking and landing the 3rd time!!). As I was fishing the shore down I was aware of lots of terns feeding all the time a few hundred metres back up the shore. There were no fish rising amongst them but with all the fly coming off, keeping so many birds feeding all day, there had to be fish under the surface. I put on a team of buzzers and got as close to the birds as I could. I had an hour of some of the best buzzer fishing I ever had. It was non stop action with perfectly mended fish. Immaculate actually, so I took a few to eat. One observation I made, and not for the first time, is that cruising fish are often in worse condition than fish taken blind from deeper water. Cruisers are often lethargic and opportunist whereas a fish from deeper water tends to energetic and well conditioned from always competing for an abundance of food. A weak fish would be chased out, hence the cruiser.

If I was quicker to crack the fact that buzzers were the key, it’ not known how many fish I’d have had, but it’s hard not to sight fish when it’s there for the taking. That’s the thing I love about fly-fishing though. Every mission is a learning curve. I watch, I adapt.

On another note, Meridian Energy dropped the level of  Lake Benmore to the limit to spray weed killer on the lake weed. I assumed that they dropped the lake so that they could spray the exposed weed and keep the majority of the substance out of the water, other wise why drop the lake at all?. I noticed no weed on the exposed sand and mud, dead or alive. Some was evident in the lake. On Sunday morning a chopper flew over the lake and dumped a full load of weed killer straight into the water about half way across. There was no dumping on Saturday even though choppers were passing regularly, probably because there were a number of crafts on the water. That was it, one dump in one small part of the lake. This made me think! Was this the only dump? If so, Why? How much weed could be killed with one very localised dump? Is it even worth the effort? Or is it so potent that that’s enough? If so what else suffers?  Of course, there may have been other times when the weed killer was applied to other areas. I’m not digging for any conspiracy theories! I’m just relaying what I saw and thought… Although, with a $300,000,000 profit last year, I guess they can do what they want!

This weekend? Who knows..

Pete! Get well soon mate.. You’ll be reading about yourself very soon!

Ronan..

Ps, If you’re new to this and you enjoy it, please subscribe at the top right of this page!

This week on SLTV, Ep 15.  Northern Territory Salt 1. Paul and I head to the Northern Territory to fish with fly-fishing legend, Graeme Williams. We catch lots of species including queenfish up to 87cms. Plenty crocs and kangaroos too!  http://www.insightflyfishing.com.au/