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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Alexander’

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..

Keep Your Nerve…

November 27th, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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

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

Great to fish with Kevin, Mark and Guy recently!

Ronan..

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

Lake Dunstan at the moment..

April 12th, 2014 4 comments

The browns on Dunstan have all but left the top flats. I was there last Saturday. For a while, a large section of the lake was dead calm. In about 2 hours fishing it, I saw only a few rises. I caught one on one of Dad’s buzzers and then went exploring the Clutha River through the various delta channels. I saw a few fish in deep, fast water but could do little with them. I had some nice action in the lee of a willow island to a few rising fish. All up though, the fishing was slow and the rainbows have not arrived on the top flat just yet.. not many anyway.

On Sunday, Kevin and I went out for a few hours, We decided to fish down the lake towards Clyde. There’s lots of fishy water down the road shore. One section in particular had my attention from regularly driving passed it. We went there. We did a number of drifts covering deep to shallow water, weedy to sandy and some rocky edges. Almost every drift resulted in a fish event. We landed 5, The best fish was a 4lb plus rainbow on a nymph David Lambroughton gave me. I was also fishing one of Stu Tripney’s damsel flies, which also picked up a fish or 2!

So that’s it.. If you’re keen on a day on Dunstan, maybe try down the lake. This time last year the top was very slow. By May, the fishing on the top flat was pretty good again for rainbows. Until then I’ll be exploring between here (Cromwell) and the Clyde dam. Hopefully it will produce the goods.

No fishing this weekend.. I picked up a stomach bug and it has me fucked.

Ronan..

The steep hill.

March 21st, 2014 4 comments

The hut was at the bottom of a very steep hill. I drove down without incident on the dry mud track while thinking that if this gets wet, there’ll be no way in hell I’ll get back up!

After a tough but superb day’s fishing in a steep gorge it was a pleasure to get back to the comfort of the hut. Our legs were tired after a 300m climb, followed by a 300m decent, followed by a 100m climb, all part of the 2hr walk out. After some reheated home cooking and a few well deserved beers the bed beckoned. I was awoken before 5am by heavy rain belting off the tin roof… I thought for a moment.. Will it pass?? Should we get up and get out?? All I could think of was slipping back down the steep slope in the truck. I hate being stranded, even in an amazing place like this, I need to know that I can get out. I figured that if the rain continues we will be stuck here so I woke Robbie form his deep sleep and we quickly packed our stuff into the truck. The track was damp. Any more rain would have made things difficult but the old Terrano crawled up the hill in low box. By this time the rain had almost stopped. I drove through the darkness for a few ks to a spot which would be less affected by rain. This put us right on the water for day 2… after another couple of hours kip in the truck.

Ronan..

Daltona Rides Again…

February 17th, 2014 8 comments

The last time I tried to start Daltona’s old 35hp Johnson was with Chris Dore on Lake Wakitipu last winter. She simply would not start. I think Chris was secretly happy because the wind was strong and the waves were big. I was a bit relieved myself, truth be told. My diagnosis at the time was that the spark plugs had run their course. There was one Saturday since then that I made a half assed effort to resolve the problem; I borrowed a spark plug spanner but it did not fit. On Saturday last, Kevin and I decided to take a look at the outboard with the hope of getting out on the water. Within 5 minutes Kevin had the engine running like the well oiled machine she is. It was indeed the spark plugs. We wasted no time and hit for the lake.

The weekend was a rare one where the almost incessant shitwinds of Cromwell took a respite. Fishing the glass on Dunstan is extremely challenging and in my opinion the best fishing Dunstan has to offer. It’s a shame its such a rare event. The fish move and track, usually around the edges of the weed beds. Dries and nymphs will work but quick, accurate casting will be the difference between a great day and few or no fish. When the breeze picks up to a slight ripple the fishing is a lot easier and I usually move to the silty pockets among the weeds. Most of Sunday had a corduroy ripple on the surface and I lost count of how many fish I had to the net. All sighted. A size 14 weighted spider was the ticket. A 2mm tungsten bead was just enough weight to quickly get the fly to the zone.

Daltona rides again…

ps. Sorry about the small pics this week! I had my camera set on very low res because I forgot my sd card one day, then I forgot to put it back on full res! The internal memory is shite.

Ronan..

Striking Gold!

January 2nd, 2014 2 comments

So far on this holiday season the fishing has been pretty average. The first mission to the coast with Guy and Jeff was okay, the second with Mark Adamson was a bit worse. The mouths didn’t fish well, but then, in truth, we did not really give them a serious run. One was too coloured, one was full of glacial silt but just fishable, and the tide was wrong when we had time to fish another. So if conditions were right they may have been epic, but my gut tells me otherwise.

Mark and I had 2 days on the coast. Day one we tried some mouths as I just mentioned, also a spring creek but it looked as though someone had been in there earlier that day with a chainsaw. Possibly to clear a run for a jetboat, or to get bulls out of a grazing area farther up the creek. A farmer told me that. Either way, It felt like a waste of fishing time being there. The water was spectacular though. We tried another spot with no joy, so we went to the pub for a steak and a pint.

Day 2 we fished a typical, large west coast river. It was high after rain but clear. I got one on a dry right away. Mark spotted the fish but as he was not set up, I took the shot and got the fish. It’s essential not to fuck around when an opportunity presents itself. Take the shot! Waiting for someone results in too many lost chances. I’ve learned this many times. We expected plenty more shots but unfortunately, they did not come. We got 2 each for the day, 3 on that river and one on a river during a quick stop on the drive home. So not many fish, but a truly great day in one of the nicest places I’ve seen.

My old friend Kevin Alexander, who you’ll know from many previous blogs, has just moved to Cromwell. We’ve been doing some gold dredging and some fishing as well as eating and some drinking. It’s great to have him and his family here and he’ll probably be popping up on this a lot more from now on. Soon we will fix Daltona! She’s been idle too long.

This has been a good Christmas so far for catching up with friends, especially Bob Toffler. Bob, I’m delighted that broken leg healed up and thank you for showing me your secret spots! I managed a 5 and a 6lber to finish off 2013..

Happy new year everyone from the thundery and rainy Otago night… I don’t know what’s in store but I expect I’ll stay in NZ, especially after reading about the Irish Budget. They’re squeezing every last drop out of those who remain..

Ronan..

 

 

A more careful approach…

November 1st, 2013 No comments

Robbie Mcphee and myself have a similar physical approach to a river. We go hard all day and try to see as much country as we can, fishing as we go. On the rivers where the going is difficult with obstacles such as boulders, gorges, cliffs and whatever else we tend to take them on without much thought. Big jumps, risky climbs and generally launching ourselves at the obstacle is the order of the day, especially if there is a fish in sight. Every day has it’s tumbles and we usually have a bruise or a scratch at the end of the day. On Saturday, as Robbie launched himself into position to take on a fish, he slipped and banged his knee, just like he did “100 times before”. He knew he did some damage but continued. We climbed over a steep hill to access more water and by the time we got back down the other side Robbie’s knee was a lot worse. We continued, but not for much longer. The pain became too much to bare so we had to get out. We had to climb to a nearby road and by this time the pain was excruciating. I went and got the truck as Robbie waited for me in a cave and tried to stay warm on a cold and wet day. By then walking was all but impossible. I took him to A&E in Gore where he was x-rayed. No brake. That was almost a week ago and he and his doctor are still trying to figure out the problem. I’m going to take a lesson from this. Less jumps, My knees are still good but not perfect so I’ll try to keep them that way. I will generally take more care on the rivers. That’s the plan anyway.

Day 1, Fishing with Robbie. A red letter morning! Heaps of fish out feeding and we caught 13.

Day 2, Fishing the secret dam with Kevin. We had 7, Some amazing moments with superb fish.

Day 3, Fishing alone. I wanted to see what Robbie and I missed out on on Saturday. I had 8 but only one after where we finished.

Another weekend has just landed and I have no plan as yet.. Beer maybe.

Ronan..

A simple approach to fishing large terrestrials.

February 14th, 2013 2 comments

One simple observation I made last weekend was about fishing large dries in calm water. Because the water is calm the fish will see a large fly from a long way off. A good approach for a cruising trout or one on station is not to cast the fly near the fish. Instead cast the fly well to the side of the fish and try to induce him off his lie or beat. The plop from a big fly is often enough to trigger this.  Advantage being the fish is travelling toward your rod tip and therefore the tippet will be on the trout’s blind side of the dryfly. This massively increases the chances of a confident take and a solid hook up.

It was great to fish with Fraser again.. He was unlucky to break in a very big fish at the end of the day. The fish took his dry (as described above) and took off off like a freight train, as he did the line jumped from the ground, around Fraser’s forceps and everything locked up. Simply impossible to put the brakes on a fish like that on his first run. Next time Fraser!

I have no idea what’s on the cards for this weekend… I think I might go a little nuts. It’s in the post.

Ronan..

ps. Good to meet Scott Loudon and Ben! Thanks for the stout…

Also, only 17 subscribers to go until I hit 100 and the prize draw! Get in quick!!

The Secret Dam.

November 11th, 2012 1 comment

Dad and I used to joke about how trout in NZ would live in a puddle. The truth is that this is only a slight exaggeration. Farm irrigation dams, duck ponds, oxbow lakes, ditches, gold diggings, and every other imaginable body of water can and do support thriving trout populations in NZ. What’s in the water over here that makes this possible? Fish & Game introduce fish to some of these small waters but trout often find their own way in either through times of flood or little rivulets and streams. Either way, once they’re in they live there for years and have no problem surviving the winter months. In Ireland stocked lakes have to restocked at least once a year because so few fish survive the winter in their new, unfamiliar home.

Kevin was working on a farm last year which had 2 small dams on the property. The location was kept secret but finally he brought me to fish them this weekend. I’m forbidden from bringing anyone else there and I can only fish there with Kevin. This is fine by me! One could walk around each of the dams in 5 minutes. There is a small water race connecting the dams to a nearby creek and the ever opportunist trout have made their way into these waters. Over Kevins 2 weeks working there he picked up over 30 trout on lunch breaks and evenings with only 4 under 7lbs. This is an exceptional average even for NZ.

We had beautiful blue sky days during the working week but Saturday brought heavy cloud cover making spotting very tough. Thankfully the morning on the dam was dead calm and we managed to spot a few even in the low light. We did well with our chances. As the wind picked up we went to the creek which feeds the dams. We hooked a fish each. A 6lber for me and one about 8lbs for Kevin which he lost around a snag after taking my advise on where to beach the fish. We know where he lives!

Tight lines all.. Ronan..