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Posts Tagged ‘Gorge’

A day in a gorge without a net… or food..

April 3rd, 2014 No comments

I forgot my weigh-net and my lunch. After climbing into the steep sided gorge I broke my glasses. What a start! The prospect of not being able to verify a double, should I catch one, worried me more than the difficulty of landing a fish in a gorge without a net. A day without food I can live with. I tied my glasses back together and took on the day.

I fished to a decent number of fish over the course of the day. They were off, not feeding, dogo. Some were incredibly spooky, some allowed me to get a second shot in but then bolted. I took various measures to beat the situation; long leader, extra long leader, fine leader, small flies, streamers, single fly etc but it didn’t matter. I could see from the manner of the fish that they were not playing. They were sitting very still, tail barely moving in the glassy tails of the pools. I pushed on, I decided that on a day like this, my only chance was to cover lots of river and therefore more fish.

At around midday after an early start, I found a small brown happily feeding in a slightly riffled tail of a pool. I put on a dry and he ate it first cast. The bigger fish, seatrout, were still dogo. Try as I might, I could not get a hint of a positive response. Nevertheless, I was happy in my surroundings and still confident that I’d find a decent fish on the fin. Time flew by and before I knew it I was approaching the last pool of the day. I spotted a big fish at the tail. I quickly took my shot. Nothing. Five more shots, still nothing. Streamer… the fish sidestepped the fly and then bolted for cover. I took a few more steps to look up into the pool before climbing out of the gorge and walking out. There was a decent fish on the fin. Ha! I got into a good casting position but could no longer see the fish through the glare. I went back out of the glare to see the fish and mark his position off an overhanging rock. Back into position and I took the shot.. the fly landed where I wanted it to. I watched as the tippet sank beneath the glare.. The tippet was being pulled under at a constant rate by the single weighted nymph. Suddenly, the sink rate increased, just by a little. This was evidence enough to strike. The fat hen fish jumped repeatedly then charged up the pool, while trying to get under every rock and ledge on the way. I landed the fish, took a quick photo and then happily climbed out of the gorge. I had a secret farm dam in mind for the next day…

This weekend? Coast?? Not sure yet!

Ronan..

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!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Zealand 2011

October 19th, 2011 No comments

NZ 2011 started in Fairlie at about 6pm on Tuesday the 11th of October. Kevin Alexander and I went to a nearby lake and fished into darkness. Kevin had a couple at a stream mouth in shallow water, no joy for me. The following day was lazy but effective fishing. We drove up mystery river X and jumped out and sight fished the more likely pools. We had some decent fish and fishing without exerting too much energy.

Day 3 I fished alone. I tackled a gorge that I was never through before in medium to low water, which is pretty much ideal. You never know what you may encounter going through a gorge for the first time. I have scaled rock walls to get around bluffs, Swam while carrying a 15kg pack (which quickly at least doubles in weight) to get around bluffs I couldn’t climb, Climbed out of and then back into gorges over cliffs where swimming was not an option, Fallen over on rocks where a broken leg would be inconvenience. Oddly enough I never really fell in! The truth is however, fishing through a gorge is the pinnacle of NZ fishing for me. All day long stumbling, stalking, scrambling, climbing, casting, falling, catching, loosing, cursing and talking to myself. I do that a lot.

I had a superb day fishing for very difficult fish through 8kms of gorge. By the end of it I was bruised, battered and wrecked. My feet hurt, My right nee and left elbow were cut and bruised from a fall, my legs were stiff and my back hurt. This is all good pain. I enjoy it. Every “full on” day from now on will get easier as fitness improves. It’s been nearly 2 years since I had a tough day like this one and I want more!

6 out of 7 fish took a size 16 lightly weighted nymph attached to a size 14 tungsten and lead nymph by a 14″ dropper. I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that this is the best general method for NZ river trout. Better fish usually take the 16. Fish them 4-5 foot under an indicator or a dry.

Thats all for now… Ronan..