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Posts Tagged ‘Daltona’

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…

“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!

A weekend Fishing Lake Dunstan from the Boat…

May 16th, 2013 No comments

Last weekend I fished Lake Dunstan. The top end of the lake has not fished consistently well this year but last weekend was pretty good. The browns are no longer on the flats, at least not in large numbers but some rainbows have taken their place. This makes sense because browns spawn first and I expect they’re now up river. The rainbows were present in high enough numbers to deliver decent fishing. I used a clear intermediate line with a long 10lb tippet and a wolley bugger. As I drifted off the shallow into the the deeper water I counted the line down a bit. this worked but most were in pretty shallow water. I hooked about the same number of fish each day, on Saturday I landed 6 and on Sunday just one. Three were around 5lbs which were the biggest I’ve had off the lake this season. All but one were rainbows. This is the first time this season that I’ve found rainbows in reasonable numbers. This does not surprise me though, I spent most of my time fishing the shallows which is brown trout territory. To target rainbows on Dunstan one usually needs to fish the deeper water with sinking lines.

This weekend I’ll be deep sea fishing with the lads from work. I’ll bring the fly-rod so I hope an opportunity to use it presents itself!

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All the best..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Tasmanian Western Lakes part 1” Paul and I take on a serious 4×4 mission into the Tasmanian Western Lakes. We get stuck before we start but Paul solves the problem while trying not to get stuck in the mud himself! John’s TCR bites the dust, You will hear some fantastic music from the Spa Pikers and most importantly witness some excellent fishing in a truly wild and beautiful (and sometimes cold!) place. This 2 part show is one of my favourites!

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!!

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..

1978 35HP Johnson Engine…

November 15th, 2012 3 comments

Daltona has been sitting idle for too long. The last time I was out in her was with Mike Wilkinson and we had a series of breakdowns. First a blown fuse which I fixed with tinfoil, then the wire from the spark plug broke away from the coil. This we fixed with Mikes tapered leader (fishing line for you non fisherfolk). Then the starter motor started grinding rather than starting. This could not be fixed with my leatherman but by wrapping a rope around the fly wheel I could start the engine to get us back to safety. Today I finally got around to fixing the old outboard…

Strike when the iron is hot!

September 13th, 2012 1 comment

One thing I’ve learned during my almost 22 years fly-fishing is that nothing can be taken for granted. This is true both in the short term and the long term. A few weeks ago I was enjoying some world class fishing in a remote part of one of the Southern Lakes. I had it to myself 3 weekends in a row. I got as much as I could from it because I knew my time there with that quality of fishing was limited. The last time I managed to get the boat in to get across the lake I got the truck stuck in the mud due to extremely low water and no boat ramp. The lake had been falling constantly so the following day, even though the weather was favourable; I didn’t chance it because the lake was lower still and more mud would have been exposed. Since then the weather has kept me out of the hotspot. Last weekend my outboard broke down and by now I expect most of the fish which were hanging around the mouths will have ran up to spawn. Strike when the iron is hot or you will miss out!

Here are the highlights from last weekend on the water with Camo Guy..

Later all..   Ronan..

 

Getting bogged, catching fish, exploring, living…

August 19th, 2012 No comments

Next weekend I only have Sunday to fish so I made the most of this one. I would have anyway of course! I got out for 2 hours on Friday evening on Dunstan. I had a few events and one I converted into a landed fish. It looks as though the browns are starting to put on some condition.

Saturday I fished alone. I went back to the spot that’s been treating me so well lately and once again it didn’t disappoint. I put the boat in but due to the lake still dropping and incredibly low I could not submerge the trailer. I thought after I left the boat on anchor to find a spot where I could submerge the trailer to make it easy to get the boat out again at the end of the day. This turned out to be a bad idea as I got bogged and lost the first hour and 20minutes of the day digging the truck out.

Once I was on the water my slow start was forgotten about. I was made eat my words a little during the fishing day, something that happens me quite regularly. 2 blogs ago I spoke about the takes from depth being certain and solid and having a 12 event day converted into 12 landed fish. Well on Saturday I converted about 20 events into 5 fish! I lost about 5 really good fish at the stage in the fight just before the fish gives in and slides into the net. It’s generally unusual to lose a fish after being hooked up solid for a few moments. One could dwell on ways to fix this, or wonder if one was at fault but statistically everything will happen eventually so the best thing to do about this unusual occurrence is nothing. Thanks John O Malley! After landing 17 out of 17 hooked pike one season, John assured me that statistics would even things up. He was right. I think I lost the next 17.

Today (Sunday 19th of August) I fished with Mike Wilkinson. I decided we should try some new water. It’s important to explore. If you don’t you won’t learn much. The main thing we learned today was not to go back, not that it was terrible, there’s just much better water available not too far away. The fishing was slow and difficult but we managed a few fish. Thinking hard and always making sure we were covering water with some feature or contrast made the difference. Boat fishing is not chuck and chance. I’m always 100% aware of the type and depth (within reason) of water I’m fishing over. Maximise on your fishing day by only fishing the best water. Local knowledge is not so important. It’s instinctive. Like a river a lake can be read.

Back to the necessary evil tomorrow. Tight lines all! Good fishing with you today Mike!

Ronan.. (CI, Joiner, Fishing host by appointment)

 

August on the Southern Lakes…

August 8th, 2012 No comments

My laptop has died, this time for good I think so I’m using a 15 year old computer to put this weeks report together. Not an easy task. To say it’s slow would be an understatement! It seems to be working however so I won’t jinx it..

Last weekend I had intended to fish Saturday and Sunday on one or 2 of the Southern Lakes. Friday night was a late one so I fished the second half of Saturday on Dunstan. It was very good! There were lots of fish moving and I had a few but they are still on the thin side. I have not encountered any rainbows out there so I’m guessing they are either out deep or up the river. I tried the sinking like on it without much success.

Saturday was different! I motored across a nearby lake (not Dunstan!) to try some totally new water. I got to an area with a small river flowing in and some dead trees sticking out of the lake. The water here is cristal clear which makes the drop offs clearly evident. I started with a clear intermediate line and a woolley bugger drifting along and over the drop-off. This gave me a good start but something was telling me go deeper, so I did. Much deeper in fact. I used a Di7 line from Airflo which is bacically a 40 foot superfast sinking shooting head on intermediate running line. I fished it with my 8wt tcx. The wind was idealy light so I could cover water but still have time to let my line reach depth. usually 10-20 foot. My technique is to cast it out about 25-30m, let it sink for various amounts of time then slowly (sometimes quickly!) retrieve it back to the boat. Some people recommend a short leader with a sinking line so that the fly quickly follows the fly line at whatever depth its at. I dont agree with this. I prefer a long leader and allow the first few retrieves to get the fly to the level (depth) of the fly line. A long cast is an advantage with this method because after the fly has reached the depth of the line you should still be far enough from the boat or back to prospect a lot of water. Also plenty fish take the fly as its diving to line level. The longer you can effectively keep the fly from the fly line the less fish you will spook. Takes from depth must be experienced to be believed. They are usually certain, clean and solid. On Saturday I hooked 12 and landed 12.

This is my first NZ winter in ten years so this fishing is basically new to me. I have just realised a type of fishing that consumes my thoughts. I want to on the water and no where else but I have to work. The world is all messed up. It should be 2 days work and 5 days fishing.

Ronan..