Posts Tagged ‘Iza’

The Elusive, Almost Mythical 10lb Brown Trout…

October 20th, 2015 No comments

During a mission to North Canterbury with Jeff Forsee at the end of last season, I witnessed something that made me re-think what I thought I knew. Jeff was onto a fish on his bank, a big one. The fish was deep. Jeff persisted with a range of weighted nymphs until he had the heaviest one in his box on, with the little trailer off it. He felt he was not getting deep enough so he pulled out a box of split shot and added some weight, then a little more weight. I’m not sure just how much shot he added but eventually he hooked the fish. A long battle was ensued but we finally got it into the net. That fish was one of the most spectacular fish I’ve seen and it turned out to be Jeff’s personal best. Afterwards, I thought to myself “would I have caught that fish?”. The answer, probably not. I had no split shot and my heaviest nymph was the same as Jeff’s. The only time I ever used shot was in Croatia years ago because of their single fly policy. I thought I had no need for it. I remember Paul Arden talking about split shot for early season NZ fish. I simply thought “just tie a heavier nymph”, which is true but split shot is handy, quick and easy to add and there’s no limit to how much you can put on (within reason!). I had to see this in action to really see the value of it. Shortly after that trip I got some split shot.

Recently, in Otago, about half way through a great day, I sighted a large trout happily feeding. He was moving from shallow to deep water feeding constantly. After a number of careful casts the fish became aware of my presence. He went a little doggo but then continued to feed, this time in deep water only. This gave me a great and rare advantage. The fish continued to feed despite my presence. I could not spook him easily so I cast and cast and cast. As long as a fish is feeding he’s catchable so I persisted. I put on my heaviest nymph, then added lead, then more lead. The river was boiling and up-welling making it hard to get even a heavily weighted rig down, but once in a while, as Robbie pointed out, the current went “clean”, no up-welling. At one of those moments I placed the cast in the right place and the added weight got my fly into the zone. The fish ate. I knew It was a big fish, I’ve caught lots of 9s and this felt just plain heavier. I gave him stick none the less and eventually landed him with Robbie’s help on the net. There were a few unnerving moments as he went under banks and around rocks but we landed him. 10lbs on the dot (Though Robbie thinks he was more, despite the weigh-net!). Thanks, Jeff for the lesson in lead and Robbie for the help landing one of my personal best brown trout.. Finally we cracked a double together!

Tight Lines All..


If your planning a trip to NZ, why not get in touch with me! I’m available to guide and happy to answer any questions you may have..


Lake Wanaka, Lake Dunstan and the West Coast in September…

September 24th, 2015 No comments

About a year ago I noticed some good looking water on Lake Wanaka from the top of Rocky Mountain. The weekend before last I went to check it out. The day was perfect, little or no wind with bright sunshine. I spotted the edges and saw very few cruisers. The few I cast to were extremely spooky and just fecked off from even the most delicate presentation. I was there for about 2 hours without catching before I started putting it together. I noticed some fish rising well out, some in range, all sporadic. I saw a few chironomid on the top. I thought it would be worth putting on a team of two buzzers on a long 4lb tippet and fishing it blind. After about an hour I got one. Once I found a reasonable concentration of fish I got a few more. It went to plan! I found a few fish and figured out what they were at and got some. When fish are difficult to catch it makes it all the more rewarding when you do catch! It’s worth mentioning that as I get older I’m getting more disciplined in this type of fishing. In the past I needed to be doing more. Stripping I guess! Now I can stay focussed while just staying in touch with my flies for as long as it takes. Like my father! Alhough it will be many more years before I come close to his skill level with a team of buzzers.

The following day I went to Dunstan, my home water. It never fails! I know it well at this stage. After my buzzer fishing on Lake Wanaka the day before it seemed like the right choice for Dunstan too. I battled the silt and blind fished the water in front of me as I steadily walked to keep covering new water. Critical when blind fishing. The more water you cover the more fish you cover, it’s as simple as that. I had about 10 fighting fit browns and a rainbow, mostly on the buzzer. In the afternoon I tried out some new water on the lower Kawarau. I had a couple on the woolly bugger. Another great day, Its always a bonus to successfully try out some new water.. Great to catch up with Mike Wilkinson, Kevin and Alan Mc Intire on the lake too!

The weekend just passed was a mission to the coast. The forecast was for sun and light winds. Ideal conditions. It turned out we had very strong wind for most of Saturday. That coupled with big surf made the going difficult. I heaved out the flies all day long to no avail. I might have had one touch but probably not. Iza, on the other hand, did well. Her soft plastic fish imitation fooled 2 trout and a Kahawai. One of her trout was the fattest seatrout I’ve seen on the coast. Stuffed to the gills with something, whitebait or toheroa most likely. One of the Wakitipu Anglers Club members had a  trout stuffed with toheroa! On Sunday the winds were light and there were very few people around, not even whitebaiters. With the place to ourselves we still couldn’t get a fish. Not even on Iza’s spin gear. I hooked and lost a good trout in the morning which was the highlight of my fishing for the weekend. The Wakitipu Anglers club, with which I’m a member, also had a gathering there at the weekend. I haven’t heard many results but I don’t think many were caught from the river mouths. This is usually a great time of year over there so I don ‘t know why the fishing was so bad. The whitebaiters are saying that the bait has not turned up yet so maybe its all about to happen…

I’m taking bookings for the season ahead, so if you’d like me to guide you on your NZ trout adventure contact me here! You know you’ll be in good hands.. October is only a week away! (

Tight lines, another weekend is almost upon us!


ps..      If your in this area the Wakitipu Anglers Club is a great club to be a part of!



NZ – Vietnam – Ireland – Jordan – NZ…

August 27th, 2015 No comments

Iza and I are just back in NZ after our multi-country adventure. For the first month we did our own thing before meeting up in Ireland for my sisters wedding. I only did a days fruitless fishing in Vietnam, the rest of the time I was tearing around the country on the back of my brothers motorbike. We also made time to drink the worst beer in the world, eat some of the best food in the world and see the sights. I also only did one days fishing in Jordan with limited success. Don’t get your hopes up about seeing anything amazing but I will have some good information on Jordan’s fly fishing potential.. The rest of the time in Jordan was spent diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea. Fishing was not priority (for a change) for much of the trip but I had a few weeks at home in the west of Ireland where it was. Some of the fishing was excellent, mostly on Lough Inagh for grilse and Kylemore Lough for big sea-trout. I’m not sure when exactly I’ll be able to put a report together but it will include salmon, seat-rout, brown trout, pike, some saltfly and being hospitalized in a military hospital in the south of Jordan, actually, that’s enough said about the latter. It was hell.

The photo’s below are from before we left NZ about 9 weeks ago. My intention was to get a report out before we left but better late than never! Some good stuff to come but I’m waiting on a memory card in the post from Ireland so a NZ report may come first. Needless to say I’ll be on the water all weekend!

It’s good to be back!


Just over a month to October 1st!         Groovy…

A Great Season Ends With Exciting Prospects..

May 18th, 2015 No comments

Another river season has come to an end. Many rivers are still open in May but I find myself looking toward other options -  lakes, river mouths, the canals or possibly the West Coast. Prior to a recent mission to the canals I did a little research on surrounding lakes, tarns and rivers to see if any remained open in May. As it turned out, all were closed since April 30th but it gave me lots of new ideas for next season. I’m actually pretty excited about it. There are some spring creeks, tarns and rivers that I’ve never fished, new territory to explore and some of it is not too far away. That’s one of the amazing things about this country; waterways in abundance and always something new to check out if you make the time to explore. Try something new instead of the tried and trusted.

Mark Adamson, Robbie Mcphee and myself finished off the brown trout season with a 3 day mission on a river we all enjoy. The fish were difficult, not really looking at our offerings at all but we all managed a few fish. We had a fantastic hut to stay in and the craic between the 3 of us in the evenings was as good as the fishing. I had a bad cold to deal with and deal with it I did with a few hot whiskeys. Mark had a couple too just because they’re a great drink to warm up the bones after a cold day on the river. The story of our trip is told in the photos below.

The lakes in central are fishing well! Iza and I had a great trip there 2 weeks ago. We had plenty cruising rainbows to fish for in certain spots and browns in others. I got my fathers buzzers working on Benmore too which is always a pleasure. It’s a very underrated, or more to the point, unknown way to catch trout here in NZ. When they work, they really work!

Finally, Trevor Bourne, a long time sexylooper has just moved to Wanaka from the UK to build Epic fly rods for Carl Mcneil. you’ll be seeing more of him up here. An all round good bugger and great angler. Welcome Trevor! And Happy Birthday..

Tight lines.. Winter is not closed season, its just the winter season!


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Old boots & Old friends…

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Recently I had an encounter with a trout I’d caught about 18 months ago. The fact that I had caught him before meant that I had no great need to catch him again, or so I thought before our re-encounter. I knew where he lived, during a day on the river I was never too pushed If I fished that pool or not. On this day I did get to the pool, I scoped it up and down and didn’t see him. I did see a smaller trout of about 4lbs but never managed to get a shot to that one. When I was leaving the pool I spotted my old friend in a slack back eddy at the head of the pool. He was cruising around sipping down dries like a 3lb brown in a Mataura backwater.. But this was no 3lber! He may well be a double by now considering he was 9.25lbs when I caught him. I didn’t hesitate in getting into position well away from the trout, my heart rate increasing. I quickly removed my nymphs so I had a single size 12 dry left on the cast, my go-to dry. I felt no need to put on a smaller one. The tippet was 4x, so nice and fine. The fish turned on his beat and I sent in my cast. I was as happy as I could have been with my shot.. I landed the fly well in front of the fish and a little to his right so that on approach to the fly most of the tippet would be on the other side of the fly. He cruised towards it, raised up in the water column just a little and then continued under my fly. After seeing my offering he went into high alert moving out of the slack water into moving water. Still maybe catchable but much more difficult. I changed tactics and put a nymph on. First attempt with the nymph and I picked up some scrub on my back-cast which landed beside my old friend. With that, he was gone. He didn’t bolt off, just cruised into the depths. I was haunted by him that night, every time I’d close my eyes I’d see that head on profile with pectoral fins like a jet plane, changing to a huge pink and green flank as he turned. Now I have to catch him again. (This is fly-fishing!)

I’ve had plenty other great days on the water since my last report. Jeff and I pushed into some new terrain and found more trout than we expected. We did pretty well, catching fish on dries and nymphs.

I caught up with my great friend Bob Toffler last weekend before he headed back to the States for another northern hemisphere season. We had a wonderful meal together cooked by Bob’s partner, Carol. The following day, Iza, Bob and I fished the Mataura where the hatch lasted from morning until evening! It was fantastic fun. I got to know Bob on a visit to the US about 13 years ago. He told me that he fishes in NZ every season, and he invited me to join him during my planned NZ visit. I took him up on his offer and we’ve been friends ever since meeting up a few times a season. Through Bob, I met Guy; through Guy, I met Paul and the rest is history still in the making.

That’s all for now, Enjoy the pics and feel free to subscribe if you’re new here and you like what you see!

Oh, and Happy 40th to Mike Wilkinson! He looks a day over 39. The party meant I didn’t fish on Sunday last! I doubt any one else did either… Jeff?


Still waters run deep…

March 10th, 2015 1 comment

In high summer in NZ it pays not to depend completely on flowing water as the source of your fishing. Rivers get low, fish numbers tend to decrease as a result. River and stream options get fewer between December and the end of March. This is certainly true here in Central Otago. I’d say it’s also true to some extent in most districts. Luckily for me I don’t discriminate at all between bodies of water I like to fish. Recently I went to mine and Kevins secret dams. The top dam was great! Very low with plenty healthy cruisers about. There is a small stream flowing out of the top dam and into the bottom dam about a kilometre away. I went for a look.. On arrival about 1000 geese, swans and ducks got off the main part of the dam. This dam is in 2 parts; a small containment of water in the vicinity of the stream mouth makes the first part, the second is a much larger body of water (where the birds were) connected by a gap in an earth bank. Usually the part near the stream mouth does not hold many fish but on this day it did. On approach to the dam via the stream I saw about 10 fish feeding in the extremely dirty, murky water. Most fish were in the 4lb- 6lb class with some bigger. I took my time and worked on them one at a time. They were not easy. With all the weeds,  feathers and stuff on the surface and the lack of clarity in the water, just getting them to see the fly was the greatest challenge. When I believed that they did see it they did not always respond to it. I landed 3 in the couple of absorbing hours between 4 and 6lbs. These were all incredible fish. Fat, beautifully coloured and marked and very strong. I got one on a spider which I put in the path of a cruiser, one on a small damsel; I made him chase it, and one on a bright orange fly; bright to be seen in the murk. I changed fly often to suit every individual trout. Before I left to go home I had a look in the main body of the dam. It was pea green with virtually no viz. The heat of the summer and the shit of 1000 game birds had caused an algal bloom. I guess this is why the fish favoured the relative clarity and cleanliness of the water near the stream mouth.

I described the water to Guy and he said he had no interest in that kind of fishing. I get it. The water is dirty! If a splash got into your mouth you’d be wise to spit it out quickly. I don’t care though. In fact, I love it. It’s a million miles from stereotypical NZ water but to me it has something great to offer. The fish are fantastic, they feed on or near the top quite a lot, the fishing is challenging and absorbing; so much so that it removes me from the shit, weed and slime!

I’ve had a look at many more still waters recently, they don’t generally suffer low water summer conditions like rivers do. I’ve been having a ball on them. If I was a wealthy angler coming to NZ, I’d be chatting to my guide about a still water option and that’s for sure.

Feel free to contact me with any questions through the comments section or via email at

Tight Lines!


The Piscatorial Pot…

February 24th, 2015 No comments


          1. Of or relating to fish or fishing

          2. Involved in or dependent on fishing

Months ago I agreed to run one of our fishing club events. Mike had an idea that there needed to be more events close to home so Lake Dunstan seemed perfect. It’s my home water so I was happy to organise it. I was unsure of what to do to make the day unique and enjoyable so I thought back to some Irish competitions. I had never fished the “Piscatorial Pot” on Lough Corrib but always wanted to. Both my father and John O Malley won it recently which may have helped it spring to mind.  I decided to steal that idea but needed a little more…  The Irish angling legend, Jackie Coyne, runs a competition on Lough Roisin Dubh at the end of every fishing season. Over the course of the day every angler gets an hour in a lakeboat. I also decided to adopt that idea and a new competition was born. The Piscatorial Pot (NZ).

A scrap of Macrocarpa with the lettering freehand routed into it made the base. A little stain, oil and rustication for effect. 10 minutes on ebay and I had a piss pot. Put them together and we have a perpetual pis-pot.

There were not too many fish caught over the day but Colin Kelly managed a solid fish of 3.25lbs making him the winner. James Waggett was not too far behind with a 2.5lber. Colin has been a member of the club for years and is never afraid to put in the hard yards. Spin gear or fly, kayak or bank, river or lake, Colin will be there in the thick of it. I was happy to present him with The Piscatorial Pot.. though, I’m not so sure that he was as happy to receive it!!!

We all had a great day on the water. Afterwards we enjoyed the craic, good food and beer or two.

Cicada Time

Right now it’s cicada time here in NZ. Some hatch from forests, some from barren grasslands, some are very big, some are quite small but trout love ‘em all. On Saturday Iza and I took out the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat to fish a piece of shoreline on Lake Wakatipu that has treated me well over the years. Conditions were good. We had a breeze which varied in strength but was fairly consistent and able to push a few bugs onto the water. I drove the boat into quite a big chop to get to the area we wanted to fish. I set the boat up for kilometres of shore drift, an occasional pull-start to keep us tight to the shore and we were fishing. Iza quickly hooked and lost a really good fish by this shores standards, about 3lbs. Shortly after she hooked and landed one… then another.. then another and so it continued until she had 11! Casting, striking and playing fish all nicely in tune. By 4pm we got off the lake, the wind was shifting all over the place, dropping and gusting and the rain was bucketing down. We finished with 18.. (yes, she out-fished me!)

Something interesting to note for our day afloat was that we did not see a single cicada on the wing or in the water all day. Neither did we see any trout free-rising yet we landed 18, all on chunky dry cicadas. The takes were all confident sips, no slashes or smashes and easily missed in the wave.. On a few occasions I didn’t see the rise until it was as big as a dinner plate, some Iza didn’t see until her rod was bent. This is not an unusual phenomenon. I remember fishing with my father, Joe Creane, on Lough Corrib years ago. Mayfly time but no fly on the water and nothing rising. 10 boats in the bay catching very few, all stripping wets. Dad and I had 13 on dries (most on a size 10 adams). It’s not the first time I’ve seen this in NZ either. Fly on the water or not, trout will recognise a large dry as food at certain times of year.. It might be worth fishing one in October or any time for that matter! I bet you’d be pleasantly surprised..

That’s it for now.. If you want to win The Piscatorial Pot, Join the club.. The Wakatipu Anglers Club that is..


Variety is the spice of trout fishing…

February 11th, 2015 2 comments

I think the reason I can immerse myself so completely in NZ trout fishing is in it’s diversity. The diversity lies in the location, the method used to catch the trout and the trout itself. Within an hour or so of my base in Cromwell I can be in the arid, rocky moonscape of Poolburn or Manorburn dams, the lush rain-forested rivers of Glenorchy, the meandering waters through the green fields of the Maniototo, any number of gorges from the easy going to the gut busting, the Mataura and it’s many tributaries, any one of the Southern Lakes; a little more drive time and I’m on the Coast, East or West. Gin clear water, river mouths, surf, lakes; some of which are tannin and some clear, some big some small. These examples just scratch the surface.

In any one of these locations an angler can put a multitude of methods and techniques into action. A single size 18 dry on the Mataura to a 3″ streamer at the Haast River mouth for example. You could also swing a 3″ streamer on the Mataura of course… and this means that every location could potentially work with any method so the list of “method” and “type of water” combinations is vast. It pays to think outside the box a little. Much of the early fishing in NZ was with wet-flies fished down and across. It still works! Though I rarely use it. If I could only sight fish I’d probably get a little bored of it, Just the same if blind nymphing was the only option. Variety of methods versus water keeps it interesting!

Here in Central, the only option of species to catch is brown and rainbow trout (and a few perch) but with the number of ways to catch them it’s like having numerous species. Most importantly for me though, it’s the individuality of the trout themselves. Each one is different to the next, especially with browns. Their own differences, sometimes subtle sometimes complete, is definitely a major part of why I simply don’t and won’t get sick of this. Fishing for really beautiful fish is now an addiction just like big fish hunting.  Have a look at the photo’s below, Every fish in it is a genetically identical yet completely different. I’m so thankful for this diversity among trout. If they were all the same I don’t think I’d be half as keen as I am.

Some good stuff planned this weekend!

Tight lines..


Blind Fishing..

January 19th, 2015 7 comments

There are those who only want to catch trout on a dry and those who only want to sight fish. These are two great ways to catch a trout, no doubt about that, but its not the only way. Far from it! I’m not going to list out all the methods one can use to catch a trout but I’ll mention one. Blind fishing. Blind fishing is fishing likely water with a dry, nymph, wet fly or streamer on river or lake. I want to touch on blind nymphing on rivers. Some NZ rivers are thought of as sight fishing only but very few truly are. No matter how good a spotter you are you wont see all the fish even in the clearest of water. I remember fishing the Oreti about 12 years ago and trying to spot fish. All I did was spook them. I started realising that I was spooking them from a specific type of water so I started blind fishing that type of water. Quickly I landed some fish. This started a steep learning curve for me, partly because I was novice spotter so blind fishing made sense but also because blind fishing just worked! On certain rivers I could blind fish a pool more quickly and productively than trying to spot it. In more recent years I’ve been relying more on my eyes than on blind fishing but I have never forgotten the value of prospecting a deep riffle or bouldery run. Blind fishing is still a major part of my angling. I believe the trick is to move quickly, no more than 2 or 3 blind casts in any area then move up at least a leader length. Try to get the most out of your drift to get the nymphs to maximum depth. A trout will often take at the very end of the drift as the nymphs raise up in the water. Much blind fishing will take place in deeper runs or riffles so if one looks fishy, don’t be afraid to change over to a weighted nymph rig to suit the depth, even in summer!

I think the biggest bonus of blind fishing is the quality of the fish you’re likely to catch. I have a theory that relates to regularly fished rivers. The fish that are easy to see are quite often recovering after being caught a day or so before. They may be feeding but due to being caught recently their energy levels are not so high and they favour easy, slow water to recover fully. There, they are also easy to be seen! They get caught again and the cycle continues, each time they get caught they get a little more worn out. Their markings fade, condition decreases, they get darker because their eyesight worsens; they perceive their surroundings to be darker than they are so they in turn darken to blend in. A self propagating fuck-up. A dark fish is easy for an angler to see. I won’t cast to an unusually dark fish for this reason. —– A fish caught blind from a deep run is usually a fit powerhouse. They have to be to thrive in such water. Their markings are sharp and striking, they may well never have been caught before because most anglers will walk past them on a “sight” fishing river. I have proved this theory to myself time and time again. Blind fishing has great rewards!

The pictures below show a good cross section of recent fishing adventures.. More to come from the New Year mission up the West Coast where Iza and I fished some of the clearest water I’ve seen..

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Harihari Coastal Walkway…

January 7th, 2015 2 comments

The fishing never stops but writing about it has taken a downturn lately. It’s just been really hard to find the time! Here is a snippet from a recent week on the West Coast..

Iza and I decided on the Harihari Coastal Walk as an activity during our week out west. To be honest, walking for the sake of walking bores me to tears. I walk to get somewhere, to do something, a means to an end. That said, if a walk is really spectacular I can have my arm twisted (or if Iza wants to go).. We gathered up what we needed for the walk and set off to the track. At the beginning of the 2.5 hour loop there was a sign advising safe times to walk to avoid high tide, there was also mention of the Poerua River Mouth. This got me thinking..  We were leaving at the worst possible time to avoid high tide but in my reckoning, the best time to fish the mouth. How could I not bring a rod on this walk? I nipped back to the truck and grabbed the 8wt and minimal tackle. High tide was no problem as the rocks were easy to scramble over and the seas were calm.

On arrival at the mouth a quick glance told me how to fish it. I started up river a little and worked it down with a di5 and a couple of streamers until the surf got uncomfortable. I fished the top of the tide and about an hour of the ebb. The fishing was good! I had one good kahawai and a couple of browns. One was a spectacular golden trout. It’s unusual to catch fish like this from a river mouth but there was a huge tannin stained lagoon flowing in on the opposite bank and I assume that’s where this fish came from. That lagoon would definitely be worth an explore too. I may have to come back. I did check out the river farther upstream but it seemed void of life and extremely flood prone and unstable.

After a great 1.5 hours on a beautiful beach we finished the walk which I actually really enjoyed. Rich in history and very varied with coastline, rivers, native bush and forest, mountain views, great company and of course fishing!

Fella’s, If  your passing Hari Hari take her for a beautiful walk and don’t forget the rod!


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