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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan’

Cicadas to sea-runners to speeding tickets….

February 7th, 2013 No comments

Last Saturday Mike Bonn and I took the Wakitipu Anglers Club boat out on Lake Wakitipu to target Cicada feeders. I have not fished for trout feeding on Cicada’s very often but one observation I made in the past stud true on the day. The trout were sipping down the big morsels like little mayflies. There were very few smashing rises, In fact,we only saw about 10 free risers all morning. If they were smashing them we’d have seen heaps! They were clearly zoned in on cicada’s because our big, shop bought cicada patterns were all they wanted. I have often heard about fish hitting cicada’s very hard but I have rarely seen it happen. The truth is that once a cicada lands on the water he’s not getting off it again. Trout zone in on this behaviour after eating a few and instinctively adapt their behaviour to match ( I hope I worded that correctly Bob Wyatt, feel free to comment!!) Cicada’s range widely in size and colour so maybe they only sip down the medium sized grass green ones!! Who the hell knows.. Regardless, Mike and I had a great few hours on the water. Afterwards I went to James and Caroline Wilkinson’s Wedding.  Thanks James and Caroline.. Great fun had by all! (apart from getting a speeding ticket while trying to keep up with Jeff on the way the the river the next day!)

Wednesday, Waitangi day. No work so Jeff Forsee and myself set out to catch a big searun brown. I’m tired now so I’ll keep this short! Basically, Jeff had to open about 15 gates before we got to where we wanted to go, then a 300m climb into a gorge, then about 5ks of very rough gorgy terrain to get a shot at a handful of fish. They were tough! We each had a 7lber. I lost 2 more one of which I reckon was 9 plus. Then the walk out. Down the river first then up a stream, then up and over a mountain, down a gorge, and back out the same gorge to find the truck a few k’s down the track. Fitness helps about as much as stubbornness! My knee gave up but still worked. Thankfully it’s almost fine today but my legs are sore! Jeff said his were too and Kanai is still asleep. Was it worth it?…  Fuck yes.

Ronan..

 

 

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..

New Zealand – Ireland – Thailand – New Zealand……

December 14th, 2012 No comments

I’m at Christchurch airport right now and my bag is checked through to Dublin. Snakehead has just appeared on the agenda for Thailand in a few weeks so hopefully my next blog (probably in about a month but possibly sooner) will have 3 countries and multiple species in it which will make a welcome change from trout.. I’m happy to be heading home for what will surely be an epic trip.

Last weekend was tough. I broke in 2 fish which I shouldn’t have and one was possibly a double. I hooked 5 in total and only landed one. Day one brought tough sighting conditions but day 2 was perfect and I blanked! I fished lots of new water and I’m excited about getting back there for some really big days in the new year..

If I don’t get a report up before Christmas and New year I hope you all have a great one!

Fish hard..

Ronan..

Categories: Expedition Tags: , , , ,

Farewell Dale…

December 6th, 2012 No comments

Sean McCarthy from Tasmania was over for a month and we hooked up for a fish last weekend. The weather has been infuriating lately. Blue skies Monday to Friday, then the weekends turn bad. This weekend was no exception. The nor’wester was blowing at gale force both Saturday and Sunday and then Monday was beautiful. Thankfully the weather is crap right now so maybe this weekend will be good? The forecast looks good and I expect to be on the water with Graeme and Dorothy Williams From “Insight Flyfishing” so I’m hoping for the best.

Aside for the maddening conditions it was great to fish with Sean again. The truck was loaded up with all the gear needed for a full on fishing mission. It was like fishing with Paul or John again.

In a little over a week I fly home to Ireland for Christmas with the family and to be John O Malley’s best man at his wedding. I’m looking forward to the change of pace, Guinness, no 5.30am alarms, winter pike fishing, family, friends and some mahseer fishing in Thailand on the way back to NZ.

While writing this I heard the very sad news that Dale E Pearce has passed away. Dale, you will not be forgotten. I’m really glad that I got to know you. It was always fun to be in your company whether drinking or fishing! You’re a legend in my book. Thanks for the laughs! I often think of that weekend at Moke Lake when I ended up crashing in the back of your van with you! There were some severe hangovers the next morning and what a fright we both got! Tight lines mate.. (I will find that farmer where you said on Benmore and get permission to fish that water, or maybe I won’t get permission….)

Ronan..

Fear.

November 29th, 2012 No comments

The fishing was generally bad last weekend. Guy and I fished together in my boat for most of Saturday. Little rainbows were active at times and we managed a few browns. Peter, now a New Zealander but born in Hungary, had a good day on the shore but the numbers of cruising browns were way down on the Benmore I know, probably because the lake was so low. On a positive note the weed beds are as healthy as I’ve seen for years.

On Day 2 I was on my own. I went to one of my usual haunts to fish some flats, edges and backwaters only to be greeted by a howling nor’wester. The wind in NZ is unrelenting and often ruins the fishing. I started on the shore because I didn’t want to chance putting the boat in. I got one and lost one. The flats were as clear as could be with the right amount of water covering them and plenty weed beds evident. One can only cover so much from the bank so I walked back to the truck and put the boat in. I had to fish the flats and from the boat is the best way to do it. It was seriously hard going. The wind was pushing the boat down the drift so fast that I could barely strip fast enough to stay in touch with my fly. I need a drogue! Sometimes I’d throw out the anchor to give an area a chance but drifting, albeit at super high speed produced more fish. Conditions like this demand a lot from an angler. Casting, boating, angling, and sanity will be put to the test. I don’t know anyone else who would do this!

When I was walking back to take the boat out I felt some fear but I had no choice. The decision was made and in a sense I was no longer in control. Something else drives me at times, from somewhere deep inside and I’m glad it does. I’ve had some great and terrifying experiences because of it. Fear is good.

Ronan..

1978 35HP Johnson Engine…

November 15th, 2012 3 comments

Daltona has been sitting idle for too long. The last time I was out in her was with Mike Wilkinson and we had a series of breakdowns. First a blown fuse which I fixed with tinfoil, then the wire from the spark plug broke away from the coil. This we fixed with Mikes tapered leader (fishing line for you non fisherfolk). Then the starter motor started grinding rather than starting. This could not be fixed with my leatherman but by wrapping a rope around the fly wheel I could start the engine to get us back to safety. Today I finally got around to fixing the old outboard…

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..

Sunshine & Snow!

November 5th, 2012 No comments

It’s always hard to judge how much clothing to bring with you for a day on the water in NZ. The mornings can be freezing cold but the afternoons can get into the high 20’s and even more at times. I guess it’s better to have too much rather than too little. The weekend passed was truly one of extremes when it comes to weather and temperatures. We had a blizzard on Saturday after a beautiful sunny morning with blue skies, then occasional sun throughout the day between the prolonged heavy snowfalls. As Jeff and I walked down river on Saturday morning before starting fishing there were numerous stops made to take raincoats off and then to put them on again before the snow settled in for the majority of the day! Sunday started out freezing cold but warmed up to be a cracking, hot blue sky day. I brought an extra layer with me but didn’t use it. I nearly melted on the 5k walk out!

Fishing was tough all weekend. We didn’t get a heap of shots but we did have some great moments with trout unexpectedly eating our dries. I had one cruise up from about a meter down. That few seconds when a fish is rising up to take your dry removes everything else from your thoughts. It’s just you and him, you’re watching with absolute attention hoping he keeps coming and does not refuse. This one didn’t!

I also had a fish after about 50 casts and 4 fly changes. In the end he took the nymph stripped! I moved the fly by mistake in the previous cast and he chased it, so I tried it again on the next cast and it worked!

All up it was a weekend of difficult but enjoyable (as always) fishing and some extreme weather!

Thanks for the pics and the beer Jeff!

Ronan..

Impatience is a virtue…

October 30th, 2012 No comments

When I tell a non angler that I’m a fly-fisherman their reply is often “oh, I wouldn’t have the patience for that”. I tell them that patience is not necessary and I use myself as an example. I’m impatient and always have been. If I’m not catching then I move, I change tactics, I look, I think, I will persist until I get it right and if I get bored in the mean time then I go home (this has barely ever happened). If I was patient then I might stay in the same place doing the same thing all day. This might work at some stage but by changing and adapting based on what I can see in front of me and feel instinctively I believe I will do better. This ability, if you want to call it that, is driven by a hunger to catch and coached by impatience. I’d rather not wait for it to happen!

On Saturday I planned to fish one of the canals in Central for a monster trout. My friend Kevin Alexander had a 25lber the week before so I loosely planned to spend the day chasing one. The canal was pretty high and coloured, The wind was very strong and getting stronger, I saw no fish, I fished blind for a while but never felt like I had a chance so I changed tactics. I went somewhere else entirely, somewhere I had never fished before and knew absolutely nothing about. So much for my day on the canals!! It was worth moving however. Impatience is a virtue.

Ronan..

ps. Thanks to all my new subscribers! I hope you all enjoy the season ahead through my eyes as well as your own. If you haven’t signed up yet the link is on the top right hand side of your screen. The more the merrier!

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..