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Posts Tagged ‘Monster brown trout!’

20 Year Old Trout!

April 8th, 2021 No comments

Over this season I’ve seen 2 trout that I had first seen many years before. Both from high country rivers where trout are known to get pretty old. I contacted my friend, Rasmus Gabrielson, to find out a bit about how old trout get. Rasmus reckons from some surveys done on one of the rivers that it would take a brown trout about 12 years to reach 9lbs. 9lbs is important because both trout were that weight when I caught them first. The first trout I caught back in 2013. He was one of the most spectacularly coloured trout I had ever seen. He had a dark patch on his right gill cover. This would make him easy to identify if I was to ever see him again. Over the years I did see him on occassion. The dark patch easily visible as long as there was no wind riffle. His colour never seemed as striking as when I first caught him but I always assumed it was the same fish. Twice he ate my clients flies but but each time the rod came up empty. It wasn’t until this season that the stars aligned for Robbie to catch him. If it wasn’t for the dark patch on the gill I would never have picked him as being the same trout. For confirmation I compared photos and the spots matched. Some spots seem to have moved a little, some new ones have appeared and some have disappeared but its still easy to see that it’s the same trout. The dark patch has gotten much darker. Whats really amazing is that if that fish was 12 when I caught him first, he’s 20 now and still going strong.

The other fish I first caught in 2015. He was also one of the most beautifully coloured and marked trout I had seen – and still is to this day – both are actually. After I caught this fish I didnt see him for years. I caught him again in 2020 and again in 2021. Still the same weight and still looking good. Assuming this fish was 12 when I first caught him, he’s 18 now and also still going strong. I caught this fish from 2 adjacent pools. The first fish mentioned has been in the same pool for every sighting. This really proves the territorial nature of some trout. It also proves their resilience and ability to be caught and released many times. There’s photos of both trout on their first and last capture at the bottom of the list below. One has certainly changed a lot. Rasmus told me about brown trout from Norwegian high country lakes reaching 30 years of age. I wonder if we have a 30 year old brown trout in NZ? I think we could.

I’ve picked these two examples because they were such memorable fish. It’s also easy to know that they are the same fish. I have other examples too of old trout being caught many times over many years. It seems very normal for them reach a certain size and then maintain that weight. Some older trout stop spawning, making reaching old age more likely. Spawning is very hard on trout and claims many every year.

In other news, it’s been a great couple of months of fishing. I’ve been out a lot myself and had some big and beautiful trout. I’ve done some guiding. I didn’t expect to guide a double figure fish this season with so few guide days due to Covid travel restrictions, but Brian from Christchurch proved me wrong. We flew into a wilderness river on day 3 of 3. Fishing was slow – the only way to make it work was to cover kilometres and maximise opportunities. With this plan we found fish. At the end of the day we found a monster! He took the dry but Brian briefly foul hooked him in the tail on the strike. Luckily the trout didn’t seem didn’t seem too bothered and continued feeding. He took my #14 brown nymph a few casts later. This fish faught hard and Brian played him really well. At the very end, almost in the net, he made a dash under a rock. Fully under. We couldn’t see a fin! One chance before the tippet abrades off the rock – go and pull him out! I walked out to the rock and slid my hand under feeling around for the tail – taking a shot of water down my waders as I did. I felt the tail and got a firm grip and pulled him out and put him in my net. What a relief! I was expecting it would be a “one that got away” story! The fish weighed just under 11lbs. To me he looked like an early lake run trout. He was twice as big as any other fish we caught that day.

With the travel bubble open between Australia and NZ, the end of my season is pretty much full but there’s still lots of availability in May. Still plenty availability between now and April 18 for anglers within NZ. Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines, Ronan..

Balance…

December 6th, 2020 No comments

I have to say, I’m enjoying this season. I should be fretting over a lack of business but I’m not. I’m getting an occasional guide day and my wife Iza is working full time. We’re doing okay. We’re lucky, and I’m thankful for that. I’m looking after the kids most days but also managing to get out fishing regularly – especially now that Iza’s recent study has ended, a bit more time for me to fish. It’s a juggling act between kids, Iza’s work and free time, working on the house, family time, friends, guiding and fishing. The balance is good. I’m making the most of this season without tourists. It’s made me rethink what’s important. So much so that I might just reduce my guide days to make more time for family in the future. My goal in life is not to be financially rich – it’s to be rich with the important stuff.

This season has been really great. I have explored some new water and while I want to do more exploring, I realised something. I love going back to the water I know. I need to see the water I know at least once or twice a season. I don’t mind if I don’t catch a fish, I just need to see the water – it’s like catching up with an old friend. I like to see if the river has changed, are the fish in the usual spots, what more can I learn about it. Now that I’ve realised this I’m okay with it. Some days I felt a bit guilty for not exploring when I could have been. Exploring new water is certainly exciting. And while I have made peace with going back to fish familiar water I will always have the drive to find new water. Like life in general, its about balance.

The season to date has had a number of highlights. I’ll let the images tell the story about most of these but I will mention one. A day that I was guiding a half day, I went fishing myself for the second half. I hooked an 8lb trout for my client in the morning. He was about 12. He played it well and we got it into the net. In the afternoon I ventured off myself. I saw only one trout in 4kms which I didn’t get. Then I saw 2 in a pool. I was rigged up with one of my guide rods – a 5wt Airflo Blade with a Lamson Liquid reel. I hooked the first one quickly and landed it downstream. I knew it was big. I was thrilled to see it hit the magical 10lb increment on my weigh net. I went back up to the pool again and the other fish was still there, still active. There was a brutal crosswind and I had to cast way left of the target to compensate for the wind. It took a few attempts which luckily didn’t spook the fish. He sitting quite deep. Finally the dry went down and I lifted into serious weight. I landed this one in the same spot as the first. He hit the scales at 12lbs. This is equal to my biggest trout to date. 3 browns for 30lbs. I’ve never done that before. 2 doubles, thats also a first. First time I’ve witnessed it since my good friend Kristian Bang Foss landed a 10.25 and a 10.75 (and a 9) back in 2013. I’m happy if I can land one over 10 for a season so this day was certainly one of those never to be forgotton. Needless to say I was delighted. Also happy to get a great shot with the 10 second timer – my size 12 Brown Nymph from Fulling Mill visible in his mouth.

If anybody is reading this from within NZ and would like to experience some guided fly fishing, feel free to drop me a line.. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines! Ronan..

Top 5 Trout, 2019 / 20

March 31st, 2020 No comments

I thought I’d be putting up this years Top 5 list in May or June, but with the season virtually closed over here, now is the time! It was a big fish season. Right from the start they were big, way before the mouse plague hit. Some say it was due to the mild winter which preceded the season but who knows. The mouse plague certainly happened down south and up north (on the South Island) West Coast too. Some insanely big fish were caught in those areas but I concentrated most of my effort away from mousy areas. I heard some stories of pressure on rivers which was enough to deter me. Only twice I ventured south in search of mouse fish and both times we came up with the goods. However both times we encountered anglers not playing by the rules / etiquette which tarnished the experience. Three of the top 5 trout, including number 1 were not mouse fish. My own double was not a mouse fish either. The top 5 trout came from 4 different rivers.

I’m delighted to see 3 regular clients making this years Top 5. Hopefully the other 2 will become regulars! Well done to Chuan, TopRod, Andrew, Bryan and Marcus. Also thank you all. My thanks of course extends to all I guided this season. I appreciate your custom and friendship and I hope to see you all again once we get out the other side of this pandemic.

I am taking bookings for next season although I appreciate that people may not be keen on paying a deposit under the current circumstances. This I understand. If you’d like to make a booking without paying a deposit just let me know. It’ll give you a chance to secure some dates assuming you can travel to NZ next season. The deposit can be settled if and when the travel ban is lifted. I returned all deposits taken for my 25 lost days due to the virus – apart from one! Thanks Barry! I wont forget that.

I thought I could write this without referencing the Corona Virus but it’s so relevant right now and it effects everyone, I just had to give in! Next blog I won’t mention it! Thats all for now..

Stay the feck at home everyone! Ronan..

Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Number 1 – For the second year running! A smidgeon over 11lbs. This cracking fish from December. Congratulations Chuan..
One more quick pic before the release.
Number 2. A very close 2nd at 11lbs on the dot. A cold day in February. Well done james!
Back he goes..
Number 3. Andrew with a brute of a fish just over 9lbs in weight from last November. I didn’t mean to make him look like a 15lber! It was my clients camera with a fancy lens.
Number 4. Bryan with chunky, mouse eating personal best during March! 9lbs.
Number 5. Just under 9lbs for Marcus in February. I’m delighted to see 3 regular clients on this years Big Fish Board!
This picture does him justice. A beautiful specimen.
My own personal best for the season (so far, hopefully we’ll all get out again before season close!), 10.5lbs last October.
Just before swimming home. I’d like to see him after 2 months eating cicadas!

One of the Best Fly Fishing Moments of my Life!

February 7th, 2020 No comments

I’ve often been asked “so, what was your greatest fly fishing moment?” Every time I draw a blank. When I think for a while something pops into my head – usually something recent because its fresh. Those fly fishing highlights tend to fade but it’s important try to keep them alive. Reliving the memory can be almost as good as being there. I learned that from my friend Robbie Mcphee. I have to say, for me, most of the great highs were with catching big fish. This was one of those.

I fish this river once or twice a season. It requires a long drive and decent hike but the real reason I rarely fish it is out of respect for the fish in it. There are not many and I always feel like it could be a pressure sensitive fishery (if it got any pressure). The most I’ve seen in a day is 6 but usually just 2 or 3. I’ve seen none a couple of times too. I remember the first fish I caught on it 5 years ago. A big, incredibly beautiful 9lber. I caught him blind fishing a deep pool with a streamer. Certainly in my top 5 most beautiful fish. Also a great moment of fly fishing.

I visited the river earlier this season. Wandering up the river paying close attention to the spots where I had seen fish over the years, not seeing any. It’s tough, rough terrain but you have to cover a lot of water to have a real chance at success. I was seeing no fish and feeling a little nervous that I may not get a shot. I got to the pool where I caught my first ever trout on it – that stunning 9lber. I couldn’t see any in there. I kept moving upstream, a scramble to the next pool over some steep boulders and matakauri took my attention off the river. As I found solid footing I glanced down, “holy flip” I thought.. then it dissappeared.. did I see anything? Did I spook it? I kept a low profile and watched and waited. Then he reappeared – Rich golden sides and a green back. A big fish – maybe a double. He was moving around the pool emerging now and again from a deep riffle impossible to see into. I altered my rig to suit the scenario. A big indicator dry and a long dropper with a weighted size 12 nymph. I waited for the best opportunity to cast. “Don’t rush this” I had to tell myself. Then the shot presented and my line found it’s way into some tangle weed. I tried to keep my cool but failed and ended up loosing my flies in a matakauri bush. “compose yourself” I said. “Start again”. I wait and wait – no sign for ages – but then there he is. I wait a little longer for the fish to get into the optimum position. I sent in my cast. I saw the fish see my nymph and rise up through the water to get it. The moment he turned I struck – I don’t know if my dry moved. The fish was on. A very powerful, fast run into white water at the head of the pool, I played the fish to the limits of 3x tippet to keep him away from the sharp rocks and undercuts. He didn’t want to leave the pool and I didn’t want him to leave because there was a 6 foot waterfall down to the next pool. I almost had him in the net a couple of times and then he started moving towards the fall, “no, no, NO” I remember saying out loud as he slid over the fall. I considered jumping in but it was dodgy. I had to climb down. Back up the steep boulders to get down the other side. Much harder attached to a big fish. Trying to keep a tight line to the fish while keeping the fly line out of the tanglesom matakauri proved impossible. The line got caught as I climbed down. I slipped and fell the last bit and smacked the reel breaking the rod tip (that happens!) but I still had tension on the fish, just not a straight line from the tip my now shorter rod. The flyline was caught about 12 foot up in the matakauri bushes and the broken bit of my rod tip slid to the dry. I jumped a couple of times and managed to free the line while trying not to loose tension. The fish was still on. I got into the river where there were no more obstacles and slid the net under the fish. I roared out loud with happiness. I took a moment while admiring my prize trying to take it all in. “I recognise you” I thought. It was certainly the first fish I caught on the river 5 years ago. A quick weigh and he’s still 9lbs and living just one pool away from where I first caught him. I took 2 photos with my 10 second timer and let this magnificent creature back into his original pool. It was an utterly fulfilling fly fishing high. Whenever I get asked that question again, this story will do, but there are a few I feel privileged to say. That was the only fish I saw that day and I won’t go back this season.

Guiding has been going great! Happy anglers catching fish in all conditions. A while back I had a week with Chuan. Always fun, never afraid to take a gamble. He caught a fish of a lifetime – a fabulous 11lb brown. Many more great fish too in a diverse week where we took each day as it came. Planning ahead just didn’t work with a very mixed week of weather and inaccurate forecasting.

I’m way behind on blog photos but I didn’t want to add any more here – it just feels like too many and you’d get bored looking at them!

Still some space in April and plenty in May if anybody would like to come over and see what this is all about. Check out my website or email me at ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines, Ronan..

10.5lb Trout.. Yes!

November 11th, 2019 No comments

It takes at least 300 days to catch a trout over 10lbs. At least it does if you fish like me. I don’t target them all the time of course, just when the mood hits me. It’s all about the fish, not the fishing so it really is mood dependant. Every one has been a super high. The emotions and feelings have been a bit different for each one. Some have been strangely anticlimactic (but still great!) while most have been utterly fulfilling, thrilling experiences. There are a few big fish around this year. Jeff Forsee and Paul MacAndrew have also cracked a double already this season. Some mousy stuff happening too so this might be a year to spend more time chasing the elusive doubles. Lets see how it pans out as the season progresses..

I haven’t guided many days so far but the days I’ve been out have been superb! Plenty fish, super quality and big! Between guiding and fishing I’ve had 4 over 8lbs to the net. It’s been a pretty wet spring. Some rivers had just come right and were fishing really well but recent rain has put them all out of commission again. They should bounce back quickly as long as the rain eases off. Come what may I’m excited about the season ahead..

A few days ago I took out Oliver and James. Oliver had never cast a fly before so we had a 1 hour casting lesson before advancing up river. It was enough to get him throwing a decent line and he managed 3 for the day. A great achievement for someone fresh out of the gate!

My season is starting to fill up but I have plenty spots available for the season to come. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Top 5 Trout for 2018/19…

May 29th, 2019 No comments

I think anybody planning a trip to NZ has a dream of catching a big one. These big fish are indeed attainable! During a multi-day I’d expect to land some fish up to 7lbs but fish over this weight are harder to find. You can certainly increase your odds of landing big fish by concentrating your efforts where big trout live but NZ fly fishing is not all about trophy trout. Last season and the one before combined yielded 2 over the elusive 10lb mark for my clients. This season the best was a touch under 9lbs. I decided to compile the top 5 trout for my clients over the season. Well done to Chuan, Mark, Kevin, Wei Chong and Matt for making the final cut. I hope you can make the top 5 next season too!

Feel free to get in touch about next seasons availability via email (ronan@sexyloops.com) or visit my website

Tight Lines,  Ronan..

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..