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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Benmore’

Adaline Betty Creane! (and an 11.5lb trout)

December 31st, 2017 No comments

The biggest bit of news since my last blog has not been the 11.5lb brown which equals my second biggest to date, it’s been the arrival of our daughter Adaline Betty Creane. She hit the scales at 6.5lbs. Mother and baby are doing great, though I’m a little worse for wear. Nobody ever thinks of the poor father! My paternity leave was timed to perfection. The due date was the 19th of December so I kept the 16th to the 28th free in the hope that she wouldn’t be late. As I was driving out of the driveway after dropping off my client on the 15th, I got the call from Iza. “Get to the hospital”! was the gist of the call. Some complications meant that she went in the chopper from Dunstan Hospital to Dundedin Hospital while I followed in the 3L V6 Maxima keeping to the speed limit the whole way there. After a long labour Iza popped out the most beautiful little thing I’ve ever seen (apart from Iza). We didn’t know the sex, nor did we care. We got just what we wanted in this healthy bundle of joy!

I have had quite a bit of time to fish myself in the last couple of months and most of that effort has been on the lakes. Fraser and I had a weekend away recently in the Central Lakes. We stayed at Buscot Station Backpackers (there is no other place I want to stay near Omarama!). Day 1 we had a look at the canals then went to check out a spot I stumbled upon last winter. We found a few fish but we needed sunshine to get the most from it. We left to try some other spots but returned early the next morning hoping for some midge eaters. We didn’t find any but the cloud broke up quickly for a perfect blue sky day. There was just enough wind to put a gentle ripple on the water opening it up for perfect sight fishing. A soft ripple like this often makes it easier to see fish farther away than with flat calm. The fishing was insane! We landed 12 trout for a morning session, most between 4 and 5.5lbs. I felt a little sorry for another angler on the opposite shore, he hooked none. A small gold bead PT nymph did the trick. I suspended it under a dry at trout cruising depth. Simple! One of Stu’s I think..

Another day worth a mention was on a local dam day with Robbie. The first farm dam we fished was very low but there were a few feeding fish. The exposed weed made it quite hard to fish. I hooked a few but we landed nothing after a few hours fishing it. We moved to the middle dam, I always thought it was the top dam but the farmer told me about another – the top dam! Anyway, the newly named middle dam was super. The water was high and there were a few trout cruising the margins. Short accurate casts did the trick. Any fly – these fish were opportunist feeders. We caught a few fish, all beautiful hard fighting specimens. One of them was certainly in my top 3 stunning fish this season. I really enjoy to fish with Robbie. There is no greed for fish, no ego, just a genuine love for the game and everything that goes with it from the friendships to the flowers on the banks to the fish. We’ve become great friends over the years, ever since he appeared at mine and Kristians camp way up a back country river at 9am. I was bleary eyed as I looked from my sleeping bag after hearing some rocks move. “Who the hell could have made it this far up river by 9am” I thought to myself.. I then answered my own question.. “It could only be Robbie Mcphee”. It was of course. What did we do? We all fished together. That day we landed about 10 fish from 6 to 11lbs with 2 doubles. Here is the blog! http://www.sexyloops.com/blog/2013/03/27/two-10lb-plus-trout/

Speaking about doubles, I managed to land a monster of 11.5lbs last November. Some solo wilderness exploring certainly paid off!

I’ll leave the photos to tell the other stories! Dunstan has been fishing great but I don’t bother taking many photos there anymore. The silt flats are still firing if you’re light enough to wade them and the willow grubbers on the edges will drive you to drink!

Not too much in the guiding gallery today since I had 2 weeks out. The highlights are in there though. January is booked up so all going well the next guiding report should be pretty colourful.

I’ll take this opportunity to wish my great friend Paul and his wife to be, Ashly all the very best in their life together. I wish I could make the wedding but Paul’s spontaneity is hard to plan around. That is going to be quite a day. Miena will never be the same again! All the best, mate! Next time I’m in Malaysia you’ll have the air conditioned houseboat. Bliss!

I still have some availability in Febuary and plenty in March and April. Let me know if you’d like me to guide you on your NZ adventure. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Happy New Year everyone.. May it be filled with happiness and fly fishing!

Tight Lines, Ronan..

GUIDING GALLERY

 

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

 

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!

Ronan..

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Dries, Wets, Spiders, Buggers & Buzzers!.. with the Canterbury Fly-Fishing Club…

August 27th, 2013 No comments

I met John Roche at the Otamatata pub on Friday evening last. He asked me along to his club gathering at the Central Lakes so I happily obliged. We drank a few pints of what is probably the best Guinness in NZ with two of his fishing buddies, Martin (England) and Dave (scotland) and discussed fishing. The craic was great in the pub but with an early start on the cards I decided to head to our lodgings with the lads before it got too late. The following night was different but that’s another story…

After John dropped 2 groups of anglers off at different locations around the lake we were away!  My initial thoughts were towards sinking lines so I set up the clear intermediate and the Di5 with buggers. We went to an area we both knew well and fish were rising. We persisted for a while but the sinking line tactics were simply not working so it was time for a change. I went to a single dry and had a decent fish almost straight away, John used a buzzer suspended under a dry. This accounted for a small fish (and a good one for me as described in the photo below!!). There were quite a lot of fish rising but they were quite boat shy, or more likely, casting shy. A good method from a boat when fish are rising in calm water is to limit casting until a fish is well in range. Blind casting needs to be a controlled, conscious effort with as little false casting as possible. Cast where you think fish are. Try to read the rise forms to pick up on the direction the fish is moving and at what speed (roughly!) Flailing about will keep fish perfectly out of range.

Next to a couple of unweighted spiders. These worked well for me fished slowly so John tried the same tactic. It was new to him. It’s important to catch a fish quickly on a new tactic to instil the confidence necessary to fish it properly. John had a quick fish on the spiders and then a few more giving him a new approach to fishing calm water.

In the afternoon things sowed down as sun heated things up. I fished from the boat with Martin after lunch and we had a few on buggers over the weed beds (which got wiped out the next morning by Meridians weed killer drop). We got off the water at about 5.30.

Day 2. I fished alone from the bank. I was sight fishing with a lightly weighted spider. The folks from the club tried some new water but I worked on the same lake. I put in big walk to get to the other side but it was no good so I walked back. The best sight fishing was near where I parked but they were tough (apart from one I lost twice before hooking and landing the 3rd time!!). As I was fishing the shore down I was aware of lots of terns feeding all the time a few hundred metres back up the shore. There were no fish rising amongst them but with all the fly coming off, keeping so many birds feeding all day, there had to be fish under the surface. I put on a team of buzzers and got as close to the birds as I could. I had an hour of some of the best buzzer fishing I ever had. It was non stop action with perfectly mended fish. Immaculate actually, so I took a few to eat. One observation I made, and not for the first time, is that cruising fish are often in worse condition than fish taken blind from deeper water. Cruisers are often lethargic and opportunist whereas a fish from deeper water tends to energetic and well conditioned from always competing for an abundance of food. A weak fish would be chased out, hence the cruiser.

If I was quicker to crack the fact that buzzers were the key, it’ not known how many fish I’d have had, but it’s hard not to sight fish when it’s there for the taking. That’s the thing I love about fly-fishing though. Every mission is a learning curve. I watch, I adapt.

On another note, Meridian Energy dropped the level of  Lake Benmore to the limit to spray weed killer on the lake weed. I assumed that they dropped the lake so that they could spray the exposed weed and keep the majority of the substance out of the water, other wise why drop the lake at all?. I noticed no weed on the exposed sand and mud, dead or alive. Some was evident in the lake. On Sunday morning a chopper flew over the lake and dumped a full load of weed killer straight into the water about half way across. There was no dumping on Saturday even though choppers were passing regularly, probably because there were a number of crafts on the water. That was it, one dump in one small part of the lake. This made me think! Was this the only dump? If so, Why? How much weed could be killed with one very localised dump? Is it even worth the effort? Or is it so potent that that’s enough? If so what else suffers?  Of course, there may have been other times when the weed killer was applied to other areas. I’m not digging for any conspiracy theories! I’m just relaying what I saw and thought… Although, with a $300,000,000 profit last year, I guess they can do what they want!

This weekend? Who knows..

Pete! Get well soon mate.. You’ll be reading about yourself very soon!

Ronan..

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This week on SLTV, Ep 15.  Northern Territory Salt 1. Paul and I head to the Northern Territory to fish with fly-fishing legend, Graeme Williams. We catch lots of species including queenfish up to 87cms. Plenty crocs and kangaroos too!  http://www.insightflyfishing.com.au/