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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand Winter Fishing’

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..

 

 

 

 

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..

 

New Zealand Winter Fishing…

June 6th, 2012 No comments

Snow is falling over much of the south island right now so it’s clear that Winter is well and truly here. Queenstown woke to a fresh, frosty morning with some snow on the ground. I got up and prepared a hearty beef and venison stew and left it simmering in the slow cooker. With dinner taken care of I had a substantial breakfast of bacon, eggs and beans and then went fishing. The Kawarau River is open all year round so I decided to give it a try. It’s a big river and I have not cracked it yet. I went to a spot where a small river flows in and had one great fish on a woolly bugger fished deep on a slimeline. I didn’t spend long on the water. It was freezing cold, I didn’t see any fish, frankly I didn’t want or need to be on the water all day. I left happy with my lot and went to another part of the river to get some firewood. A few minutes with the chainsaw and I had enough for 2 nights free warmth. Before I went home I caught up my friends Mike and Raywin over a beer. It’s important to stay in touch with your friends! I got home to a perfectly cooked stew and got the fire cranking….