10.5lb Trout.. Yes!

November 11th, 2019 No comments

It takes at least 300 days to catch a trout over 10lbs. At least it does if you fish like me. I don’t target them all the time of course, just when the mood hits me. It’s all about the fish, not the fishing so it really is mood dependant. Every one has been a super high. The emotions and feelings have been a bit different for each one. Some have been strangely anticlimactic (but still great!) while most have been utterly fulfilling, thrilling experiences. There are a few big fish around this year. Jeff Forsee and Paul MacAndrew have also cracked a double already this season. Some mousy stuff happening too so this might be a year to spend more time chasing the elusive doubles. Lets see how it pans out as the season progresses..

I haven’t guided many days so far but the days I’ve been out have been superb! Plenty fish, super quality and big! Between guiding and fishing I’ve had 4 over 8lbs to the net. It’s been a pretty wet spring. Some rivers had just come right and were fishing really well but recent rain has put them all out of commission again. They should bounce back quickly as long as the rain eases off. Come what may I’m excited about the season ahead..

A few days ago I took out Oliver and James. Oliver had never cast a fly before so we had a 1 hour casting lesson before advancing up river. It was enough to get him throwing a decent line and he managed 3 for the day. A great achievement for someone fresh out of the gate!

My season is starting to fill up but I have plenty spots available for the season to come. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Macdaragh’s First Trout!

October 18th, 2019 No comments

One of the highlights from my recent trip home was taking my godson, Macdaragh, fly fishing. We went to the same lake where it all began for me. Ryan’s Lake as its known locally or Ranachaun in Irish. Macdaragh’s auld fella and one of my best friends came too. Justin. He’s been on here a few times over the years. I attempted to teach Justin to cast a fly on Ryan’s Lake at least 20 years ago. I may have told him that he was one of the worst casters that I had ever seen. I think I put him off a bit. 20 years later he did much better. Maybe I did too. His understanding of the mechanics and physics of the cast meant that it was just a matter of time before his casting really clicked into gear – and it did, although he didn’t manage to catch a trout. Macdaragh did however! He did incredibly well. He took to casting like a duck to water and progressed consistently throughout the day. Most importantly he hooked, played and landed 3 trout. They were a good size too; big enough for dinner. After a great day out, Justin and his son had the added bonus of a feed of fresh, wild trout from a wilderness lake. Thankfully the open cast mine that was proposed for this very area was denied, so this stunning and sacred environment is safe for the time being…

True to my word in my last report, I have been out exploring new water. I’ve had some success too. I fished at least 8kms of water I have never fished before. Some of it was guiding a like minded angler who never minds taking a chance to learn new water. He landed fish to 7lbs in new water and many more in tried and trusted spots. We had 3 days in Southland with a couple more days on the cards once this rain stops. Maybe north next. One day exploring, one day not. I fish too with Bryan so needless to say I can’t wait!

The season is going great! between guiding and fishing myself I’ve had many 6 to 8lb fish to the net, some of them cartwheeling powerhouses – such strength! What a month October is. Certainly the best of the season if the weather plays ball… and it usually does!

Plenty spots available this season! Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. I’d love to hear from you!

Tight Lines, Ronan..

New Seasons Resolution!

October 3rd, 2019 No comments

Another season has landed. My new seasons resolution is to explore more, fish more and fish better, think like a trout! I was itching to get back at the rivers. I wanted to check out new water so that’s what I did. I walked a wee stream for miles and it was decent, lots of walking between fish but I like that. I did spend some time blind fishing streamers in corner pools but it wasn’t working. Sighted fish were few and far between but they were big and keen to eat pretty much anything as long as it was well presented. I had one on a Cicada and another on a #6 leggy dry stonefly! The reason I always use a dry as an indicator..

October is quiet on the guiding front, not sure why but it will give me time to fish myself. I have some things I want to do. Mostly exploratory to keep the learning curve moving the right way. Watch this space!

I added a few pics of Moher Lake in County Mayo in the West of Ireland. John O Malley and myself used to hitch there in our teens getting in all sorts of trouble with bailiffs, parents and even a wee run in with the law, but mostly just having a great time fishing as free as birds. Mrs McDonnell who we rented the boat from would let us camp on the lake. We’d fish it from dawn til dusk! So many great memories. I went back with James while I was back home. I was happy to go back for a trip down memory lane and James had never been. I heard it was well stocked last year so I expected the same this year. The farmer who rents out the boats said it was fishing very well but we only met one stocked fish all day. I could tell it was in a while by it’s well mended fins and bright flanks. We had non stop action with about 50 little native browns, about 3 to the pound, maybe 4. Sadly the lake wasn’t stocked this year but the IFI are still taking full price to fish it. Unfair? Yes, I think so. Still a nice day out!

Lots of availablity this season for guided fly fishing in the south of New Zealand. February is full and March is almost full but plenty room besides. You can contact me via my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Two Days Afloat – Winter!

September 21st, 2019 No comments

A lot has happened since my last blog. Lets see, I went to Malaysia after Snakehead and to catch up with Tonio and Paul, Ireland to fish Corrib and catch up with family and friends – I got married while I was there (more on that later!), a week in New York with Iza’s family (no fishing) and now I’m back in NZ. The weather is unreal and I can’t wait to get out on the water. The flight into Queenstown must be one of the most spectacular on the planet. The views over the Central and Southern Lakes were simply spectacular. My head was stuck to the window as I relived some memories of water I could recognise from the plane. I was also trying to scout out some new water..

Not long before I left for my trip I had 2 days afloat with Jeff. Day one in the club boat from Kingston on Lake Wakatipu and day 2 floating down one of the local rivers on my pontoon boat. Day one was a hard slog but we managed 3 browns. Day 2 we landed a 12 or 14 with about 5 in the 4 to 6lb class. It was a super day out.

The blog format has changed and I cant move images into the correct order so they’re all jumbled up. No slideshow either and you can’t click on images to enlarge them – but you can open them in a new tab. I hope I figure out how to use it properly soon because I have some good stuff from the trip!

I have quite a bit of space available for the upcoming season. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website

Tight Lines for now.. Ronan..

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Butchers Block & Welcome Lochlan Joseph Creane!

July 20th, 2019 No comments

I haven’t had a day fishing since early May. It’s the longest time I’ve gone without fishing probably ever. It hasn’t been easy putting fishing aside while large rainbows were migrating the local river, but it’s certainly been worth it. Our son, Lochlan Joseph Creane, arrived on May 30th. He came kicking and screaming into the world and he hasn’t stopped since! The role of looking after Lochlan has been split equally between the two of us. The little fella is hard work requiring almost constant attention (which is normal of course!)! Adaline was easy in comparison which is why my fishing came to a grinding halt. I’m loving it though, it’s been an eventful and happy time since his birth. Incredible watching him grow and develop and I’m excited to have this little man in my future.

With no fishing for 2 months it’s lucky for me that I’m almost as happy with a hand plane as a fly rod. In fact, every winter I spend quite a bit of time in the workshop making furniture for the house. This year its for our own house which makes it even more special. Between nappy changes over the last 7 weeks I’ve been in the workshop. Even if I only have 10 minutes to spare I can achieve something. Thankfully though, with Iza’s help minding the kids, I had 3 or 4 hours in there most days. Iza wanted a butchers block for the kitchen and I needed a project so the butchers block project was born.

Pretty much everything I’ve made in the last few years has been made from recycled timber. Pallets, old building wood, left over bits and pieces, driftwood, old fences, whatever! I love recycling timber. Least of all for the cost saving although thats a huge bonus. Most of all because the available timber sort of designs the furniture piece for me. I have to work within the parameters of my available material and thats good for me. Without limitation I take off in so many directions that my brain can’t keep up. I think about what I or we need for the house, look at the timber and let my mind wander. I usually start making without a drawing. Some component to get the ball rolling and then, with something to look at, the design / build happens together. Usually at this stage I’ll make a rough working drawing but I adjust it as I see fit along the way. Working to a fixed plan is not much fun. Working freely with timber is very satisfying and lots of fun. I need it almost as much as I need the river!

The butchers block project is fairly well documented in photos below. It was pretty challenging to persuade some of that timber to work for me. The grain was crazy at times, some natural and man made defects were hard to get around but these are the challenges of recycling that I enjoy. I like to fill the holes with timber or filler. I don’t care if the colour does’t match, I just don’t want a hole in the finished piece. If I’m screwing and plugging I do try to match grain and colour. Lots of double standards and often mood related but I can do what I want. Whatever I feel like and I guess thats the point. Miraculously, throughout the build I only hit one nail!

Since I had no fishing to talk about I decided to talk about this – my other life. I probably wont again but this felt okay! It’s worth a mention that the amount of fly fishermen I know that are also woodworkers is quite amazing. Hopefully some of you will enjoy my approach – rough and ready as it is – to woodwork.

Jeff and I are going fishing tomorrow and the next day and then a week or so later I’m off to Malaysia to see Paul and hopefully catch the two species tough enough to break the best of us! In my next blog there will be fish… I hope!

If you’re thinking about a trip to NZ this year or next feel free to drop me a line. February is full at this stage but I have plenty space otherwise. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website..

   Tight Lines, Ronan..

Top 5 Trout for 2018/19…

May 29th, 2019 No comments

I think anybody planning a trip to NZ has a dream of catching a big one. These big fish are indeed attainable! During a multi-day I’d expect to land some fish up to 7lbs but fish over this weight are harder to find. You can certainly increase your odds of landing big fish by concentrating your efforts where big trout live but NZ fly fishing is not all about trophy trout. Last season and the one before combined yielded 2 over the elusive 10lb mark for my clients. This season the best was a touch under 9lbs. I decided to compile the top 5 trout for my clients over the season. Well done to Chuan, Mark, Kevin, Wei Chong and Matt for making the final cut. I hope you can make the top 5 next season too!

Feel free to get in touch about next seasons availability via email (ronan@sexyloops.com) or visit my website

Tight Lines,  Ronan..

Precious Cargo!

May 24th, 2019 No comments

I can’t believe it’s 2 months since I’ve written a blog! It’s just been hard to find the time. Right now I’m in Dunedin Hospital with a very Pregnant Iza. We thought the little fecker was about to arrive but now it seems he / she was just winding us up. Iza is asleep and I have time to write.

The first thing I have to say is Congratulations to my dad, Joe Creane on winning the European Cup 2019 on Lough Mask in the West of Ireland. I have’t spoken to him yet to hear the details but it seems fish were very hard to find so this was a super result. He won a Burke boat for his trouble. I owned one since I was 21 and they are a super fishing boat.

The guiding season has come to an end. I did a few days in early May and that was it for 2019 unless a winter booking or 2 comes along. It was a super season all up. I’m loving the evolution of my guiding career. Most of my work is now from repeat clients who are becoming good friends. I couldn’t be happier about that.

The Sexyloops connection is getting stronger all the time. I have introduced some of my clients to Paul’s site to help them with their casting, to watch sexyloops.tv, fish with the man himself in Malaysia and read the day to day antics from Paul and the other writers from around the world. Paul has introduced some of his readers and friends to me as a current, active link to NZ fly fishing and guiding. It’s going full circle. More and more of my clients are arriving armed with a SL Hot Torpedo and well versed on whats going on with Paul and Bernd and the rest. One random meeting between 3 anglers in a pub in Waikaia summed it up. After Chip, Simon and I chatted for a while over a few pints we realised we all owned a SLHT #6. Now thats cool. It’s cool because these rods are not mainstream. Paul has them made exactly to his specifications with no expense spared – and their not cheap to make! I think anyone who wants to own one of these rods simply wants to take their fishing / casting to the next level in a more honourable and ethical way than buying the latest Sage before its discontinued next week. The sexyloops crew are the real deal, immersing their lives in fly fishing and casting – without ego! I loved what Simon said to me in the Waikaia pub about SL, “no trucker hats, no hoodies”. If you’re not a regular to the site then have a look!

May is possibly my favourite time of year. Guiding winds down and I have time to fish myself. There are 4 rivers within an hour of me that I can float down or fish land based targeting rainbows and browns (but mostly rainbows, big ones!) on their migratory run up stream to spawn. This May I’ve only gotten out twice. There are a couple of legitimate reasons for this! Iza is 38 weeks pregnant and needs me to be close by and we just bought a house. Were turning the 120 year old piece of history into our home and this has been taking quite a bit of time. I have a workshop too so I’ve also been setting that up to make furniture for the house or whatever else. A man needs a workshop!

I did manage to get a magic day on the water to satisfy my May fishing urge. I took the boat across to an island and fished a piece of water that has never worked for me before. It was fishy though. I threw a long line across to a deep blue hole, let the fly sink and stripped away.. two light taps.. I’ve felt these taps before from big fish.. another tap then a solid connection! The big hen rainbow, full of precious cargo and condition was cartwheeling on the end of my line. I had to give her hell to keep her safely in the lee of the island. I landed her and got a good picture with the 10 second timer before letting her off. She weighed 8.5lbs and was my best fish of the season. I went on the get a 5 and a 7+ so I had a good fix! 

I’m not sure what fishing is coming in the next while but I might sneak out for a look somewhere. First priority is Iza and her precious cargo.

If you’d like to book some winter fishing or enquire about next season please email me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines,

      Ronan..

 

One Extreme to the Other! (and the Piscatorial Pot, 2019)

March 24th, 2019 No comments

My main observation over the last month was during a time when a cold southerly came through putting an end to the cicada and shutting the fish down. Fishing got very hard. As anglers some of us need a reason as to why the fishing gets hard but we can only speculate. It seemed as if when the cicadas stopped floating down the rivers that fish didn’t know what to do so they did nothing. Maybe they were waiting for their next source of food to become mainstream? Maybe it was a drop in barometric pressure? A sudden fall in water temperature? Maybe a little of each? All rational, human conclusions. The truth is that (in my opinion) it’s possible, even likely that it was none of these. Something we’ll never know. All I know is that fishing got very hard for over a week. As a guide this is tough. I hate saying “you should have been here last week” so I try not to. Thankfully, most anglers understand that hard fishing is always on the cards and that it’s rarely easy.

Just as interesting was watching it all turn on again. Over a couple of days the fishing went from the toughest all season to some of the easiest! A word that is rarely thrown into fly fishing for trout but feck it, at times it was easy! Fish wanted to eat and they would travel to eat a fly. They weren’t particularly spooky, just eager. This is what anglers dream about. The rare time when trout drop their guard and go on the prowl. It has been great fun watching it happen. A pleasure watching anglers in their element and having a blast. That’s what its all about. Five recent guide days went above 15 fish for the day. During the difficult spell, 1 per day was pretty much the norm. Chalk and cheese!

The story of the progression from bad to great is well told in the photo’s below. They begin when the going was tough!

Here is a link to a short film I made from a nice moment during 2 days in a relentless gorge..

THE PISCATORIAL POT…

St Patricks Weekend coincided with the annual Piscatorial Pot fishing competition. I run it for the Wakatipu Anglers Club on Lake Dunstan. It seems to be growing in popularity in the club circle. I think this is more to do with what comes after the fishing day, which is Iza’s cooking! We also have a few drinks and the craic is always great. We didn’t quite push through til dawn this year but close! A big thank you to Iza, Ivy and Mike for all their help.. If it wasn’t for them it would have been a sausage sizzle!

The fishing for the last 4 years has been hard for the competitors. The winner is the angler with the most fish over 350mm. Usually one or 2 trout wins it. This competition was different. Anglers were catching fish! I think we had about 18 fishing with a total of about 12 trout landed. I got out for an hour to see how things were going and to try to catch a fish (I didn’t). I saw Conor and Jakub (IRE, CZ) catching some fish from the boat. I was delighted to see this. Wesley Snipes (IRE) had 2 fish, Simon (CH) had one.. Some real competition.. Camo-Guy (ENG) disappeared down the west shore for the day. When I met him in the evening he told me about some great fishing. Not big fish but he landed 4 between 360mm and 410mm on a black bugger. To add a bit of competition to the competition, the winning anglers nationality also goes on the cup. So far its two for NZ, two for Ireland and now, thanks to Guy, one for England. Guy is one of my oldest friends here in NZ so it really was a great pleasure to present him with the cup – even on St Patricks Day!! Congratulations Guy! 

Thanks to Manic Tackle Project for sending down a couple of t-shirts and caps to spice up the prizes!

I have about 15 days available in April, and a few this week. Flick me an email if you’d like to get out for a trip.. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines,  Ronan..

 

Heli-Fishing!

February 27th, 2019 No comments

Heli-fishing is a tough one! For me, it’s often very stressful. When people are spending the extra 2 or 3k for this mode of transport to the river, I do my best to get them value for money. I usually spend unpaid hours trolling through weather reports, getting info from mates, emailing and phoning heli companies; whatever it takes to remove as much uncertainty as possible. It’s a bit of a catch 22 too. The whole reason for heli fishing is to get to a remote, rarely fished location but as a guide I need to know the river well. I can’t afford to fly in to locations on a reconnoiter mission and walking could take days (Which I’d love to do but don’t have time!) so learning the rivers sometimes happens on my clients time. I make no secret of this. If I’ve never been to the river, I’ll tell my client. I have faith in my abilities to read the river and to deliver a great day but the intimate knowledge of a section of river which begins at about 5 visits takes time to achieve.

There are no guarantees with heli-fishing. I have not had a bad heli trip yet but its certainly possible. Flying in doesn’t mean we’ll have the river to ourselves. I inform my clients that if we arrive to find anglers who’ve walked in then they have the right of way – first choice of water. I always ask the pilot to fly above and below where we intend to fish in search of other fishermen in an attempt to avoid unnecessary confrontation. Some helicopter options are used by more than one heli company so its possible that another party could arrive before or after you. Just recently a chopper dropped off fishermen 3kms above my party right into the best spot on the river. We had pretty tough fishing outside the “golden mile” but everyone understood that this can happen and we all had a super trip regardless – though we all felt the sting of loosing the cream of the river! On that 3 day trip where we fished 11ks of river (actually 10 subtracting the good bit) we only landed 5 trout. My point is that heli fishing doesn’t guarantee great fishing or lots of fish. The nature of the remoteness and the often fickle ways of backcountry rivers means that a lot is left to chance.

Having outlined the risks I think it’s important to talk about my actual experience with heli fishing. Once all the planning is done and we board to fly in it’s great fun! It’s the ultimate way to look around this unbelievably beautiful country which I’m so lucky to live in. Only twice have I encountered other anglers and both times a fairly positive outcome was achieved for both parties from a friendly meeting. Heli fishing has been very good overall but little or no better than rivers I can drive to. The one thing that heli fishing does guarantee is that you will be fishing in a remote and beautiful environment. The rivers are usually crystal clear flowing through spectacular and dramatic landscapes. Heli fishing usually requires a pretty high level of fitness. Most backcountry rivers require a lot of walking to get a decent number of shots at trout and the terrain is often bouldery and difficult. To get the most from a heli fishing experience its best to stay in for 2 or 3 days and go hard. It’s about the whole experience from the flight in and out, to the walking, to the trout, to the environment. It is fun!

It’s been a great month or so of guiding since my last blog. Plenty dry fly action and pretty good weather. Great people too! Justin Spence from Big Sky Anglers was over with his friend, Dan. The lads gave it hell for a week smashing some of my guiding records. Justin is one of the best fishermen I’ve met. We were very much on the same page with our fly fishing philosophy and understanding. I’m pretty excited about staying connected with him and his business in Montana. If your thinking about a trip to his neck of the woods I can’t imagine that there’s a better guide out there to take care of you. You can check out his website here

It was great to see Tom Doc Sullivan over from Ireland for a month. We fished together about 25 years ago on Lough Corrib and now in NZ. He’s already planning a return journey next year. He’s been bitten by the bug! See you next year, Tom! The box of stuff you left will still be in the garage.. apart from the mug, I swiped that.. and the headlamp. 

The fishing in the last week has been some of the hardest all season! I hope it picks up soon.. The pics in this blog don’t include the very recent stuff. I might have a chance to edit a short film for the next blog too. 

Still a few places in March and plenty in April if your thinking about a visit! See my website or email me for bookings and information, ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight lines,

    Ronan..

It’s All About Attitude!

January 14th, 2019 No comments

If fly fishing for you is all about hooking, playing and landing fish then New Zealand is not for you. The New Zealand fishery, certainly the South Island, is much more about the pursuit of trout then it is about catching high numbers. I’ve been really lucky in my guiding so far in that I have rarely guided people with unreasonable expectations. I got a text from one of my guide mates the other day in the middle of a multi day trip with a fella who cant walk far or cast well but expects fish after fish. When he does catch the experience means little to him and he doesn’t like seeing his wife out-fishing him. His own abilities coupled with a negative attitude are making sure that he’s not catching many or having much fun. A situation like this is tough for the angler and the guide. All we want is to see our clients having a great time. If the client has the right attitude then he’ll generally do very well. Understanding a bit about the NZ fishery is a huge help. It’s no walk in the park, its usually windy and as outlined already it’s not a numbers game. Practice casting, short and medium distances. Speed and accuracy is the key. The rivers and lakes can be pretty hard going physically. Of course, if a client is unfit then we can design a trip to suit but the fishing may be compromised. In my opinion, 2 fish is a good day. Four is really good and above that is cream. I try to go for fish bigger than the NZ average most of the time which might help put these figures in perspective.

Recently I had the pleasure of guiding KC and Mark. Both in their early 70’s, they said they were 4/5 US fit and 3/5 NZ fit. They’d been here before! Day one we had an easy day, mainly so that I could get a feel for their approach to fly fishing and their fitness. Straight away I could see that their attitude was great. Really positive with a true understanding about what fly fishing really is. They were also as tough as old boots. This was going to be a fun trip! There were times over the 8 days that fishing was tough. Early in the trip I was feeling the tingle of stress that I can’t help feeling when the fishing is hard. I’d look back at the lads to see smiles, contentment and enjoyment. They were enjoying it, no matter what. That was the end of any stress for me and the fishing went from good to better and better. Even with wading through acres of mud, bush bashing, long hard walks and tricky crossings, I could not knock the smiles off their faces. The trip is documented in the photos below. They could cast very well and they were fit giving them a huge advantage over many, but their biggest attribute was their attitude. Thanks fellas!

Tight lines, Ronan..

Still some availability in March and plenty in April. Visit my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com