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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Creane’

The New York Times. Fish Stories, Told With a Brogue….

October 3rd, 2012 No comments

I just dug up this article from The New York Times written about me 13 years ago. Go google!

 

By Barbara Lloyd
Published: November 28, 1999

 

A book by the fire at the Lough Inagh Lodge looked ever more enticing than sitting in a boat on a chilly day as the mist outside turned a darker gray. But who among us could resist those fly rods standing so nobly in the back hallway of this County Galway fishing lodge?

”Have you ever fly-fished before?” asked Ronan Creane, the lodge’s guide. ”Yes,” we replied in unison, as couples do. ”But not a lot.” My husband, Dick Baker, had once cast in the river waters of Oregon and Wyoming, and I had dropped lines from the deep Alpine grasses of northwest Montana. But this was a mountain lake on the west coast of Ireland, and we soon found ourselves getting in a boat.

It was a 19-foot skiff, a narrow wooden hull that looked like the Rangely guide boats of woodland Maine. One pull of the six-horsepower Yamaha, and we were heading against a freshening breeze along the four-mile lake. Our cache of wet flies — a bibio, a black pennell and a few daddy longlegs — filled an arsenal meant to lure sea trout, brown trout and Atlantic salmon.

The Western Regional Fisheries Board for the Connemara region has reported a decline in sea trout here the last few years. But it is still a popular fishing destination. The Irish Tourist Board estimates that more than 6,000 North Americans fished Ireland’s coastal waters for sea trout last year. During our late September day of fishing on Lough Inagh, we were the only boat out.

Our guide, a disarmingly self-assured 21-year-old, left no doubt that we would catch something. Creane had just beaten his father, Joe, an international competitor, in a local fishing derby the day before. How he did it was a tale of perseverance that fired up our determination.

Creane, you see, had selected a secluded spot along a nearby lake and waited for the contest to begin. The rules prohibited fishing from a boat as we were allowed to do on Lough Inagh. From the shore instead, our young guide had mounted a daylong fishing vigil. But in the excitement of competition, he had forgotten his rain gear.

Rather than go back to shore for his jacket, Creane kept casting. As his clothes got wetter, he got colder. So he began disrobing; doesn’t everyone? He removed his clothing piece by piece. Then he spread his sodden shirt, pants and underclothing on adjacent bushes, hoping they would dry as the rain began to abate.

No one else was around, which was part of his plan. He was sure he had picked the choicest fishing hole, and was not about to leave it. Not even when it meant fishing in the buff.

At the end of the day, Creane, fully clothed once again, delivered almost nine pounds of fish, a sizeable catch that put him in second place in the competition. The winner’s total weighed only three more ounces than Creane’s. Better yet, our young guide had beaten his father, who finished in third place.

We latched onto the story eagerly as we began our day of fishing. Creane had turned off the boat’s engine, and we were drifting down the lake with an oar put out to the side as a rudder. But in less than an hour, dozens of thwarted casts revealed our rookie inadequacies against the fitful breeze. Try as we might, our lines got tangled like used kite string. We hooked everything on the boat but each other, and that was going to be next.

Creane, undoubtedly fearful of being hooked himself, suggested a change of pace. We would troll down the lake with the engine running. Had we been self-respecting fly-fishers, we would have nixed the idea. But we were desperate.

Within minutes, I had the first strike. It was a salmon, albeit a tiny salmon that looked more despondent than I had been. The next catch proved to be a heartier sea trout. Measuring about one pound, it came into the boat with a little kick, not unlike the cutthroat trout I remembered landing several years ago in Montana. We threw my Irish fish back as part of the lake’s catch-and-release policy.

It was a whole lot harder to throw back the next one — a two-and-a-quarter-pound brown trout that Creane said was easily the third largest brown caught on the lake all season. Since we were there in late September, and the fishing year had started in February, I felt a bit smug. But I was not alone. Creane was beside himself with enthusiasm.

”It’s a lovely fish,” he said excitedly. ”To catch a brown that size, the chances are very slim. The biggest fish here this season was 3.2 pounds. Will you send me the photo?”

An hour later, Dick landed a brown that was quite nearly the same size. I could swear it was the same fish. Either way, they were big fish for Lough Inagh, and beautiful. On the way back to shore, I thought I noticed a wistful look on Creane’s face.

”I’m very jealous that I didn’t catch one of those fish,” he said.

I was touched. ”I’ll send you the pictures,” I promised

 

 

 

Tailing & midging in the depths of an Otago Winter…

July 17th, 2012 No comments

Mike Wilkinson and I spent the day on one of our local waters on Sunday. I went to the right and Mike to the left so for the most productive part of the day we didn’t see each other at all. This often happens when flyfishing and in a way you have the best of both worlds when it does. One the one hand, you fish alone at your own pace taking as much time as you want with each challenge and opportunity the day brings, while on the other hand you know you will catch up with your fishing partner later in the day to compare notes and have the craic.

There were quite a few fish moving on Sunday probably due to the unseasonably mild conditions. Some were rising but most were tailing with their heads buried so deep in the weeds that getting them to see my fly was a real challenge. The wolley bugger inspired a few chases and one landed fish but “figure of eighting” a couple of Joe Creane’s nymphs accounted for more hook ups but still only one more landed fish.

Fish have been midging on the calm evenings. I had a look after work today but it was too windy. I finish work at 5 and its dark at 6 so my fishing window is tight! However the days are getting longer and the lake is close by.

Any calm evening over the next few days I’ll be on the water into twilight…

Ronan.. Stuntman/Joiner (CI/Fishing host by appointment!)

 

 

Flie’s for Art!

May 27th, 2012 No comments

After enjoying some of Will Shaw’s art on his Sexyloops front pages a notion occurred to me. Maybe I could swap some flies for a piece of his work! I sent Will an email to run the idea by him and the wheels were in motion. I got to work and so did he. I tied a range of flies inspired by what I’ve learned both in Ireland and in NZ and loosely based on the type of fishing Will is doing at the moment. Will chose a photo of a Tasmanian brown from one of my blogs to work his magic on. Its a fantastic piece of art and one I’ll always treasure. Hopefully it’s a reasonably fair swap but I think I may have got the better end of the deal! My Dad, Joe Creane, will also tie a few so that should even things up a bit. Thanks Will! Tight lines with these..

Ronan..

Surfing Browns, Huckleberry Finn & 30 Blank Free Days for Joe Creane…

December 16th, 2011 No comments

After 5 internet free weeks travelling around the South Island with my Dad, I’m back.. Dad flies out today after 30 blank free days on river and lake. The fishing was great because we worked hard for it. New Zealand fishing rewards an angler for effort as much as having the fundamentals correct. Our day’s together were simple. We got up at 7 or 8 and had a quick breakfast. One of us (usually Dad) would make us a sandwich each for lunch. After 8-10 hours on the water we would return to our accommodation and one of us (usually Dad, but this was less one sided than the sandwich making!) would cook dinner. A few beers and then bed.

We changed the format of this trip a little. In the past we would spend a lot of time driving to many different waters. This time we tried to find good locations within easy striking distance of good water and stay put for a while. Mossburn for example, A great location but the holiday park was pretty average at best. I like basic but the cold concrete floor, uncomfortable old school chairs,tiny flickering  tv and a door that sounded worse that a cat being stepped on every time it was opened and closed eventually broke me down. The fishing was great though. Dad had his personal best brown not too far away. He was almost 8lbs. We had about 50 big browns that week.

Another place we spent some time was at Buscot Station Backpackers 9ks North of Omarama. This is one of the best Backpackers I have stayed in anywhere. Tony owns the place and Kev helps out. After a long day on one of many nearby rivers or lakes we would come “home” to Buscot. Dinner was never a problem in the well equipped kitchen. Steak, veg and roast potatoes every night, usually with a bottle of wine and, if we were lucky, Tony playing the Piano. The beds were comfortable and the rooms spotless. We had freshly laid eggs for breakfast every day. Take my advise and stay here! You will not want to leave..

Back to fishing talk.. Still water fishing has been teaching me lots lately. I have been successfully using many methods and developing new ones. Let me elaborate! All the usual methods have been working so I wont bore you with those but one of the new things for me is fishing at close quarters to the fish using spiders. Suddenly for no apparent reason I knew spiders would be deadly even though i never really used them before. I fished them around lake edges instead of my usual #16 unweighted nymph suspended under a dry. Now I had no dry as an indicator so I was watching the fish more closely than ever, sometimes striking only because the fish was in roughly the right place, or it changed direction and slowed down, or stopped, or something obvious like i could see it’s mouth open and close. Then I started to notice mannerisms like one kick of the tail to approach the fly usually ended in a take, Slow constant swimming movements were less sure and sometimes ended in a refusal. This close quarter fishing was fascinating and I wanted to get closer and thus the “Huckleberry Finn” method was born. In my head Huckleberry Finn is an adventurer with rough clothes and a cloth tied at 4 corners draped over a stick to carry his belongings. Sometimes he sits beside a lake under a tree with a bit of string tied to the stick trying to catch a fish. That’s what I found myself doing to get closer than ever to the fish! I used the willows which line many lake edges as cover. This heavy cover makes casting Impossible but it makes it easy to get very close to the fish. Once in position unhitch the fly, reel in until 2 or 3 foot of tippet is under the rod tip and then put the fly right in front of the fish or in his beat and wait for fireworks. The direction of the strike has be considered before the take to avoid smashing your rod off a willow limb. I learned lots from this method and on one great morning I had 11 on the HF while dad also had 11 while blind wolley buggering!

That same day another type of close quarter fishing presented itself to us. With 11 fish each and the wind getting up to about a force 6 we decided to go somewhere more sheltered. I was just about to put the rod in the car when I noticed a fish feeding in the swash of a breaking wave right beside me. I unhitched the fly and slammed it down beside him and he nailed it.. We walked on and realised this was not a once off. There were lots of fish doing this and we started catching them. We finished up with 18 each for the day on 3 completely different methods!

I have seen these “surfers” before but never to this extent, Partly because I didn’t look no doubt. I needed more and luckily this wind got up from the same direction every afternoon and the fish were there on cue. A lot of the fish were on the thin side and very opportunist but there were plenty cracking fish to keep us interested. On the days when the waves were not too big, dries provided great sport. Nymphs and spiders worked equally well but were not as much fun. On one insanely intense afternoon when the wind turned into a gale and one could dam near bodyboard on the swells breaking ashore, the fish were still there being pounded by the waves feeding away. No skinny fish though, All good ones with occasional Rainbows coming in from the back from time to time. It was unreal to see where the browns were effortlessly feeding. We could only see them every so often through the white water breaking onto shingle and large rocks. The fish were hard to spook and casts were short and aggressive into the gale with large weighted flies. The fish just needed to be able to get the fly into its mouth before the wave whipped it away.

I have never heard anybody talk about my Huckleberry Finn method or Surfing Browns so I’m learning those methods from scratch. I reckon the HF would be lethal for willow grubbers!

If you get a chance fish with your Father, Son, Mother, daughter whatever.. It’s Important!

Stuntman Ronan..

By the way, I filmed the HF method in action but my piece of shit laptop can barely play it let alone edit it. If there is a philanthropist flyfisherman among you please sponsor me a mac. It’s never easy being self sponsored!

 

The Journey Continues…

November 17th, 2011 No comments

It’s hard to find the time to write this now that full on fishing has commenced. I’m wrecked after a very tough gorge.. ready for bed wrecked and tomorrow will be all go once again. Dad arrived on Tuesday and we fished yesterday and today. Yesterday was on an easy river with lots of 2-3lb rainbows and browns. A good place to get the NZ fundamentals sharpened up. Dad did that successfully. Today was more like a military training exercise through a gorge. There was a lot more water in it than 5 weeks ago and that made it seriously hard going. Scrambling through dense bush, deep crossings and rock climbing was the order of the day. As the day progressed more emphases was put on getting out of the gorge than fishing and some opportunities were missed as a result. We had a couple hard earned fish.

Chris Dore, Greg Milo Elliot and myself spent a day chasing rainbows and browns. I did no good but the lads had a couple each. I lost a very big brown on a streamer and Chris missed a big fella on a dry… Twice!

I met up with Camo Guy a few days ago as planned. We fished on one of my favourite waters. Guy fished for half the day a took pictures for the other half, unfortunately I don’t have his photo’s! I do have my own though. I had a spectacular day! I made very few mistakes and caught lots of big fish.

I picked up John O Malley’s Nissan Terrano from Mossburn and drove it to Fairlie to meet Dad on Tuesday.  There seems to be a problem with fuel consumption. 400ks cost 130nzd. I might have solved the problem simply by putting the correct air pressure in the tires! I’ll know for sure when I take it for another decent drive in 5 weeks..

Kevin Alexander and Myself took our boat “Daltona” out for a spin last night. She is still going like a rocket and a pleasure to fish from.

Dad and I are going to fish a lake tomorrow before heading to Buscot Backpackers tomorrow night. Guy will be there too. We may drink some wine and eat crackers with fancy blue cheese.

Ronan.. (stuntman)

 

It’s All About to Happen!

November 12th, 2011 No comments

I’ve been tied up with some non fishing stuff lately but that’s over now! Fishing every day starts tomorrow. Chris and I are going to chase a few rainbows. Hopefully they’ll be well recovered after spawning. My Dad, Joe, arrives on Tuesday and I can tell you he’s not coming to see the sights. We will be on the water every day and a few nights too. I’ll be catching up with Camo Guy pretty soon. He’s been catching some big searun browns. I’ve caught very few searuns in NZ so it’s time I changed that. For the next 2 months I’ll be travelling the length and breadth of the South Island fishing both known and new waters. I’ll also be meeting old friends and hopefully making some new one’s. Exciting times!

On another note, If anyone is planning a trip to NZ this season and needs a 4×4 then contact me. I know of a proper NZ machine for rent at a very reasonable rate.

Tight lines all.. Stuntman Ronan..

Lough Carra, Co. Mayo, Ireland..

June 1st, 2011 No comments

It’s a long time since I fished Lough Carra but it’s just as I remember it. It’s a large lake made up of lots of smaller inter-connected bodies of water. Its mostly shallow with a white marl bottom giving the water an unusual, unique green glow. The lake is known to fish well in high winds and Dad and I certainly had that on our day on the lake. It blew a gale for most of the day making fishing quite difficult but we had a good few chances and managed 2 fish a piece. The last time I fished Carra was about 15 years ago and I remember doing well on a claret and mallard on the tail under Dad’s advise. Once again the fly worked accounting for 2 of our 4 fish. There should be mayfly up on the lake at the moment but pollution has massively reduced fly populations. The trout appeared to be quite opportunistic feeders as a multitude of flies moved fish. I’ll get out on Carra again before the season is over.

Later..   Ronan..

 

 

 

 

 

Paddy’s Day and the 3 Generations.

March 17th, 2011 No comments

This day last year paul and I were getting ready to leave NZ to head for the Northern Territory in Australia. We arrived in Darwin on Paddy’s Day, Traditionally a fishing day for me but the Guinness got the better of us on that occasion. We were on the water the next morning… afternoon maybe, we don’t wear watches!

Tomorrow is Paddy’s Day once again and also my 20th fly fishing anniversary. I remember that first day very clearly. I was with my Dad and my Grandad on Lough Corrib. I fished hard all day with freezing hands while putting up with some abuse such as “you’ve been watching me casting for fuckin long enough now to know how to do it” and “It looks more like whipping a bull than casting”. It was half in gest… I think! I kept trying and persistence paid off with a 1.5lb brown on a Black Zulu.  All 3 generations were delighted and I never looked back. Dad (Joe Creane) and I fish together in NZ every year. I wish my Grandfather, Paddy, could have been there with us, however I’m thankful for all the great days the 3 of us had on the water together,  Without them I would not be able to think like a trout!

Tomorrow Dad and I are going to take on Lough Mask…

Ronan..