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Posts Tagged ‘Robbie Mcphee’

August! From the Lakes to the Coast…

September 2nd, 2018 No comments

August has been superb! Not long after arriving back in NZ from Ireland, I joined Robbie, Tom and Jeremy for a couple of days on Lake Benmore. I went and got the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat to give us some options around the lake. After the couple of days with the lads I held on to the boat since nobody was using it. It has been fantastic! Pretty much all the lakes are fishing well, some very well! Catching up with friends has been as good as the fishing. The weather has been very settled, warm and sunny with very little wind. Ideal fishing conditions, although at times a little more wind would have been an advantage to make the boat drift.

There are a few rivers open in this area, but August around here is best on the lakes. Brown trout are well and truly finished spawning and are back in the lakes trying to regain condition. They also haven’t seen an angler for a while so this combination makes them very keen to eat a fly – any fly! Fish on Lake Dunstan have been happy to eat small streamers even in the flat calm on 3x. A few more weeks and this simply wont work unless the wind is blowing. It’s fun out there. I’ve fished it 3 days from the boat averaging 8 per day. Benmore was a little slower but it will be improving daily as fish continue to drop back to the lake. Hawea didn’t really fish for Guy and I. It certainly did 6 years ago but such is fishing.. I’d been dying to get back there ever since 4 super weekends in a row in August 2012. Everything was the same; lake level, wind, conditions,  just no fish! This is how it was – Hawea 2012

The West Coast has eluded me since Jeff, Nick and myself filmed our episode for the second series of Pure Fly New Zealand. Mark and I went over for a couple of days recently. The main thing I wanted to do was the river mouths. The last week in August is when you have the most amount of whitebait running with the least amount whitebaiters chasing them! Therefor you have the place to yourself. I have hit some excellent fishing during this week in the past, but it was very quiet for us. The tides worked out well. On day 1 we arrived there in the morning an hour before high tide and fished for 2 hours. I got one small fish. The top and bottom of the tide are usually the best so we left the river mouth and fished the lower reaches of a river for a few hours. On the coast many rivers are open year round from the main highway bridge to the sea. This was good! I met 5 and landed one well conditioned, buttery brown. Then back to a different river mouth for low tide. I got 1 and touched a few more. The river mouths are a pretty gruelling fishery. They require dogged persistence and confidence.

Day 2 we took on a lake. It started slow but the fishing just got better and better. Boat and bank. Sight fishing to cruisers and blind stripping buggers on intermediates got the fish. Shitloads of them!

I’m not sure what fishing is on the cards next! September is here and I’ll be making the most of it. The lakes will only get better…

Tight Lines All!!

Ronan..

For bookings and information on guided fly fishing for the coming season, contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website Ronan’s Fly Fishing Missions

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 thought “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

 

 

Aoife Creane Takes the Piss (Pot), 2018.

March 22nd, 2018 No comments

In 2015 the Wakatipu Anglers Club asked me to host an event for the club on my home water, Lake Dunstan. I was happy to do it but I wanted to host something a little different, so I came up with a competition for the perpetual Piscatorial Pot. I can’t claim credit for the idea as there is already one on Lough Corrib in Ireland. This year was the 4th year of the competition and its gathering momentum, even if the fishing is always pretty hard! As luck would have it My mother, father and sister were over from Ireland to meet Adaline (and see Iza and I!) so I registered my sister, Aoife and my dad, Joe in the club so that they could take part in the competition. A win for dad would put his name on a Piss Pot in each hemisphere so he was off to the lake with a solid battle plan. The anglers arrived and hit the water, some on the bank and some in various floating devises. I took Aoife out in the pontoon boat where she did her best to rid the lake of lagarosiphon. Chatting to a few anglers during the day it was clear people were struggling to land a trout! The 2017 winner, Wesley Seery was standing on top of a high cliff near O Malleys Bank looking down on the water. I called up to him to hear how was doing, “I lost 4” he said. Then Aoife shouted that she had one. My response was “just drag it in there and I’ll take the weed off” but then the weed jumped! By some miracle she hooked a trout on her first day with a spinning rod. She played it well and directed it safely into my net. “The winner” shouted Wesley.. “Hardly” I thought, “but it’s possible!” Shortly after the wind came up so we went ashore. The pontoon boat struggles in the wind! Aoife and I fished the shore at the 45th parallel for a while before heading back to the house a little early to help with the barbecue. The fishermen started appearing after 5 o clock. “Any joy?” I’d ask, “No” they’d say. More and more arrived but the answer remained the same, “No”. There were still a few good anglers who had not reported in but I could see Aoife’s excitement was getting hard to contain.. The last anglers arrived. No fish! Aoife’s excitement was justified. She had the best catch of the day with one rainbow trout of about 3lbs. So, on her first day fishing she managed to beat some top class anglers to take the Piss Pot, as its affectionately known! Congratulations Aoife! She’s also the first female club member to win any Wakatipu Anglers Club cup. Needless to say everyone was delighted for Aoife and her fantastic achievement. We all celebrated for her even though she was in bed at midnight.. the Irish contingent of the club with Brayden pushed through til 4am.. I just want to say one thing “Conor O Boyle” haha..

I’m way behind on my blog! I can’t possibly add all the photos I’ve set aside for blogging, but I have added a few pics from some guide days since my last blog. The fishing has been really excellent as the pictures below will tell. The Lakes & Still Waters option is getting more popular as it should!! I’ll try to get another blog out very soon to catch up.. I still need to add a few stories about fishing with dad. The story of a 10lb trout I guided a month ago too! Speaking of big fish, I have included a photo of my good friend Robbie Mcphee’s monster Kingfish from a recent trip to Golden Bay at the top of the South Island. The fish measured 110cm and was estimated at 36 – 38 lbs. Surly the biggest landed on fly to date from the fishery. An amazing result which left a few local anglers pretty gobsmacked and envious (I heard!!)!

More to come soon. It’s pretty full on right now with work and family! Aoife just left today but mom and dad are here for another week. Work tomorrow but then dad and I will fish 5 days. Can’t wait for that. The rest of the season is pretty packed but there’s a few spots in early April and most of May is still available. Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some guided fishing! ronan@sexyloops.com or check out my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

All the best for now, Ronan..

GUIDING GALLERY

In the Merry Month of May…

May 3rd, 2017 No comments

April has been a fabulous month! I had lots of time to fish myself but was also kept pretty busy guiding. The fishing was excellent! With terrestrial insects still locked into trout brains and magnificent mayfly hatches to boot, most of the activity was on the surface. It’s rare that I’ll fish with a single dry but I did a lot this April, both for myself and my clients. Cicada’s, blowflies and mayflies were the leaders of the pack. April sees the most consistent and reliable mayfly hatches of the year in these parts. For the last 2 – 3 weeks of April, the main hatch kicked of at 2.40 every afternoon on a number of rivers from Omarama to Invercargill. The dry-fly action during the hatch was simply as good as it gets and the best for many years by all accounts. It was most welcome after the constant onslaught of wind and rain brought by the early and middle parts of the season. Summer lasted ten days!

Earlier in April, Nick Reygaert, Jeff Forsee and myself got together again to film another episode for Pure Fly NZ, this time series 2. We went to the West Coast to film a variety of fishing locations. I think we all worked well together to bring something pretty full-on to the screen. I won’t elaborate too much so that I don’t give anything away before the show airs, but watch this space!

Most brown trout rivers are closed now, but many of the rivers flowing into the Southern Lakes (and a few besides) are open until the end of May. A few rivers and most large lakes are open all year, so thankfully, the season never stops. It’s May now and time to stalk migratory fish! I love fishing at this time of year as the leaves change colour and fall from the trees. Fish start to move up river on their spawning run and opportunities arise that are unique to May and the winter months. These fish respond well to streamers, large nymphs and a little later in the season, egg flies. The first part in fishing for migratory fish is finding them. In many cases when you find one you find a few or lots – fishing for migratory fish is like that. The first cast to a pod can get a chaotic response from a lot of fish, then it gets a little quieter. It’s not unusual to catch a few fish from a pod. At times you’ll stumble upon a large fish or two which has spent the last 8 months or so deep in a lake. This is exciting stuff and I will be trying to make it happen this month! I think I know where some will be..

I must change the format for this blog! With the amount of time that passes between reports I struggle to choose what to write about and end up breezing over everything. In the future I need to try (try) to write more often. Maybe less, but more specific content, the way it was before guiding.. I’ll do my best! The pictures below tell the story of full-on month on April!!

Tight Lines and bring on May!!

Ronan..

I’ll be guiding until mid July for the few that are keen on winter fishing! Let me know if you’d like to plan a mission.. ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

 

PERSONAL GALLERY

GUIDING GALLERY

 

Ronan’s Fly-Fishing Missions ~ News and Guiding Highlights!

January 13th, 2017 No comments

Once again, It’s been hard to find the time to write! I’ve been busy guiding, but this is also a very social time of year. Friends pass through on a regular basis, mostly fishing friends so we fish if I’m not working, and we drink a beer or two in the evenings. Today is a rare day in that I have the day off with the house to myself! Where do I start?!

Dad arrived on November 17th. A little later than usual but I thought this would be a good thing in the hope that the terrible weather we were having would pass. It didn’t! The conditions locally made many rivers unfishable much of the time due to rain, rain and more rain. Rivers ideally suited to 10 cumecs reached 200! It made guiding difficult too because most clients want to experience river fishing. Dad, on the other hand, is in his element on the lakes! We spent the first 3 days fishing together out of the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat. We had excellent fishing with a multitude of tactics from dries to buggers to nymphs, to di5’s to floaters to blind to sight. “Adapt when you need to” was the name of the game! We had 4 days in total from the club boat landing 55 trout up 5.5lbs. There is always great lake fishing to be had when the rivers are in flood!

When time off from guiding permitted, we hit the road for multi-day blocks. Usually 3 days. Conditions remained tough with lots of windy, dark days but you just have take what you get and make the most of it. Almost regardless of conditions you’ll get your chances if you put yourself amongst it. Walk, search, blind fish, spook a few, spot a few, catch a few! We had an occasional blue sky day, these were blissful and we made hay!

One of the highlights of dads time here was a trip to a small still water. Robbie Mcphee, Iza, Myself and Dad all went there for a day. I enjoyed it because I wanted Dad to figure it out for himself. I just suggested he hit the far bank and he’d know what to do. I knew I could advise him on some tactics I use but there was no need, he’s an instinctive lake angler with 60 years experience! He put a deadly method together over the course of the day landing 4 in the 6lb class. He fished 3 small spiders and nymphs, slowly working them over weed beds and casting to sighted fish when the opportunity presented itself. I landed a few crackers too. Iza had the fish of the day with a magnificent 7.25lb specimen. Robbie lost a monster and landed a few. Aside from the fishing it was just great being there with some of the best people on the planet.

I kept a good bit of time to myself over the Christmas period to fish. I recently bought a second hand 2 man pontoon boat and I was dying to take it for a test drive! Robbie and I took her on Dunstan for her maiden voyage and what a craft she is! Brilliant to fish off and easy to manoeuvre!! It’s total team work, the man on the oars manoeuvres the angler into the perfect position to cover fish. We landed plenty for the day! Some craic out there with the sun shining (Christmas day I think it was!) and a few beers in the cooler. It was mostly sight fishing with small nymphs and damsels. Since then we brought it to the coast. We checked out a lake for the day really getting to grips with how the boat handles. We landed 5 each on Day 1 Exploratory Mission.. that evening we went to camp at a nearby river mouth where we caught 2 kahawai and 2 seatrout from the beach and lagoon. The next morning the weather took a major turn for the worse with gales and rain. We got out of there as the rivers started to rise… very quickly!

On a recent trip to a favourite river of mine I got dive-bombed by a Karearea! He (or she) swooped down narrowly missing my head.. She (I’ve decided this angry bird is a she!) swooped again and again each time getting a little closer. I was watching her all the time, well aware of her whereabouts by her shrill cry. I decided to take out my camera and film her attacks. For some reason she had no interest in Robbie, only me. I filmed a few swoops, one of which came very close. We were walking all the time, not intentionally pissing off the old bird. Then all seemed quiet. I was walking in front of Robbie as we marched down river to fish back. Then WHACK. Like being hit hard in the head with an open hand slap, knocking my head to one side and my hat off my head. Robbie saw it all. The same bird has since knocked a a good friend of mine, Fraser Hocks, to the ground! Tough bird I’ll tell ya.. those are two hard heads!

In case you didn’t know, it’s willow grub time! You’ll be needing some of these.. http://stusflyshop.com/browse-by-gear/stus-superior-flies/mixed-packs/banana-fly-mix-x12/

For information and bookings see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com (More reading below!)

MY GALLERY

GUIDING NEWS

Guiding has been thoroughly enjoyable this season! I’m learning from it all the time, both for my own fishing and in becoming a better guide. There have been some tough days but then NZ trout fishing is challenging, there is rarely an easy option, you work hard for your fish! Fishing has been good lately.  The trout are looking up and are very keep to eat off the top. That’s what NZ summer fly fishing is famous for!

A recent 4 day road trip with a couple of Irish competition anglers is worth a mention. I knew these 2 fellas would be as keen as could be to get onto the water and immerse themselves in NZ fly fishing. They had almost 2 weeks to fish after their 4 guided days so my brief was to arm them with all the technical abilities they’d need to make the most of their trip and to have a great time while learning it! Day 1 was an introduction to technical fishing to difficult fish. Simple dry / dropper tactics with small flies and fine tippet did the trick. First time accurate casting was the most important thing. A very valuable piece of information to know first hand. Day 2 was about searching every bit of water. We found fish in skinny side braids, backwaters and main flows. This day also gave the lads a lesson in sight fishing riffles. They did well seeing these fish which can be amongst the toughest to spot. Day 3 was full on river Fishing! We successfully touched on blind fishing but it was mostly sight. They lads got to see first hand which fish are not worth spending much time on and which fish are. Watch the fish, see what he’s doing and act accordingly. Day 4 was all about blind fishing. Reading the water, fishing quickly and efficiently so as not to waste time and cover as much water (and as many fish) as possible in a day. Don’t repeat casts / keep moving. This 4 day trip really brought home the value of a multi-day trip for me. Multiple days mean I can take the angler to where ever the the fishing is best and impart some invaluable knowledge on NZ river fishing.

Some other great moments for me this season was teaching total beginners to cast in the morning and watching them progress to casting to, hooking and landing a fish before the day was out. This is truly a great achievement!

For information and bookings see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com

GUIDING GALLERY

 

Monster Trout New Zealand…

October 24th, 2016 No comments

October has been a difficult enough month! Mainly due to lots of rain and snow-melt keeping many Otago and surrounding rivers high and difficult to fish. I saw this as an opportunity to go well away from home and try to lock in and learn some new water. I had a hunch about an area to try and what I found blew me away. On my first visit to the powerful beast that is mystery river X, I found quite a few really big rainbows.. huge actually. I landed one of 14lbs and lost 7 more (shit happens!). I took my good friend and big fish specialist, Robbie Mcphee for a look recently. He managed an 11lber, a 7lber and a 4. I landed an 11lb salmon, totally unexpected and immensely powerful. I passed the pocket water where he was hanging out having not seen a sign of life. Then something splashed behind me. I thought it was Robbie stumbling on the slippery rocks but when I turned around I saw the remains of a splash on the surface (not Robbie falling in, but a fish!). I went back, changed my fly to Stu’s Sonic Minnow and made a cast.. First cast I had a follow from a big grey ghost. I kept working the water.. 10 casts later I was connected to the biggest New Zealand salmon I’ve hooked. After a great battle Robbie put him in the net. I also had a few normal sized trout. This piece of water is still good but I expect these big fish will get off the shallows and back into the deep, heavy water before too long..

If you’d like to get in touch about guided fly-fishing in the lower South Island then drop me an email ronan@sexyloops.com or check out my website, http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

If Stu’s flies have piqued your attention, look here! http://www.stusflyshop.com/select-your-species/

 

 

GUIDING HIGHLIGHTS

If not for local anglers and regular clients, Bryan Wrighton and Tim Proctor, October would have been a lean month! We recently had a 2 day mission on two very different rivers down south. With a narrow weather window between one front and another, I made the call to take it on. Thankfully it worked! Day one had us fishing on a river which was high and a little coloured. I chose this river for day one because these conditions suit it, it would also give day two’s river a chance to settle and clear a bit. The common denominator over the 2 days was high, slightly coloured water. Perfect for streamer fishing.. well, usually. The streamer barely got a chase over the 2 days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these conditions not suit the streamer down to the ground! Fishing is always able to throw you a curve ball! Thankfully there were good numbers of fish out feeding and reasonably easy to spot. They were not easy to catch however, (they rarely are!) but Bryan and Tim did well to land 9 quality trout over two days all between 3.5 and 5lbs. Most fish were beautifully marked, in great condition and very strong. We’re out again soon so hopefully we’ll produce the goods again..

 

Tight Lines all!

Ronan..

Ps. Dont forget to check out Sky TV this October 31st. Jeff Forsee and myself will be doing what we do best on episode 6 of “Pure Fly New Zealand”…

Early Season Extravaganza!

October 11th, 2016 No comments

A few of days ago while planning a day fishing for myself, I was surprised to see a perfect weather forecast. Blue skies all day, gentle southerly blowing and a high of 15c. “With a forecast like that for a Sunday I better set off early” I thought. The following morning I was away before dawn. It was a long drive to the river. There was rain first off, then it stopped, then it started again and continued. “Weird” I thought, “It’ll pass”. Before I left internet coverage I decided to check the forecast again in case I made a mistake. I did! I got the forecast for a town in the USA with the same name.. Lesson learned!

There was no going back, and I didn’t want to.. I was excited to take on whatever conditions nature would throw at me. I got a mix of sun, rain and wind all day. High, slightly coloured water too. A streamer day I thought but I ended up catching most sight fishing with small nymphs. Any fish I saw was hard out feeding just below the surface and they were keen to eat my offerings. My own size 16 nymph and one of Stu’s Superior Nymphs did the trick.

The best moment of the day was spotting a large fish swing to the right from behind a deep boulder. I though I had spooked it but wasn’t sure.. I took off the nymphs and tied on a Glister. I slung it across the pool slightly upstream so that it would cross the boulder on its way down. Up from the gloom came the large fish and engulfed my streamer. I lifted into solid weight and the fish played to his strengths and stayed deep. Just under 7lbs. He made my day!

I’m playing catch-up a bit with this blog! Some pics go back to last winter, others from a recent trip to the canals where I finally cracked a big one; 18.5lbs of ugly! Fishing with Guy, a mission to the Coast with Iza, Robbie Mcphee’s 43rd birthday.. Enjoy the pics!

I’ve known Stu Tripney for pretty much as long as I’ve been coming to NZ. He, his shop and his flies have become legendary over my 15 years in NZ. This season I’m putting Stu’s flies through their paces and I’m more than happy with the results. Check them out! http://www.stusflyshop.com

I’ve had a couple of days guiding which have been good, and a few more coming up over the month. There are plenty spaces available and October is a great month! So maybe its time to get yourself down here for a day out! ronan@sexyloops.com for bookings and information.

One more thing, Just in case I don’t get a blog out before October 31st, thats the day mine and Jeff’s episode of “Pure Fly New Zealand” airs on Sky TV in NZ… Good reports from the director so here’s hoping he’s right! http://www.manictackleproject.com/pure-fly-nz-coming-soon/

Tight Lines everyone!

Stuntman Ronan (It’s on my license!)                ronan@sexyloops.com

As of now, 2.00pm on the 12th of October, my website is live! www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

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 Late Season Extravaganza!!! Yes Indeed…

April 28th, 2016 2 comments

CRANE-FLY-FISHING…

Earlier in the season while fishing with Dean Whaanga he told me about fishing the Crane Fly in his neck of the woods. He told me that it usually fires after the first frost late in the season and that he’d let me know when its happening. Recently he called to tell me “its on” and to invite me to join him the next day. Luckily, I wasn’t guiding so I was there with bells on. John Roach of the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club was in town so he came along too. I was excited to see and try this style of fishing which was pretty new to me. Fishing the crane fly, or daddy-long-legs as I prefer to call it, is well known on the Irish loughs but fishing them on NZ rivers is quite unique. I guess there are not too many rivers with a high enough crane fly populations around them that they get blown onto the river in sufficient numbers for trout to lock-on to them? A frosty start followed by a warm, breezy day is ideal. We didn’t get that, but the day warmed up a little and wind increased but there were not too many daddies about. Possibly due to the lack of a frost in the morning. For a while during the day there were a few on the surface and we saw a few rises. It was enough for me to see the potential of this type of terrestrial fishing. The trout seemed quite keyed in on daddies anyway because we all had a good few eats off the top. We landed two 6lbers, two 4lbers and lost 6 more! It’s always good to learn about a new way to catch a trout, particularly something seasonal and dependable like the cicada or mayfly. I have it marked in my calendar for next season!

A SPECTACULAR TROUT…

On a recent trip to a Wakitipu feeder stream I found what I was looking for. I wanted to encounter some browns moving up from the lake to spawn in a few months time. Along with a number of rainbows, I had 5 browns in the 5 to 7lb range eat or attempt to eat my fly. I only landed one but that fish alone was worth the trip. A very pale coloured trout, it was indeed unique, unlike any trout I’ve seen before. A unique fish like this is at least as satisfying to catch as a really big fish. It’s the brown trout’s infinite differences in shape and colour that make it the species I want to target more than any other. I hooked and lost another fish around 5lbs with what appeared to be a yellow back, again unlike anything I’ve seen before. I really wanted to see this fish out of the water. On hooking, I briefly saw a very deep, silvery flank. I’ve been back since in the unlikely hope of finding him but without success.. Wakatipu feeder streams are open until the end of may so I’ll be back!!

SQUAWKING, FLAPPING AND CRASHING! (AND A VERY BIG TROUT!)

Over the last couple of days Tom McAuliffe and myself went to a river we both enjoy. As luck would have it Robbie was there too so we all fished together on day one. Just before we met Robbie on the river he had landed an 8lb brown. Shortly after we saw another big trout and then things went quiet for the day. In fact we didn’t spot another fish! I had a couple of follows from a dark pool while blind fishing. Shortly after at the head of the same pool it felt as though I became connected to the reef I was fishing across. It was no reef!, it was a solid brown of about 5.5lbs. A real tank of a trout; I was happy to get it under the difficult circumstances. Two great fish for the day but the lack of trout about was a little concerning.

On day 2 it was just Tom and me. We decided to go hard into the wilderness and hope for the best. I had been in a few times before this season with poor results due to terribly low fish numbers but I’m a sucker for a good gorge! As before fish numbers were low. All season long I was hoping the fish were in hiding, under rocks in semi hibernation as these fish tend to do but now I’m confident the fish just aren’t there. Maybe its a cyclical thing and they’ll return but I’m worried to be honest. The number of shags living on the river is also a concern. These creatures feed on fish and only fish. More about that another time. About half way through the day we found the first fish (apart from one I spooked). It looked really big, maybe a double! Sitting apparently dormant against a rock at 90 degrees to the very slow current at the bottom of the pool. A weird position to say the least. Tom won the rock, scissors, paper to take the shot. I advised him on the approach I’d use since he was new to this type of fishing. A very long leader and a heavily weighted streamer, cast well above the fish, let it sink to the bottom and strip it passed its face. The leader had to be long so as not to line the fish in deep water, also to get the fly far enough up stream to give it enough time to sink to the bottom and still be upstream of the fish when it reaches the bottom. While we were setting up, the big trout decided to jump and then do a rapid loop of the pool for no apparent reason. This was a great sign! The fish was awake and not doggo. Tom made a number of accurate casts and from my vantage point I could see the fly passing just in front of the fish but it never flinched.. Then it became awake again, starting to swim up from the rock it was lying against just as Tom landed the fly in her vicinity. “Let it sink” I said, as I watched the fly drop into the fishes lair. “Strip, strip, strip” Tom did so.. I watched as the fish charged and inhaled the fly. Tom could see nothing from his position in the river but I could see everything form my vantage point. “Strike!!”, I said. She was on. After a dogged, heavy fight we got the fish into the net. We thought she might have been a double but the net doesn’t lie (I hope), just over 9lbs of magnificence. Tom was on top of the world and so was I.

Over the next while we saw a few fish. We had a couple of grabs to a streamer and missed one on a nymph but nothing of any size. There was one pool I wanted to get to before we called it a day. We had to push hard and waste no time to get there. We arrived quite late on the Autumn day. On arrival we saw nothing obvious. We carefully made our way up the pool trying to spot every inch of it as we went. In a backwater on the far side of the pool we saw 1 then 2 then possibly 3 or even 4 fish rising. My jaw dropped with anticipation and awe. At least one was a very big fish. Then Tom spotted a huge fish at the tail of the pool where we had just crossed. Now totally on the back foot, which fish do we target? behind or in front? The fish behind had to have been aware of us due to his position. He started to make his way up the pool. A shot had to be taken quickly. I had a dry and nymph on and took the shot. It seemed a better option than Toms streamer in the shallow, glassy water at the tail of the pool. The fish enquired, then enquired again firstly to the dry, then looked at the nymph. When I moved the nymph off the bottom he followed it a number of times before swimming away into the safety of the dark water. I was disappointed because this was a really (really) big, beautiful, catchable fish. However! We had possibly 4 rising fish to target so I looked forward with a confident smirk, Tom looked at me with the same smirk, we took a few steps forward, both considering the best plan of attack. Rise after rise, both of us eager to take them on. “That’s close enough” we both agreed.  With that 2 paradise ducks came squawking, flapping and crashing into the pool, sliding 25 foot right on top of all the rising fish before immediately lifting off again. Birds gone, fish gone, silence. Dumbfounded, I managed to ask Tom “What the fuck just happened?”,  “Fucked if I know” he replied, “para’s”. That was it, all over. I landed a 2.5lber in the next pool but it didn’t even take the edge off how I was feeling. Utterly heartbroken and time to head out. I hate Paradise Ducks!

That’s all folks! 3 days left of the brown trout season and I’ll be fishing all three of them I do believe!

Ronan..

Ps. Internet problems led to a one day delay in getting this out so just 2 days left of the season! Jeff and I fished today and landed 10 fish up to 8lbs! More on that in the next blog. Also, I wanted to write about filming and upcoming NZ fly-fishing TV show with Jeff Forsee filmed by Nick Reygaert but I’m out of steam now so next blog maybe. I also had a few great days and nights in Southland with Robbie Mcphee and Chris Jackson, stars of New Zealand Trophy Waters ( http://www.fishingvideo.co.nz  ). We fished, ate, drank and were merry! Very merry!! Also great to fish with and catch up with one of my first made friends in NZ, Bob Toffler. See you next season, Bob!

MAY IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS! For any guiding bookings or enquiries, ronan@sexyloops.com

The Latest From My Fly-Fishing & Guiding…

March 15th, 2016 No comments

Lake Dunstan has always been an amazing fishery. I remember my good friend John O Malley catching 18 from the grassy bank one afternoon, I’ve had numerous days on the silt catching big numbers of fish, I never cracked the 20 but very close. It has always had a lot to offer in the way of different types of water; silt, weedbeds, flats, willows, moving water, still water, shingle, stalking the edges, blind fishing, buzzer fishing, etc.. The one variable that always affected a fella’s chances of success is the water height. The lake fishes best when it’s full. In the past, the power company controlling the water, Contact Energy, seemed to hold the lake at the same height for a number of days. If it was full it was likely to stay full for a while. During those days if the lake went flat calm the trout activity on the surface had to be seen to be believed. It simply came alive with fish. This season a change has been made that has reduced Dunstan to about half (at best) the fishery it was. The lake is dropped about half a meter every day leaving the top of the lake largely void of water. Usually it’s high in the morning and you have until about lunchtime to make hay! There are some options when the lake is low but the top end of the lake, the best bit by far, is now pretty much unfishable from the bank in the afternoons. The other sad thing which can only be due to the “tide” I believe, is that when the lake goes flat calm there are only about 10% of the fish moving on the surface compared to pre “tide” days. I suppose nothing can be done, I don’t expect Contact Energy will change anything for the relatively few fly-fishermen who enjoy the top end of the lake. Dam shame.

Thankfully there are still plenty great lakes in NZ. Most people come to NZ to fish the rivers (and why wouldn’t they?!) but the lakes are certainly worth a look too. In times where the rivers may be high and coloured, or low and warm the lakes will remain fishable and reliable. I fish them because I love them, and not necessarily because the rivers are off form. Iza and I recently had a day one one of the central lakes where we landed 18 for about 5 hours on the water. We weren’t seeing any on the edges so we waded out to deeper water and blind fished over weeds and whatever feature we could see. I fished my fathers method of “figure of eighting” a couple of nymphs while Iza used a tried and trusted bugger! Both did well and the fish were magnificent. Mostly reel screaming rainbows.. Give it a try!!

More recently Robbie, Mike and myself took on a favourite piece of water of mine. Mike had never fished it. It’s always great to share something fantastic with a person whom you know will appreciate it. We had 2 days, one big day in a gorge and one on slightly easier farm terrain. Both days proved great even with adverse conditions on day one. We wanted a grey day with diffuse light so as not to cast any shadows into the pools in the tree lined gorge. We spooked a good few fish because we simply could not see into the water with the contrasting shadows! Interestingly, its not always a blue sky day you need for spotting fish! There were a few highlights from the trip. I’ll mention the best one, it was watching Mike (I want to say this in a diplomatic way but fuck it) skulldrag his personal best brown out of the river! For some reason he had the drag on his Abel reel set up for GT’s or something. After hooking the fish on a well presented nymph all hell broke loose into an aerial battle. Mike met hell with hell and didn’t give an inch. Honestly, I don’t know how something didn’t give. 10.7lb tippet and Robbies nymph tied on a strong hook would have helped. The fish toppled Mike into the river twice during the fight but Robbie was there to drag him out again. After the battle we got the fish into the net.. he went 8.5lbs. The following day Robbie managed one almost the same size on a cicada he tied ten years ago. A very different fish she was, built like a brick shithouse. We all landed plenty fish over the 2 days including some really stunning fish. You’ll see when you get to the photo’s below! After day one in the gorge we were all pretty wiped out, back to the cabin afterwards where I cooked up steaks for the men! A little wine and a fire in the stove soon put me snoozing in my chair.

I’ve been very busy guiding since my last blog which is why this blog has once again taken so long to put out! I’m loving the job. As Paul say’s, Its like fishing yourself. Certainly, I get a lot from a days guiding that I get from a day fishing myself. The rest of March and April are pretty quiet so if your planning a trip to NZ and want a guide then drop me an email! The cooler March days have certainly improved the fishing. Check out the gallery below of some of this seasons guiding highlights!

Until next time, Tight Lines and Screaming Reels!!

Ronan..   ronan@sexyloops.com

GUIDING GALLERY- Some recent highlights

PERSONAL FISHING GALLERY- The Photos From Above..

A COUPLE OF YOUTUBE FILMS FROM HAPPY CLIENTS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK7ITGY3Jas

http://youtu.be/5Ea1YqhuB0k

THE PISCATORIAL POT FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/piscatorialpot/

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY LATEST COLLECTION OF MEDIA.. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT, AND PLEASE SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA! MANY THANKS!