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Posts Tagged ‘Ronan’s fly fishing missions’

One of the Best Fly Fishing Moments of my Life!

February 7th, 2020 No comments

I’ve often been asked “so, what was your greatest fly fishing moment?” Every time I draw a blank. When I think for a while something pops into my head – usually something recent because its fresh. Those fly fishing highlights tend to fade but it’s important try to keep them alive. Reliving the memory can be almost as good as being there. I learned that from my friend Robbie Mcphee. I have to say, for me, most of the great highs were with catching big fish. This was one of those.

I fish this river once or twice a season. It requires a long drive and decent hike but the real reason I rarely fish it is out of respect for the fish in it. There are not many and I always feel like it could be a pressure sensitive fishery (if it got any pressure). The most I’ve seen in a day is 6 but usually just 2 or 3. I’ve seen none a couple of times too. I remember the first fish I caught on it 5 years ago. A big, incredibly beautiful 9lber. I caught him blind fishing a deep pool with a streamer. Certainly in my top 5 most beautiful fish. Also a great moment of fly fishing.

I visited the river earlier this season. Wandering up the river paying close attention to the spots where I had seen fish over the years, not seeing any. It’s tough, rough terrain but you have to cover a lot of water to have a real chance at success. I was seeing no fish and feeling a little nervous that I may not get a shot. I got to the pool where I caught my first ever trout on it – that stunning 9lber. I couldn’t see any in there. I kept moving upstream, a scramble to the next pool over some steep boulders and matakauri took my attention off the river. As I found solid footing I glanced down, “holy flip” I thought.. then it dissappeared.. did I see anything? Did I spook it? I kept a low profile and watched and waited. Then he reappeared – Rich golden sides and a green back. A big fish – maybe a double. He was moving around the pool emerging now and again from a deep riffle impossible to see into. I altered my rig to suit the scenario. A big indicator dry and a long dropper with a weighted size 12 nymph. I waited for the best opportunity to cast. “Don’t rush this” I had to tell myself. Then the shot presented and my line found it’s way into some tangle weed. I tried to keep my cool but failed and ended up loosing my flies in a matakauri bush. “compose yourself” I said. “Start again”. I wait and wait – no sign for ages – but then there he is. I wait a little longer for the fish to get into the optimum position. I sent in my cast. I saw the fish see my nymph and rise up through the water to get it. The moment he turned I struck – I don’t know if my dry moved. The fish was on. A very powerful, fast run into white water at the head of the pool, I played the fish to the limits of 3x tippet to keep him away from the sharp rocks and undercuts. He didn’t want to leave the pool and I didn’t want him to leave because there was a 6 foot waterfall down to the next pool. I almost had him in the net a couple of times and then he started moving towards the fall, “no, no, NO” I remember saying out loud as he slid over the fall. I considered jumping in but it was dodgy. I had to climb down. Back up the steep boulders to get down the other side. Much harder attached to a big fish. Trying to keep a tight line to the fish while keeping the fly line out of the tanglesom matakauri proved impossible. The line got caught as I climbed down. I slipped and fell the last bit and smacked the reel breaking the rod tip (that happens!) but I still had tension on the fish, just not a straight line from the tip my now shorter rod. The flyline was caught about 12 foot up in the matakauri bushes and the broken bit of my rod tip slid to the dry. I jumped a couple of times and managed to free the line while trying not to loose tension. The fish was still on. I got into the river where there were no more obstacles and slid the net under the fish. I roared out loud with happiness. I took a moment while admiring my prize trying to take it all in. “I recognise you” I thought. It was certainly the first fish I caught on the river 5 years ago. A quick weigh and he’s still 9lbs and living just one pool away from where I first caught him. I took 2 photos with my 10 second timer and let this magnificent creature back into his original pool. It was an utterly fulfilling fly fishing high. Whenever I get asked that question again, this story will do, but there are a few I feel privileged to say. That was the only fish I saw that day and I won’t go back this season.

Guiding has been going great! Happy anglers catching fish in all conditions. A while back I had a week with Chuan. Always fun, never afraid to take a gamble. He caught a fish of a lifetime – a fabulous 11lb brown. Many more great fish too in a diverse week where we took each day as it came. Planning ahead just didn’t work with a very mixed week of weather and inaccurate forecasting.

I’m way behind on blog photos but I didn’t want to add any more here – it just feels like too many and you’d get bored looking at them!

Still some space in April and plenty in May if anybody would like to come over and see what this is all about. Check out my website or email me at ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Monster Trout New Zealand…

October 24th, 2016 No comments

October has been a difficult enough month! Mainly due to lots of rain and snow-melt keeping many Otago and surrounding rivers high and difficult to fish. I saw this as an opportunity to go well away from home and try to lock in and learn some new water. I had a hunch about an area to try and what I found blew me away. On my first visit to the powerful beast that is mystery river X, I found quite a few really big rainbows.. huge actually. I landed one of 14lbs and lost 7 more (shit happens!). I took my good friend and big fish specialist, Robbie Mcphee for a look recently. He managed an 11lber, a 7lber and a 4. I landed an 11lb salmon, totally unexpected and immensely powerful. I passed the pocket water where he was hanging out having not seen a sign of life. Then something splashed behind me. I thought it was Robbie stumbling on the slippery rocks but when I turned around I saw the remains of a splash on the surface (not Robbie falling in, but a fish!). I went back, changed my fly to Stu’s Sonic Minnow and made a cast.. First cast I had a follow from a big grey ghost. I kept working the water.. 10 casts later I was connected to the biggest New Zealand salmon I’ve hooked. After a great battle Robbie put him in the net. I also had a few normal sized trout. This piece of water is still good but I expect these big fish will get off the shallows and back into the deep, heavy water before too long..

If you’d like to get in touch about guided fly-fishing in the lower South Island then drop me an email ronan@sexyloops.com or check out my website, http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

If Stu’s flies have piqued your attention, look here! http://www.stusflyshop.com/select-your-species/

 

 

GUIDING HIGHLIGHTS

If not for local anglers and regular clients, Bryan Wrighton and Tim Proctor, October would have been a lean month! We recently had a 2 day mission on two very different rivers down south. With a narrow weather window between one front and another, I made the call to take it on. Thankfully it worked! Day one had us fishing on a river which was high and a little coloured. I chose this river for day one because these conditions suit it, it would also give day two’s river a chance to settle and clear a bit. The common denominator over the 2 days was high, slightly coloured water. Perfect for streamer fishing.. well, usually. The streamer barely got a chase over the 2 days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these conditions not suit the streamer down to the ground! Fishing is always able to throw you a curve ball! Thankfully there were good numbers of fish out feeding and reasonably easy to spot. They were not easy to catch however, (they rarely are!) but Bryan and Tim did well to land 9 quality trout over two days all between 3.5 and 5lbs. Most fish were beautifully marked, in great condition and very strong. We’re out again soon so hopefully we’ll produce the goods again..

 

Tight Lines all!

Ronan..

Ps. Dont forget to check out Sky TV this October 31st. Jeff Forsee and myself will be doing what we do best on episode 6 of “Pure Fly New Zealand”…

Early Season Extravaganza!

October 11th, 2016 No comments

A few of days ago while planning a day fishing for myself, I was surprised to see a perfect weather forecast. Blue skies all day, gentle southerly blowing and a high of 15c. “With a forecast like that for a Sunday I better set off early” I thought. The following morning I was away before dawn. It was a long drive to the river. There was rain first off, then it stopped, then it started again and continued. “Weird” I thought, “It’ll pass”. Before I left internet coverage I decided to check the forecast again in case I made a mistake. I did! I got the forecast for a town in the USA with the same name.. Lesson learned!

There was no going back, and I didn’t want to.. I was excited to take on whatever conditions nature would throw at me. I got a mix of sun, rain and wind all day. High, slightly coloured water too. A streamer day I thought but I ended up catching most sight fishing with small nymphs. Any fish I saw was hard out feeding just below the surface and they were keen to eat my offerings. My own size 16 nymph and one of Stu’s Superior Nymphs did the trick.

The best moment of the day was spotting a large fish swing to the right from behind a deep boulder. I though I had spooked it but wasn’t sure.. I took off the nymphs and tied on a Glister. I slung it across the pool slightly upstream so that it would cross the boulder on its way down. Up from the gloom came the large fish and engulfed my streamer. I lifted into solid weight and the fish played to his strengths and stayed deep. Just under 7lbs. He made my day!

I’m playing catch-up a bit with this blog! Some pics go back to last winter, others from a recent trip to the canals where I finally cracked a big one; 18.5lbs of ugly! Fishing with Guy, a mission to the Coast with Iza, Robbie Mcphee’s 43rd birthday.. Enjoy the pics!

I’ve known Stu Tripney for pretty much as long as I’ve been coming to NZ. He, his shop and his flies have become legendary over my 15 years in NZ. This season I’m putting Stu’s flies through their paces and I’m more than happy with the results. Check them out! http://www.stusflyshop.com

I’ve had a couple of days guiding which have been good, and a few more coming up over the month. There are plenty spaces available and October is a great month! So maybe its time to get yourself down here for a day out! ronan@sexyloops.com for bookings and information.

One more thing, Just in case I don’t get a blog out before October 31st, thats the day mine and Jeff’s episode of “Pure Fly New Zealand” airs on Sky TV in NZ… Good reports from the director so here’s hoping he’s right! http://www.manictackleproject.com/pure-fly-nz-coming-soon/

Tight Lines everyone!

Stuntman Ronan (It’s on my license!)                ronan@sexyloops.com

As of now, 2.00pm on the 12th of October, my website is live! www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com