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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Alexander’

River Keeping!

May 10th, 2018 No comments

River keeping is something I’ve been thinking about lately. How many times have you fished a pool and though “if only that branch wasn’t there I’d be able to cast to that fish!” Well, I often though that. In recent years I’ve made some effort to remove offending branches and its paid off. I want to take it to the next level though. As of now I’m going to carry a saw instead of the little saw blade on my Victorinox knife. As a guide I’m always searching out new water. Occasionally I find something great that receives little or no attention so a little river keeping goes a long way here. There are a few small streams I know of which have become totally choked with willows over the years. Many beautiful pools have become totally unfishable but it doesn’t need to be that way. Lets say you fish that stream 3 times a season, and each time you fish it you bring your saw and spend half an hour making a pool or a run fly friendly, think how quickly it would become totally open again! Better again if some of your friends do the same! Or, you could just go nuts and round up a posse and spend a day clearing it! Fuck it, bring a chainsaw! Have a think about it. I’m sure a river or a pool on a river will spring to mind. Its something you could do over the off season, just take care that you’re not walking on redds. Time to buy an aggressive saw that will fit in your pack! A machete too, maybe..

With some semi-planned down time around mid March to mid April I got quite a lot of fishing in! Some of the family were over so dad and I fished every day we could (which was most!) This trip was a little different to other trips for dad. Mom and my sister were also here to meet our daughter, Adaline, so it was family time. All the fishing we did was in day trip distance from home. Every evening we relaxed, ate great food, drank some nice wine and just enjoyed being together. I can’t wait til we can do it all again! We fished all sorts of water. Big lakes, dams, tiny streams to big rivers. With regular, heavy rainfall it wasn’t easy to find clear rivers but with local experience and a little luck we were able to find rivers and streams clear enough to fish. Dad had always wanted some dry fly action on a tiny stream. We had one super day which was just that. It’s quite hard to find consistent dry fly water but this wee stream seems to be one. Great fishing!

Robbie and I also had a super couple of days chasing rainbows and browns in his neck of the woods. Better than expected with blistering bows and one very large brown! The worm fly was deadly – either because of the regular high water washing real worms down the river or because it just looks like too much food to pass up. Both are true. It did make me think though after I picked a 4″ dead earthworm out of the river. “These worm flies are way too small!!!” I think I’ll tie some huge worm flies! They have to work..

One of the most interesting things I’ve witnessed this season was on one of the local, high country reservoirs. Dad, Tom and myself went up for a day with no expectations because it rarely gives up its fish easily. The day began as per usual trying to figure out how to catch this elusive quarry. Dad and I saw a fish or two moving and I lost one not long after starting on a bugger. Tom was moving down the shore and we followed. Tom was seeing some and getting one or 2. When we got to the shallow end of the bay things changed. We could see good numbers of trout bow waving in glary, flat calm, shallow water. They were clearly chasing something. Tom was in the right place landed 4 more on a bugger. I landed one and lost a couple. By the time dad arrived it was all over. We kept a trout for dinner and it was stuffed with 1 inch, grey fry. The edges of the lake were alive with them. I never noticed them there before so maybe it has something to do with all the recent rain? I hoped it was going to be a regular, late season event. The lake is know for it’s cicada fishing but nothing else really so it would be really cool to lock in seasonal event and learn it. Dad and I went back up for his last fishing day of the trip. We were expecting great things but absolutely nothing happened. The fry were there, the wind was exactly the same, all conditions the same just no fish at all – only 4 days later!

Jeff, Kota and myself had a magic day exploring a couple of small mountain streams. With snow on the ground and high altitude views it was a magic day to be alive, fish or no fish!

May is when many fish start their migratory run up river to spawn. These running fish can provide some of the most exciting fishing of the season – for me anyway. I think it might be my favourite time of year! Locally, its very hit and miss but I’ve learned many hot spots over the last few years. Fluctuating flows means that the learning never stops but there are consistencies in pretty much all river flows. The larger fish tend to run first! I’ll be getting amongst it as often as possible.

Thats all for now. I have some good guiding stuff coming up from a couple of multi-day late season trips. One with Chuan – always eventful!

Plenty spaces available in May and over winter. There’s still lots of great fishing to be had even though the season is closed on most brown trout rivers! Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

ps, here’s my latest film on Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/267765023

 

 

Raging Bull!

November 9th, 2017 No comments

Recently Jeff and I went out to learn some water neither of us had fished before. We started fishing at the end of the road with the intention of covering as much water as we could squeeze into a day. That we did. We ended up venturing up a tributary to see if it held fish. It did hold some, not many but certainly enough to warrant a trip in October when many post spawning trout have not yet dropped back to the main flows. We pushed a few ks up this tributary. Both of us got a few good chances but even with well placed first casts, these fish melted away into the river.. Not to worry! We pushed on through dense tussock hoping to get another shot, suddenly the ground shook, Jeff took a step back while falling over. I looked up to see the curly white hair on the face of a large bull and Jeff’s rod poking him in the face from the ground. As Jeff rolled out of the way of the rampaging bull, I took a step back while turning to run but instead fell 5 feet over a bank into the river. I immediately jumped up, soaked and dripping, looking to see the bull coming over the bank too. No sign of him as I looked left and right. I called to Jeff, “I’m okay” he said.. I asked where the bull was and he told me he ran off. It was close! It could easily have been a lot worse. I don’t think the bull intended to charge us. He was hunkered down in the tussock and we walked right up on him and spooked him! We all scared the bejesus out of each other. I got a bang on the leg and my whole body hurt the next day, I guess I got a good jarring when I hit the shallow river bed. Jeff was okay. We fished on for another hour or so before calling it a day. We kept our big brown and white friend in sight as we retreated home. That was fun! I do love a good scare to feel alive.

My personal fishing has been great! Lots of new water and of course some old favourites. I managed to get a big fish on the board before the end of October. A real beauty at 9lbs even. I’ve locked in some good new water which I’m looking forward to going back to myself and with clients when weather and water plays ball.. We’ve just had an angry weather system pass through dumping lots of rain and snow all over the place. It looks like things will get back to normal over the next few days. More about my own recent exploits in the top gallery below.

GUIDING UPDATE

I’ve been pretty busy with guiding. Some new clients and some repeats. I’m really enjoying how friendships are forming with the people I guide! Theres a pretty extensive gallery below documenting a great season so far. A couple of recent trips I’ll mention. The first was a heli-trip with Shaun and Mike. We had a super couple of days after flying into the wilderness. We got well and truly away from it all! Fishing was really good each day with plenty browns and rainbows eager to eat dries and nymphs in a most spectacular setting. Shaun brought a nice bottle of red along which accompanied a well earned steak, spuds and beans dinner. There may have been a little whisky too! The craic was good and the fire burned bright until we hit the hay. There was no rush out of bed the next day as we waited for the sun to reach the valley floor. Probably a good thing!!

More recently I took out my regular client, Kevin for 3 days. We hit the road and went south! Day one was freezing and very windy. Kevin had 7 eats with 2 landed including a super rainbow which came blind to a blowfly. Day 2 warmed up a bit and the wind played ball for most of the day. Kevin absolutely nailed it!! Well placed first casts and happy fish combined to produce a day to remember. Kevin landed lots! All but one in the 5 – 7lb class. As good as it gets if you ask me. At the end of day 2 I asked Kevin if there was something specific he’d like to do on day 3. In a very relaxed tone he hinted at a very big fish. Okay, I said! I have a plan.. but we must be prepared to blank (aren’t we always!!). Day 3 included a monster walk. Big fish hunting usually requires lots of walking. We saw only 3 fish for the day but Kevin made the few casts count and landed a personal best at 9.25lbs and another 7lber. These were three intense days of fishing. I was happy to have a cancelation for the following day because I was totally wiped out!

My season is filling up quickly so get in soon if you’d like me to guide you on your NZ adventure! Contact me at ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines!

Ronan..

 

 

 

Earthquake Fly Fishing!

July 3rd, 2017 No comments

I can’t believe almost a month has passed since my last blog! Time is flying by. It’s been a great month! June is a good time for me to take on some woodworking projects. I started one last June and finished it this June. A writing desk for Iza, but it just might become a fly tying bench for me!! The boat has also taken some of my time but I have not made as much progress as expected. It’s ready for fibreglassing now. Lots of painting preparation has been done and some timber work since my last blog. The engine arrived. It has certainly had a previous life or two in salt water but hopefully she’ll fair us well. There’s lots still to do, but once the fibreglass work is done progress will begin again in earnest.

Yesterday Brayden and myself hit the water for a float. I have done very little fishing in the last month, only 3 or 4 pretty poor days, so it was really great to get out for a solid mission. The day started with a 6.5lber and the action continued all day. Blind and sight fishing accounted for fish with streamers, eggs and nymphs. To my delight, about half of the 14 fish we landed were silver fresh run fish.

Early in the day while afloat we heard a rumble. Like thunder but not quite. By the time my brain figured out “earthquake” we could feel the pulses coming through the water and the boat. We wondered how this might affect the fishing. It didn’t.. They continued to confidently eat our flies. We did find one fish flopping around on the bank. He had tried to navigate up the skinniest piece of water imaginable and beached himself, maybe due to the earthquake. He was going nowhere! It was his lucky day. I picked him up off the didymo (which cushioned him as he flopped around) and brought him to the main river. He took off, relieved no doubt! We noticed some sign of gravel and mud broken away from the banks as we drifted down river. We also witnessed some mini avalanches. An interesting dynamic to add to a days fishing!

I’m off out now to practice my shots for snakehead! I’ll be in Malaysia with Paul in less than 2 weeks. Can’t feckin wait!

Tight Lines..

Ronan.

If you’d like to book me as your fly fishing guide in NZ next season, check out my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me ronan@sexyloops.com 

Daltona Restoration Project…

June 7th, 2017 No comments

I’d say it was about 13 years ago Kevin and I were out for a few pints in The Fairlie Countryman’s Club. The craic was good talking about all sorts, including me getting electrocuted and blown up in Arrowtown one night, a tale that still emerges from time to time, but that’s a story for another day! There was a young fella there, (my age at the time!) he was saying he had a boat in his yard and he wanted it gone. He was telling us in passing, not trying to sell it. I suggested that we pop around to see it. Kevin was dubious but I figured nothing ventured nothing gained. We finished our pints and went for a look. I loved it and I’m pretty sure Kevin did too even though he had a fear of deep water. The engine didn’t work but we could fix that. The hull was perfect and trailer was well built and strong. He asked for 500, I had 400 in cash which I offered him and the deal was done. I was elated, a whole new approach to NZ fly-fishing had begun! I think it was quite late in that years NZ trip. While I was at home saving for the next trip Kevin got the engine fixed. The boat lived with Kevin in Fairlie but we used it for multiple missions around the South Island. For years we had pretty much trouble free boating. In it’s latter years, around the time she moved form Fairlie to Cromwell to live with me, she became more and more of a liability. Breakdowns were common but I could usually get her going again. Fuses replaced with tin foil, the pull cord regularly manually wound around the fly wheel to pull start it when the battery died or corrosion stopped the flow of electricity, the leatherman out to dissemble the control box to re-attatch the throttle cable. I think my favourite on the spot repair was while out with Mike Wilkinson. He begrudgingly gave me a fresh tapered leader to tie one of the coils back together. I not sure but I think he’s over it now! Funny enough, the tapered leader is still there. I’d say around that time the lid was on as much as it was off. About this time 3 years ago I was out on Dunstan using Daltona to gather drift wood for the fire. She was well loaded up and the engine was straining. It slowed down and died. I got her going again an hour later, Kevin and I got her onto the trailer but shortly after the engine ceased. We made the best of what we had and we weren’t afraid to push the boat out. Now it’s time to fix her up! Kevin and I have been working on her a fair bit lately. One thing I learned from the renovations so far is just how well built she is. I guess she had to be; she was a racing boat one time with a 70 on the back. The timber has, for the most part, not rotted at all. The few rotten bits I have removed and replaced. I removed much the fibreglass floor to allow the ply subfloor to dry. I cut a test hole to check the integrity of the ply floor. It’s perfect! I’m surprised the trapped damp didn’t rot the ply (marine or otherwise) but it didn’t. She’ll get a new fibreglass floor once the ply has dried out completely. We have a 40HP 1988 Suzuki 2 stroke on the way, she’ll get new steering, paint job, everything!! Even the trailer will get some TLC hopefully.. Watch this space! Progress will be documented right here. Sign up for the blog at the top right of the page if you have not done so already!

Tassie Sean is now living near Invercargill. He and his partner have moved over from Darwin. We caught up over the last couple of days with two fantastic float trips down local rivers. 20 fish over 2 days is a great result, especially for the month of June. The majority of fish landed were fresh run silver bars, all from 1 to 4.5lbs. We’ll get out for a fish again before I head to Malaysia in mid July.

Next season is beginning to fill up so if you’re planning a trip and thinking about hiring me as your guide, don’t delay with your booking! Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines everyone!!

Ronan..

 

 

 

 

You Should Winter Fish!

July 11th, 2016 No comments

I was chatting with a friend recently about the spawning season in NZ. After giving it a little thought we realised that taking both browns and rainbows into account the spawning season is at least 6 months long. I have certainly witnessed brown trout making redds in April and I have seen rainbows still in spawning mode when their season opens in November. This is good for us winter anglers! All fish don’t spawn at the same time so throughout the winter months we can target fish which are not in spawning mode. I have heard the question posed about the ethics of winter fishing. The answer is, as long as you’re an ethical angler it’s no problem. Personally, I avoid fish which are showing the signs of imminent spawning. To clarify; fish tightly paired up, fish on redds or fish making redds.

Winter is an exciting time to indulge in your sport. Fish congregate around river mouths providing some great opportunities for the winter angler. Sinking lines and streamers are usually the best bet here. Some rivers are open year round, on these rivers you can intercept fish on their spawning run. It’s possible to have summer quality sight fishing with nymphs in the dead of winter. Most lakes are open year round and because all fish don’t spawn together there are always fish to be caught. Benmore is a prime example of this, Dunstan too; both blind and sight fishing. Winter will test you and push you as a fisherman. To be very successful, you need to be able to cast a lot of weight from time to time. Fish are often sitting in deep runs and the only way to get down to them is with weighted flies, sometimes as much weight as you can manage! I have recently added Loon soft weight to my fly-vest on Chris Dore’s advise. This stuff is great! Even if you don’t have bombs in your fly box you can add some soft weight to virtually any fly and make it go down. It has often been the difference between catching and not catching for me this winter. Casting fast sinking fly-lines is another skill that winter fishing will teach you. Sometimes the only way to effectively fish a large river like the Clutha or a deep river mouth is with a di5 or even a di7. A stripping basket is important. I like to use 7 or 8 weight fly-rods for a lot of my winter fishing which keeps my finger on the pulse for when I need to fish with heavier gear abroad. Generally speaking, there is little need for sinking likes during the warmer 6 months of the year so winter provides a great training ground. Winter fishing in NZ, as long as you push yourself a bit, will make you a well rounded, better angler.

It’s been a great few weeks fishing with friends! I’ve had plenty days on the water; river and lake from boat and bank. The photo’s and their captions tell the stories. I hope you enjoy them..

I have plenty days available for guiding this July, please feel free to enquire about winter rates or if you have any questions about bookings for next season.

Tight Lines!

Ronan..    ronan@sexyloops.com

 

Big Bad Bows…

May 30th, 2016 3 comments

RAMBUNCTIOUS RAINBOWS!

I’ve made no secret of being a brown trout fisherman first and foremost. However, some recent fishing has given rainbows the limelight. By the time May comes around most browns are getting close to spawning so I usually leave them alone. It’s rainbow time! Luckily, in this southern part of NZ there are plenty rivers open throughout May and even the winter months. I went out on May 1st to check out some of my favourite water for the time of year. I quickly found some fish and landed a few between 4 and 5lbs. These fish were in great nick and above the average size I’ve been used to. Then I saw one which I thought must have been big! I lost sight of it but cast the streamer in its vicinity. Then I saw it again, I quickly cast the streamer well above it and steered it into its path. The Glister, which I beefed up with soft weight, passed it by. She turned and nailed it downstream. I saw the gills flare like a bass! The fish was on, a mighty battle in deep water running up and down at the bottom of the pool. She turned out to be 8lbs, much bigger than I was expecting even though I knew it was big. I was blown away! She equalled my second biggest rainbow ever. I heard from the lads at the Hunting & Fishing shop that there were a few big boys and girls about. I went out again a few days later to a different part of the river. Once again it didn’t take long to bank a fish or two around 5lbs. Stunning bars of silver! I only had my phone as a camera and I was fishing alone so no photos. I could not be bothered trying to balance a skinny phone on a rock while waiting for it’s 10 second timer to fire! Then I saw another big one at the bottom of a very deep and fast run, 2 meters down I’d say. I put on a heavy bomb with a worm-fly attached. I made a number of casts upstream, well upstream, to get to depth. I was pretty sure I was getting into the zone. I made a number of casts using left and right mends to steer the fly. Then the magic moment, that little swing right. I lifted against a heavy weight then fury was unleashed.. He tore up and down the river as deep as he could stay. I kept big pressure on him with 9lb fluoro to keep him out of snags. The SL Hot Torpedo was under the gun but it performed as expected. Not quite as big as the rainbow from a few days prior but a much nicer fish and certainly in my top 3 rainbows. Since then it’s been raining almost every day and the river has been pretty much unfishable. Still, The fishing I had in that first week of May was off the charts and I’m thankful for that.

TWO DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS..

Jeff and I recently took on the back-county to explore some water. Our motives were:

1, To learn about what happens on this predominantly rainbow river in May.

2, Hopefully lock in some potential guiding water for next season.

3, To do what we live for –  Fly-Fish!

What we learned was interesting. There were feck all rainbows about. We saw 3 and hooked all of them. Clearly feeding fish not even thinking about spawning. There was a huge run of brown trout in the river on their spawning run. The browns were mostly on the move, any paired up fish received no attention from us. It was pretty exciting fishing! Fast, accurate, short casts with streamers in fast water did the business followed in close second by a weighted san juan worm. We put in two big days on a river which kept getting better the farther we went (which made it hard to make the “last pool” call. Indeed, there were many!!).

FISHING WITH CHRIS DORE..

Chris Dore and myself also went into the back-country but just for a day trip. Our mission was to find a big trout and hopefully catch it. We found one very big fish which saw us first. He was lying in a most unexpected position, but we should have seen it. Our bad!! We saw another big fish (not as big at the first which was 12lbs ish I reckon) in a similar position. We were forewarned on this weird position in the dead water inside the bend, and so made no mistake with spotting this one. No joy though! We landed 7 average sized fish for the day. Great to fish with Chris again. Its getting harder and harder to find the time. Man, he can cast! Since we did our FFF CI together years ago, Chris has pushed forward in a big way. MCI material without a doubt.

A FANTASTIC FINALE & FILMING WITH NICK REYGAERT

A fantastic finale to the brown trout season is documented in photo’s below. Jeff and I had 11 for the day from 3.5 to 8lbs. It was some of the best still water fishing I’ve had. Mostly blind, meticulously working the water.

Jeff and I also finished off our episode of “Pure Fly NZ” I think its called. As with the previous days on the water it was not easy but all up, I reckon you’ll be pleased with the result. I think a pretty decent story line evolved over the few days. It’s all down to the editor now!

THE LATEST FROM MY GUIDING

I had a couple of guide days recently which were successful, both brought difficult water heights but we managed a few fish each day and had a great time on the water. Thanks for getting in touch Frank and Fritz..

I recently became a member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association or NZPFGA. I had an interview with the executive committee recently and went to the AGM the following day. It was really good to meet other members and I’m happy to be a part of this club. Onwards and upwards!

Bring on June! If you fancy getting out for some winter fishing let me know. June and July are open for business. Email me with any questions. ronan@sexyloops.com

If you’re new to this and enjoy what I put together, please subscribe! Feel free to share on social Media..

Cheers All, Ronan..

 

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! (ronan@sexyloops.com)

Tight lines, another weekend is almost upon us!

Ronan..

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!

Ronan..

Just over a month to October 1st!         Groovy…

The Mighty Clutha…

June 11th, 2015 No comments

There’s still a bag of venison mince in the freezer from the deer I shot last January and now its well topped up with wild pork from a recent mission up the hill with Kevin. I try to keep a good stock of trout fillets in the freezer too. It makes sense to live off the land and water as much as possible. The lake is stuffed with trout and the hills alive with rabbits, hares, pigs and deer. Ducks, geese and swans are all fair game too. I’ll be looking into buying my own rifle soon now that I’m officially a New Zealand resident! They wouldn’t give me a gun in Ireland for some reason.

The Clutha has finally thrown me a bone. It’s a river I’ve never really liked. I remember hearing about  “the highest biomass of fish in NZ” at Deans Bank a number of years ago, but the 2 or 3 times I fished it I blanked. On the rare occasion that I’d explore a section of the river I’d find nothing and feel like there was no chance of catching. Its a very fast flowing, monster of a river. This in itself does not deter me from it, not at all, but it is the reason I have not done so well on it. Recently I decided I’d have another crack. I studied it with google earth looking for feature. Anything from large bends, backwaters, side-braids, stable banks with slow moving water, whatever! I found a number of areas to be worth a look. The first on the list was a nice side-braid so I went to check it out a few weeks ago. Access is not readily available but I got permission from the farmer and walked from the road about 2ks to the river. The braid has been very interesting the 3 times I’ve fished it recently. There were never heaps of fish but always a decent amount. They seemed to be in different types of water each time I went. I’ve had a good mix of browns and rainbows from about a pound to 5lbs. All on streamers but nymphs would have worked too. June is the most difficult month to find good fishing in NZ, so this little spot has been a ray of light. I’ve had some great sight fishing with streamers which is a really exciting way to catch a trout. Whether a cast to a sighted fish results in an eat or not, watching the response is always absorbing and enjoyable. Sometime he bolts for cover, other times there’s a cautious follow and sometimes he’ll just smash it as hard and as fast as he’s able. Blind fishing likely water has also resulted in quite a few trout.

The nicest thing about this little braid is the fact that at the end of the day I’m back to where I started. No big walk out. I fish the braid upstream to where it begins at the main river, then fish the main river downstream to where the braid comes back in, from there I fish back up the braid to where I started. There’s a huge riffle on the main river in the vicinity the start of the braid. This has been fantastic for one to 2lb rainbows. It’s ideal nymph water so I gave them a run on one occasion but  only had one take. I fished it back down with my possum streamer and had 4.

I don’t normally write about casting but I found myself using an interesting technique while fishing the riffle mentioned it the paragraph above. I’ll share it with you, but first I’ll put it in the context of the type of fishing I was doing. I was fishing a weighted streamer on a clear intermediate line and had no stripping basket. I was standing nee deep in a huge riffle, current flowing to my right (and I’m right handed). I wanted to put a long cast upstream and across at about 45 degrees, let it sink as it drifted downstream, then retrieve while taking a few steps down river. I didn’t want to feel the weight of the current on my fly-line which is why I take a few steps downstream during my retrieve, I want to feel as though my streamer is coming across the current in a fairly natural manner, not bolting around on the swing. At the end of the drift my fly is hanging downstream below the rod tip. The slack line is also hanging downstream below me. To achieve the cast, I firstly roll the fly upriver, roughly at the angle I wanted to cast, then pick up the slack line in my left hand letting the strong current take the strain thus “loading” my hand, with a flick of the arm and wrist all the slack fly line would shoot up river. Immediately after that, I reach forward with my left hand and grab the line to haul into my back-cast, picking the short amount of line from the water as is drifts down river in front of me. As the slack line drifts back downstream towards and passed me, the lack of resistance from the current allows me to easily haul all the slack line from the fast water and make the desired cast. The cast is very hard to achieve if all the slack sinking line remains downstream under the weight of the current. Okay, quite hard to describe. If you understand what I just tried to explain, well done. I hope it benefits you some time!

There’s another braid I hope to check out soon and I just discovered that the Hawea River is open all year round. Groovy.

This weekend starts tomorrow. No plan as yet. Iza and I will go somewhere. This time 2 weeks I’ll be with my brother in Vietnam, then Ireland for 6 weeks then Jordan for 2. The countdown has started!

Tight lines all!

Ronan..

 

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 ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines!

Ronan..