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Ronan’s Fly-Fishing Missions ~ News and Guiding Highlights!

January 13th, 2017 No comments

Once again, It’s been hard to find the time to write! I’ve been busy guiding, but this is also a very social time of year. Friends pass through on a regular basis, mostly fishing friends so we fish if I’m not working, and we drink a beer or two in the evenings. Today is a rare day in that I have the day off with the house to myself! Where do I start?!

Dad arrived on November 17th. A little later than usual but I thought this would be a good thing in the hope that the terrible weather we were having would pass. I didn’t! The conditions locally made many rivers unfishable much of the time due to rain, rain and more rain. Rivers ideally suited to 10 cumecs reached 200! It made guiding difficult too because most clients want to experience river fishing. Dad, on the other hand, is in his element on the lakes! We spent the first 3 days fishing together out of the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat. We had excellent fishing with a multitude of tactics from dries to buggers to nymphs, to di5’s to floaters to blind to sight. “Adapt when you need to” was the name of the game! We had 4 days in total from the club boat landing 55 trout up 5.5lbs. There is always great lake fishing to be had when the rivers are in flood!

When time off from guiding permitted, we hit the road for multi-day blocks. Usually 3 days. Conditions remained tough with lots of windy, dark days but you just have take what you get and make the most of it. Almost regardless of conditions you’ll get your chances if you put yourself amongst it. Walk, search, blind fish, spook a few, spot a few, catch a few! We had an occasional blue sky day, these were blissful and we made hay!

One of the highlights of dads time here was a trip to a small still water. Robbie Mcphee, Iza, Myself and Dad all went there for a day. I enjoyed it because I wanted Dad to figure it out for himself. I just suggested he hit the far bank and he’d know what to do. I knew I could advise him on some tactics I use but there was no need, he’s an instinctive lake angler with 60 years experience! He put a deadly method together over the course of the day landing 4 in the 6lb class. He fished 3 small spiders and nymphs, slowly working them over weed beds and casting to sighted fish when the opportunity presented itself. I landed a few crackers too. Iza had the fish of the day with a magnificent 7.25lb specimen. Robbie lost a monster and landed a few. Aside from the fishing it was just great being there with some of the best people on the planet.

I kept a good bit of time to myself over the Christmas period to fish. I recently bought a second hand 2 man pontoon boat and I was dying to take it for a test drive! Robbie and I took her on Dunstan for her maiden voyage and what a craft she is! Brilliant to fish off and easy to manoeuvre!! It’s total team work, the man on the oars manoeuvres the angler into the perfect position to cover fish. We landed plenty for the day! Some craic out there with the sun shining (Christmas day I think it was!) and a few beers in the cooler. It was mostly sight fishing with small nymphs and damsels. Since then we brought it to the coast. We checked out a lake for the day really getting to grips with how the boat handles. We landed 5 each on Day 1 Exploratory Mission.. that evening we went to camp at a nearby river mouth where we caught 2 kahawai and 2 seatrout from the beach and lagoon. The next morning the weather took a major turn for the worse with gales and rain. We got out of there as the rivers started to rise… very quickly!

On a recent trip to a favourite river of mine I got dive-bombed by a Karearea! He (or she) swooped down narrowly missing my head.. She (I’ve decided this angry bird is a she!) swooped again and again each time getting a little closer. I was watching her all the time, well aware of here whereabouts by her shrill cry. I decided to take out my camera and film her attacks. For some reason she had no interest in Robbie, only me. I filmed a few swoops, one of which came very close. We were walking all the time, not intentionally pissing off the old bird. Then all seemed quiet. I was walking in front of Robbie as we marched down river to fish back. Then WHACK. Like being hit hard in the head with an open hand slap, knocking my head to one side and my hat off my head. Robbie saw it all. The same bird has since knocked a a good friend of mine, Fraser Hocks, to the ground! Tough bird I’ll tell ya.. those are two hard heads!

In case you didn’t know, it’s willow grub time! You’ll be needing some of these.. http://stusflyshop.com/browse-by-gear/stus-superior-flies/mixed-packs/banana-fly-mix-x12/

For information and bookings see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com (More reading below!)

MY GALLERY

GUIDING NEWS

Guiding has been thoroughly enjoyable this season! I’m learning from it all the time, both for my own fishing and in becoming a better guide. There have been some tough days but then NZ trout fishing is challenging, there is rarely an easy option, you work hard for your fish! Fishing has been good lately.  The trout are looking up and are very keep to eat off the top. That’s what NZ summer fly fishing is famous for!

A recent 4 day road trip with a couple of Irish competition anglers is worth a mention. I knew these 2 fellas would be as keen as could be to get onto the water and immerse themselves in NZ fly fishing. They had almost 2 weeks to fish after their 4 guided days so my brief was to arm them with all the technical abilities they’d need to make the most of their trip and to have a great time while learning it! Day 1 was an introduction to technical fishing to difficult fish. Simple dry / dropper tactics with small flies and fine tippet did the trick. First time accurate casting was the most important thing. A very valuable piece of information to know first hand. Day 2 was about searching every bit of water. We found fish in skinny side braids, backwaters and main flows. This day also gave the lads a lesson in sight fishing riffles. They did well seeing these fish which can be amongst the toughest to spot. Day 3 was full on river Fishing! We successfully touched on blind fishing but it was mostly sight. They lads got to see first hand which fish are not worth spending much time on and which fish are. Watch the fish, see what he’s doing and act accordingly. Day 4 was all about blind fishing. Reading the water, fishing quickly and efficiently so as not to waste time and cover as much water (and as many fish) as possible in a day. Don’t repeat casts / keep moving. This 4 day trip really brought home the value of a multi-day trip for me. Multiple days mean I can take the angler to where ever the the fishing is best and impart some invaluable knowledge on NZ river fishing.

Some other great moments for me this season was teaching total beginners to cast in the morning and watching them progress to casting to, hooking and landing a fish before the day was out. This is truly a great achievement!

For information and bookings see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com

GUIDING GALLERY

 

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??……