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Posts Tagged ‘Gorge fly fishing’

Guiding Magic!!

December 7th, 2017 No comments

The season so far has been pretty flipin’ amazing! It feels like every day is a blue sky day. Rivers are low and clear and the fishing has been top notch. The winds have been light and favourable most days so there are really no excuses not to be out there reaping the rewards. So far the rivers are reasonably full but that will change if this dry weather keeps up. I have noticed a few rivers like wading in bath water of late – sooner or later the fish will shut down considerably if we don’t get an occasional fresh or cold night! Right now it’s all on, so we’ll just deal with the downsides of this hot summer if or when they present.

I have made some time to fish myself since my last blog – indeed I landed my joint second biggest brown ever at 11.5lbs but more about that in the next blog. This report is about guiding! It’s going well. I’ve been busy and really enjoying it. Most of my fishing addiction is satisfied from guiding so that makes it easy to get up in the morning. The pictures below tell the story since my last blog pretty well, but I want to tell one myself. I was on a 4 day road-trip with a 3 day wilderness heli trip straight after it. I really wanted a day off to prepare and organise but couldn’t make it happen. Planning on the road is not easy! I was bouncing a few ideas back and forth in my head, I called a few mates for some opinions, a few emails to the heli companies I like to use.. Finally, the night before the trip, the plan was made. The brief from my client was around something that I would get excited about doing myself. Well, that would have to include some adventure, some unknown. The plan was to fly to the bottom of a gorge, fish hard for 3 days then chopper out from the top. I was familiar with the bottom and the top but the upper middle bit I knew nothing about. There is something about fishing in a gorge that excites me. There is some risk involved, it’s easy to get bluffed making it necessary to climb out and drop back in. You never know what you’re going to get from extreme terrain to monster trout. Proper gorge fishing is not for the faint hearted.

Day 1. The fishing started in an uncanny way. Marks first retrieve of his first cast connected his streamer to a 5lb rainbow. Instant action! Quite unbelievable. The day was pretty easy going but really good. 8 fish landed and the river was getting more exciting as we advanced. We spent the first night in a backcountry hut with steak, spuds, beans and beers. Luxury! Day 2 was different. I knew that to get through the gorge we needed to go hard on day 2. We threw on the packs at 7.30am and didn’t stop fishing till 6pm. As with day 1, the gorge got more and more exciting and interesting as we progressed. Some bush bashing became necessary and an odd climb out, all adding to the sense of adventure – but it was real adventure because neither of us had been there before! The fishing was excellent. The only thing we didn’t find was a large brown or rainbow. I thought we might find one in there somewhere. That said, we did have one follow the streamer of about 6lbs which certainly qualifies as big – just not really big! The gorge was stunning. Lots of pools; many deep and blue, incredible cliffs, rock formations and waterfalls. At the end of the day we pitched the tents and tucked into a simple dehydrated Backcountry meal. Mine was shite. I did carry in a bottle of red in a plastic bottle making it a bit more palatable! The bottle of red was no match for the sandflies however. They were almost as bad as I’ve experienced! By the end of day 2 I reckoned we had gotten through most of the gorge. I didn’t know for sure how far it was to the top flat but I did know we’d make it there easily over day 3. On the morning of day 3 came the tightest part of the gorge. Totally surrounded by beech forrest on both banks. The banks were so steep that little sunlight ever made it through to the river. The fish didn’t mind, they were in there and still happy to eat our presentations. We pushed on, both of us quietly excited about getting out of the gorge and onto the flat back into the sun! Before too long we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It was about lunchtime on day 3 that we made it out of the gorge. The whole thing was a great experience, as much for me as for Mark. For me it was more about the place than fishing (not because I wasn’t fishing!). The thrill of walking up on a pool I had never seen before, seeing whats around the bend, learning the unknown.  For Mark I’m guessing it was both in equal parts. With the remaining few hours we clocked up the tally to 33 trout over the 3 days before the helicopter came to take us back to base. After the drive home I was fecked!

Many thanks to everyone I guided since my last blog! It’s been a pleasure.

Tight Lines,  Ronan..

There are quite a few days available over the rest of the season. Drop me an email if you’d like to book ronan@sexyloops.com, or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

ps. I’m taking the latter half of the month off for paternity leave! Hopefully I timed it right. Iza certainly looks like she could pop at any moment! Exciting times, thats for sure!

 

A Late Season Extravaganza!!! Yes Indeed…

April 28th, 2016 2 comments

CRANE-FLY-FISHING…

Earlier in the season while fishing with Dean Whaanga he told me about fishing the Crane Fly in his neck of the woods. He told me that it usually fires after the first frost late in the season and that he’d let me know when its happening. Recently he called to tell me “its on” and to invite me to join him the next day. Luckily, I wasn’t guiding so I was there with bells on. John Roach of the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club was in town so he came along too. I was excited to see and try this style of fishing which was pretty new to me. Fishing the crane fly, or daddy-long-legs as I prefer to call it, is well known on the Irish loughs but fishing them on NZ rivers is quite unique. I guess there are not too many rivers with a high enough crane fly populations around them that they get blown onto the river in sufficient numbers for trout to lock-on to them? A frosty start followed by a warm, breezy day is ideal. We didn’t get that, but the day warmed up a little and wind increased but there were not too many daddies about. Possibly due to the lack of a frost in the morning. For a while during the day there were a few on the surface and we saw a few rises. It was enough for me to see the potential of this type of terrestrial fishing. The trout seemed quite keyed in on daddies anyway because we all had a good few eats off the top. We landed two 6lbers, two 4lbers and lost 6 more! It’s always good to learn about a new way to catch a trout, particularly something seasonal and dependable like the cicada or mayfly. I have it marked in my calendar for next season!

A SPECTACULAR TROUT…

On a recent trip to a Wakitipu feeder stream I found what I was looking for. I wanted to encounter some browns moving up from the lake to spawn in a few months time. Along with a number of rainbows, I had 5 browns in the 5 to 7lb range eat or attempt to eat my fly. I only landed one but that fish alone was worth the trip. A very pale coloured trout, it was indeed unique, unlike any trout I’ve seen before. A unique fish like this is at least as satisfying to catch as a really big fish. It’s the brown trout’s infinite differences in shape and colour that make it the species I want to target more than any other. I hooked and lost another fish around 5lbs with what appeared to be a yellow back, again unlike anything I’ve seen before. I really wanted to see this fish out of the water. On hooking, I briefly saw a very deep, silvery flank. I’ve been back since in the unlikely hope of finding him but without success.. Wakatipu feeder streams are open until the end of may so I’ll be back!!

SQUAWKING, FLAPPING AND CRASHING! (AND A VERY BIG TROUT!)

Over the last couple of days Tom McAuliffe and myself went to a river we both enjoy. As luck would have it Robbie was there too so we all fished together on day one. Just before we met Robbie on the river he had landed an 8lb brown. Shortly after we saw another big trout and then things went quiet for the day. In fact we didn’t spot another fish! I had a couple of follows from a dark pool while blind fishing. Shortly after at the head of the same pool it felt as though I became connected to the reef I was fishing across. It was no reef!, it was a solid brown of about 5.5lbs. A real tank of a trout; I was happy to get it under the difficult circumstances. Two great fish for the day but the lack of trout about was a little concerning.

On day 2 it was just Tom and me. We decided to go hard into the wilderness and hope for the best. I had been in a few times before this season with poor results due to terribly low fish numbers but I’m a sucker for a good gorge! As before fish numbers were low. All season long I was hoping the fish were in hiding, under rocks in semi hibernation as these fish tend to do but now I’m confident the fish just aren’t there. Maybe its a cyclical thing and they’ll return but I’m worried to be honest. The number of shags living on the river is also a concern. These creatures feed on fish and only fish. More about that another time. About half way through the day we found the first fish (apart from one I spooked). It looked really big, maybe a double! Sitting apparently dormant against a rock at 90 degrees to the very slow current at the bottom of the pool. A weird position to say the least. Tom won the rock, scissors, paper to take the shot. I advised him on the approach I’d use since he was new to this type of fishing. A very long leader and a heavily weighted streamer, cast well above the fish, let it sink to the bottom and strip it passed its face. The leader had to be long so as not to line the fish in deep water, also to get the fly far enough up stream to give it enough time to sink to the bottom and still be upstream of the fish when it reaches the bottom. While we were setting up, the big trout decided to jump and then do a rapid loop of the pool for no apparent reason. This was a great sign! The fish was awake and not doggo. Tom made a number of accurate casts and from my vantage point I could see the fly passing just in front of the fish but it never flinched.. Then it became awake again, starting to swim up from the rock it was lying against just as Tom landed the fly in her vicinity. “Let it sink” I said, as I watched the fly drop into the fishes lair. “Strip, strip, strip” Tom did so.. I watched as the fish charged and inhaled the fly. Tom could see nothing from his position in the river but I could see everything form my vantage point. “Strike!!”, I said. She was on. After a dogged, heavy fight we got the fish into the net. We thought she might have been a double but the net doesn’t lie (I hope), just over 9lbs of magnificence. Tom was on top of the world and so was I.

Over the next while we saw a few fish. We had a couple of grabs to a streamer and missed one on a nymph but nothing of any size. There was one pool I wanted to get to before we called it a day. We had to push hard and waste no time to get there. We arrived quite late on the Autumn day. On arrival we saw nothing obvious. We carefully made our way up the pool trying to spot every inch of it as we went. In a backwater on the far side of the pool we saw 1 then 2 then possibly 3 or even 4 fish rising. My jaw dropped with anticipation and awe. At least one was a very big fish. Then Tom spotted a huge fish at the tail of the pool where we had just crossed. Now totally on the back foot, which fish do we target? behind or in front? The fish behind had to have been aware of us due to his position. He started to make his way up the pool. A shot had to be taken quickly. I had a dry and nymph on and took the shot. It seemed a better option than Toms streamer in the shallow, glassy water at the tail of the pool. The fish enquired, then enquired again firstly to the dry, then looked at the nymph. When I moved the nymph off the bottom he followed it a number of times before swimming away into the safety of the dark water. I was disappointed because this was a really (really) big, beautiful, catchable fish. However! We had possibly 4 rising fish to target so I looked forward with a confident smirk, Tom looked at me with the same smirk, we took a few steps forward, both considering the best plan of attack. Rise after rise, both of us eager to take them on. “That’s close enough” we both agreed.  With that 2 paradise ducks came squawking, flapping and crashing into the pool, sliding 25 foot right on top of all the rising fish before immediately lifting off again. Birds gone, fish gone, silence. Dumbfounded, I managed to ask Tom “What the fuck just happened?”,  “Fucked if I know” he replied, “para’s”. That was it, all over. I landed a 2.5lber in the next pool but it didn’t even take the edge off how I was feeling. Utterly heartbroken and time to head out. I hate Paradise Ducks!

That’s all folks! 3 days left of the brown trout season and I’ll be fishing all three of them I do believe!

Ronan..

Ps. Internet problems led to a one day delay in getting this out so just 2 days left of the season! Jeff and I fished today and landed 10 fish up to 8lbs! More on that in the next blog. Also, I wanted to write about filming and upcoming NZ fly-fishing TV show with Jeff Forsee filmed by Nick Reygaert but I’m out of steam now so next blog maybe. I also had a few great days and nights in Southland with Robbie Mcphee and Chris Jackson, stars of New Zealand Trophy Waters ( http://www.fishingvideo.co.nz  ). We fished, ate, drank and were merry! Very merry!! Also great to fish with and catch up with one of my first made friends in NZ, Bob Toffler. See you next season, Bob!

MAY IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS! For any guiding bookings or enquiries, ronan@sexyloops.com

Keep Your Nerve…

November 27th, 2014 1 comment

I’ve been up to my eyeballs lately and it has been hard to find the time to write. I’m busy at work, working on visa stuff, doing a few jobs around the house, nursing a few injuries, the list goes on.. Needless to say I’ve been on the water every weekend (bar one, I had to rest to allow my hand and back injuries to recover so Iza and I went walking locally.. hence the flower pics!!)

Dunstan is fishing well. Good sight fishing to be had around the edges and on the flats. I know the boat would be great on it but mine is out of order just now. Last weekend I had the best fishing on the silt flats blind fishing a couple of spiders. I fished them the same way my father would, just figure of eighting, staying in touch and waiting for resistance. Great fish too. Some over 4lbs and in great condition.

Mark and I found a gorge on a local river on Google Earth. It had and entry point and an easy exit about 6-8ks farther up. What was in between didn’t look too tough but you can’t be sure, I learned that before! So, we took it on even though the water was high. Sort of a mistake as it turned out. Sight fishing was tough in the deeper pools and damn all fish were out in the water we could see. The going was tough. Just about every step took extra effort and moving up stream in the river was very limited with the steep sides and deep water. Basically we bush bashed, climbed and bouldered all day. I love it. Being in a gorge is one of the best things about NZ fishing. Tough gorges, like this one, see very few anglers. One needs to be a little bit adventurous (some might say mad, but not me) to enjoy them. It’s important to realise the risks involved and not be Gung ho while in the thick of it. When climbing I try to assess the risks as I go. If a section appears dangerous, I look to see if there is something to grab on to if I slipped, a crack, a sprig of thyme, whatever. If there is nothing I’ll find another route. Occasionally you have no choice but to make a risky manoeuvre. At these times you need to keep your nerve, don’t hesitate. Always try to help your fishing buddy.

This gorge seemed to go on forever! We thought we were near the end but we weren’t. We thought it was flattening out but then it got steeper, we thought it was getting easier but it got harder. Mark was getting impatient. He just wanted out, some of the riskier climbs were taking their toll. I wanted to see it through. Thankfully there was no place to climb out and shortly after we made it to the bridge. The fishing was not so good but the gorge was awesome.. in the true sense of the word.

Guy was here recently. We planned a trip to the coast but we turned back with the rainfall increasing as we drove west. We fished Dunstan instead! Good old reliable Dunstan. Hail, rain, snow or sun, it will fish.

Great to fish with Kevin, Mark and Guy recently!

Ronan..

Ps. Here is a short article I wrote for Manic Tackle Project recently.. http://www.manictackleproject.com/friday-fly-day-ronan-creane-contributes/

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…