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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan Creane’

Strip-Striking Trout…

January 31st, 2013 3 comments

I’m just in from my best Dunstan outing so far this season. I had 10 in 2.5hours, All but one on a single simple mayfly pattern I tied for the Mataura last season. I started with a bugger and caught one. I often start this way to connect with the lake. Once I have a feel for what’s going on I adapt to my environment. The fishing was fast and exciting. Fish were up, tracking along the surface and rising multiple times. One fish, which I did not catch, rose about 100 times, constantly changing direction. I got my fly in front of him a few times but he was locked on to something else. The fish were rising like caenis feeders on Lough Corrib so I’m guessing their main diet during this rise was something tiny. I never thought to have a close look in the water and find out! It didn’t matter anyway. The important thing was to be able to put my fly about a foot or 2 in front of a tracking fish, any more and the fish would probably change direction and not see my fly. There were no mayfly hatching by the way. The lake should provide this sort of action for the next few months and I’ll be in the thick of it.

A few years ago while fishing for lake edge cruisers with a single nymph I found myself strip striking! I’ve been doing this for a long time now and this is why.. When you see a fish approaching (or cruising away from you!) you get into position and take your shot. You know roughly where your fly is as it sinks. You watch the fish carefully looking for any change in direction or movement of his mouth when he is nearing your fly. If it moves you strike. If your almost sure, you strike, maybe. If your 50/50 you strike?? I don’t, at least not with the rod. If you strike with the rod and the fish has not taken you will probably spook the fish. If you strip strike you gain 3 advantages. 1, If the fish has taken you will hook up with the strip strike. 2, If the fish has not taken your fly, your fly is still in the zone. Finally 3, you are far less likely to spook a fish with a strip strike as you would be with a rod strike. With a failed rod strike you also have to recast! There are other applications for the strip strike in trout fishing. It’s very useful when lure fishing. A fish might be so close to your fly that you think he has it taken. Don’t strike with the rod! Strip strike and keep your fly in the zone. The strip often induces a take too..  Try it out if you haven’t done so already!

Tomorrow night is card night for the boys (I won about 150 bucks last time) and on Saturday I’m off to James Wilkinsons wedding. James did you invite some single women?? I sure I’ll squeeze in a few hours on a river somewhere… but maybe not!

Thanks to all my new subscribers! I will endeavour to keep this interesting.. Below are some random shots from about 2 weeks ago to today.

Tight Lines.  Stuntman Ronan..

Probably the most beautiful trout I have ever caught!

January 21st, 2013 6 comments

After walking all day, getting very few shots and only a small fish each, Mike and I were ready to pack it in. There were a couple of backwaters just up ahead so I suggested we take one each before quitting. Mike took the small one while I took the big one.. I made a few blind casts with the bugger out into black water while carefully spotting the edge. No sign of life. I figured there were no fish in it and looking at Mike fishing his backwater I think he thought the same. Then to my right I noticed movement. I looked and saw a fish of at least 8lbs. He was very close to me so ducking suddenly would have been more likely to spook him than just standing still so I made a very quick, short cast to intercept his path and then froze.  My only movement was short retrieves to give life to the fly. Suddenly a big gold flash from the dark water and the fish was following…. I stripped line until the fly was about 4′ from the rod tip, then I thought the fish ate so I struck. I was wrong. The fish disappeared into the black with an unhurried pace. I took a few short casts into the vicinity but nothing happened. A few moments later, assuming the fish was spooked, I hitched the fly and started reeling in. Then it happened again. God spoke! Honestly, I dont know why but I unhitched the fly and took a final shot and nearly had the rod pulled from my grip. Immediately the fish jumped and I knew what I was into; a very big, spectacularly marked brown trout with an unusually red tail. I knew it’s tail was red because I could see it glowing with the sunlight shining through it as the fish jumped repeatedly in the first minute of the short battle. Mike came straight over with the net. He saw the fish as it jumped and knew he had to help. This fish was too important to lose! After a few short lunges away I got his head up and Mike netted the fish. I weighed it, then we took a few quick photo’s and released him. It was truly one of the most amazing, rewarding, satisfying, thoroughly electrifying, fish I have ever caught.. An end to a difficult day that put both Mike and I on a natural high. One fish can really turn a day around!  We stopped on the way home and had a beer or 2 at the local. Deserved!

Ronan..

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9.25lbs of happiness.. Hence the slightly manic, ecstatic grin!

Addicted to Craic…

January 15th, 2013 1 comment

NZ is a calm country. When kiwi’s hit 25, having the craic becomes less important and priorities change. It’s not so clear cut in Ireland. Having the craic is always on the agenda. Not necessarily priority but not far from it. At least it is with my friends. This craic addiction coupled with 3 weeks of shite weather kept me off the lake every day bar one. The photo’s tell the story. It’s a simple, pikeless one!

I had 20 days in Ireland and spent one fishing. I have no regrets! The reason for the trip was to spend Christmas with my family, have the craic with my friends (the likes of which I simply don’t have in NZ) and to be John O Malley’s best man at his and Bronwens wedding. Thankfully I didn’t mess up the speech (they told me it was good anyway!) I was a nervous wreck before it! After it I let lose and went banana’s. We all did.

I had serious intentions to fish in the north of Thailand. I was going to book in advance but the mahseer fishing was about 1200usd for 3 days. Bollocks to that. I quickly found some great people and some funky bars and my craic addiction took over. I fished one day which was pretty expensive and not so great so I was not overly keen on going again. I have no regrets. 6 nights, one day fishing and dam all sleep.

Ireland and Thailand, Thank you… I needed that!! I really needed that…

Ronan..

The Secret Dam.

November 11th, 2012 1 comment

Dad and I used to joke about how trout in NZ would live in a puddle. The truth is that this is only a slight exaggeration. Farm irrigation dams, duck ponds, oxbow lakes, ditches, gold diggings, and every other imaginable body of water can and do support thriving trout populations in NZ. What’s in the water over here that makes this possible? Fish & Game introduce fish to some of these small waters but trout often find their own way in either through times of flood or little rivulets and streams. Either way, once they’re in they live there for years and have no problem surviving the winter months. In Ireland stocked lakes have to restocked at least once a year because so few fish survive the winter in their new, unfamiliar home.

Kevin was working on a farm last year which had 2 small dams on the property. The location was kept secret but finally he brought me to fish them this weekend. I’m forbidden from bringing anyone else there and I can only fish there with Kevin. This is fine by me! One could walk around each of the dams in 5 minutes. There is a small water race connecting the dams to a nearby creek and the ever opportunist trout have made their way into these waters. Over Kevins 2 weeks working there he picked up over 30 trout on lunch breaks and evenings with only 4 under 7lbs. This is an exceptional average even for NZ.

We had beautiful blue sky days during the working week but Saturday brought heavy cloud cover making spotting very tough. Thankfully the morning on the dam was dead calm and we managed to spot a few even in the low light. We did well with our chances. As the wind picked up we went to the creek which feeds the dams. We hooked a fish each. A 6lber for me and one about 8lbs for Kevin which he lost around a snag after taking my advise on where to beach the fish. We know where he lives!

Tight lines all.. Ronan..

Approaching a coloured river…

October 24th, 2012 3 comments

The weather was pretty bad all Labour Weekend. I took a chance and went to one of my favourite rivers on Saturday, It was coloured as expected but fishable, only just though! I made a poor choice to start with and went upstream. The reason I went up was to get above 2 feeder streams that pump a lot of colour into the main river after rain or snow. I thought it might be reasonably clear above them and it was, but crossings were difficult and I knew they would get harder and more hazardous in the gorge. So after not seeing a fish all day I walked half an hour back to the truck, then drove down stream a bit, then walked an hour down at 3pm. I considered getting out because it was so late in the day but that would be losing!

With renewed optimism I took on the river again. While getting a read on the river I hooked a fish blind and lost it. Then I sighted a fish on a sand bar, it took a number of casts but I got him. 7lbs. I decided to give up on the blind fishing and concentrate on spotting the edges which I could just about see into. I found a fish in a similar position to the last, on a sandy edge inside the eye, so I figured I was on the right track. This approach worked. I sighted 7 for the day, all in similar water. I hooked 6 of them and landed four. 7lbs, 5.5lbs, 5.5lbs, 8.25lbs. All on nymphs. This day would have been well suited to streamers but I prefer to nymph fish when I can. It would have been interesting to have been fishing with another angler using a streamer to see which method was more effective. Certainly the streamer would have dragged a few from the body of the pools blind… well, maybe!

I caught up Chris Dore and Simon Chu for the rest of the weekend, We discussed shipping a Irish lakeboat to NZ amongst other things. It will happen! Just not now..

Ronan..

The New York Times. Fish Stories, Told With a Brogue….

October 3rd, 2012 No comments

I just dug up this article from The New York Times written about me 13 years ago. Go google!

 

By Barbara Lloyd
Published: November 28, 1999

 

A book by the fire at the Lough Inagh Lodge looked ever more enticing than sitting in a boat on a chilly day as the mist outside turned a darker gray. But who among us could resist those fly rods standing so nobly in the back hallway of this County Galway fishing lodge?

”Have you ever fly-fished before?” asked Ronan Creane, the lodge’s guide. ”Yes,” we replied in unison, as couples do. ”But not a lot.” My husband, Dick Baker, had once cast in the river waters of Oregon and Wyoming, and I had dropped lines from the deep Alpine grasses of northwest Montana. But this was a mountain lake on the west coast of Ireland, and we soon found ourselves getting in a boat.

It was a 19-foot skiff, a narrow wooden hull that looked like the Rangely guide boats of woodland Maine. One pull of the six-horsepower Yamaha, and we were heading against a freshening breeze along the four-mile lake. Our cache of wet flies — a bibio, a black pennell and a few daddy longlegs — filled an arsenal meant to lure sea trout, brown trout and Atlantic salmon.

The Western Regional Fisheries Board for the Connemara region has reported a decline in sea trout here the last few years. But it is still a popular fishing destination. The Irish Tourist Board estimates that more than 6,000 North Americans fished Ireland’s coastal waters for sea trout last year. During our late September day of fishing on Lough Inagh, we were the only boat out.

Our guide, a disarmingly self-assured 21-year-old, left no doubt that we would catch something. Creane had just beaten his father, Joe, an international competitor, in a local fishing derby the day before. How he did it was a tale of perseverance that fired up our determination.

Creane, you see, had selected a secluded spot along a nearby lake and waited for the contest to begin. The rules prohibited fishing from a boat as we were allowed to do on Lough Inagh. From the shore instead, our young guide had mounted a daylong fishing vigil. But in the excitement of competition, he had forgotten his rain gear.

Rather than go back to shore for his jacket, Creane kept casting. As his clothes got wetter, he got colder. So he began disrobing; doesn’t everyone? He removed his clothing piece by piece. Then he spread his sodden shirt, pants and underclothing on adjacent bushes, hoping they would dry as the rain began to abate.

No one else was around, which was part of his plan. He was sure he had picked the choicest fishing hole, and was not about to leave it. Not even when it meant fishing in the buff.

At the end of the day, Creane, fully clothed once again, delivered almost nine pounds of fish, a sizeable catch that put him in second place in the competition. The winner’s total weighed only three more ounces than Creane’s. Better yet, our young guide had beaten his father, who finished in third place.

We latched onto the story eagerly as we began our day of fishing. Creane had turned off the boat’s engine, and we were drifting down the lake with an oar put out to the side as a rudder. But in less than an hour, dozens of thwarted casts revealed our rookie inadequacies against the fitful breeze. Try as we might, our lines got tangled like used kite string. We hooked everything on the boat but each other, and that was going to be next.

Creane, undoubtedly fearful of being hooked himself, suggested a change of pace. We would troll down the lake with the engine running. Had we been self-respecting fly-fishers, we would have nixed the idea. But we were desperate.

Within minutes, I had the first strike. It was a salmon, albeit a tiny salmon that looked more despondent than I had been. The next catch proved to be a heartier sea trout. Measuring about one pound, it came into the boat with a little kick, not unlike the cutthroat trout I remembered landing several years ago in Montana. We threw my Irish fish back as part of the lake’s catch-and-release policy.

It was a whole lot harder to throw back the next one — a two-and-a-quarter-pound brown trout that Creane said was easily the third largest brown caught on the lake all season. Since we were there in late September, and the fishing year had started in February, I felt a bit smug. But I was not alone. Creane was beside himself with enthusiasm.

”It’s a lovely fish,” he said excitedly. ”To catch a brown that size, the chances are very slim. The biggest fish here this season was 3.2 pounds. Will you send me the photo?”

An hour later, Dick landed a brown that was quite nearly the same size. I could swear it was the same fish. Either way, they were big fish for Lough Inagh, and beautiful. On the way back to shore, I thought I noticed a wistful look on Creane’s face.

”I’m very jealous that I didn’t catch one of those fish,” he said.

I was touched. ”I’ll send you the pictures,” I promised

 

 

 

Affirmation…

September 18th, 2012 No comments

I had to go back to my hot spot one more time if for no other reason than to confirm my own expectations. Mike joined me. We got to the zone to find it very coloured after all the recent rain but there was plenty suitable fishing water just outside the murky stuff. As expected most of the fish were gone bar a few small lads, though Mike had a good brown and rainbow. There was a beautiful moment where mike and I got to see a superb brown inhale Mike’s Mr Glister a meter from the boat. Mike was in a bit of shock but managed a slightly delayed strike! We could have stayed in the same area and probably caught a few more but for me this was an opportunity to explore because I knew the majority of the fish were now in the river. A few ks away was a magnificent bay. The mountains seemed even more dramatic from inside it. There was plenty of feature and contrast (dark and light, weed and sand, deep beside shallow etc) to support some exciting summer fishing. This is also a great camp spot and there’s a small lake I want to explore not too far away. If you figure out where I’m talking about I’ll see you there!

We made it back to my old truck safe and sound but after fixing the fuse in the morning there were a few unwanted engine events during the day. The coil connection broke a few minutes out the bay and the starter motor wore out a cog in the evening. All easily fixable when I get a chance.

Tight lines and happy boating! Ronan..

Mike Wilkinson’s reports from the same day are below! Interesting to see his take on the day compared to mine. You’ll have to cut and paste the links because I cant highlight them.

1. http://evolutionofaflyfisher.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/boat-fishing-with-ronan-always-an-adventure/

2.http://evolutionofaflyfisher.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/part-ii-boat-adventures/

Getting bogged, catching fish, exploring, living…

August 19th, 2012 No comments

Next weekend I only have Sunday to fish so I made the most of this one. I would have anyway of course! I got out for 2 hours on Friday evening on Dunstan. I had a few events and one I converted into a landed fish. It looks as though the browns are starting to put on some condition.

Saturday I fished alone. I went back to the spot that’s been treating me so well lately and once again it didn’t disappoint. I put the boat in but due to the lake still dropping and incredibly low I could not submerge the trailer. I thought after I left the boat on anchor to find a spot where I could submerge the trailer to make it easy to get the boat out again at the end of the day. This turned out to be a bad idea as I got bogged and lost the first hour and 20minutes of the day digging the truck out.

Once I was on the water my slow start was forgotten about. I was made eat my words a little during the fishing day, something that happens me quite regularly. 2 blogs ago I spoke about the takes from depth being certain and solid and having a 12 event day converted into 12 landed fish. Well on Saturday I converted about 20 events into 5 fish! I lost about 5 really good fish at the stage in the fight just before the fish gives in and slides into the net. It’s generally unusual to lose a fish after being hooked up solid for a few moments. One could dwell on ways to fix this, or wonder if one was at fault but statistically everything will happen eventually so the best thing to do about this unusual occurrence is nothing. Thanks John O Malley! After landing 17 out of 17 hooked pike one season, John assured me that statistics would even things up. He was right. I think I lost the next 17.

Today (Sunday 19th of August) I fished with Mike Wilkinson. I decided we should try some new water. It’s important to explore. If you don’t you won’t learn much. The main thing we learned today was not to go back, not that it was terrible, there’s just much better water available not too far away. The fishing was slow and difficult but we managed a few fish. Thinking hard and always making sure we were covering water with some feature or contrast made the difference. Boat fishing is not chuck and chance. I’m always 100% aware of the type and depth (within reason) of water I’m fishing over. Maximise on your fishing day by only fishing the best water. Local knowledge is not so important. It’s instinctive. Like a river a lake can be read.

Back to the necessary evil tomorrow. Tight lines all! Good fishing with you today Mike!

Ronan.. (CI, Joiner, Fishing host by appointment)

 

August on the Southern Lakes…

August 8th, 2012 No comments

My laptop has died, this time for good I think so I’m using a 15 year old computer to put this weeks report together. Not an easy task. To say it’s slow would be an understatement! It seems to be working however so I won’t jinx it..

Last weekend I had intended to fish Saturday and Sunday on one or 2 of the Southern Lakes. Friday night was a late one so I fished the second half of Saturday on Dunstan. It was very good! There were lots of fish moving and I had a few but they are still on the thin side. I have not encountered any rainbows out there so I’m guessing they are either out deep or up the river. I tried the sinking like on it without much success.

Saturday was different! I motored across a nearby lake (not Dunstan!) to try some totally new water. I got to an area with a small river flowing in and some dead trees sticking out of the lake. The water here is cristal clear which makes the drop offs clearly evident. I started with a clear intermediate line and a woolley bugger drifting along and over the drop-off. This gave me a good start but something was telling me go deeper, so I did. Much deeper in fact. I used a Di7 line from Airflo which is bacically a 40 foot superfast sinking shooting head on intermediate running line. I fished it with my 8wt tcx. The wind was idealy light so I could cover water but still have time to let my line reach depth. usually 10-20 foot. My technique is to cast it out about 25-30m, let it sink for various amounts of time then slowly (sometimes quickly!) retrieve it back to the boat. Some people recommend a short leader with a sinking line so that the fly quickly follows the fly line at whatever depth its at. I dont agree with this. I prefer a long leader and allow the first few retrieves to get the fly to the level (depth) of the fly line. A long cast is an advantage with this method because after the fly has reached the depth of the line you should still be far enough from the boat or back to prospect a lot of water. Also plenty fish take the fly as its diving to line level. The longer you can effectively keep the fly from the fly line the less fish you will spook. Takes from depth must be experienced to be believed. They are usually certain, clean and solid. On Saturday I hooked 12 and landed 12.

This is my first NZ winter in ten years so this fishing is basically new to me. I have just realised a type of fishing that consumes my thoughts. I want to on the water and no where else but I have to work. The world is all messed up. It should be 2 days work and 5 days fishing.

Ronan..

 

Lake Fishing in Winter…

July 7th, 2012 No comments

Things have been quiet on the angling front lately. The days are short and cold but fishing opportunities are available if I go and look! The days I have gone in search of trout have not produced much lately but last weekend I took the Wakitipu Anglers Club boat out with Nick Moody and had a really good day. There were only a few fish where I expected to see many and they were not in form to chase a woolly bugger and no other search method grabbed me. Wolley bugger or nothing! Searching was the order of the day. This is the norm for speculative lake fishing from a boat and I really enjoy it. Nick was new to it and at times I could see his confidence in the area’s we fished lapse a little. You have to have total confidence in every cast to nail blind lake fishing. Eventually we found a good area and for about an hour I had some exciting fishing. It didn’t happen for Nick but it will. With time and practice new methods and techniques take root and develop.

Ronan..