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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan Creane’

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!

Schooled by Bess!

July 17th, 2013 No comments

Winter conditions have been challenging lately. A few weeks ago with some favourable weather I tried out one of last winters hotspots but it did not fire at all. Since then the weather has kept me off the water. On Friday, while trying to formulate a plan, I called a friend of mine, Craig Hind, who runs a fishing charter boat out of Queenstown and he kindly gave me some good information. I took it on board and put it to work.

Bess Bucholz joined me for the day. She worked as a guide in Wyoming for 2 seasons and now she lives here in Queensown. She’s a dead keen fly-angler / hunter so I’m sure NZ is getting into her blood as it did mine when I first arrived here over 10 years ago.

I warned Bess before we got to the boat launch that a day on the water with me is always a little risky. Anything could happen and often does. Only one day in two is free from mechanical issues or some other drama so be warned! Maybe I should have said nothing because the cold engine struggled to turn over with the weak battery. Then, after a few attempts, it burst into life… then died. Then the battery died. I took the lid off and wrapped the pull cord around the fly wheel and gave her hell.. She fired up but quickly died. It takes a delicate balance of revolutions v’s choke to keep her ticking over but the freezing cold morning took its toll. Once it’s warm it usually gives no trouble. The manual starts kept failing and I was getting worn out so I took the battery out of the truck which is brand new (The battery, not the truck) and connected that up. There was no more trouble from my 1978 Johnson engine. I was impressed that Bess was still happy to cross the lake with me! Many wouldn’t have..

We motored across the lake with a few spots in mind to try out. There was virtually no cloud in the sky and only a gentle breeze. Bess started with a clear intermediate and I used a Di7. I had a few misses at the first location but the second was better. I hooked and lost a few but discovered that the fish were deep. Bess changed over to a Di5 and quickly started hooking fish. When we found the hotspot, the method and the depth we had a magic hour. We hooked heaps but landed just 5. Two little ones for me and 3 good fish for Bess. I hope to get out again this weekend. I might try some more new water. Bring it on! I just hope the sun shines again..

Pints in Queenstown went down well that evening.

Thanks to Craig for the info! If you want to get out on the Lake Wakatipu, check this out. http://www.clearwaterfishing.co.nz/

If you like what you see and read please subscribe! Click the button an the top right of this page..

Stuntman Ronan..

“Tasmanian Tailers” link at the bottom..

This week on SLTV, Number 12. Tasmanian Tailers. In this episode Paul, Hairy and Myself cross a lake and then go on foot into some true Tassie wilderness in search of the elusive “Tailers”. We got some great footage of tailing trout and the craic that goes with it! Wine, snoring, cheese, early starts, weird spidery things, fishing, man-cooking, rain …. Enjoy!

James Wilkinson, Photographer Extraordinaire!

July 5th, 2013 2 comments

James Wilkinson is a  photographer and film maker. He is also a keen fly-fisherman and likes to photograph the sport when the opportunity arises. His work has appeared in and on the cover of Flylife magazine. James joined me for a day on Dunstan last weekend. He brought the rod along but the camera was given priority. Fishing was slow at best! I worked hard all day swapping back and forth between a Di5 and a clear intermediate. There were quite a few small fish about but I only landed one fish worth a mention.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable, invigorating day on the water. The cold wind never stopped blowing but we were clothed adequately. We’ll get out again once I find the winter rainbows.

All of the photo’s in this weeks blog are from James. Thanks mate!

Ronan..

This week from SLTV, number 11 in the series.. “Lost” In this episode Paul gets us totally lost in the Tasmanian Western Lakes by insisting that his shortcut would save time… We also learned to bring a proper map and compass next time!! This is worth a watch…

Searching Lake Wakitipu’s River Mouths…

June 11th, 2013 No comments

I have very little to report from last weekend. Dunstan was still very coloured from rain a week ago and so are many of the tributaries of the Southern Lakes so my options were limited. I went for a drive to Glenorchy on Sunday and fished all the stream mouths on the way. I did not have a single event! The day was spectacular and I got a few nice photos. I tried out my new Airflo Di8. It seems like it may be better suited to a double hander. The entire line is weighted which does not really make sense to me. The old 40+ line was better because once I had the head aerialised I could then shoot it up to 30m, maybe even more. The 40′ head was plenty to quickly get my fly to depth. I could only manage maybe 20m with the new line mainly because the heavy line was hard to pull from the water I was standing in as the line was shooting out. It may be fine from the deck of a boat though. Time will tell. I only fished with it for about 90 minutes so I wont judge it quite yet. I have no idea what I’ll do next weekend. June is the worst fishing month of the year down here. The river mouths should start to fire soon… Hopefully!

Tight Lines… Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Dry-fly fishing for sharks”. I fish with Australian politician Bryan Green for trout which appear like “Sharks” in the waves. Paul goes to Melbourne to teach casting. This is our most capped episode!… maybe due to the final scene where Paul and I (mainly me really) are clearly drunk.

A weekend Fishing Lake Dunstan from the Boat…

May 16th, 2013 No comments

Last weekend I fished Lake Dunstan. The top end of the lake has not fished consistently well this year but last weekend was pretty good. The browns are no longer on the flats, at least not in large numbers but some rainbows have taken their place. This makes sense because browns spawn first and I expect they’re now up river. The rainbows were present in high enough numbers to deliver decent fishing. I used a clear intermediate line with a long 10lb tippet and a wolley bugger. As I drifted off the shallow into the the deeper water I counted the line down a bit. this worked but most were in pretty shallow water. I hooked about the same number of fish each day, on Saturday I landed 6 and on Sunday just one. Three were around 5lbs which were the biggest I’ve had off the lake this season. All but one were rainbows. This is the first time this season that I’ve found rainbows in reasonable numbers. This does not surprise me though, I spent most of my time fishing the shallows which is brown trout territory. To target rainbows on Dunstan one usually needs to fish the deeper water with sinking lines.

This weekend I’ll be deep sea fishing with the lads from work. I’ll bring the fly-rod so I hope an opportunity to use it presents itself!

Please sign this petition to help prevent the worlds largest salmon farm being built off the West Coast of Ireland..  https://www.change.org/petitions/simon-coveney-td-minister-for-agriculture-food-and-the-maine-refuse-the-application-from-bim-to-put-salmon-cages-in-galway-bay#share

All the best..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Tasmanian Western Lakes part 1″ Paul and I take on a serious 4×4 mission into the Tasmanian Western Lakes. We get stuck before we start but Paul solves the problem while trying not to get stuck in the mud himself! John’s TCR bites the dust, You will hear some fantastic music from the Spa Pikers and most importantly witness some excellent fishing in a truly wild and beautiful (and sometimes cold!) place. This 2 part show is one of my favourites!