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Posts Tagged ‘seatrout’

Never a Dull Moment on the West Coast!

September 9th, 2014 2 comments

Iza and I decided to hit the Coast the weekend before the whitebaiting season opened. We took the Friday off work and went over on Thursday afternoon to make the most of it. Forecast was for blue skies and light winds, Iza got a nice seatrout on arrival, the tides were just right. It seemed we were in for a great weekend.

Friday was magic. The magic hour turned out to be about 3! Trout were smashing bait on the surface. As the tide rose the fish moved in the estuary farther but they were easy to follow. In my experience over there its unusual to see trout on the top for long periods so I rarely use a floating line. I had the di5 on which was not ideal. I did not want to change to a floater for fear that by the time I went to the truck, rigged another rod and came back it might all be over. In most instances it would have been but today it continued. I put a small surface popper on the tail which held up the flies for a bit longer. A decent compromise I think! Iza had 7 on the soft plastic and I had 7 on the fly. I’m sure I’d have had more if I had a floater on. Such a fun day.. That night we ate a sea-trout, some smoky bacon and noodles. A roaring fire to keep to chill away.

On the way south on Saturday the front right wheel started to lock up, tugging at the steering and growling at me. We were near a garage so we left it there while the mechanic was away. We fished the Haast river below the bridge for a couple of hours, It was a short walk from the garage. I spotted a good fish on the edge as soon as I got to the river. First cast with a nymph the 4.5 to 5lb fish ate. I hooked him but quickly lost him. Not the reprieve I thought it was going to be..

Back to the Garage, “cant be fixed til next Tuesday” he said. We grabbed a few essentials from the truck and set off hitching before the road closed for the day. The Diana falls slip is a serious inconvenience to all my coast missions. We got home in darkness.

The following weekend we went back to get the truck with its new front right bearing. We picked up from where we left off the previous weekend. This time though there were whitebaiters everywhere and the tides were not ideal but the weather was still perfect. Its hard not to feel that your in the way when trying to fish a beach where whitebaiters are fishing. They move along the shore with their big nets at a slow pace, equally spaced apart. When they get to the end of the beach, they empty their nets into a bucket and get back into the line-up. I approached a group of them and asked if I could join the line-up. No problem at all they said, so I did. I moved along with them, they each had a net; I had a rod. The pace they move at is about the same as I do so it worked perfectly. It’s important to chat with them though, and not just bulldoze in. Etiquette applies here too and their season is short. I got one decent Kahawai from the line-up.

There is usually water that whitebaiters can’t fish that we can. Rough water, big swells, strong currents etc. Not always ideal for a flyrod, but I’ve usually been able to find something when the beach gets a bit crowded.

Day 2 and a different river mouth. Early morning during the last hour of the flowing tide came the magic hour. There were no whitebaiters working because the current was too strong but I found some swirling water off a sandy point. Amongst the swirls was some good holding water so I worked it with my di5, 12lb maxima, 8wt TCX and 2 streamer rig. I got one of around 2 lbs and then hooked a good fish which took off out into the fast flowing tidal current.. ran and ran.. way into backing.. I had to run after him. In doing so I tripped over a log and flattened myself onto the beach, line went around the rod. I picked myself up, untangled the backing from around the rod tip and the fish was still on. I was sure it was a Kahawai, had to be with a run like this.. Then it came up and rolled on the top about 60 yards away.. A trout I thought.. pretty sure. Not huge but big.. I followed him while reeling in and beached him eventually. 5.5lbs. Finally! A good one.. That was it, When the tide turned to go out it went dead and stayed dead.

The end of 2 eventful weekends on the West Coast!

This from a few weeks ago with Mark Adamson..

Pigeon and Pig island on lake Wakatipu were a good plan B after Mark and I were unable to launch the boat into a very low Diamond Lake. Over the course of the day we sight fished from the boat around the islands with some success. We also blind nymphed it and buggered it with some good results. The Greenstone mouth came to the rescue after the islands went quiet. To our surprise there were a decent number of rainbows rising to chironomid where the river meets the lake. We got 2 on dries. We also had good sight fishing in a backwater near the river.. It’s a day I’m looking forward to repeating. Lots of potential, particularly the shallow water between the islands..

Ronan..

ps, lots of extra photos in the slideshow at the bottom this week..

 

 

A day in a gorge without a net… or food..

April 3rd, 2014 No comments

I forgot my weigh-net and my lunch. After climbing into the steep sided gorge I broke my glasses. What a start! The prospect of not being able to verify a double, should I catch one, worried me more than the difficulty of landing a fish in a gorge without a net. A day without food I can live with. I tied my glasses back together and took on the day.

I fished to a decent number of fish over the course of the day. They were off, not feeding, dogo. Some were incredibly spooky, some allowed me to get a second shot in but then bolted. I took various measures to beat the situation; long leader, extra long leader, fine leader, small flies, streamers, single fly etc but it didn’t matter. I could see from the manner of the fish that they were not playing. They were sitting very still, tail barely moving in the glassy tails of the pools. I pushed on, I decided that on a day like this, my only chance was to cover lots of river and therefore more fish.

At around midday after an early start, I found a small brown happily feeding in a slightly riffled tail of a pool. I put on a dry and he ate it first cast. The bigger fish, seatrout, were still dogo. Try as I might, I could not get a hint of a positive response. Nevertheless, I was happy in my surroundings and still confident that I’d find a decent fish on the fin. Time flew by and before I knew it I was approaching the last pool of the day. I spotted a big fish at the tail. I quickly took my shot. Nothing. Five more shots, still nothing. Streamer… the fish sidestepped the fly and then bolted for cover. I took a few more steps to look up into the pool before climbing out of the gorge and walking out. There was a decent fish on the fin. Ha! I got into a good casting position but could no longer see the fish through the glare. I went back out of the glare to see the fish and mark his position off an overhanging rock. Back into position and I took the shot.. the fly landed where I wanted it to. I watched as the tippet sank beneath the glare.. The tippet was being pulled under at a constant rate by the single weighted nymph. Suddenly, the sink rate increased, just by a little. This was evidence enough to strike. The fat hen fish jumped repeatedly then charged up the pool, while trying to get under every rock and ledge on the way. I landed the fish, took a quick photo and then happily climbed out of the gorge. I had a secret farm dam in mind for the next day…

This weekend? Coast?? Not sure yet!

Ronan..

Falling down holes…

December 24th, 2013 No comments

I tried to warn Jeff about a deep hole in the ground. I had just spotted it and managed to avoid it. I turned my head and called back to him. The message just made it to Jeff’s ears as he fell down the hole. It was pretty deep and a very funny moment. Watching someone fall over is usually funny. As the day progressed we both took a few more tumbles down holes hidden in the long grass. At the end of the day while rushing back meet Guy who was waiting for us, Jeff fell pretty deep into a hole. He got out, then fell into another. I had time to take a picture. I laughed loudly as he struggled, cursing out of the hole. Once he was out we continued our trek out. Our conversation turned to falling down holes. I was telling a story of how I just missed out on a 7′ drop earlier that day and then on to a story from the Tasmanian highlands. Just as I got to the good bit of the story (the fall!) I vanished from Jeff’s sight. My right leg went down a hole and did not reach the bottom. I was left bent sideways in the hole from my left leg to my chest, which took all of the impact. I was a bit winded and shocked but unhurt. All I could hear after some all too  brief concern was Jeff’s Laughter, shortly followed by my own. I dragged myself out of the hole and continued. Within a few steps my bent hip was straight again.

The story of our 3 days on the coast is told in the photo’s below.

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Happy Christmas everyone! Guy and Jeff, Thanks for an eventful few days!

Ronan..

Seatrout, The Craic and 29 blank free days for Joe Creane…

December 13th, 2013 3 comments

Firstly, To those of you who look forward to my ramblings, sorry this report has taken so long! Life is pretty full right now and my Dad was over for a month. Between fishing with Dad, work and life in general, I simply have not had time to write. I’m just home from a 12 hour work day so this is not the greatest time either! However, I’ll make a start while I feel fresh!

Fishing with Dad was great, as it always is. When he’s in NZ he fishes every day either with me or alone. Weather may put a damper on things from time to time, but it has never been the cause of a day off the water. Never. Fair weather fishermen we are not!

We took on lots of different types of water from small streams to massive rivers, lakes to sea, river mouths to farm ponds, boat and bank. For me, The beauty of  NZ fly-fishing is in it’s diversity. It’s not all about fishing to a sighted fish with a dry or nymph in a river. There are infinitely more options for an adventurous, curious angler in NZ.

One of the highlights was the West Coast. I almost decided against it because it was raining the day we left, but the forecast was good for the days to follow. I took a chance. It was a little stressful being in charge of where we fished and when! On arrival the rain continued to pour down and the rivers were high and coffee like. I thought I had made a bad choice.. We went to a river mouth and within 20 minutes I had a seatrout on the beach which went just over 8lbs. I had the Di7 on with a Mr Glister and a white streamer behind it. The spectacular, fin perfect fish ate the Glister. Thanks once again, Chris Dore! For the rest of the day the fishing was good. Lots of insanely strong Kahawai about and a good few trout. The weather was perfect for the next 2 days, light winds, blue skies and falling, clearing rivers. The fishing was the way it often is in the surf and at river mouths, there were chaotic spells with long quiet periods. The chaos was worth waiting for! Dad loved it.. Kahawai on fly on the magical West Coast was one of the highlights of his fly-fishing life to date. Also in 3 days the sandflies only bit him 3 times! Miraculous.. They preferred my blood.

We took on some rivers with small numbers of big fish. In Dad’s early NZ days, he’d have preferred quantity over quality, but not any more. I went through the same learning curve. It’s about experience which leads to confidence. With confidence, big fish rivers will no longer intimidate, only excite. A big, wild, solitary brown is better than 100 recovering, early season rainbows.

On one of these big fish days, after a long 1.5 hour hike over steep terrain I was feeling a little nervous. We saw no fish on the way downstream. If I was alone, I would not mind, but I’m a guide for dad in effect! I’m making the calls so I want them to work out, even though he insists he does not mind whether he catches or not. Soon after starting, to my relief, a fish appeared. I saw him deep in the eye of a pool then he vanished. I was confident he didn’t spook, he just moved. Dad got into position in the pool while I examined the water from a good vantage point. Then I saw him, barely visible against a black rock bluff. He moved up, then back down, happily feeding. I advised dad to have a cast at the ready for the next time re rose up in the water. The fish moved up in the water, dad sent in his double nymph arsenal which landed perfectly 10 feet upstream of the fish. As they passed him I called strike at the sight of an unnatural twitch and the fish was on. The fish fought hard; the battle went for a few pools down river before I managed to net him. 7lbs. One of a number of really good fish for dad on this trip. The pressure was off me! We had a fantastic day with 2 more good browns. At the end of the day we were back at the car. That’s the reward for walking downstream and fishing back.

While staying in Te Anau, my good friend Guy came up from Invercargill to fish with Dad and I for a couple of days. The weather was not so good at the time and the forecast was bad. Guy put his boat into a local river anyway and we were rewarded with a perfect blue sky day. We spent the day moving from gravel bar to gravel bar and also fishing from the boat as guy manoeuvred it to keep the caster in a good position. Not easy for Guy or the caster, but it was fun fishing and great to watch. The gravel bars were superb! Loads of fish feeding and non stop opportunities. They were not easy which made it better. The shear number of shots we had ensured we caught lots of fish. We had all the time we needed to experiment with different dries, emergers and nymphs and we got it right every so often. Or maybe probability helped, If you cover a feeding fish enough times he may finally eat, even if the fly is “wrong”. We kept some fish for that nights dinner. Guy and I made fish fingers!

No trip to Te Anau is complete without a visit to the Redcliff Bar and Restaurant. We had 6 visits. The restaurant was recently voted 3rd in NZ and 8th in the South Pacific by Tripadvisor. We ate there twice and you can take my word for it, it’s a well deserved accolade.

On one of the nights in the bar, the craic was good and pints were flowing. I was chatting to a fella at the bar about the state of NZ rivers. The conversation was mostly positive but then didymo came up.. Shortly after that he said “that fuckin’ liposuction is an awful curse too” I thought he was joking, but when I looked at him about to laugh I realised he wasn’t. I held a straight face and agreed. He meant lagarosiphon.

Enjoy the pics!

Stuntman Ronan..

 

New Zealand Sea-run Browns… (& “Frazer’s Hat” from SLTV)

March 12th, 2013 4 comments

After covering a couple of ks of virtually fishless water we approached the gorge. A gorge always excites me. There is no set path; they are dangerous, moody, wild, alive, powerful, and beautiful and many other things to inspire an angler. On this day there were few fish in the gorge but optimism pushed me forward.I can only speak for me but I know something was driving Kristian too. We found a few in one pool but one cast from me spooked them all. We moved on. One fish in the next pool looked at my fly then disappeared. We moved on, constantly climbing rock walls and boulders so the going was slow. I climbed myself into a point where I could not go up, down, across or back. I felt fear because I was high up, much too high to jump. I took a breath and carefully turned around and edged my way back to relative safety. From there I jumped into the river into waist deep water. The whole point of my climb was to keep my balls dry. We moved on. More climbing and on a few occasions we had to help each other. It’s important when gorge fishing to look out for your buddy. We reached a point where it seemed we had to leave the gorge and drop in farther up. We started climbing. On the way up I took a glance into the pool from the cliff and spotted a trout rise. I could see him and he was big. Very big. Come what may we were fishing that pool. We surveyed the pool and its surrounding cliffs and boulders. I figured I could go downstream and cross and then climb in over a bluff. Kristian decided to swim because he’s afraid of heights. We both made it in safely and what greeted us was unlike anything I had ever seen before. At first I could not believe my eyes so I got into a better position. Kristian could see very little from river level so I suggested he stay put until I see exactly what we are about to fish for. I had not yet climbed down to the river so I crept through the trees and around the pool. Looking in from a better angle I could see what we were up against.  A pod of about 50 sea-run browns from 3lbs up to god only knows what. Rock, scissors paper for the first shot. I lost!

Most of the fish were facing a swirling back eddy out of the main current so a drag free drift was going to be very difficult to achieve. Kristian started with a dry/dropper combo. No joy. Next a double nymph rig with more weight. He hooked and landed a small fish which took the nymph while retrieving, an induced take of sorts. That was a valuable clue. I stepped up to the casting rock and before long had a good fish on. These fish fight hard and dirty! They know every snag in the pool. This fish also took a retrieved trailing nymph. For the next while we had some magical fishing. We learned how to fish for them as we did it and what we learned is very interesting. It’s exactly what I was taught about Atlantic salmon fishing back in Ireland. Change the fly often, Change the retrieve speed and form, Change your position, and most importantly rest the pool. Using these disciplines we landed 6 and lost/broke in about as many. We got them on dries, nymphs, wets and Lures. We held off on the big lures until the end of the day (another salmon fishing trick). I launched the Dore’s Mr Glister and the whole pool went ballistic! Strip-strip-strip and there are 10 huge trout chasing creating a bulging bow wave in the pool. One took and I lost him. I cast in again. The same thing happened and again lost the fish. 3rd cast, the entire pool spooked. That was it.

We did not want to leave but light was failing and we had a gorge to climb out of. Back at camp we discussed a plan for the next day. We decided to have another go at the pool. It seemed slightly unethical but we both had to go back. The plan was to go straight there in the morning and settle in for the day. That’s what we did. We brought a few beers, food, etc. I lost the rock scissors paper again so Kristian had the first shot. He had one pretty quickly. I struggled but got a small one on a dry after resting the pool after Kristian’s event. For the rest of the day we did not land another fish. I lost a huge fish and another good fish. Our curiosity was settled and another valuable lesson learned. Do not repeat water! I learned more over this weekend than I have all season.

On another note, below the photo’s from a truly epic weekend is this week’s instalment of SLTV, “Frazer’s Hat” This is a great show!! What happened to the boat at the end was not a trick. Frasers little outboard never worked again. Paul is really good at breaking anything with a petrol engine, or a diesel one.. or anything really… Enjoy the chaos, I know you will…

Stuntman Ronan..

Ps. If you enjoy what I write, photograph and film please share it on facebook or email links to your friends. It’s all origional and it’s free! By the way, only 6 subscribers needed to make 100 and the prize draw!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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..

 

 

Kylemore Lough in a Howling Gale!

July 17th, 2011 No comments

Conditions at 9am were perfect. Within the first hour John landed a hard fighting 2lb+ seatrout on a Silver Stoat. During the battle I noticed a wall of wind and rain charging down the lake in our direction. It was with us for the rest of the day. We battled on fishing known salmon water drift after drift, A drogue made the drifts last a reasonable amount of time, without it the fishing would have been even more chaotic than it already was. At times, going back up into the wind to start another drift really got my adrenalin pumping. Wind and waves so strong at times the boat hardly moved forwards, To open up the engine would mean disaster, even as we were going the boat occasionally took on water. This is fun though! Watch the waves and gun it when you can. There was so much water coming back on top of me from the boat breaking through the waves, Sometimes stinging my face and eye’s, that wearing a hood or cap was pointless! Your getting wet, that’s all there’s too it, keep bailing. We would always start the drift well above where we normally would to allow the drogue to grab. Then we had relative peace again until the end of the drift, a little wetter than the last.

Kylemore Lough is a stunning place to fish. I’ll be back when the conditions are more favorable!

For bookings contact Nancy on 00353 95 41143 or http://www.kylemorehouse.net/