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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan’

A more careful approach…

November 1st, 2013 No comments

Robbie Mcphee and myself have a similar physical approach to a river. We go hard all day and try to see as much country as we can, fishing as we go. On the rivers where the going is difficult with obstacles such as boulders, gorges, cliffs and whatever else we tend to take them on without much thought. Big jumps, risky climbs and generally launching ourselves at the obstacle is the order of the day, especially if there is a fish in sight. Every day has it’s tumbles and we usually have a bruise or a scratch at the end of the day. On Saturday, as Robbie launched himself into position to take on a fish, he slipped and banged his knee, just like he did “100 times before”. He knew he did some damage but continued. We climbed over a steep hill to access more water and by the time we got back down the other side Robbie’s knee was a lot worse. We continued, but not for much longer. The pain became too much to bare so we had to get out. We had to climb to a nearby road and by this time the pain was excruciating. I went and got the truck as Robbie waited for me in a cave and tried to stay warm on a cold and wet day. By then walking was all but impossible. I took him to A&E in Gore where he was x-rayed. No brake. That was almost a week ago and he and his doctor are still trying to figure out the problem. I’m going to take a lesson from this. Less jumps, My knees are still good but not perfect so I’ll try to keep them that way. I will generally take more care on the rivers. That’s the plan anyway.

Day 1, Fishing with Robbie. A red letter morning! Heaps of fish out feeding and we caught 13.

Day 2, Fishing the secret dam with Kevin. We had 7, Some amazing moments with superb fish.

Day 3, Fishing alone. I wanted to see what Robbie and I missed out on on Saturday. I had 8 but only one after where we finished.

Another weekend has just landed and I have no plan as yet.. Beer maybe.

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..

10 Trout, 10 Kahawai and a Stargazer.. South Westland!

September 6th, 2013 2 comments

I could not resist the urge to go back to the coast for another mission. After an epic, full on Saturday catching 3 species I set up camp on a wild South Westland beach. Just myself, the sound of crashing waves, a roaring fire and a few beers under the stars. No better way to spend an evening! A whitebaiter woke me in the morning. He opened the truck to see if I was inside because he was worried by the sight of my vacant camp chair and smouldering fire. “I though you might have been washed out to sea” he said! We chatted for a bit, me still stretched in the back of my truck, and him leaning in the door. The whitebait season had opened an hour before at 6am. Shortly after our chat I got up and took on the day. Waking up exactly where you want to fish is always sort of magical for a fisherman.

The tide was going  out in the morning and fished pretty well but I was banking on the flowing tide to produce the best results like it did the day before. I had planned on taking a sea-trout and a kahawai home but it was not to be! Nothing happened after the tide turned so I went home empty handed! I’m curious to see what these sea / estuarine  trout are like to eat. The 2 days were completely different. I would have put money on the Kahawai coming back on the flowing tide but they didn’t. There are no guarantees in fly-fishing.

The fishing and whole wild experience was great as always! It fired at different times each day making it hard to nail down. Watching the place come alive with Kahawai was pretty cool. They were the biggest I’ve encountered. 10 trout, 10 kahawai and a stargazer (what a cool little fish he was!) in total. All the kahawai bar one were 5lb plus. My best brown was about 5lbs too. I didn’t get many trout pics because I caught most of them in the surf. No place to set up the camera and timer and I didn’t want to take the fish too far from the water.

I still don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow!

Ronan..

 

Where is the core?

July 31st, 2013 No comments

I think if I lived in any other part of the western world with incredible fly-fishing on my doorstep, there would be a core group of hardcore anglers who simply live to fish. Here in the the southern lakes region of NZ there are not many. There are guides who love their game but fish only a few days in winter, and in summer have little time to fish themselves, some keen anglers have other priorities such as family and skiing in the winter months, some just talk about it but rarely actually fish hard at all, I don’t see many young people getting into the game; these people should be the back bone of the sport but they are few and far between. The clubs seem to lack youth, though not due to lack of trying, and this is a shame. I find it hard to believe that in a place like this I don’t know a single person who fishes as much as I do. (If Jeff was here that would not be true!!) Imagine as a skier or snowboarder having every mountain to yourself every time you go out. That’s pretty much how it is for me throughout the winter months on the lakes. It was the same last year. This is a fun, exciting sport but it needs an injection of new life and some fresh thinking…. That, or just keep it for those who are currently involved. There’s an argument for both I guess.

All that said, I’m meeting up with the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club in a few weeks for a weekend on the Central Lakes and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m excited to see their approach to the water and how it differs from mine.

Last weekend I was hoping for bigger and better things but the lake fished reasonably well. I picked up a dozen or so fish over the 2 days, the best about 2.5lbs. They were all well marked and brightly coloured and a mix of browns and rainbows. The weather was good and unseasonably warm. There are not many places in the world where you can fish in the middle of a built up area with planes taking off over you all day, jet boats whizzing passed and numerous other water users about and still catch plenty fish. This is a truly superb place for a fly-fisherman.

I put my back out badly at work on Monday so I think I’ll be out of action this weekend.

Go have a winter fish! Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Backcountry Fjordland part 2. Sean, Fraser, Paul and I take on some wilderness for a few days. We all get some sort of bug on different days but manage plenty excellent fishing. Some great footage of fish eating dries in this episode and some great Blue Duck footage too.

Take it to the limit…

July 23rd, 2013 No comments

Last weekend I took on the mass of water that is Lake Wakatipu once again. It is a massive body of water at 80ks long and averaging 230m deep, 420m at the deepest point. Like all the Southern Lakes it demands respect. That’s not to say a fella can’t enjoy tearing along a trough, and then powering up and over a crest into another trough. At the end of day one, crossing back through the rolling swells was really exciting. Looking ahead, reading the waves and planning my route based on what I could see and feel all at 50kph. I could not photograph or film it because I needed both hands on the wheel and throttle. I’m sure I was having as much fun as the folks sliding down mountains..

I had 13 fish over 2 days. Day one was pretty choppy and the conditions cut my day a bit short. Day 2 I got out earlier and finished later. I had to deal with a sloppy wave at first caused by multiple wind directions. Once I got across the lake the water was pretty peaceful and the exploring began. I basically fished the mouth of every trickle, stream and river that I found. Most produced a fish or two. Tactics were simple; a Di7 with a weighted streamer fished over the drop-off. If I didn’t hook up very quickly I’d leave again in search of another mouth. The wind was dropping all day and the temperature was rising. It was a fantastic day on the water and I made the most of it. I checked the topo map at the end of the day to see how far I roamed, about 85ks! Now I know a full tank will get me about 86ks. Good to know.

I have a different plan for next weekend. More new water. Watch this space, I think something great will be in it!

Congratulations to my Dad, Joe Creane, on winning the McConville Cup on Bilberry in Co. Mayo recently. There are not many that will worry him on an Irish lough, and that’s a fact!

Tight lines all..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Ep 13. Backcountry Fjordland. In this episode Chris Dore gets married (Paul and I are groomsmen), we all get drunk a few times and we catch lots of fish.. even while hung over! Seriously though, some good footage in this!

“I’ll Fuckin Ram You”

June 6th, 2013 No comments

Mark and I were about 100m off the shore, drifting parallel to it and toward a heavy weed bed about 150m away. I noticed two anglers on the shore with their boat pulled up. They put in after we passed them by and started trolling down the shore. They were also heading for the weed bed which ran from the shore out into the lake across the line of our drift. My intention was to drift as far as the weeds with the most likely water being close to the weeds. The trollers were moving tight to the shore and as they got to the weeds before us they changed their course to follow them. I wondered when they would pull out to the back of us. They didn’t. They held their course and cut our drift about 10m in front of us. I reeled up. I was going to say something but thought, no, no big deal, they have no idea of lake etiquette, I’ll just leave it at that. We were clearly drifting. My engine was off and pulled up so a boat under power should give way, that is the rule. I let my boat drift close to the weeds before dropping the engine down to shallow drive to back out. Too late as it turned because I got the boat stuck in the weeds! While trying to back out the trollers started roaring back to us saying I cut their lines with my prop! They turned around to come back for a fight or whatever. I was looking forward to the argument because they were so much in the wrong. They came alongside us shouting like fools and I told them they crossed our drift, One of the lads tried to retort but Mark fired up and in no uncertain terms told him where to go. At this he said “I’ll fuckin ram you” and he roared off out in a circle with his 135hp engine and came back to ram us. My engine was ticking over and only for I pulled the bow around he would have hit us. He missed by an inch or 2. Mark was up on the bow (casting platform) at the time and as their boat passed at pace we were left sloshing in the white water behind the engine. Almost immediately after this idiotic act they left the lake. Maybe they had no more spinners. I was pleased to find my tires were not slashed when we decided to leave. We caught half a dozen fish.

Ronan..

This is my personal favourite episode from the SLTV series.. There is drama, broken trucks, broken engines, the world famous Peter Hayes, Hair, Oil, Fish, Mayhem, Wind, Rain, Casting…. It’s all happening in this episode.. Enjoy!

Fishing with Camo-Guy…

May 27th, 2013 4 comments

I travelled a few hours south to have a day or 2 on the Waiau with my good friend Guy. We got to the river with great expectations because it can fish very well late in the season. Guy was into one almost straight away while I was rigging up. He lost that fish. We struggled from then on. Guy hooked 3 or 4 and landed one, I hooked 2 and landed one. That was our tally of events for the day. We tried a range of methods from dry and nymph combo’s to swinging nymphs to swinging streamers. The next day the rain hammered down and neither one of us were keen on going out again.

This weekend has some great prospects! Two friends of mine will be over to fish so it may be time to take on the winter rainbows at the river mouths again. I hope the weather is good. The forecast for the next few days is for snow to low levels with extreme cold and wind-chill.

Tight lines all..  Ronan..

This week on SLTV, “Tasmanian Western Lakes” part 2.. Fish, 4x4ing, frozen tents, wisdom and wilderness!

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!

Aran Islands Salmon Farm? I hope not..

May 9th, 2013 4 comments

I found myself feeling pissed off at work today. When I thought about exactly why I was feeling that way the answer didn’t make me feel much better. A very good friend of mine in Ireland, Colin Folan, sent me a link to a “Prime Time” episode on RTE covering both sides of the Aran Islands fish farm debate. I’m totally anti fish farming using the methods adopted by the Irish salmon farming industry. I witnessed the decimation of sea-trout populations, mainly through my father’s eyes when I was a child. This collapse coincided with the first farms and within a few years they were all but gone (1271 sea-trout down to 21 in one year on the Lough Inagh Fishery and down to 14 the next). Salmon farms have continued to plague wild salmon and seatrout populations ever since through pollution, disease and huge infestations of sea-lice feeding on farmed salmon but easily latching onto wild salmonids as they pass by. The program on RTE highlighted the fact that now B.I.M ( Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Sea Fisheries Board in English) are behind a proposal to build Europe’s largest salmon farm just off the west coast of Ireland beside the beautiful Aran Islands. If this goes ahead when will it stop? Will the entire west coast be dotted with ugly, polluting cages? Why can’t we learn from our own mistakes or B.C’s or Scotland’s or Norway’s? IFI (Inland Fisheries Ireland) are opposed to the farms due to the threat that farms pose to wild fish and angling tourism. BIM picked a great time to sneak in with their proposal. Ireland needs jobs and the farm could employ lots but at what cost? If the wild fish populations are further reduced on Ireland’s west coast huge numbers of jobs will be lost in angling tourism. If money was put into promotion of angling tourism, preservation of habitat and re-population of wild fish stocks, jobs would be created both in the short and long term And we would have wild fish running our rivers for ever more. One thing that really bothers me in all of this is the fact the entire debate seems to revolve around money and jobs. The welfare of wild salmon and sea-trout for the salmon and sea-trout’s sake has taken a back seat. If you have ever stood beside a river watching wild salmon and trout run up and over a fall you will know what an amazing and utterly captivating sight and experience it is, If you have not and this farm goes ahead you may never witness this on Ireland’s west coast nor will your children. This brings a tear to my eye. The farm has not been given the green light yet so there is still hope. Maybe we will keep this wild fish resource and not give it up like we did our sea fishing rights and our oil.

Below is a link to the episode, Start  17 minutes in.

By the way, The BIM spokesman on the show made reference to the fact that wild salmon and sea-lice have coexisted for millions of years, (which is true in the wild), but he neglected to mention what happens when you pack a million salmon into a little cage. The lice will find it and their population will explode due the amount of available food. Also what happens in the open ocean cannot be accurately compared to the confines of a cage. I could see the No Salmon Farms At Sea spokesman chomping at the bit to retort but he never got a chance! And to Richard from the IFA, “Does it take 3kgs of wild fish to produce 1kg of farmed salmon?” he was asked, “No” he said, “it takes 600gs of protein / fish meal to produce a kg of farmed salmon” Well my question to him is, how many kgs of wild fish does it take to produce 600gs of fish meal??  Dam evasive politics.

http://www.rte.ie/player/nz/show/10146690/

Here is a link to a fact sheet from the I.F.I, Please take 5 minutes to read over it. http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=330&Itemid

Here are Minister Simon Coveney’s details.. http://www.finegael.ie/our-people/ministers/simon-coveney/

Please sign and share this petition.. 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

Stay informed!  Ronan..Ireland Sept 11 169_1024x768

Just Under 12lbs!

April 23rd, 2013 2 comments

Double figure fish are not easy to come by in NZ. In about ten seasons I’ve only had 2. I talk no shit about doubles. I carry an accurate weigh net so that I’m not fooling myself or anybody else. It’s important to me. So often I’ve seen photo’s of “10lbers” that clearly are not which dilutes the difficulty of attaining one. In seasons passed, I targeted big fish from time to time but never as much as I did this season. This season my objective was to learn some big fish rivers and target the illusive double. This I succeeded in. I learned a lot about a number of waters that hold really big fish and finally, last Saturday, I caught one.

Saturday started with disappointment. I got some info on where a number of fish were so I went there. Rain in the mountains earlier that morning sent a burst of high and coloured water down the river so I could not see in. I thought it would be hopeless but I had to go and check it out. Luckily for me the high water pushed a lot of fish out of the depths of the pools into the shallow tail water. The fishing was unreal. the first run up I took a  few on nymphs including my 11.9lber. The next run up I had a few more and lost a fish a LOT bigger, The next run up the streamer took a few and then I fished into the depths of the pool where I could not see and had a few more. What can I say, That’s the story.

Day 2 was in a different gorge, I caught some more fish, more climbing, a few tumbles, one of which left me grasping onto a tree for all I was worth.  The forested steep sided gorge was slippery with fallen leaves and wet from rainfall. You cant just amble up a river like this which is why I love it. When I’m there, I’m there in mind and body. Full on. Intensely focused on the river and the fishing and trying to keep an eye on where my feet are landing!

I was fishing to a small pod of fish at one stage during the day. All I could see was a few tails sticking out from behind a rock about 8 foot down. I pulled the my orange rubber legs through them a few times with virtually no response. Then I put down one of my own super heavily weighted streamers and they all went nuts. 3 chased, but 2 backed off. I stripped until I had tippet in my hand and looking at the streamer in the water with a very big trout behind it. I paused. He drank the fly like a Large Mouth Bass would and with the strike I was in. The fish went nuts beside me as I was perched high on a rock. I got control of the fish as I made my way back to shore. The big jack jumped and his belly was totally black, not dirty off white as sea-run trout get this time of year but a deep navy black. I really wanted to see and photograph this incredibly marked fish but the fly left him with the next head shake.

I’m struggling to put this together this week. The photo’s below tell a few more stories!

It was a dramatic, unforgeable weekend.

Ronan..

This week on SLTV… I think we were drunk editing this! Hairy sings a great song with some inspirational lyrics… and there’s some fishing!