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Winter Monsters!

June 15th, 2018 No comments

We’re lucky around here to have an abundance of winter fishing opportunities. There are 3 large rivers and lots of lakes in the vicinity. All are open to the angler willing to brave the elements (which usually aren’t that bad) and take it on. I haven’t been out this winter as much as I have in recent winters, with my new role as a father taking priority. I’m loving that, even if it does cut into my fishing time! Soon enough she’ll come with me.

I’ve had 4 days floating down local rivers recently. The most fun thing about the pontoon boat is that it needs 2 people to float properly, so somebody has to join me. It’s usually not too hard to find a fishing buddy. After a busy guiding season its the perfect way to catch up with the lads. Whether we catch fish or not, floating down the river is great way to spend a day and have the craic.

The most exciting prospect in Otago winter fishing is the chance of a big fish. Some very large rainbows and browns migrate all these rivers every winter. A rainbow over 6lbs is a super trout and they’re the ones I’m after. I recently broke my rainbow record with a 9lber. A tank of a trout about a foot in girth which accelerated after my fly as I was lifting to recast. Sometimes when my brain has told my arm to recast, I cant stop the rod in time when I see a last moment chase from a trout. This time I managed to stop with the rod at about 45 degrees. The trout engulfed the fly and I struck from 45 to beyond 90 to set the hook! Such close quarter, chaotic, last second, visual fishing really gets the heart pumping. Much of the fight was close to me but I had to apply the pain when the fish ran towards some reeds. I turned him just as Tom was there with the net. An 8wt and strong tippet was a big advantage. What a moment! I was awestruck!

Another fish worth a mention was on a float trip with my good friend, Chris Dore. Chris had walked upstream to swing an edge while I worked a deep drop-off. This is a spot that I’ve had great success at over the last few years. It’s all about getting the fly deep. I don’t use a sinking line because its not very versatile for the multitude of water I cover in a day and I don’t want multiple rods on the boat. I use a very heavy fly on a 16 – 17 foot leader and try to get it deep. when I think its deep enough I let it sink some more. lots of stack mending or whatever it takes to get the fly deep. paying line off the reel is a good one now and again. When I’m where I want to be I stop the line and let the current take up the slack. A very slow retrieve from the depth is best. Takes can be savage or very gentle. This one was gentle. A faint tap, followed by 2 more faint taps at which time I strip struck into a heavy head shake. A magic moment again! I live for this. I knew it was a big fish. Heavy gear to shorten the battle once again paid dividends. If these fish get into the main flow it could be game over so I don’t feel over gunned with an 8wt. After landing the fish I had hoped I’d get Chris’s attention to come and get a great photo, but he couldn’t hear me calling out to him. I took a quick shot with the 10 second timer and let him off. Typical of migratory salmonids, the larger fish run first. I expect they’ll move off the radar soon. I’m glad I got my piece of the cake!

Dougal, Tom, Jeff and Chris; Thanks for floating with me! They were some of the highlights of my season.

For guiding bookings and information for next season, contact me ronan@sexyloops.comĀ or visit my website ronansflyfishingmissions.com. I do not offer guided float trips!

Tight Lines!

Ronan..