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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan Creane’

Fishing with Ken Whelan and David Lambroughton…

February 5th, 2014 No comments

Last weekend I went to Waikia to meet and to fish with Ken Whelan and David Lambroughton. Ken has been working is Ireland since 1975 as a fisheries scientist and his work is well known throughout the country. He has been in charge of the Marine Institute, amongst other organisations, and has run many projects studying everything salmonid and beyond. I often heard his name when I was growing up in the Irish angling circuit so it was great to meet and fish with him to put a face to the name.

On Saturday Ken and I fished the Mataura below Gore. The day was very cold and overcast and not a day for David’s style of photography, so he did some editing instead. On speaking to a local angler we found out that there was no evening rise to look forward to. Also he mentioned seeing very few fish in the glass this season. This didn’t bother me too much. I took Ken to a favourite spot of mine with plenty of riffles. They were slow by Mataura standards but we managed to hook about 12 or 13 fish in the morning session, landing 4. We explored some new water in the afternoon but did not have much action. That said, I had a totally absorbing hour fishing to willow grubbers. I hooked and lost 2, but it was an enthralling 60 minutes.

Back at base that night the steak sizzled on the barbecue, beers were cracked and the craic was good. We spoke about all things fishing and non fishing until Ken and I got stuck in a heavy conversation about Irish seatrout, salmon and salmon farming. This put David to bed. It was great to speak to someone like Ken who has put his life’s work so far into the topic. I learned a lot and the following are a few facts I’d like to share.

1. Ken filmed what I’m about to outline with a childhood hero of mine, Eamonn De Buitleir. When Salmon pair up to spawn on the redds, the female will usually be accompanied by more than one male. This I knew! What I did not know was the fact that male par (3 to4 inches long) can also fertilise the eggs. This is the piscatorial equivalent of precision bombing! These little par can get right in amongst the gravel to deliver the goods right on target. What is not known is whether or not they die after spawning like most Atlantic salmon do. Pretty amazing anyway. If salmon do it, trout probably do too.

2.Most of us know seatrout as a sea fish which enters fresh water to spawn a number of months after arrival. In Ireland, most seatrout enter the rivers in July and don’t spawn until December. There is another strain of seatrout around the Irish coast which enters the rivers from the sea in December. They spawn asap and get back to their life in the salt in as little as 36 hours.

3. Ken told me about an experiment in which he needed a number of small brown trout to see how quickly they could adapt to saline conditions. The plan was slowly subject them to salt water, but for a reason he told me that I can’t recall they ended up putting all the trout straight into full on salt water. The trout appeared to be out of breath for a short while, but then they were fine. None died. These fish’s ancestry had not seen salt for 10’000 years. So estuarine fish can easily feed in salt and fresh without hesitation. My own fishing experience had suggested this, but now I know it.

4. All of the remaining wild salmon from Portugal, Spain, France and the South of England as well as Ireland, pass by the Aran Islands on their migration to their feeding grounds. To place a salmon farm right in this salmon corridor will put these wild fish in grave danger. No person has the right to give this proposed farm the green light. This is not just an Irish issue.

5. There were heaps more interesting facts, but I’m getting tired typing! Ken’s new book, Nomads of the Tides, is on sale now. I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m sure there is plenty info in the book which I can apply to NZ seatrout. http://www.medlarpress.com/8166-Fishing-Books-Nomads-of-the-Tides_by_McCully–Whelan.html

After a good nights sleep in a farmhouse bed, I was awoken by 12 gunshots from an angry farmer. The shots were fired while he roared like a man possessed at his dogs. Some may have died, I’m not sure. The insanity was at the next farm and neither I nor David or Ken investigated.

I think I heard of David Lambroughton a year or so ago. He’s a photographer and a fly fisherman. His work is vibrant and colourful, some may say too much so, but on meeting the man all the colour makes sense. I really like what I’ve seen of his work and some of it is simply spectacular. Check this out… http://davidlambroughton.com/?pageID=813801#

David made me his special concoction for breakfast. It consisted of juice, banana, oatmeal and other stuff all whipped up in the blender. It was guaranteed to keep us going all day. Shortly after, we all set off to fish a section of a favourite river of mine that I had never fished before. The water was ideally low. The river was pretty tough going, which was no surprise to me as it usually is. The slippery rocks were a surprise though. Like ice! I need to replace all my starbites on my boots. I have 3 left out of about 40! We were in the water almost all day. The banks were impenetrable. After about 4ks and 3 sighted fish we emerged from the forest. David did not get any pictures, which was his mission for the day. Neither Ken or I had a fish. Ken wandered on up river which was straight at this stage and flowing through easy farmland. I spotted one in a deep riffle which ate the nymph first cast. Shortly after I had another shot which I made a balls of. Ken had a shot to a rising fish on his bank without success. 100m from the truck I spied a nice fish, I put on David’s dry cdc pattern which he had given me after breakfast. First cast, the fish ate. That was it. As many fish in the last k to the truck as in the whole day up to then. That’s how it goes.

Ken and David, Thank you both for your hospitality.. David, Thanks for putting up with two mad Irishmen! I realise one is difficult enough..

The weekend with Sean McCarthy and the following weekend with the Wakitipu Anglers Club mission to Manorburn will have to be told in photo’s below because I’m all typed out!!!

To those of you who emailed me, I’ll get to you as soon as I can. Every minute of every day is accounted for these days, which is just how I like it!

Have a great week, Ronan..

Bacon & Egg pie and the perfect fishing day…

January 17th, 2014 2 comments

It was hard to plan any time away from home over the Christmas break. The forecast was never good for more than a day or two in any direction. I was not keen to drive for hours to meet rain and high, dirty rivers so I saved time and petrol and spent a few days on my water feature, aka Lake Dunstan. With all the rain, the lake has been very high which is usually a good thing. Daltona is still out of action so I was shore bound. When the lake was carrying some colour shortly after the heavy rain the fishing was great. I fished some mud and soft silt flats with a size 10 skinny bugger which was irresistible to the fish. Big enough to effectively fish blind, small enough to fish to a cruiser and light enough to use for the tailers in the weed beds. When the lake cleared, the bugger was ignored but buzzers and spiders nailed ‘em.  The seemingly gale force winds rarely relent on Dunstan. The only time it seems to drop is to change direction and this only lasts about 15 minutes. The odd time the lake is calm it’s amazing. The fishing to tracking fish on dries has to be experienced to be believed. I have not seen it yet this season! Fish numbers are good this year and the quality of the fish is the best I’ve ever seen.

At the end of almost a month off work with testing fishing conditions, the stars finally aligned and a perfect fishing day occurred unexpectedly. Jeff and I had planned to fish together and the forecast was okay. Then Fraser decided to join and the weather turned out to be perfect. Both Jeff and Fraser are great fella’s to fish with and this was the first time we all fished together. We worked as a team and did well with our chances. We spotted for for each other, which sometimes involved climbing up on rocky bluffs to get the perfect view down into the pool. We helped each other with netting fish, we passed on advise to each other when we could see something the angler could not, and I think we all made each others day a little better. Not all people are compatible on a river but we certainly are. We camped out that night. Fire, beer, food and craic. We woke to heavy rain and a rising river so we pulled the pin.

Fraser fishes with me when he can. He’s a busy man with his family, business’s, diving, shooting, fishing, travelling and more. It’s always eventful and fun to fish with him. The last couple of outing’s with me he didn’t do so well, but this time he did. Good casting to a travelling fish and first time accuracy to a fish feeding on station ensured 2 from 2 shots!

Robert and Linda, Thanks for returning my phone! That ancient brick was indeed mine.. Also thanks for subscribing.

Get your willow grubs out.. They’re falling!

Ronan..

Striking Gold!

January 2nd, 2014 2 comments

So far on this holiday season the fishing has been pretty average. The first mission to the coast with Guy and Jeff was okay, the second with Mark Adamson was a bit worse. The mouths didn’t fish well, but then, in truth, we did not really give them a serious run. One was too coloured, one was full of glacial silt but just fishable, and the tide was wrong when we had time to fish another. So if conditions were right they may have been epic, but my gut tells me otherwise.

Mark and I had 2 days on the coast. Day one we tried some mouths as I just mentioned, also a spring creek but it looked as though someone had been in there earlier that day with a chainsaw. Possibly to clear a run for a jetboat, or to get bulls out of a grazing area farther up the creek. A farmer told me that. Either way, It felt like a waste of fishing time being there. The water was spectacular though. We tried another spot with no joy, so we went to the pub for a steak and a pint.

Day 2 we fished a typical, large west coast river. It was high after rain but clear. I got one on a dry right away. Mark spotted the fish but as he was not set up, I took the shot and got the fish. It’s essential not to fuck around when an opportunity presents itself. Take the shot! Waiting for someone results in too many lost chances. I’ve learned this many times. We expected plenty more shots but unfortunately, they did not come. We got 2 each for the day, 3 on that river and one on a river during a quick stop on the drive home. So not many fish, but a truly great day in one of the nicest places I’ve seen.

My old friend Kevin Alexander, who you’ll know from many previous blogs, has just moved to Cromwell. We’ve been doing some gold dredging and some fishing as well as eating and some drinking. It’s great to have him and his family here and he’ll probably be popping up on this a lot more from now on. Soon we will fix Daltona! She’s been idle too long.

This has been a good Christmas so far for catching up with friends, especially Bob Toffler. Bob, I’m delighted that broken leg healed up and thank you for showing me your secret spots! I managed a 5 and a 6lber to finish off 2013..

Happy new year everyone from the thundery and rainy Otago night… I don’t know what’s in store but I expect I’ll stay in NZ, especially after reading about the Irish Budget. They’re squeezing every last drop out of those who remain..

Ronan..

 

 

Seatrout, The Craic and 29 blank free days for Joe Creane…

December 13th, 2013 3 comments

Firstly, To those of you who look forward to my ramblings, sorry this report has taken so long! Life is pretty full right now and my Dad was over for a month. Between fishing with Dad, work and life in general, I simply have not had time to write. I’m just home from a 12 hour work day so this is not the greatest time either! However, I’ll make a start while I feel fresh!

Fishing with Dad was great, as it always is. When he’s in NZ he fishes every day either with me or alone. Weather may put a damper on things from time to time, but it has never been the cause of a day off the water. Never. Fair weather fishermen we are not!

We took on lots of different types of water from small streams to massive rivers, lakes to sea, river mouths to farm ponds, boat and bank. For me, The beauty of  NZ fly-fishing is in it’s diversity. It’s not all about fishing to a sighted fish with a dry or nymph in a river. There are infinitely more options for an adventurous, curious angler in NZ.

One of the highlights was the West Coast. I almost decided against it because it was raining the day we left, but the forecast was good for the days to follow. I took a chance. It was a little stressful being in charge of where we fished and when! On arrival the rain continued to pour down and the rivers were high and coffee like. I thought I had made a bad choice.. We went to a river mouth and within 20 minutes I had a seatrout on the beach which went just over 8lbs. I had the Di7 on with a Mr Glister and a white streamer behind it. The spectacular, fin perfect fish ate the Glister. Thanks once again, Chris Dore! For the rest of the day the fishing was good. Lots of insanely strong Kahawai about and a good few trout. The weather was perfect for the next 2 days, light winds, blue skies and falling, clearing rivers. The fishing was the way it often is in the surf and at river mouths, there were chaotic spells with long quiet periods. The chaos was worth waiting for! Dad loved it.. Kahawai on fly on the magical West Coast was one of the highlights of his fly-fishing life to date. Also in 3 days the sandflies only bit him 3 times! Miraculous.. They preferred my blood.

We took on some rivers with small numbers of big fish. In Dad’s early NZ days, he’d have preferred quantity over quality, but not any more. I went through the same learning curve. It’s about experience which leads to confidence. With confidence, big fish rivers will no longer intimidate, only excite. A big, wild, solitary brown is better than 100 recovering, early season rainbows.

On one of these big fish days, after a long 1.5 hour hike over steep terrain I was feeling a little nervous. We saw no fish on the way downstream. If I was alone, I would not mind, but I’m a guide for dad in effect! I’m making the calls so I want them to work out, even though he insists he does not mind whether he catches or not. Soon after starting, to my relief, a fish appeared. I saw him deep in the eye of a pool then he vanished. I was confident he didn’t spook, he just moved. Dad got into position in the pool while I examined the water from a good vantage point. Then I saw him, barely visible against a black rock bluff. He moved up, then back down, happily feeding. I advised dad to have a cast at the ready for the next time re rose up in the water. The fish moved up in the water, dad sent in his double nymph arsenal which landed perfectly 10 feet upstream of the fish. As they passed him I called strike at the sight of an unnatural twitch and the fish was on. The fish fought hard; the battle went for a few pools down river before I managed to net him. 7lbs. One of a number of really good fish for dad on this trip. The pressure was off me! We had a fantastic day with 2 more good browns. At the end of the day we were back at the car. That’s the reward for walking downstream and fishing back.

While staying in Te Anau, my good friend Guy came up from Invercargill to fish with Dad and I for a couple of days. The weather was not so good at the time and the forecast was bad. Guy put his boat into a local river anyway and we were rewarded with a perfect blue sky day. We spent the day moving from gravel bar to gravel bar and also fishing from the boat as guy manoeuvred it to keep the caster in a good position. Not easy for Guy or the caster, but it was fun fishing and great to watch. The gravel bars were superb! Loads of fish feeding and non stop opportunities. They were not easy which made it better. The shear number of shots we had ensured we caught lots of fish. We had all the time we needed to experiment with different dries, emergers and nymphs and we got it right every so often. Or maybe probability helped, If you cover a feeding fish enough times he may finally eat, even if the fly is “wrong”. We kept some fish for that nights dinner. Guy and I made fish fingers!

No trip to Te Anau is complete without a visit to the Redcliff Bar and Restaurant. We had 6 visits. The restaurant was recently voted 3rd in NZ and 8th in the South Pacific by Tripadvisor. We ate there twice and you can take my word for it, it’s a well deserved accolade.

On one of the nights in the bar, the craic was good and pints were flowing. I was chatting to a fella at the bar about the state of NZ rivers. The conversation was mostly positive but then didymo came up.. Shortly after that he said “that fuckin’ liposuction is an awful curse too” I thought he was joking, but when I looked at him about to laugh I realised he wasn’t. I held a straight face and agreed. He meant lagarosiphon.

Enjoy the pics!

Stuntman Ronan..

 

The tide that almost took my truck… Twice!

October 23rd, 2013 No comments

Jeff and I hit for the coast early on Saturday morning. There had been a deluge of rain on the coast for a few days so there were no guarantees the rivers or their mouths would be fishable. The weekend forecast was good so we decided to chance it. As expected, the rivers were high and coloured but some were fishable. There were so many whitebaiters about that the coastal fishing looked like it would be pretty annoying with us tripping over them and vice-versa. They have always been very friendly with me and never put out the notion that they own the place so, with respect, we left them to the river mouths and we chose a river.

It was a big, intimidating river; still bulging after the rain but dropping and clearing. There is only one thing to do when faced with such a river and that’s take it on. Don’t waste much time talking about it, just do it.

We took it on with 2 set-ups. Jeff with a streamer, me with a dry-double nymph rig. Before long we spotted one which we did not get. It’s always good just to see a fish in a high, unfamiliar river. It boosts confidence. Not long after I spotted one in tough light, I only just saw the sweep of a tail. I got that fish. Jeff got one in the next pool on a streamer so we were both off the mark. The rest of the day went well. We had a few more fish on all methods, blind and sighted. When we got to a very tough gorge we decided to get out since we simply didn’t know what lay ahead and it was late in the day. We had an hour or 2 on the coast before nightfall after most of the whitebaiters had had enough. Jeff got one bright fish.

One of the my favourite things about the coast is camping with the roar of the ocean and having a raging fire from the abundant driftwood. We drove out to Haast Spit which is just such a location. I have camped here a few times without incident and I expected this time to be the same. On the way to the spot I knew, the track suddenly disappeared. I tried to feel my way around all the debris on the sand but then sank into it! “Bollocks” I said. The sand was grey, damp and in the tidal zone. With the tide rising there was no time waste. With Jeff pushing, and some tactical driving (at least I like to think so!) we got out relatively easily but we were lucky.. It could have been a disaster. A foot to the left and I think we’d have been air-locked into the sand. After that bit of excitement we made it to the camp spot. The sea was roaring and then a full moon broke from the clouds.. I had a moment where I though we should leave. With a spring tide approaching (which I did not notice when I checked the tide times) and the strong on shore wind, something didn’t feel right. I’ve learned something about myself over the years. The reason I take an odd risk is to see if I’ll get caught, and if I do, what will the consequences be?.. this is sort of in my subconscious and I’ve only recently learned it. It’s like something else takes control, giggling as it does so. I put my hesitation aside as I got the fire going and Jeff pitched his tent.

The rain came in hard and the wind blew, but the fire was hot and the beer was cold so we were happy. We were relaxed, chatting about the day and life in general when a wave broke a little close for comfort.. I shone the lights of the car which was facing out to sea. “Fuck” I said. The tide was close and the waves were big and messy. By my reckoning the tide was still an hour from full. Should we flee now? No, We’ll wait a while anyway (giggling inside). I got up to photograph a wave which skirted our camp but instead I ran and jumped onto the spare wheel on the back of the truck as a wave crashed through our camp. It hit the truck, the tent and almost put the fire out. Okay, now I was worried, we were worried. Looking behind us the tide was on the other side of the spit. we were almost surrounded by water. There was probably a route out through the driftwood but we decided to stay. We were on a relatively high point. We’d see it out. Many more waves crashed near camp. We sat on the bonnet facing the sea and watched on high alert, and waited. “I think were out of the woods now”  was said many times but the truth was that we weren’t. The tide was high and very close to camp for hours. It seemed like forever. We weren’t out of the woods. Another wave went through the camp about an hour after the first and another after that. If we were parked farther down the beach things would have been worse.. I might have had to try to get out. Our saving grace was the fact that I knew roughly when high tide was, but it all could not have been any closer! We were lucky too..

Finally the tide receded, the rain stopped and  the wind died. We polished of the box of beer, high on adrenaline and life with a cranking fire and a bright moon..

Day 2 on the river was much like day 1.

Ronan..

Badger with the bow and arrow cast & Craig the glisteriser!

October 7th, 2013 2 comments

There is a phrase skiers use after a really tough day skiing, They say, “we left it all on the mountain”.  That’s how Craig, Badger and I felt after our day on the river on Saturday. We left it all on the river.

We started early but were beaten to our desired spot by a spin fisherman and a fly-fisherman. I spoke to them and they didn’t really know what their intentions were. When I said I’d like to walk down and fish back up, they then decided that that was their plan too. Annoying, but they were there first and I’ll always respect the rights of the first angler to the river.

We went up river into some tough terrain and covered enough water for a full day fishing in half a day. The reason for this was the lack of fish. There were few opportunities to stop and fish so we just walked, climbed and searched.. At lunch time we assessed the situation. Do we continue up, or get out and try another place on a very crowded river? The going was tough, Badger had fallen in 3 times and his boots were breaking up and there were dam all fish. We decided to get out and take our chances elsewhere.

Farther down river there were vehicles at all the accesses. We picked one with only one car at it as we could see 2 anglers downstream so we thought we were in luck. We fished up. I saw, hooked and landed a fish straight away. Then I crossed and got another. Could we be so lucky as to be first here on the opening weekend at 1pm? It seemed so.. but then we spied 3 anglers walking down! We went and had a chat. They had been through this section already and their day was cut short by 2 anglers walking down from an access farther up. There were people everywhere! We continued up since fish were clearly out on the feed again and picked up 2 more. We went pretty hard in our afternoon session and had another big walk out.. We were all shattered at the end of the day. We sort of packed 2 days into one so it was not surprising.

The plan was to stay and camp but Badgers boots fell to bits so we went back to Cromwell. I had a spare pair that had only seen 6 seasons. Honestly, with fatigue and the number of people about I was happy to get out of it. I have a feeling Badger and Craig were too.

Day 2 we took on medium sized river with lots of runs and riffles. There were very few fish about which was surprising because it is usually a good early season bet. I picked up one fish that rose in front of me. After that we got out and tried a small creek. Not many fish as expected but we all got a difficult shot or 2 each. The highlight of the weekend was Badger taking on a fish under trees with no room for a back or roll cast. After manoeuvring himself lowly and slowly as close as possible to the fish he took aim with a bow and arrow cast and fired. The fish confidently ate his dry, the strike was well timed.. but the fish came off just as badger was about to horse it out of the roots!

Apart from picking up a cold on Friday night which has been getting progressively worse, It was a great weekend. We all got to know each other a little better and we will fish together more often I hope. The craic was good and there wasn’t a squidgy in sight!

Ronan..

Let battle continue…

October 1st, 2013 4 comments

My West Coast plans were dashed last Saturday morning when I got to lake Hawea and saw a “Haast Pass Closed” sign… I should have checked first I suppose, but I heard during the week that it was open so I didn’t question it. It really knocked the wind out if my sails. Where to go instead? I tried the makerora mouth but struggled to cross a shitswamp. My heart was simply not in it and this was enough to deter me. I looked at The Neck on Lake Hawea on the way back but I was not in the form for blind buggering. Sight fishing was out of the question with the conditions. I hit the Clutha Channel where it enters Dunstan on the way home. I gave in maybe 40 minutes and I’d had enough. It’s funny, I had my heart set on the coast and nothing else would do.

On Sunday I had a productive day sorting out my tying kit and tying a few flies for the rivers, many of which are open again today. Today being opening day is a big deal for the many who put the rods away for the winter. For me, and a few others around here like me, the season just continues. I didn’t miss a weekend on the water all winter! Maybe one come to think of it..

Have a great 2014 season everyone.. I plan to go harder than last year.

Ronan..

I’m back… I think…

September 27th, 2013 4 comments

Long time no report! My laptop was out of action for a while, then I lost my writing momentum and I had some other stuff.. It’s not always easy to keep this going! Lot’s has happened since so I’ll just skim over it… Actually I wont, the photo’s below the text will!

Daltona’s 1978 Johnson outboard would not start the last time I tried. After work today I drove to Queenstown to pick her up.. I had it parked up at Chris Dore’s place. She’s home now and I’ll fix it soon. My guess is something simple like spark plugs.

I want to talk about a few things but It’s just not happening. One of those things is the differences and similarities between sight fishing a lake edge and sight fishing a river. I’ll bring it up another time.

West coast tomorrow morning. I’ll leave here at 6am and get there a few hours before low tide. Weather is promised to be a mixed bag. Fairly light winds, huge swells (over 7m), sun, rain, clouds, all sorts! I’ll go and give it hell.. hopefully It will be fishable…

Next week I’ll get my writing momentum back…

Tight lines all!

Ronan..

 

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

August 27th, 2013 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This weekend? Who knows..

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

Ronan..

Ps, If you’re new to this and you enjoy it, please subscribe at the top right of this page!

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

Where the Rivers Meet the Sea – South Westland, New Zealand.

August 20th, 2013 No comments

Much to my regret, it’s been a few years since I’ve been to the west coast. I lived there for a while about 9 years ago and I have an unexplainable kinship with the place. It does something for my soul that I struggle to put into words. I feel totally grounded there, calm, sort of connected. After spending a couple of days there I feel better, happier, rejuvenated.

Day one. Paul and I travelled together in convoy. Paul brought a couple of Kayaks, one of which came off the trailer en-route! Those moulded plastic Kayaks are very tough. The road was no match for it. The Kayaks were a great advantage for getting to gravel bars and across lagoons and just general access.

The fishing was challenging. It was new to me so I was feeling my way bit, trying to read the water and get a feel for a good approach. Before too long I got a nice 3.5lber on one of Paul’s magnificent streamers. With the falling tide a drop-off came into casting range and that’s where the fish took. I expected more in the same spot but apart from a couple of touches, nothing. We each had a few more hits as the morning progressed but nothing hectic. After that quiet spell I hooked a big fish on low tide. I was using my Di7 to get deep. When I hooked the fish I was experimenting with a rapid, jerky retrieve. After beaching the trout I noticed something hanging out of the rear end, I pulled it out to find a good size green crab! I never heard of trout eating crabs but why wouldn’t they? I’d be more surprised to learn that they don’t eat crabs! With the rising tide, the already slow fishing pretty much stopped. Don’t get me wrong though, slow fishing does not mean bad fishing. I had great day with better company in one of my favourite places on earth.

Day two. Jo Meder joined me in the morning and we hit for the same spot as Paul and I fished the day before. I was keen to learn whether time of day was more or less important that time of tide. I expected the time of tide to be more important but it turned out that the morning was best once again. The same time as the day before but the tide was an hour higher! The last hour to low tide did not work at all and this was best the day before. All the action came in the same hour for me, I had 2 trout and a flounder. They all ate Jo’s silicone smelt pattern. In the afternoon we went exploring. I drove down the true left bank of a nearby river but did not get a good feeling. The water didn’t scream fish so I drove roughly 40 minutes, mostly off-road to the other bank… It screamed fish. It pays to heed your instinct.  Before long Jo was bent into a good one. The bar of silver took a white clouser fished deep. This was Jo’s best fish for a long time and made has 1200km round trip worth the effort. Soon after I was into one which took right on the corner between the heaving surf and the powerful river.  Paul Macandrews streamer did the trick again! This time a bigger one to suit the heavier water. Jo managed one more and then it went quiet.

All up the fishing was epic over the 2 days. Mostly pretty slow but the anticipation was always positive. Changing tides and conditions could improve the fishing at any time. Aside from the fishing, and at least as important, was the location. I cannot tell you what a special, magical, beautiful, ruthless, tough, powerful, spectacular place this is… I’m trying but words fail to do it justice.

“Go west young man”

Ronan..

Ps. Paul and Jo, Thanks for the flies, the company and the craic!

Also, some big fish in SLTV down at the bottom!!

 

In this instalment of SLTV, Ep 14, Big Fish Week part 2. We have the biggest campfire ever on the west coast (the last time I was there I think!), The good fortune went my way this week… I catch some really big fish including a double, or was it all a dream??? Have a look!