The Fishing Gods.

April 13th, 2024 No comments

As fly fishermen we often refer to the fishing gods. Good luck or bad, the fishing gods are there. I think for many of us its mostly in jest but with a little belief in there too. Maybe even a lot of belief. After a great moment or a great day I frequently find myself thanking something that I can’t see, usually looking up while doing it. This – or these, are the fishing gods. There would seem to be more than one as we always refer to fishing gods, plural.

On a day with Marcus earlier in the summer the fishing gods played a major role. The plan was to go after a big trout on a river we both love. I had been having a shocking run of luck on it. Constant bad days for almost 2 seasons. Everything going wrong – perfect forecasts turned to shite, beaten to it due to a flat tire, getting jumped or just generally not getting it right. For years previous to to that run of bad luck I couldn’t put a foot wrong. The fishing gods nearly always seemed to be on my side. I had a feeling that they were about to side with me (and Marcus) again.

We set off in the morning with a great forecast. Quietly confident that we’d get it right. We gave ourselves 2 days to do it so it was a big advantage to know that if things went wrong we had another chance the next day. It all started when I got overtaken by a guide (we’ll call him Jim) on approach to the dirt track. He accelerated ahead as I got stuck behind a farm truck. I wasn’t happy about this. The farm truck stayed on the main road as I peeled off onto the dirt track and put the boot down. I realised to my delight that my opponent didn’t take the shortcut – so I did. I cut him off at the top and took my rightful place in front. I knew I’d see him at the first gate anyway. When we got to the gate Marcus hopped out to open it. I drove through as did the other guide. Then the fecker tried to sneak around me! I was out of the vehicle at this stage to have a chat. When he saw me he stopped. “Ronan, I didn’t know you in your new truck” he said! We had a good laugh and then chatted about how we’d share the river. We both wanted the first beat. I was just about to let him take his first choice (since we had 2 days) but he got in before I could speak to offer a coin toss. Why not I thought. He won the toss so got his first choice. I actually prefer the other beat anyway but logistically it made a little more sense to do the lower beat first but it really didn’t matter. So meeting Jim changed the order of our days to the 2nd beat on day 1 and the 1st beat on day 2 as opposed to the other way around.

We got to the second beat and tackled up. Everything felt good. It was peaceful with nobody else around and warming up nicely. There was no rush getting started. The sun is very important for spotting and it encourages the cicadas out of the ground so we let it rise a bit before starting. Not too far up there was a very good pool which I know well. We took our time on it fishing both banks and picked up a few blind fishing. Two 3lbers and an incredibly fat 6, all on my green cicada. A really great start. As the day progressed the cicadas started to get on the water. Nothing major, just little flurries of them now and again. Marcus had a couple of opportunities both resulting in an eat but no connection. Then, in a pool I don’t generally see a fish in, we spotted a brute. Marcus got into position. I knew it was a very big fish. I could see the depth, width and length clearly in the water. There was a flurry of cicadas coming down at that time and the trout was making the most of it. Trout often cruise the pools looking for cicadas making them a little harder to intercept. This fish was on station only moving forwards and backwards a little while swinging left and right to slurp down cicadas. This gave us a great chance. A dream shot at a really big fish. First cast was dead right. Fish came over and a refused. Second cast on target – another refusal. I quickly took off the green cicada and put on a smaller tussock cicada. Cast 3 was on target and the brute lunged over to eat it just like a natural. The strike was good and fish was on. I was confident from the first sight that he was a double. During the fight I remained confident. The moment he went in the net I called it. “10 maybe 10 and a half” I said. I lifted the scale and he went straight to 10 and a bit pounds. Just over the increment. 10 is the magic number for trout fishermen and Marcus now has a magnificent double to talk about. He’s been close many times and this was something he really wanted and worked hard for so it couldn’t be more deserved. Come what may for the rest of the day or the next day, we’d achieved what we came here to do.

On day 2 we fished the first beat. We saw very few and never had a decent shot all day. We met some Fish & Game officers up there who told us they’d just spoken with a couple of anglers who were dropped off somewhere on the 2nd beat in the morning. It’s a good thing our order of beats changed or those fellas would have been in front of us and we’d never have known without a vehicle to mark their presence. Fishing behind someone on this river would be a waste of time. So this is where the fishing gods came in. Jim overtaking us in the morning lead to us getting the order of our two days just right. It simply had to be in the order we had it in, and that order was down to luck – or fishing gods! Jim told me afterwards that he had no joy on the first beat either so it really was vital to fish the second beat on day 1. So, a big thank you to the fishing gods! Whether you believe in them or not..

This brings me to March so I’ll get onto that as soon as I have a chance. If you’d like to see the flies I use on a daily basis, including everything from this report please click this link. They’re all available from Patagonia Queenstown too. Right now for the April hatches my Kiwi Dun 14 with a 16 claret nymph trailer is deadly. Best fished on 5x tippet. I’ve been getting some good reports about my streamers doing the business on Lough Mask in Ireland and my hotspot and claret nymphs are working well for stalking trout in the UK. Great to hear the positive feedback. Next season is about half full so please get in quick if you’d like to book. Visit my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines.. Ronan..

Guiding and Craic with Chris Dore..

March 10th, 2024 No comments

The week with Chris, Steve and Joe was a great one. Not just for the superb mix of rivers and fishing but also for the chance to catch up with my good friend Chris Dore. One of the biggest cons about being a guide is that it’s so feckin hard to hang out with my fishing friends. We’re lucky to fish together once a year – usually in winter – so spending the week roughing it in Southland with Chris was great. We made time for a few beers in the evenings which always went down well. Chat, banter, fishing talk, the usual. The steak night in the caravan when Shellen joined us was a blast. She tied up a few flies and the craic was good. It was really good to meet her and I wish her the best with her future as a guide.

Chris and I go hard with our guiding and work at about the same intensity. We don’t look for easy options and we’ll do whatever it takes to give our clients what they hope for, and usually a lot more. This made us a good team to look after Steve and Joe. According to Steve and Joe, we guide in a different way but we compliment each other and both of the fellas enjoyed alternating between Chris and I each day. This is something we may do more of in the future. Chris and I enjoyed it too. It’s a great way for 2 anglers to really get the most from a trip to NZ. No sharing shots and you can hang out with your friend and compare stories each evening.

The week was very varied. It started with two completely different Heli days out of Wanaka. Both produced great results but they didn’t always come easy. Heli fishing doesn’t guarantee anything other than a remote and beautiful location so it’s always a relief when the fishing is good. It usually is good, but like I say, no guarantees. Then to Southland for another 5 days where we mixed it up with some of our favourite rivers. We had some really great days and some tough ones but we always came up trumps. Joe and Steve are both great anglers which really helps!

This takes me up to the end of January so I’m still way behind but that’s okay! There’s been some great highlights since, including 10lb brown with an epic story. The fishing gods really looked after us! More on that later..

Check out my flies featured below and a few more at Fulling Mill. They’ve all been great for me and quite a few others this season.

Next season is filling up quickly. Feel free to get in touch to make a booking or talk about options.

Tight lines.. Ronan..

Getting Jumped!

January 31st, 2024 No comments

December and into January… December is a great month to fish. Trout start looking up and responding well to terrestrials. Everyone seems to love dry fly action! There were some nice mayfly hatches too. Usually short and fickle but we made the best of it when it happened. As January arrived many of my local fisheries got too warm for good (or ethical) fishing. With this I venture away to find cooler water. I like to mix it up anyway.

One day I went to a high country river in the hope of some cicada action. We got to the river at 9am and got the piece of water I hoped for. At 11am, perched high on a rock I could see a vehicle (large black ute) pull up 1 kilometre above us. They could see us I’m sure and I’m pretty sure they saw my vehicle earlier too. It’s totally unethical to do this. It takes quite a brass neck to arrive there so late and then just cut someone off. They were just too far up for me to go marching up there for an argument so we pulled out and went downstream only to get jumped again by another clown fishing downstream from an upstream access point. A really infuriating day. We should all treat other anglers as we’d like to be treated. To cut someone off so blatantly is basically stealing someones experience. I’m pretty sure I know who was in the black ute and they should know better. Sadly, I heard that they make a habit of this. Against the odds we managed a couple of good trout! One on my cicada and the other on my unweighted nymph.

All my flies are working well on their relative days. They’re available from Fulling Mill or in-store at Patagonia Queenstown.

More about January in my next blog! Its been a challenging but great month. A few days off now before KC and Mark arrive.. I’m looking forward to seeing these 2 again!

Tight lines.. Ronan..

November – Thoughts & Highlights..

December 18th, 2023 No comments

Typical of this time of year, it’s hard to make time to write! There’s more photos than I generally add but I hope you can make the time to enjoy them. They tell the story of a busy month of fishing and guiding.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot more lately is barbless hooks. It seems crazy that it’s taken me this long to really start moving away from barbed hooks. I was never too concerned about the barb. What I always told people was that I don’t have any trouble removing barbed hooks. This is true. The part that has always bothered me is breaking in a trout with a barbed hook left in his mouth, but it never bothered me enough to fish barbless. Now it does bother me enough. There’s a great relief breaking in a fish knowing the hook is barbless. There’ll be minimal stress on the fish since he’ll easily shake it free. I often heard that trout can dissolve a barbed hook quite quickly. I wonder if that is true? I should google it! The silly thing is I always knew that I’d loose feck all fish by going barbless. It only takes a second to crush the barb or better still, tie on barbless hooks to begin with. My range of flies with Fulling Mill are barbed so this is something I may look at changing in the future.

I had a solid month of guiding starting with Brendan and Dave. As usual for these two the rain came and blew out the rivers – it happens every time! We managed the fist day on a local river before they all blew out completely. Luckily, both of them love the lakes and we had some brilliant and varied still-water fishing with epoxy buzzers playing a very important role.

Next up was Tim and his brother Graeme. Great craic as always with the bros! Just about every fish was 5lbs. A very enjoyable few days.

Late in the month I had a new client. A man who knows my father quite well and fishes with him a lot back home. I also met him 25 years ago when I looked after the Inagh fishery for a season. His name is Jack Meredith. A very experienced angler who’s chased salmonids all over the world. I was delighted to show him around my area for a week. We mixed it up with local streams and rivers, backcountry fly-ins and highcountry dams. It was no surprise to me that the dams got under his skin. Anyone who fishes Irish loughs will have a head-start in understanding these special places, which are not for everyone. The fishing was very tough on the dams – but that’s not a bad thing. It just means you have to dig deep, fish to the conditions and persist – then enjoy the beautiful reward if you get one. Jack was not going to come back to the South Island after having a terrible experience a number of years ago. His guide didn’t know where he was going or what he was doing and spooked every fish in the river. I glad he changed his mind. I’m looking forward to next time.

A quick note about buzzer fishing (aka chironomid). This season and last season I’ve noticed a huge increase in buzzer numbers in many of the the lakes I fish and some rivers. On still-water days when fish have been hard, switching to a buzzer, usually epoxied, regularly made all the difference. I didn’t have a huge stock to begin with but my father can tie these in his sleep! One the phone one evening I asked him to send me a few which he did. Now I’m well armed with flies for these increasingly important tactics. Dad’s buzzers are particularly good too.

I’m very happy to say that my Fulling Mill patterns are now available in the new Patagonia shop in Queenstown. If you don’t live near Queenstown you can still order them online. They’re pretty much the only patterns I use. Check them out here.

Next season is just starting to fill up. Feel free to get in touch to make a booking or to chat about options. You can check out my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com.

That’s all for now. Hopefully Decembers report will have a more user-friendly amount of photos. Tight Lines! Ronan..

October Adventures…

November 1st, 2023 No comments

October is usually a pretty quiet month for guiding. I like that it is. It allows me to ease into my work after a long winter. Come November I’m pretty much fully booked. It also means I can fish myself during what is arguably the best month of the year. This year myself, Wesley and Brayden went south to explore two new rivers. One was a dud (with potential) and the other was great. I opened my season with a 7.5lber and we encountered other big fish too. One might even have been that elusive 10lbs.

We also took my boat to the highcountry during opening week. It was windy going out. Too windy really, but I just wanted to get to a sheltered island. We had a great hour of fishing as the wind dropped but then it changed direction and roared from the south. Too windy to fish and freezing cold as it blasted horizontal snow across the island. I went for a walk to get phone coverage from a high rock to let the folks back home know that we might have to stay the night. It was too wild to cross. This got some welcome heat back into my feet. While I was out I went for a walk to scope a route back to safety. There was shelter on the north side of the island but all the other water had huge, worrying waves. The wind was completely insane reaching 150kph. luckily we had the shelter of the cabin. With the waves slapping on the side of the boat I thought it would be a good idea to move her farther into the shelter of the bay. As we were moving the boat the wind dropped a bit so we all agreed it was an opportunity to get back. We went for it and made it safely across without any problems.

I was back there again with Mark Adamson for an overnighter. I was hoping for a calm evening and following morning for buzzer fishing, but it didn’t happen. The cold southerly wind blew all through the night.. We had great shelter behind a rock on Camp Island. The fire was essential because it was flippin’ cold. Nice wine, good steak, a warm fire and good company. Life was good! The boat was lovely to sleep in. The wind continued to blow in the morning so still no buzzer fishing! The bugger fishing was good in the wind. I generally don’t bother trying to set up 10 sec timer “grip & grins” anymore. Sometimes I just take a David Lambroughton style trout portrait but they frequently look shite so I don’t use them!

It was a pleasure to meet and guide Joe Libeu and his partner, Cathy. Both great casters and anglers who have contributed lots to fly fishing and casting in the US. For me it was great to spend time with people who’ve invested so much into fly fishing and truly understand the sport. We didn’t have it easy but sometimes fishing is hard!

For a link to my flies available from Fulling Mill please click here. I have availability to guide from late March onward next year. Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

That’s it for now! Tight Lines.. Ronan..

Restoring the Boat!

September 20th, 2023 No comments

I find it easy to start on a project if its small. Large projects can be a little daunting. Because of this I trick myself into large projects by doing a small part, convincing myself that that’s all I’ll do. Hence, I frequently don’t have ‘before shots’. By the time I think to take a few pics I’m already well advanced with the project so that ship has sailed. This is what happened with the boat recently. Initially it was just a little repair, which lead to repainting the repair. Then I thought I should repaint the cabin. Before I knew it I had many components taken off to allow for easy surface preparation and painting. Then I ordered non-skid paint for all the traffic areas – this had never been on the boat before. The whole job took me 2 weeks. It’s amazing how boat restorations absorb time. I almost did inside the cabin too but I managed to curb my enthusiasm just enough to not. It can wait. I did the roof inside alright because it needed it.

She always had a hatch on the cabin but it was damaged and didn’t stay on. I fixed that and also built a removable door so that I can close off the cabin for sleeping in or keeping gear dry in bad weather. I’ve been threatening sleeping in it for ages but still haven’t. No excuse now! She still doesn’t have a name by the way…

I’ve had the boat for 3 years and she’s had a lot of use. She’s been stored outside all that time. Mostly under a tarp but often not. Because of this she was in need of a tidy up, some repairs and a paint job. It’s done now! From now on she’ll have a roof over her head. Next up for restoration is Daltona. She will ride again (again).

It was good to get out guiding recently. Dan and I went to Mackenzie Country to fish the lakes. Late August. The fish were there in good numbers in 3 of the 4 places we went. They were not easy. Very spooky but not impossible. To me, this is perfect. Without some challenge it’s not that interesting. Fast, accurate shots made all the difference – especially when keeping the loop travelling low and fast over the water. Big open loops spook a lot of fish in calm water. I often side cast to ensure the loop stays low. Speed is such an underrated skill. It’s something a fella can practice. How fast can you get the fly off the hitch and in front of a cruising fish? This and other aspects of speed and accuracy were some of the things we worked on. We had some really good fishing where it all came together. Dan landed some really solid, fat trout up to 7lbs which is a top end fish on the Mackenzie lakes.

Also did a little uneventful exploring on the Clutha locally. Nothing to report from it. I had a few outings to some local river mouths – they were decent. Last but not least, Wesley and I (mostly Wesley) changed the bearings on the boat trailer. It was great to learn this skill from someone who knows what they’re doing.

That’s me up to date again! The season kicks off in a little over a week. Needless to say I’m looking forward to it. There’s a few gaps, not many but feel free to get in touch with any questions about availability. You can contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. You can check out my Fulling Mill fly patterns here. Some of these have been tweaked and improved for 2024.

Tight Lines and a big Happy Birthday to Sexyloops! 25 today! Ronan..

Seabass in Sardinia.

August 27th, 2023 No comments

I think it’s exciting to choose the destination first and then see if I can figure out what I can catch there afterwards. I’ve done this a few times over the years, mainly to accommodate the non-anglers I was traveling with! It’s been a bit hit and miss as one would expect. Mostly miss to be honest. Vietnam was a fail, I never even had a cast in India, Thailand was a fail (apart from a 70lb catfish on spin gear!), Jordan was almost a success, Chicago was okay, Portugal and the Azores were fantastic. The latest, Sardinia, I wish I could say it was great but I can’t.

I did quite a bit of research after Iza and a I chose Sardinia for a family holiday (with 2 fishing days for me). It was hard to find any solid info. Slowly I made contact with some guides and they were helpful. I was hoping to try for black bass on the inland dams but in high summer they go deep and fishing for them would likely be no good. I was directed to Gigi and we locked in a couple of days after seabass. I believe it’s the same species of bass as what we have in Ireland. Once it was booked I left it at that. I didn’t look into it any more apart from getting a bit of advise on flies.

Sardinia is beautiful with stunning coastline. As we drove around parts of the island I could see loads of potential for a shore based angler. Rocky shores, defined drop-offs, sandy areas, lagoons and river mouths – a great mix of featureful coastline with beautiful clear water. One of the highlights was snorkelling around the rocks near the beaches we chose to swim at. With Adaline on my back we explored. She just had goggles on so she’d grab a breath and then look in over my shoulder, pointing at every fish she’d see. It was such a great experience for both of us. There were plenty fish up to about 3lbs in weight. I don’t know the species but there was a variety. I had a feeling that a worm fly fished about 6 to 8 foot under an indicator could do well for these fish but I didn’t have a chance to try.

My designated fishing days arrived! I was up at 4.30am to meet Gigi in Olbia for 6am. I really didn’t know what to expect. The carpark was right at the water – a system of lagoons inside Olbia seaport. The lagoons were walled but with gaps to allow for the tidal movement. It looked fishy. Gigi helped me pick a fly and then we started fishing. Walking while casting around structure. I felt very familiar with this type of fishing. Gigi knew every drop-off, gutter, and weed bed. With his help I kept the fly where it needed to be. Then I hooked one! A small bass but a positive start. From then we continued around the lagoons for the rest of the day. There was one spot where we saw a few. I had one follow there but in general I wasn’t feeling it. I know how fishing can be though, so feeling it or not I wasn’t going to lose heart. Gigi said it was too warm and generally there wasn’t enough wind. No joy on day 1 apart from the little bass at the start. To finish the session we went for beer and a chat.

Day 2. We went to a new lagoon a short drive away. With a new location comes renewed optimism. The mullet (bass food) were rising so that was good to see. We walked the lagoon seeing nothing but covering all likely water – Gigi with spin gear and me with fly. We got to a river mouth which looked very good. I sighted one and he followed a couple of times but no eat. Gigi also saw one which he didn’t get. We decided to go back to the Olbia lagoons to fish the spot that had a few fish. No joy. It was interesting to see some other people foraging in the lagoon for various shellfish including oysters and clams to sell to local restaurants. We didn’t see any other anglers.

With the fishing just not on at all, I thought we’d go to some coastline away from the port for some other species but this is Gigi’s fishery and this is where he guides. We did see a brief bust up on the surface with a large bluefish attacking some mullet on the ocean side of the lagoons. I made a half decent shot but no eat, sadly. It was all so brief. These fish looked amazing and they’d be a great target species..

It was pretty clear that I was there at the wrong time of year for bass. Probably the worst month of the year! It was a shame because the lagoons are so interesting. Very varied water. Gigi said October is best. I would recommend getting in touch with him and organising some fishing when it’s good. A few days with Gigi fishing for seabass in Sardinia? why not..

For bookings this NZ guiding season you can contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. You can check out my range of flies with Fulling Mill here.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Back Home – Inagh, Kylemore and Corrib…

August 20th, 2023 No comments

I love the familiarity of arriving into Dublin airport. Arriving home. It had been 4 years and I was looking forward to that familiarity more than I realised. It felt great to be back. The family and I were all out of the airport quickly and onto a bus west. The public bus service in Ireland is fantastic. The bus was comfortable and I enjoyed the 2.5 hour trip across the country to Galway, while catching up on a little sleep. My brother and my mother picked us up from Galway. Iza and the kids travelled with my mother and I travelled with Conor. This gave me a great opportunity to pick up a few beers to make the final leg of the journey to Roundstone even better. Relaxing in the passenger seat chatting to Conor, drinking a couple of nice IPAs, enjoying the lakes and mountains as we continued west and then the familiar sight of Roundstone. As tempting as stopping for a pint in Kings was, we went straight home. It was so good to see everyone. Siblings, parents nieces and nephew. Home for the next 5 weeks. The objective now is to spend time with family, catch up with friends, drink a shcather of pints, and go fishing. I’ll talk about the fishing…

I expected the majority of my fishing would be on the Kylemore and Inagh fisheries so the first thing I did was buy a full season salmon license for e100. I was told that it’s mostly catch and release now. I’m all for C&R of course, but I couldn’t help seeing the hypocrisy of imposing this regulation on the angler while salmon farms continue to operate in the bays spreading disease, sea lice and pollution amongst wild populations. Anglers never impacted stocks to any serious degree, but here we are picking up the tab in a vain attempt at conservation. The ambulance parked at the bottom of the cliff.

I was there when the rain came after a long dry spell. The hottest and driest on record I think. The timing was perfect with the rain coming at the end of June when the first grilse run usually arrives. This should get the fish moving up river. Dad and I spent a few days out on the water after the first rain, but we were a bit early it seemed. We didn’t see many. I was lucky to get a beautiful fresh grilse of about 6lbs on our second day out. We left it a while before going out again, waiting on word of grilse being caught.

The seatrout numbers on Inagh were encouraging. Dad was getting decent numbers for his clients. He had a great day with our mutual friend, Marcus when they got 8 to about 2lbs – a very decent west of Ireland seatrout. Dad had another day out on Inagh on his own where he landed a dozen seatrout and a 6lb grilse. Fishing like the old days. I was told that the some of the local salmon farms were not operating this season which would certainly explain the decent numbers of seatrout. It just goes to show how quickly seatrout could reestablish themselves if they were allowed to. Is there any chance the Irish government could just outlaw open pen salmon farming? Imagine what we’d gain? But alas, we sacrifice our wild fish and fishing to make the Mowi wankers in Norway even richer. Sickening. Anyway, We also fished Kylemore a couple of times. Fish were lower down in the system but we didn’t see any on the lake. Kylemore is a tough lake in general, painfully so at times but it can really turn on now and again. Every day I fish it, it’s in the hope of that magic window which so rarely comes. There’s also a chance of a big brown here which may offer a better chance of good fishing than grilse do – there’s not much know about targeting these big browns though so the only way to go after them would be through trial and error, and probably with a depth sounder.

Towards the end of the trip I had a couple of days on Corrib. One day with John and One with dad. On each day the fishing was good in the morning. We fished small dry sedges (size 14) and these gave us the best results. After the first few drifts each day the fishing went dead – and stayed dead for the rest of the day. I think the poor fishing in the afternoons was easy to explain. The water was warm. It felt like 20c when I put my hand in. I guess in the mornings the fish had some chance to feed in the relatively cooler water. June was incredibly hot and even though the weather was pretty cool in July, the lake temperature hadn’t dropped substantially.

So to sum up, the fishing was hard. Ireland is rarely easy and this was no exception. I’m happy with my lot though. I was thrilled to catch that stunning grilse on the Inagh river beats – certainly the highlight. I wish I was out with dad on his bumper day but I was away with the family in Sardinia. It was good to see some seatrout about. Many were very small but there were a few decent stumps about too. This might just have been a case of meeting the main run as it arrived, but let’s hope this will continue to be a good season for them and not just a flash in the pan. Corrib was good in the mornings of the 2 days I fished it so I was happy with that. I hoped to get out with Tom Doc too but for one reason or another we didn’t manage a day together. Next time hopefully! I tried for a pollack (or a bass) off the rocks with my friend Nigel too, but didn’t get a touch. Unfortunately I never made it out on sea in a boat. The weather was pretty wild out there for much of the time I was home. I don’t have a hell of a lot to report from Sardinia but I’ll compile that next.. Currently, back in New Zealand, I’ve been putting all my time into restoring my boat. Just that, no fishing! It’s complete now so I’ll report on that soon too, she’s looking great…

There’s still some space available for this coming season. Get in touch if you’d like to book something in or to ask any questions. Email ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. You can check out my range of Fulling Mill fly patterns by clicking this link.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Rivers, Lakes & Estuaries…

August 3rd, 2023 No comments

I’m just back from a great trip to Ireland and the US with the family. We also visited Sardinia. I squeezed in a couple of days fishing while we were there, but more on all that later. I had most of the work on this blog done before we left about 7 weeks ago but never found the time to finish it. That’s proof of a great holiday. I’ve certainly been chasing my tail a bit in the last year trying to keep the blog as current as I can – I think it’s always like that though. This takes a lot of time and effort and it really get away from me at times. The photos below are from April, May and into June and this brings me up to date with my NZ fishing photos which almost never happens! Next up will be Ireland and Sardinia – possibly in the same blog or maybe broken in 2.

Late in the season I finally got over to Dunedin to fish with Robbie on some of his local water. A very interesting estuary it is. It was very windy when we were there which limited how much of the lagoon we could fish. It’s certainly not for everyone with electric fences right to the water making fishing risky and tricky. Much of it gets very weeded up and it’s certainly “cow shit country” with this area very intensively farmed. Lots of muddy, shitty drains leading straight into the lagoon. It’s amazing to me the level of pollution that goes unchecked in so much of this country. “Clean and green” it’s not but in the face of all this, there is still great fishing to be had both in general and at this lagoon. Some fisheries have died though and the future of fishing here is not certain – but enough about the negative, I just felt the need to mention that! The fishing was hard that day. Between the 2 of us we moved about 5 trout landing just 1. A lovely trout about 4.5lbs on a red and grey fry imitation of mine. We could see in pretty well at times but we sighted very few trout – those we did see had no interest in a bugger. A little nymph would have been better. The best action we had came from blind fishing. We also took a wander down to the rivermouth but didn’t see anything fishy. It was great to see the place and I’m looking forward to going back.

Since I’ve been home there’s been a mixed bag of weather from snowstorms to lovely warm days. We’re slowly getting over the jet lag. It’s harder with kids because we’re awake when they are. I should get a few opportunities to go fishing pretty soon which I’m looking forward to. This time of year can be fantastic! Be sure to get in touch if you’d like to lock in some late winter fishing – many fish have long finished spawning by now and are piling on condition.

If you’d like to check out my flies available on Fulling Mill you can see them here. They accounted for some lovely browns on Lough Corrib in Ireland recently and most of the fish in the pictures below. Here’s a little clip from August a couple of years ago with my Bruiser streamer doing the business..

I’d like to mention that I recently bought some Primal Bold rods for my clients who come without gear. I don’t get too excited about expensive fly rods in general and these rods are testament to why that is. For the money these are excellent. Great rods regardless of price. The 5 is a gem. It does exactly what a 5wt should do. The 6 is also a very capable rod. I have no issues with it at all. The 7 is a powerful weapon – great for launching heavy streamers, windy days, big rivers etc. I highly recommend these as a back-up or as your primary rod. When they’re previously rigged for clients I don’t bother rigging my own rods because these rods are sound.

Next season is filling up fast! January and February are full but there’s still limited spaces in the other months. Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines! Ronan..

Some Late Season Highlights…

June 7th, 2023 No comments

There was a nice mix of fishing to be had in April. At times the rivers were in great shape between rain events and I made the most of those opportunities for myself and my clients. There were a few days where the rain pushed me away from the rivers to take on some lakes – this worked out very well. As anyone who reads this knows by now, I love any opportunity to fish the lakes. Generally my clients prefer rivers but for one reason or another, most of my regular clients have fished lakes with me by now. Some are a little bit on the fence with some aspects of still waters but the majority now love it and usually request at least one lake day on a multi day trip.

Later in the month my streamers really came into their own. As some chunky browns congregated around some high country stream mouths, it was time to get stuck in. I had some great fishing for myself and for my clients landing trout with a few over the 7lb mark.

After 7 months looking after Adaline and Lochlan, our Au pair, Ilana wanted to catch a trout. We got out for a day on Dunstan where I figured trolling sinking lines would easily do the business. It didn’t! She lost one right away, then got a few hits before finally (after many hours!) getting stuck in a 1lb rainbow. She was delighted and relieved, we all were! I prepared it for dinner, crudo style with lemon, salt, olive oil and capers. A lovely way to eat fresh, wild trout.

It was great to see many of my regulars over the month and a few new recruits too. Seeing people coming back for more certainly makes it all worth while.

If you’d like to check out my range of flies for NZ you can do so on the Fulling Mill website. It’s winter now so I recommend my hotspot nymphs for the larger rivers which remain open and my range of streamers for the rivers and lakes. You can see them all here.

Next season is filling up fast but feel free to get in touch to lock in a trip. You can contact me at ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines. Ronan..