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Posts Tagged ‘tasmania’

Good Bye Tasmania, Hello NZ!

March 7th, 2012 No comments

When I left the Highlands of Tasmania over 2 years ago I knew it would only be a matter of time before my return. My recent 6 weeks in Tasmania was everything I had hoped for and more. The fishing was not as good as when Paul and I were up here but that’s fishing and it didn’t detract from the whole highland experience. Like I said before, Tassie is as much about the people and the way of life as it is about the fishing. When I arrived in the highlands I called in to see John (The Pom/Woodstock) but he wasn’t in, he was at Dons so I went there where I met Don, John and Bob (bush mechanic from “3 Wheels on my Wagon” in SLTV). I had intended to fish that day but that took a back seat to a few beers… lots of beers. My plan was to live in Sean’s Subaru but Don very kindly put me up instead. That’s the Highlands for you, very social and very hospitable. Thanks again Don!

Many of the people I got to know over my 2 visits to the Highlands came to Don’s place on my last day for a few beers and food. Noby cooked up a feed of mutton birds which I have to say were miles ahead of the NZ mutton birds I had a few years ago. Actually, they were one of the best things I’ve eaten, full of fish oil and flavour from the sea. The roast from Dons Dad’s pet cow didn’t last long, in fact Don and John missed out! Everyone ate and drank well and a few of us pushed through till dawn, well not quite…

Thanks to all the Highlanders for making the place so special. I wont tell anyone how good it is!

See you all again soon..

Stuntman Ronan..

PS. Congratulations to my great friend John O Malley on his engagement to his beautiful partner Bronwen Kearns! I really hope I can make it home for the big day… If I’m invited!! :)

Fly-Fishing Comradery…

February 17th, 2012 No comments

After writing my previous blog I set off for Lake Burbury. It was useless. The tea coloured water was extremely low and the total lack of weed beds or features made it very difficult to read. After a few hours fishing I left the lake and spent the next few days touring the Northwest of Tasmania. It’s a stunning place with the hilliest and windiest roads I have driven. This was not easy in Sean’s car. It was as if one wheel did the steering and dragged the other one around the bends!! Might have been something to do with the cv joint. It was ticking away in a sort of rhythmical beat the whole time but it could only be heard on tar seal.  Granville Harbour and Strahan were the highlights.

Meeting people is a common by catch of fly fishing. I met a fella called Ras on the side of the Great Lake a while back. We got talking and he invited me to join him and his friends on a 4 day mission into the Tazzy backcountry to an area I had not yet been to. Naturally I accepted.

After a 4 hour hike we made camp for 4 days. The fish were small and difficult but we all had a few each day. After the first full day fishing the plan was to have fish for dinner but everyone put their fish back in the hope of catching a better one. Ras had a never fail plan though. After dinner he went ball deep in the lake and got one on a spinner. We ate it raw with soy and wasabi.

On day 2 and 3 we covered shitloads of miles over difficult terrain, we explored looking for good water but we didn’t find it. The place is spectacular, truly wild and unspoiled, so much so that the frustration of not catching didn’t bother me as much as it usually would. However catching fish is the reason I’m here so after a fishless day I went out for a night fish and had some good action on lumo flies.

After a day on the lake in this wilderness it’s always a pleasure to get back to camp and chat with the rest of group to see how everyone got on. Wine, sambuca, whiskey, or whatever else people bring in all add to the craic and bring out all sorts of stories. It’s a shame there’s such a strict fire ban out here because camping is not camping without a fire. Once Paul, Hair and I turned on the red light function on our headlamps and put them under some small sticks to give the illusion of fire. It worked. Better than nothing anyway.

On the last day Ras and I teamed up and fished a number of lakes over the 5 hour walk back to the truck. Fishing with a pack on is tough going and generally I do what I can to avoid it. Sometimes you have to and in this instance it was worth it. I spotted a brown cruising slowly near the surface on what was the most beautiful lake I had seen in my few days in the bush. I threw off my pack as the sun went behind a cloud and lost sight of the fish. He rose but I couldn’t see him. I put my dry to the left of the boil and within a few seconds the 3lber sipped it down. I had another chance a little later in a shallow sandy bay but in my haste my pack got stuck on my fly vest. I was about 5 seconds too late getting into position and lost visual. I didn’t make a blind cast in case I’d spook the fish. There was always a chance he could reappear. He didn’t.

To Ras the doctor, Mike the farmer, Hugh the artist, Pete the… sorry Pete I cant remember! and Simon the maths teacher. It was a pleasure to get to know you all. And hi to the 2 Donegal men we met on the way in, It was great to meet people who actually read this!

Since the backcountry mission I’ve had a few days on the water and the fishing seems to be improving. Today Hair and I had 11 on one of the 19 Lagoons. Yesterday Paul, a copper from Geelong and myself had 7 on the Great Lake fishing blind with dries. Paul was part of a gang of anglers from Victoria staying across the road from me. Rob and Tommy cleaned up on the lake with 20 or so fish. Glenn and Stu also did well. I had dinner with all these lads on their last night and I was well buckled by the end of it. Thanks fella’s! See you all next year…

Ronan..

A Swedish Wasp in Tasmania…

January 23rd, 2012 No comments

The Tasmanian Highlands is one of those places where as soon as you arrive, you breath out, stress gone, nothing to worry about here. My appreciation for this place is as much for the people and the way of life as it is for the fly fishing. People visit each other here. Not a text or facebook, but a visit in person. Quite often a number of people visit the same house at the same time, totally unplanned, and the outcome generally means the planned early start on the water becomes a late one! The one thing everybody has in common here is fly fishing. Just about everybody fly fishes, locals and tourists alike and this I believe brings the people together.

I’m getting back on top of the fishing after a slow start. I mentioned in my last blog that I thought other methods would work well and I still believe that, However, dry fly fishing is the way forward here. It’s all about spotting a cruising trout and making him come to the surface to eat your fly. A nymph might be better at times but I want to catch them on dries, at least that’s how I feel here in the central highlands.

While in NZ, Stefan gave me a beautifully tied and constructed Swedish balsa wood wasp pattern. I put the fly in my box without giving much consideration to when I’d use it. 4 days ago I had none of my Tassie beetle patterns tied, so I was looking for inspiration. “The wasp” I thought, “Perfect!” I put it on the point and before long a 4lb brown sipped it down. Terrestrials are essential here.  On the 19 lagoons and farther out into the wilderness I find them better than dun patterns. Beetles in particular, I see them on the water every day in good numbers so it makes sense. Colour is less important than silhouette. I have never seen a wasp on the water here but from the time I put the wasp on, 8 out of the next 10 fish ate it, (I fish 2 dries) then I left it in a fish. What makes this fly so good? I’m not sure but I think it generally looks like food. Terrestrial food! Stefan, please send me one or 2 more!!

My day consists of heading out to the Western Lakes, usually the 19 lagoons which are accessible from a rough track. I look at my map and make a plan for the day which often changes as the day progresses. The terrain between lakes is tough going. Stumbling over tussocks and spiky plants is the order of the day. A few days ago I walked a few Ks of river which took me over some of the toughest terrain I’ve ever walked. I fell down about 10 deep river eroded holes hidden by tussock. I think the risk of breaking a leg down a hole is far greater than being bitten by a snake. By the end of the day a cold beer always goes down well. 8 fish was the most I had in a day so far and my worst day was a blank! Today I had 3. A 2lber, an impeccably conditioned 4lber and my best Tasmanian fish to date, a 5.5lber. 4 lakes for 3 fish in about 5ks in 7hours. Aside from falling in and then feeling the wind chill it was a great day to be alive!

Don Ogden, A fly fisherman on a break from the sport, has kindly put me up for a while, so in the evenings I have a place to kick back, tie flies, write blogs, drink beer, eat spuds, enjoy visitors, etc.. Thank you very much Don!

Fish hard. Stuntman 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!

Christmas week..

December 27th, 2009 No comments

Christmas day was a relaxed affair. Myself,  Paul, John and Sue, Bronwyn and Hair and lenny the dog all spent the day together on the far side of Littlepine lake.. Barbecued scallops, prawns, pork and lots of veggies were the order of the day along with John’s sushi. Paul turned Hair’s old 2 piece sage into a 3 piece while giving a distance casting demo! We managed a little bit of fishing, Paul had one.

Every day we’re getting out on the water and trying many methods. Dries generally seem to be the best but it pays to keep an open mind and be willing to change everything on a whim.

This week’s show is up on youtube! Its about Kayak fly-fishing with an intro to Tasmania. Check it out and Subscribe to the channel so you never miss an episode.

Hope ye all had a great Christmas and tight lines in the new year..