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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan’

Gorgeous Gorges…

April 17th, 2013 2 comments

Last Saturday I went and explored a bit of water I knew very little about. That’s what I felt like doing. I knew from driving alongside it at the start of the season that it had a 4-5k gorge which I thought I’d get through in the day. I’d say I got through 2ks of it max! It was very slow going with lots of climbs, some quite technical. I felt like spiderman with a flyrod at one stage, I was spreadeagled across a rock face over a deep pool inching along it very slowly! (A new super-power Kristian??) No risk of course; if I fell off, I’d land in the river, get wet and swim out. Next weekend is more gorge fishing. At the end of the season I’ll be kicking back with some friends in Lumsden for 5 days. We will fish short, fish filled sections of the Mataura each day. It will be so easy I might feel guilty. The walking and lack of climbing I mean! I expect the fishing will be challenging demanding good fundamentals.

Have a great week!

Ronan..

Ps. As you’ll see from my photo’s I have updated a lot of my gear. For info on any of these products check out http://manictackleproject.com/ The Lamson reels are so so nice!

This week on SLTV, Episode 5. New Zealand to Tasmania. Its not easy to fish, film, row, net etc all at the same time from a kayak! In this episode I beat Paul 10 trout to 4 on a lake in NZ, Then Paul beats me 5-1 on a lake in Tassie… That still puts me in front I do believe! But were not competitive at all…

Thunder and Lightning in Fjordland…

April 4th, 2013 2 comments

Take my advice and never go into Fjordland if rain is forecast. I learned this lesson in style one time. It rained, the river rose rapidly and we were on the wrong side of it. We rashly stuffed everything we had with us into our packs and attempted a 4 man crossing. This means we all link arms, put the biggest fella up into the current and the lightest lad downstream. We only just made it across to the safety of the rough track out.

Jeff and I had intended going into Fjordland together but I got caught up on the beer with some great friends from home so I was a day late. When Jeff went in, the forecast was good. A day later it was terrible. Heavy rain and storm was forecast for that night and for the next 2 days. With that forecast only a madman would go in but I had planned to meet Jeff in there so I went against my better judgement. Partly because I said I would and partly for Jeff’s safety’s sake. I know he can take care of himself, but my conscience would not let me rest if I did not go in, and what if the shit did hit the fan? It’s always easier for 2 to face it. He had no idea what was coming.

I got in, made camp, went for a fish, made a huge fire, chilled out, then Jeff appeared back after his day on the water. The rain had started but it was not too bad. The fire and wine kept us happy anyway. After our steak dinner it pissed down so we had to retire to the tents. Shortly after going to bed, thunder and lightning roared and electrified the valley and the rain got heavier. I was very close to getting up and getting out while we still could. Jeff was thinking the same but we both decided to brave it. The rain pounded the tents and the thunder storm was getting closer. Sleep was not possible. Again I thought we should go before the river got too high to cross but we stayed put. Then silence… and sleep.

The rain stopped during the night. We woke to nice morning, the clouds were high and white and moving swiftly across a blue sky but things felt settled. Or was that optimism? Maybe it was, I’m not sure. The river was high but fishable and crossable. To error on the safe side of caution we took our tents down and moved them to the safe side of the river. You may wonder why we didn’t pitch our tents there in the first place. Well it’s illegal. That’s true but the real reason is because I could not find Jeff’s camp when I got in so I made camp roughly where we planned to meet and also in an obvious, easy to see place. Jeff was camped way farther up than usual. When he found me we decided to stay there and take our chances as the rain was light.

Fortune favoured the bold once again. There was no more rain. The fishing was epic.

Ronan..

This week on SLTV, Part 2 of my introduction to the series. In this episode from Fjordland I modify expensive boots, break and fix my reel, Paul catches the ugliest fish, and we have a little competition. We catch 29 browns! But who catches the most??……

The Three 9lb+ trout…

March 19th, 2013 5 comments

It didn’t take long to convince myself to head straight to the river after work on Friday. Plan was to target some of those big fish from last week at night. After a long drive/hike/climb I made it in just before darkness fell. While the light was failing I took a few shots but everything spooked! This was totally unexpected. A week ago they were hard to spook during the day. I went up into the forest and made camp while giving the pool time to rest until true nightfall. I got a small fire going and set my sleeping bag on the forest floor. Once that was sorted I kicked back for a while and enjoyed the absolute peace with only the sound of the river. Then it was time to launch my night time attack! Unfortunately the night was so dark I simply had to shine my headlamp to get down from the steep sided forest to the bouldery river. This would not have helped my quest even though I kept it brief. The total pitch black night made it tough but I managed ample casts into the zone with no joy at all. I was happy to return to camp, drink some wine and eat some chicken from the BP, then a little more wine.  I slept soundly after that.

The next morning I thought things might be different. I fished from almost pitch black into daylight. When I could see into the pool I realised they were not in their usual spot. They were spooked. Right, time to move on.

I walked for a long time before eventually finding a pool with fish in it. Not one or 2 fish either, shitloads, and they were big! I had a dry dropper combo rigged so I started with that. I kept missing fish. Brief hookups then nothing. Finally I landed a silver hen of about 6lbs. Then more misses. After checking my rig I realised a hook was broken. Ok, start again. Forget that bad start. Re rig the way I know I should. But I was not 100% sure! I just ran out of 8lb tippet so I used 6 because I thought they were finicky.. I landed a fish on that but then broke in one. Changed again to 8lb scraps. Landed some more then lost all in a bush. Right. Straight 10lb tippet. The fish didn’t care and by now I had figured out the retrieve, depth and casting position.

Once I finally had everything right, I nailed it for a while. Eventually they got wise to everything I showed them however. This is normal. Then I launched a Mr Glister at them. The last of the big fish took it on the drop. For the day I had at least 20 fish events, probably 25. I landed 8. Five were between 4 and 6lbs and three were 9lbs plus. The best one was over 9.5lbs. No double but what an unbelievable day. If I started with the correct rig and method it’s not know the sort of day I’d have had. The thing is, I should have known exactly what to do from last weekend. Sometimes instinct is wrong! But that’s ok, that’s fishing and I’m learning. Some of the break off’s made no sense though. I even had 10lb tippet smashed! Maybe I’m not realising fully the sheer power of these fish. Now that I’m writing this I realise it! After almost every fish I had to change my fly because it was bent out. It takes lots of pressure to bend a Kamasan B175. Also the tippet had to be changed almost every time because it was scratched and frayed. These fish run with insane power, they bore under rocks, and whatever else they can, To land these fish you need to be almost as quick as they are to keep the strain on them, and keep the strain from the right direction. I realise fully that It was an amazing day, the best big fish day I’ve ever had but I cant help feeling that I should have done a bit better. I guess I always feel that way!

That day on the water was last Saturday. Sunday was my 22 year fly-fishing anniversary and St Patricks day. My first day was with Dad and Granddad all those years ago. Maybe my grandfather, Paddy, gave my some help on Saturday! Who knows… Here’s to him anyway! And Dad of course who is well and truly alive!! He’s planning his next trip to NZ.

Ronan..

Below the pics is this weeks episode from SLTV, “Camo Guy and the 9lb trout”  How apt!

ps. WordPress changed a bit, now you have to click a picture 4 times to view it full size as opposed to once before. What a dumb change.

In this episode Paul’s slightly competitive nature shines through, Hence the title of this blog! :DAlso you’ll meet Camo Guy. Guy has been a great friend to Paul and I over the years!

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..