Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Robbie Mcphee’

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 though, “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!

 

 

 

 

The Fly-Fishing Connection…

January 26th, 2016 No comments

You’d think after 5 years writing this blog that I’d be somewhat computer literate. Well, far from it. I just wasted 3 hours of my life trying to make photos smaller on Iza’s Mac (2mp or less to fit in wordpress blog). With Windows you just select the pics, click “make smaller” and its done. On the Mac you have to select the photos, export them (fuck knows where they go) then make them smaller after you’ve found them, then import them, then export them back to iphoto but they wont make it there, they’ll get lost on the way,  then do some other shit to them, then you loose them, then you try to do it all again a few times before giving up and without pulling out whats left of my hair. I did well not to make bits of this computer while the steam was leaving my ears and curses hurtling from my mouth.

Firstly, to all of you who enjoy my ramblings on NZ fly-fishing, sorry its taken me so long to put this together. Life got away on me a bit leaving me little time to write. Which is a good complaint I guess!

I had a great 2 day mission with Bob Wyatt and Robbie Mcphee a good while ago now. It was weather for waders, freezing cold mornings and lots of rain but the sun eventually made an appearance. We all caught fish on a range of tactics. We spent the night in a farm cabin, no better place to catch up. A glowing fire, good food and few beers with good friends is hard to beat, to be honest I think the fishing came second.

The house in Cromwell has been a hive of activity for the passed couple of months with friends coming and going, mostly flyfishers but not all. My old friend Sean stayed for a few days. The fishing was tough then but we managed a few good fish. Then Nico arrived, Nico’s first fish on fly was an artic char on Lough Inagh in the west of Ireland a few years ago. What are the odds? They are a rare wee fish indeed in Ireland. We had a couple of days on Dunstan and he managed a couple of good fish on fly. That was Christmas day, we kept one to eat raw as a christmas dinner starter, it was fantastic! Mark Adamson was next, we had a feckin tough day on a west coast river where we managed one decent trout. The surroundings were spectacular and the sun was shining which made a tough day a little better!

Since then we’ve had Fergal Cormican, another friend from Ireland come and stay for a few days as he learned how to take on NZ rivers and lakes, we fished Lake Dunstan around Ranfurly for a couple of days where we found a few good stretches of the Taieri and its backwaters.. A great training ground for both river and still water angling.

I recently had a day on the water with Dean Whaanga up the country a bit. We checked out a truly spectacular valley to see how a recent flood might have reshaped the river and surrounding creeks. We found a few fish but they were difficult. At that time fish seemed to be difficult everywhere, possibly due to falling barometric pressure, I’m not sure.. I don’t pay too much attention to that kind of thing because I’ll be going fishing regardless! We landed a couple of fish and had a great day on the water. I met Dean when I first came to NZ in 2002 at my good friend Bob Tofflers house, we all enjoyed a feed of mutton birds! I’m delighted to have fished with him finally. It was a pleasure to see a fella with 30 plus years of guiding under his belt has not lost any enthusiasm for fishing during his time off..

The most recent visitor was Con O Flynn, also a friend from Ireland. We had 2 big days on the river together, I took him into one of the toughest gorges I know of. I asked him was he fit! He said yes and he looked like he could handle it so off we went.. Theres a point in the gorge where you need to get out and drop back in farther up. We got to that point and climbed out, then climbed back in. No problem. I looked for my usual crossing point to continue up river and I could see it, I just couldn’t get to it. I could see another crossing a little farther down river which looked easy so I decided on that one rather than going up river to climb down to my usual crossing. This turned out to be a mistake, Con took a dip in the river as he crossed and then going up on the other side of the gorge proved quite difficult because of a crevice keeping us from my usual way, we had to keep going up! We got there in the end and then we could continue up river with only a couple of minor climb-outs to get around bluffs. We found a few fish but not as many as I was expecting, saw a couple of brutes. Con landed a solid brown and hooked a much larger fish which straightened the hook. It was really great to bring a fella like Con into a special place like that. Win, loose or draw its a great place to be alive as long as your the type of person who can appreciate it for what it is. We left it all on the river. See you next time, Con! We have some unfinished business with NZ trout.. Thanks for everything!

I’m expecting a visit from Ken Whelan any time now, he’ll be passing through with his Brother, Brendan on their way south. I expect we’ll fit in a mission at some stage, David Lambroughton will also join us hopefully.

Between friends coming and going, Fly-fishing and trying to set up my guiding career things have been very busy indeed.. Long may it last!

Tight Lines Eeryone.. A little tip for you all, 18 is the new 16!

Ronan..

ronan@sexyloops.com

 

Some Thoughts About Big Trout…

December 3rd, 2015 No comments

I realised a year or two ago that fishing for really big trout is more about the fish than the fishing; while fishing for average sized or smaller trout is more about the fishing than the fish. Of course both can cross the divide into the other category but generally speaking this is true. For me at least. Really big NZ fish, say in the 8lbs plus class, are often really stunning here in Otago and worth the effort in hunting down. They are few and far between and very hard to catch. Not necessarily because they’re “smarter” than smaller fish (they’re not really!) but because they often take up lies that are very difficult to get a fly to. The bottom of a deep pool for example or under a submerged log, and sometimes they are just really really spooky! These very big fish wont be seen every time you fish a river, some days they may be out visibly feeding and once in a while they may take up a part of the pool where you can get an easy cast to. You just have to persist, be there at the right time. If you can get a fly to one of these big trout without spooking it at all, (there are varying degrees of “spooked”) you’re almost as likely to hook it as a 2lb trout from a riffle. Landing it of course is a whole other story. When it all comes together and you get one of these trophy trout into your net, it’s a real high. If it turns out to be one of the really beautiful fish it’s even better again!  Since the last blog I hunted down some of the big fellas with good success.

Jeff and Myself went and checked out some rivers on the west coast recently. We fished some water I had not seen for a few years. We had a mixed bag. One great river and one not so great but both were absolutely spectacular. The fishing is described in the photos below but there was one little event I’ll have to share with you. (sorry, Jeff!) We were given conflicting information regarding which gate to drive through to get to the river, I thought we were to go through the left gate, but we were told right.. so we both agreed to go right, at least we could come back if we were wrong, right? Jeff fumbled with the padlock before realising it was actually open and that the key we had didn’t fit it anyway. He opened the gate and I drove through. Jeff closed the gate after him and then I waited for a while, “whats the delay” I thought, as I jumped out of the truck. “Ronan, I fucked up” Jeff said. He had closed the padlock and we had no key to open it. There we were, miles from anywhere with the truck locked on the wrong side of the gate. Some Irish/American ingenuity prevailed, much of it inspired by a Macgyver episode I had seen years ago. We managed to open the gate in reverse without doing any damage at all so we knew we could get back out. After driving for a short distance we realised that we had indeed gone the wrong way. We should have gone left! In the end we got to the river and the fishing began.

Have a look at my facebook page to see the results of my happy clients! Plenty spaces still available for the season.. ronan@sexyloops.com for bookings and information.

https://www.facebook.com/ronans.flyfishing

Tight Lines..

Ronan..

The Elusive, Almost Mythical 10lb Brown Trout…

October 20th, 2015 No comments

During a mission to North Canterbury with Jeff Forsee at the end of last season, I witnessed something that made me re-think what I thought I knew. Jeff was onto a fish on his bank, a big one. The fish was deep. Jeff persisted with a range of weighted nymphs until he had the heaviest one in his box on, with the little trailer off it. He felt he was not getting deep enough so he pulled out a box of split shot and added some weight, then a little more weight. I’m not sure just how much shot he added but eventually he hooked the fish. A long battle was ensued but we finally got it into the net. That fish was one of the most spectacular fish I’ve seen and it turned out to be Jeff’s personal best. Afterwards, I thought to myself “would I have caught that fish?”. The answer, probably not. I had no split shot and my heaviest nymph was the same as Jeff’s. The only time I ever used shot was in Croatia years ago because of their single fly policy. I thought I had no need for it. I remember Paul Arden talking about split shot for early season NZ fish. I simply thought “just tie a heavier nymph”, which is true but split shot is handy, quick and easy to add and there’s no limit to how much you can put on (within reason!). I had to see this in action to really see the value of it. Shortly after that trip I got some split shot.

Recently, in Otago, about half way through a great day, I sighted a large trout happily feeding. He was moving from shallow to deep water feeding constantly. After a number of careful casts the fish became aware of my presence. He went a little doggo but then continued to feed, this time in deep water only. This gave me a great and rare advantage. The fish continued to feed despite my presence. I could not spook him easily so I cast and cast and cast. As long as a fish is feeding he’s catchable so I persisted. I put on my heaviest nymph, then added lead, then more lead. The river was boiling and up-welling making it hard to get even a heavily weighted rig down, but once in a while, as Robbie pointed out, the current went “clean”, no up-welling. At one of those moments I placed the cast in the right place and the added weight got my fly into the zone. The fish ate. I knew It was a big fish, I’ve caught lots of 9s and this felt just plain heavier. I gave him stick none the less and eventually landed him with Robbie’s help on the net. There were a few unnerving moments as he went under banks and around rocks but we landed him. 10lbs on the dot (Though Robbie thinks he was more, despite the weigh-net!). Thanks, Jeff for the lesson in lead and Robbie for the help landing one of my personal best brown trout.. Finally we cracked a double together!

Tight Lines All..

Ronan..

If your planning a trip to NZ, why not get in touch with me! I’m available to guide and happy to answer any questions you may have.. ronan@sexyloops.com

 

Big Trout in 150kph Gales…

October 11th, 2015 No comments

A day on the Clutha at the end of September got me fired up for the new season which was fast approaching. I explored another new section and found a great variety of water in a fairly small area. Side braids, backwaters, and the main river all in close proximity. There were quite a few fish present too. I adapted my methods as I fished the variety of waters and picked up fish in each one. Dries, nymphs and spiders all accounted for a few fish.

Last weekend was the first weekend of the new season. October is probably the best month of the season if river conditions are okay; the big “if”. The small tributary streams still hold a good stock of trout after their spawning escapades of the previous June and July. Usually the tributaries are nice and full from rain and snow melt but sometimes too full, October often brings high rainfall and rivers which are too high to fish with any comfort. With good river conditions (like right now) it’s all on and great fun. As the season progresses the water recedes and the fish numbers decrease as they fall back to the main river. Larger rivers fish well in October too. Even those with a resident stock of trout often seem to have more fish about than in high summer, although, this is a sweeping statement and could be not be applied to all rivers. Either way, I love October. Plenty fish about and usually very catchable! Sometimes browns can be in poor shape having not mended well after spawning but over the years I’ve learned where to avoid so as not to catch ragged fish.

My opening weekend was a great one. I had loosely planned to go to the coast but the forecast put me off that idea. My chosen river for Saturday had some serious barriers in the form of mud slides and road slumps, but the new truck carried me over. Minor slippage gave me a pang of fear due the severe slope of the rubble on the track and drop below it but all ended well. That day I walked a solid 8ks of river but did not see many fish. Possibly due to the high and slightly coloured water. I hooked and landed 3 out of the 5 I saw. All great fish up to 7.75lbs. When I saw the second fish of the day I decided I’d have lunch before I made my cast. Usually I take the shot quickly but this time I thought, “No, I’ll have lunch first”. The fish is always in that lie so I was confident I had all the time I needed. I had never caught a fish from that lie before, possibly it’s always the same fish but also quite possible that they move around a bit and a number of fish utilise the same lies, but thats another story! I ate my lunch and forgot about the fish. I thought about the season ahead and the one just gone. I usually bring a beer with me for my lunch, as I got to the end of it I moved to the rivers edge. I said a few words to the river and to whoever / whatever and shared a libation. I felt good. Happy. I packed up my stuff and changed my rig to suit the fish up ahead. He was still there. I worked on him for a while before eventually hooking him on a #16 nymph tied to a heavily weighted Hair & Copper to get it to depth. A really spectacular fish he was. Two of the three fish were. At the end of the day I got a lift back to my truck from Shane and Eddie from the Athol Hunting & Fishing Club. They were travelling the opposite direction but gave me a lift back anyway. Much appreciated, fellas! Every NZ angler knows the value of a lift back to the truck at the end of a big day on the river. They also gave me a cold beer. Legends.

Day 2 saw me battling the most mental winds I have ever cast into. To be honest, it wasn’t always casting, sometime it was a case of just fuck the flies at the fish. I cant think of a better way to describe it. The wind was gusting to 150kph so you know what I’m on about. The willow trees were roaring and I was always looking around to see if one was about to fall over. There was plenty evidence to support my fears. The good thing about the fish on the day was that they weren’t concerned by my bad casts. The piles of fly-line which I landed beside them for time to time just looked like another willow branch for them to avoid (there were heaps!). With all the movement of bushes and trees from the gales, me and my movements went unnoticed by the trout. I could get very close. Sometimes no fly-line out, just a short leader and tippet and slam the nymph down in front of the fish. Watch for the swing or any evidence of a take and lift the rod. I landed quite a few in the insanity! Good fish too.

My old mate Robbie Mcphee is joining me this weekend!

(as it turns out the weekend is now over and Robbie has gone back to Dunedin. I wrote this on Friday but didn’t get a chance to edit it! We had an amazing weekend with 11 trout between 5 and 10lbs. Watch this space!)

Happy Season everyone..

Ronan..

There are plenty of spaces in my guiding calendar! If you’d like to hire me as a guide, please contact me, 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..

Ps, please share on facebook or subscribe if you enjoy this!