Top 5 Trout, 2019 / 20

March 31st, 2020 No comments

I thought I’d be putting up this years Top 5 list in May or June, but with the season virtually closed over here, now is the time! It was a big fish season. Right from the start they were big, way before the mouse plague hit. Some say it was due to the mild winter which preceded the season but who knows. The mouse plague certainly happened down south and up north (on the South Island) West Coast too. Some insanely big fish were caught in those areas but I concentrated most of my effort away from mousy areas. I heard some stories of pressure on rivers which was enough to deter me. Only twice I ventured south in search of mouse fish and both times we came up with the goods. However both times we encountered anglers not playing by the rules / etiquette which tarnished the experience. Three of the top 5 trout, including number 1 were not mouse fish. My own double was not a mouse fish either. The top 5 trout came from 4 different rivers.

I’m delighted to see 3 regular clients making this years Top 5. Hopefully the other 2 will become regulars! Well done to Chuan, TopRod, Andrew, Bryan and Marcus. Also thank you all. My thanks of course extends to all I guided this season. I appreciate your custom and friendship and I hope to see you all again once we get out the other side of this pandemic.

I am taking bookings for next season although I appreciate that people may not be keen on paying a deposit under the current circumstances. This I understand. If you’d like to make a booking without paying a deposit just let me know. It’ll give you a chance to secure some dates assuming you can travel to NZ next season. The deposit can be settled if and when the travel ban is lifted. I returned all deposits taken for my 25 lost days due to the virus – apart from one! Thanks Barry! I wont forget that.

I though I could write this without referencing the Corona Virus but it’s so relevant right now and it effects everyone, I just had to give in! Next blog I won’t mention it! Thats all for now..

Stay the feck at home everyone! Ronan..

Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Number 1 – For the second year running! A smidgeon over 11lbs. This cracking fish from December. Congratulations Chuan..
One more quick pic before the release.
Number 2. A very close 2nd at 11lbs on the dot. A cold day in February. Well done james!
Back he goes..
Number 3. Andrew with a brute of a fish just over 9lbs in weight from last November. I didn’t mean to make him look like a 15lber! It was my clients camera with a fancy lens.
Number 4. Bryan with chunky, mouse eating personal best during March! 9lbs.
Number 5. Just under 9lbs for Marcus in February. I’m delighted to see 3 regular clients on this years Big Fish Board!
This picture does him justice. A beautiful specimen.
My own personal best for the season (so far, hopefully we’ll all get out again before season close!), 10.5lbs last October.
Just before swimming home. I’d like to see him after 2 months eating cicadas!

One of the Best Fly Fishing Moments of my Life!

February 7th, 2020 No comments

I’ve often been asked “so, what was your greatest fly fishing moment?” Every time I draw a blank. When I think for a while something pops into my head – usually something recent because its fresh. Those fly fishing highlights tend to fade but it’s important try to keep them alive. Reliving the memory can be almost as good as being there. I learned that from my friend Robbie Mcphee. I have to say, for me, most of the great highs were with catching big fish. This was one of those.

I fish this river once or twice a season. It requires a long drive and decent hike but the real reason I rarely fish it is out of respect for the fish in it. There are not many and I always feel like it could be a pressure sensitive fishery (if it got any pressure). The most I’ve seen in a day is 6 but usually just 2 or 3. I’ve seen none a couple of times too. I remember the first fish I caught on it 5 years ago. A big, incredibly beautiful 9lber. I caught him blind fishing a deep pool with a streamer. Certainly in my top 5 most beautiful fish. Also a great moment of fly fishing.

I visited the river earlier this season. Wandering up the river paying close attention to the spots where I had seen fish over the years, not seeing any. It’s tough, rough terrain but you have to cover a lot of water to have a real chance at success. I was seeing no fish and feeling a little nervous that I may not get a shot. I got to the pool where I caught my first ever trout on it – that stunning 9lber. I couldn’t see any in there. I kept moving upstream, a scramble to the next pool over some steep boulders and matakauri took my attention off the river. As I found solid footing I glanced down, “holy flip” I thought.. then it dissappeared.. did I see anything? Did I spook it? I kept a low profile and watched and waited. Then he reappeared – Rich golden sides and a green back. A big fish – maybe a double. He was moving around the pool emerging now and again from a deep riffle impossible to see into. I altered my rig to suit the scenario. A big indicator dry and a long dropper with a weighted size 12 nymph. I waited for the best opportunity to cast. “Don’t rush this” I had to tell myself. Then the shot presented and my line found it’s way into some tangle weed. I tried to keep my cool but failed and ended up loosing my flies in a matakauri bush. “compose yourself” I said. “Start again”. I wait and wait – no sign for ages – but then there he is. I wait a little longer for the fish to get into the optimum position. I sent in my cast. I saw the fish see my nymph and rise up through the water to get it. The moment he turned I struck – I don’t know if my dry moved. The fish was on. A very powerful, fast run into white water at the head of the pool, I played the fish to the limits of 3x tippet to keep him away from the sharp rocks and undercuts. He didn’t want to leave the pool and I didn’t want him to leave because there was a 6 foot waterfall down to the next pool. I almost had him in the net a couple of times and then he started moving towards the fall, “no, no, NO” I remember saying out loud as he slid over the fall. I considered jumping in but it was dodgy. I had to climb down. Back up the steep boulders to get down the other side. Much harder attached to a big fish. Trying to keep a tight line to the fish while keeping the fly line out of the tanglesom matakauri proved impossible. The line got caught as I climbed down. I slipped and fell the last bit and smacked the reel breaking the rod tip (that happens!) but I still had tension on the fish, just not a straight line from the tip my now shorter rod. The flyline was caught about 12 foot up in the matakauri bushes and the broken bit of my rod tip slid to the dry. I jumped a couple of times and managed to free the line while trying not to loose tension. The fish was still on. I got into the river where there were no more obstacles and slid the net under the fish. I roared out loud with happiness. I took a moment while admiring my prize trying to take it all in. “I recognise you” I thought. It was certainly the first fish I caught on the river 5 years ago. A quick weigh and he’s still 9lbs and living just one pool away from where I first caught him. I took 2 photos with my 10 second timer and let this magnificent creature back into his original pool. It was an utterly fulfilling fly fishing high. Whenever I get asked that question again, this story will do, but there are a few I feel privileged to say. That was the only fish I saw that day and I won’t go back this season.

Guiding has been going great! Happy anglers catching fish in all conditions. A while back I had a week with Chuan. Always fun, never afraid to take a gamble. He caught a fish of a lifetime – a fabulous 11lb brown. Many more great fish too in a diverse week where we took each day as it came. Planning ahead just didn’t work with a very mixed week of weather and inaccurate forecasting.

I’m way behind on blog photos but I didn’t want to add any more here – it just feels like too many and you’d get bored looking at them!

Still some space in April and plenty in May if anybody would like to come over and see what this is all about. Check out my website or email me at ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Mad Weather and Big Trout!

December 28th, 2019 No comments

I compiled this guiding gallery a couple of weeks ago now. Loads has happened since and it’s pushing the contents of this gallery to the side, which of course it shouldn’t because there were some excellent days on the water which I have accounted for here, but I really want to clear the decks now for more recent fishing, which has been superb!

One trip worth a mention was with Andrew. He had 2 days to fish, day one was off the charts landing 6 trout with the biggest hitting the scale at just over 9lbs. That fish took some work. We fished to him for about an hour before I put on one of my fathers unweighted size 14 hares ear nymphs. Andrews first cast with that fly and it was all on! Second biggest was 7lbs. They were all great trout.. Day 2 we blanked bringing us back down to earth. It’s funny how it goes!

It was great to see Brendan and Dave again. They were over for 5 days, Day one was simply magnificent with 11 fish to 7lbs, Day 2 and 3 were also good days but then I got struck down with severe stomach cramps. I gave the lads my truck and some info for their last 2 days. They landed another 9 trout. It took me 5 days in total to come right which included 3 nights in hospital. They were my first sick days in 5 years guiding.

I also took out Micah Adams and his friend Dave. Micah has been involved in fly fishing TV in Australia. We had a very enjoyable day on the water even though it was a pretty hard day. Micah got a 3lber on a dry and Dave landed a super 6lber.

The weather has been nuts. Rain, wind, hail, flooded rivers etc.. I like it when the conditions go to feck. It makes me think outside the box, take gambles, use what I’ve learned over the last 18 years in NZ. I’ll put a trip together for my clients regardless of what mother nature throws at us. I will use every avenue available to me to make it happen. Crazy weather seems to be pretty normal now so if a fella can’t adapt he’s in trouble!

The next blog will be about one of my own greatest moments in fly fishing with a superb old 9lber and The Mighty Chuan landing an 11lber.. Not mouse eating monsters, just bonafide brutes!

I’ll let the photos tell the other stories. Still some availability for this season if you’re thinking about coming over. Visit my website of contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight lines & screaming reels for the new year! Ronan..

Lough Corrib

November 30th, 2019 No comments

No trip to Ireland is complete without a few days on Corrib. It’s a lake that has rarely been very kind to me but that does not stop me wanting to go back. It’s an amazing lake. It would take a lifetime to get to grips with the entire 44,000 acres. Maybe multiple lifetimes. There is still so much of Corrib I have not seen. It’s an explorers dream with deeps, shallows, points, bays and islands making up the lake. It encompasses many townlands on it shores from Galway to Oughterard to Cornamona to Cong to Headford. The fishing varies from early to late season with very specific times of different fly. The chironomid first, then the olive (a small mayfly), then the large danica mayfly then the sedge. Of course the fly seasons overlap but with such specifics in trout food, the fly and method selection is very important. There are many other flies on the water too just to add to the puzzle. Caenis and terrestrials for example. Traditional wet fly techniques have taken a back seat to various nymphing methods in the passed 20 years, especially with chironomid and olive fishing. Let me know if you ever want to go and I’ll connect you with the right people.

I had 3 days out while at home. John and I went out on day 1. John hadn’t been out for a while so he was unsure where the good fishing was. We went to some trusted deep water where wet fly fishing can produce the goods. John got 1 of about 1.5lbs and I blanked. 

Day 2 was with Dad and Tom Doc. This was a social outing as much as a fishing day and the craic was great. We went out in Toms dad’s boat. A beautiful custom built Philbin Lake Boat. A pleasure to be out in. That boat has seen some action and anglers over it’s lifetime, and she still looks new. We fished very close to where John and I fished but we were on the fish. Tom is a guide on the lake and fishes most days so he knows where the fish are. It didn’t take long for us to start moving a few. This was my day as it turned out. Out of 8 landed I had 6 with the best over 3lbs. I was delighted, as was Dad and Tom. Lunch on Inchagoill with the traditional Kelly Kettle was super. The cup of tea from Tom’s Kettle will not be beaten! It’s so good that I decided to bring my Kelly Kettle to NZ. Thanks Tom for a great day out..

Day 3 – I didn’t expect much. The forecast was for horrendous wind. Rain too, and the lake was high and rising after rain. The reason for going out was give the New Zealanders who were over for the wedding a taste of Corrib. We had 3 boats. John and Fraser in one, Dad and Damien in another and Myself, Wesley and Mark in mine. It was a day where open water would have been very dangerous so we stayed in relatively sheltered bays. The craic was good but the fishing was bad. The pints flowed afterwards which made the world good again!

Still lots of space available in the current season for guided fly fishing in New Zealand. Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

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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Categories: Expedition Tags:

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..