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Posts Tagged ‘Sean Mccarthy’

Fishing with Ken Whelan and David Lambroughton…

February 5th, 2014 No comments

Last weekend I went to Waikia to meet and to fish with Ken Whelan and David Lambroughton. Ken has been working is Ireland since 1975 as a fisheries scientist and his work is well known throughout the country. He has been in charge of the Marine Institute, amongst other organisations, and has run many projects studying everything salmonid and beyond. I often heard his name when I was growing up in the Irish angling circuit so it was great to meet and fish with him to put a face to the name.

On Saturday Ken and I fished the Mataura below Gore. The day was very cold and overcast and not a day for David’s style of photography, so he did some editing instead. On speaking to a local angler we found out that there was no evening rise to look forward to. Also he mentioned seeing very few fish in the glass this season. This didn’t bother me too much. I took Ken to a favourite spot of mine with plenty of riffles. They were slow by Mataura standards but we managed to hook about 12 or 13 fish in the morning session, landing 4. We explored some new water in the afternoon but did not have much action. That said, I had a totally absorbing hour fishing to willow grubbers. I hooked and lost 2, but it was an enthralling 60 minutes.

Back at base that night the steak sizzled on the barbecue, beers were cracked and the craic was good. We spoke about all things fishing and non fishing until Ken and I got stuck in a heavy conversation about Irish seatrout, salmon and salmon farming. This put David to bed. It was great to speak to someone like Ken who has put his life’s work so far into the topic. I learned a lot and the following are a few facts I’d like to share.

1. Ken filmed what I’m about to outline with a childhood hero of mine, Eamonn De Buitleir. When Salmon pair up to spawn on the redds, the female will usually be accompanied by more than one male. This I knew! What I did not know was the fact that male par (3 to4 inches long) can also fertilise the eggs. This is the piscatorial equivalent of precision bombing! These little par can get right in amongst the gravel to deliver the goods right on target. What is not known is whether or not they die after spawning like most Atlantic salmon do. Pretty amazing anyway. If salmon do it, trout probably do too.

2.Most of us know seatrout as a sea fish which enters fresh water to spawn a number of months after arrival. In Ireland, most seatrout enter the rivers in July and don’t spawn until December. There is another strain of seatrout around the Irish coast which enters the rivers from the sea in December. They spawn asap and get back to their life in the salt in as little as 36 hours.

3. Ken told me about an experiment in which he needed a number of small brown trout to see how quickly they could adapt to saline conditions. The plan was slowly subject them to salt water, but for a reason he told me that I can’t recall they ended up putting all the trout straight into full on salt water. The trout appeared to be out of breath for a short while, but then they were fine. None died. These fish’s ancestry had not seen salt for 10’000 years. So estuarine fish can easily feed in salt and fresh without hesitation. My own fishing experience had suggested this, but now I know it.

4. All of the remaining wild salmon from Portugal, Spain, France and the South of England as well as Ireland, pass by the Aran Islands on their migration to their feeding grounds. To place a salmon farm right in this salmon corridor will put these wild fish in grave danger. No person has the right to give this proposed farm the green light. This is not just an Irish issue.

5. There were heaps more interesting facts, but I’m getting tired typing! Ken’s new book, Nomads of the Tides, is on sale now. I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m sure there is plenty info in the book which I can apply to NZ seatrout. http://www.medlarpress.com/8166-Fishing-Books-Nomads-of-the-Tides_by_McCully–Whelan.html

After a good nights sleep in a farmhouse bed, I was awoken by 12 gunshots from an angry farmer. The shots were fired while he roared like a man possessed at his dogs. Some may have died, I’m not sure. The insanity was at the next farm and neither I nor David or Ken investigated.

I think I heard of David Lambroughton a year or so ago. He’s a photographer and a fly fisherman. His work is vibrant and colourful, some may say too much so, but on meeting the man all the colour makes sense. I really like what I’ve seen of his work and some of it is simply spectacular. Check this out… http://davidlambroughton.com/?pageID=813801#

David made me his special concoction for breakfast. It consisted of juice, banana, oatmeal and other stuff all whipped up in the blender. It was guaranteed to keep us going all day. Shortly after, we all set off to fish a section of a favourite river of mine that I had never fished before. The water was ideally low. The river was pretty tough going, which was no surprise to me as it usually is. The slippery rocks were a surprise though. Like ice! I need to replace all my starbites on my boots. I have 3 left out of about 40! We were in the water almost all day. The banks were impenetrable. After about 4ks and 3 sighted fish we emerged from the forest. David did not get any pictures, which was his mission for the day. Neither Ken or I had a fish. Ken wandered on up river which was straight at this stage and flowing through easy farmland. I spotted one in a deep riffle which ate the nymph first cast. Shortly after I had another shot which I made a balls of. Ken had a shot to a rising fish on his bank without success. 100m from the truck I spied a nice fish, I put on David’s dry cdc pattern which he had given me after breakfast. First cast, the fish ate. That was it. As many fish in the last k to the truck as in the whole day up to then. That’s how it goes.

Ken and David, Thank you both for your hospitality.. David, Thanks for putting up with two mad Irishmen! I realise one is difficult enough..

The weekend with Sean McCarthy and the following weekend with the Wakitipu Anglers Club mission to Manorburn will have to be told in photo’s below because I’m all typed out!!!

To those of you who emailed me, I’ll get to you as soon as I can. Every minute of every day is accounted for these days, which is just how I like it!

Have a great week, 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.

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..

Big fish hunting and a bed for my truck!

April 20th, 2012 No comments

The end of the season is approaching and with all the fishing opportunities available to me I find myself going back to the rivers where a really big fish is always on the cards. A few days ago Simon Chu and I teamed up to fish together for the first time. We have know each other for a long time but not very well. One learns a lot about a fella during a day on the river together and now I know Simon a lot better and I look forward to fishing with him again. Not all anglers are compatible on a river. For example, some anglers move quickly and others slowly. A quick moving angler coupled with a slower moving angler means one or both anglers will get frustrated. Its important that both anglers fish at about the same pace and so work as a team, sometimes spotting fish for each other. Both Simon and I waste no time on the water.

Over the next few days I hope to catch up with my good friend Bob Wyatt. Bob has just completed his latest fly fishing book which should be on the shelves any day. I’m proud to be in it! Chris Dore and I will fish together one day and hopefully Chris, Simon, Bob and Myself will take on a river together. two up two down I expect.

Sean is heading back to Tassie in a few days so we won’t be fishing together for a while. He’s off to Invervagas for a farewell root but we may have a few beers on Sunday night. If not, All the best mate!

Sleeping in the truck has been uncomfortable lately so I went to the skip and got some ply and bits of wood to make a proper bed that I can stretch out on. I’m off the The Warehouse soon to get a mattress for it. Roughing it doesn’t have be rough!

Enjoy the photo’s! My big fish hunt continues…

Stuntman Ronan..

 

I put on wet socks in the morning…

April 11th, 2012 No comments

I really have no idea what to write about this week! I had some good fishing, camping and touring. I saw some beautiful places, I met some of NZ’s best anglers; One of whom I was watching in amazement about ten years ago in a fishing film. Robbie Mcphee is his name. He’s captured on film catching some really big fish!, I broke my TCX. That’s break number one. I broke my old XP 10′ 7 weight 13 times and currently all sections need attention. I broke John O Malley’s TCR 3 times I think (and his loomis and maybe his 10 weight pike rod!). Sage must love me! I guess that’s why the rods cost 1300 nzd. I don’t feel guilty but I should be more careful. What else? Some new water next I think. Maybe a lake. That’s all I have to say for now.

Ronan..

Food, Friends, Family, Fly-Fishing & Festivities!

January 21st, 2012 No comments

I’m back in Miena in the central highlands of Tasmania and it’s just as I remember it! It’s been difficult so far, reliable lakes and methods seem to have changed slightly so I’ll have to adapt. That’s my first observation and it could be wrong, time will tell.

After I left kevins company on the morning of December 26th I went to Te Anau. Feeling a little lonely and unmotivated I went to the Waiau River and quickly became motivated and content. There were fish about and they were feeding. I had excellent sight and blind fishing on both nymphs and dries. I had lost a lot of interest in this river of late because I thought fish quality and quantity had deteriorated. I was wrong; the fish were in top condition so I was in no rush to any other river for the time being. I had a few days fishing alone averaging 11 a day before Sean arrived to join me for a few days from Railton in Tasmania. You may know Sean from such films as “Big Fish Week part 1 & part 2″. We tried some lake edge fishing which was pretty unproductive so it was back to the river! Stefan from Sweeden was not too far away so he came to join us for a while.

On the last day of 2011 Stefan and I fished together. That morning session on the Waiau with Stefan was everything I love about fly fishing. Stefan was easy to fish with and sharing the water was a pleasure. So I guess that’s the first thing, good company. The second thing was the weather; we had a perfect blue sky day with a gentle breeze in our favour. The fish were out in great numbers and feeding. The condition of the fish was as good as I’ve seen on this river. Sight fishing with nymphs accounted for most fish but the dry also worked. My “Standard nymph for NZ” nailed ‘em, particularly a size 10 grey version. (There’s a blog about it’s tying from about 2 years ago!) I gave one to Stefan and he started cleaning up with it after a slow start. It was pretty much constant action with superb fish; many of them were around 5lbs, both browns and rainbows, which is 2lbs over average. I had one of about 7.5lbs which is a trophy on this water and my personal best off it. Another angler came to fish the same water and since we had such top class fishing already we left it to him with half the water untouched. We blanked on the section we went to next! Perfect!

This was of course the festive season so Sean, Stefan, Myself and Ruth (a friend from home working in Te Anau) took part as one would expect. Good food, friends, fishing, festivities and The Redcliff Bar made it a Christmas and New Year season to remember.

And so after a very fast 3 months in NZ my visa was almost up, so I was Australia bound. Melbourne for 10 days catching up with my brother Conor, Matt (also in “Big Fish Week”), Paula 22, Tim, James “the rock” Simpson, kate and Jess. Lots of good times, eating out, pints and pubs. The highlight of the trip was The Great Ocean Road. Some say it should be renamed The Good Ocean Road or even The Ok Ocean Road but I thought it was pretty great.  Conor and I borrowed Matt’s car and spent 3 days driving down the coast. We got lost briefly while wandering off a marked track to check out some serious ocean swell and stunning cliffs. We had to bush bash back to the car which is not a good idea in Australia.. Especially if you’re wearing shorts! All’s well that ends well… Sincere thanks to you all for all your help with accommodation and lifts to and from the airport! Matt, when I visit you in Canada I’ll expect my own bed!!!

The next blog will be up soon and it will be all about fly fishing in the Tasmanian Highlands.

Do what makes you happy!

Ronan..

Ps. My good friend Bob Toffler broke his leg recently but this has not stopped him fishing. River access is a problem however! Bob lives in Balfour. I have a favour to ask any of you who can help. If you know of any river in the Balfour area or beyond where a fella could easily drive to, set up a chair and sit on it and wait for a fish to rise please let me know. roundstoned@yahoo.co.uk or facebook me. I’m the only Ronan Creane.

Thanks in advance!