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“I’m only wishing to go a-fishing; For this the month of May was made”

May 31st, 2017 No comments

What is it that excites me so much about the month of May? I’ve had to think about this! There are a few reasons. One of them is that its relatively new to me. In my ten years (pre 2011) when I came to NZ from Ireland every season, I was always home by the end of April, so May was unknown to me. In October 2011 I moved out here full time taking up a job as a joiner. In May, just like every other month I only had the weekends to fish. I enjoyed the month of May then of course, but it’s only now that I have lots of time on my hands that I can really explore, search and learn; just like I did during my early years exploring NZ. So thats part of it! It’s new, exciting and fun. It’s more than that though. Fishing for migrating fish in May is challenging. To do well you need to be able to cast heavy flies on long leaders or heavily weighted fly-lines (around here at least!). You need to be able to see your fly in you minds eye and know what it’s doing and where it is. Sometimes it’s sight fishing, sometimes it’s blind and it’s frequently into deep water. Migrating fish move around a lot on their lies. Sometimes to take a fly but often jostling for position or to chase out another fish. They do feed, but as the month progresses they gear more towards spawning. However, with accurate casting; putting the fly in just the right place and making it swim / drift correctly you can still induce a take. So, it’s the challenge? Yes, but possibly even more than the challenge and the realisation that it’s still new to me, is that it’s so much about the big, beautiful migrating fish. When these fish run they are in their absolute prime! Full of condition and energy for the months ahead. Who wouldn’t want to catch fish like this?! On certain rivers in May there is a real chance of a big fish. Sometimes well into double figures and these fish only appear in May. I predominantly target browns all season long but in May I turn my attention to rainbows. Last May I realised just what a great species they are. Hooking into a big rainbow and listening to that tail slap before the first run is simply exhilarating! One more thing.. This is my down time after my guiding season. I’m relaxed, I have nothing to do only fish, I’m in holiday mode! So I think I know now. It’s new and exciting, its challenging, it’s about enjoying big, powerful, beautiful rainbows and some browns, I’m on holiday! Why wouldn’t I love it.. Sorry if I just bored the feck out you with that but I wanted to know for myself.

May has been a great month to catch up with friends. I made lots of use of my drift boat taking Fraser, Wesley (see you next season!), Guy, Tom and Jeff out in it.  It’s been such a new lease of life and a great way to explore rivers and lakes. The pics below tell the story as they do!! Tassie Sean will be up for a visit soon too. That should be fun whatever we get up to. I’m hoping for new waves of fish migrating up some of the rivers which are still open through winter. When they’re fresh in they take really well, still piling on the pounds. bring on the next wave because the first run are now stale and not really taking the fly anymore…

Finally, to finish off what was probably the most enjoyable month of the season for me, we returned to The Bay of Pigs. Just like before the fishing was slow, Tom and Jeff saw one fish from the boat. I managed to drag out one brute of 15lbs from the shore. A long leader and a weighted streamer fished about 3 feet down did the trick. The take was a gentle one before I came up tight!

The next thing on my agenda is to practice my shots for my upcoming trip to Malaysia. I need to get good at that before I leave, or as Paul says, I’ll spend the first week not catching any fish.

I’m available to guide until mid July. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines All!!!

Ronan..

PERSONAL FISHING GALLERY

GUIDING GALLERY

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..