Archive for November, 2012


November 29th, 2012 No comments

The fishing was generally bad last weekend. Guy and I fished together in my boat for most of Saturday. Little rainbows were active at times and we managed a few browns. Peter, now a New Zealander but born in Hungary, had a good day on the shore but the numbers of cruising browns were way down on the Benmore I know, probably because the lake was so low. On a positive note the weed beds are as healthy as I’ve seen for years.

On Day 2 I was on my own. I went to one of my usual haunts to fish some flats, edges and backwaters only to be greeted by a howling nor’wester. The wind in NZ is unrelenting and often ruins the fishing. I started on the shore because I didn’t want to chance putting the boat in. I got one and lost one. The flats were as clear as could be with the right amount of water covering them and plenty weed beds evident. One can only cover so much from the bank so I walked back to the truck and put the boat in. I had to fish the flats and from the boat is the best way to do it. It was seriously hard going. The wind was pushing the boat down the drift so fast that I could barely strip fast enough to stay in touch with my fly. I need a drogue! Sometimes I’d throw out the anchor to give an area a chance but drifting, albeit at super high speed produced more fish. Conditions like this demand a lot from an angler. Casting, boating, angling, and sanity will be put to the test. I don’t know anyone else who would do this!

When I was walking back to take the boat out I felt some fear but I had no choice. The decision was made and in a sense I was no longer in control. Something else drives me at times, from somewhere deep inside and I’m glad it does. I’ve had some great and terrifying experiences because of it. Fear is good.


25 Trout, 2 Seagulls and Almost no Engine Trouble…

November 21st, 2012 No comments

The last Cromwell gathering of anglers was fun and another one is on the horizon. “Wild Foods and Fly-Fishing” will be the theme. The land around Lake Dunstan moves with rabbits and hares, The lake is full of trout, Deer and pigs roam wild not too far away and although the west coast is a few hours away I’m sure a mission there to gather muscles, blue cod and crayfish could be arranged. I think early February it will take place. From memory, wild mushrooms will be easy pickings then and hopefully my potato crop will be ready even though they have not broken through the earth yet! My idea is simple. Everyone will be welcome. We will all fish on the Saturday and eat a wild food feast that evening cooked by me and my helpers (you don’t know who you are yet). We will drink. Some of us will push through till dawn. Then we will arise and fish the Sunday. Some of us will use boats on the lake, others can fish the rivers, whatever. It’s an event to bring people together, feast, fish and get pissed… in any order you see fit. Watch this space!

The season is in full swing now. Sean from Tassie and Teoni just stopped in for dinner and a few beers, Glen Ogden will be here soon from Victoria, Kristian from Denmark is also coming for the full season, and the legend Graeme Williams,( Northern Territories best guide, is also coming for a visit soon. Paul and I fished with Graeme a few years ago and it was a truly excellent experience. Richard Howard will be coming from Ireland (I’ll get to your email tomorrow!!) The social side of angling will soon be in full swing. Guy is coming through tomorrow and I may well head North with him for the weekend to fish around Omarama. Sean will be there too and maybe Chris Dore.

The weekend gone by was a great one on the water. Daltona gave only minimal trouble. Kevin and I fished together on Saturday morning and we both did well. As luck would have it for him the sun came out and the rain stopped shortly after he left the lake! I enjoyed some magic fishing in the flat calm. The top end of Dunstan is a unique fishery. Because the Clutha flows in there, there is a constant currant flowing over the flats. On flat calm spells the boat will drift along over the flats covering lots of water just as you would in a wind but because its calm you can read the water much better. I had about 25 trout for the weekend… and 2 seagulls!


ps. I’m exhausted writing this. When I read back over it nothing goes in! It is the way it is now anyway! Enjoy.. 🙂





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1978 35HP Johnson Engine…

November 15th, 2012 3 comments

Daltona has been sitting idle for too long. The last time I was out in her was with Mike Wilkinson and we had a series of breakdowns. First a blown fuse which I fixed with tinfoil, then the wire from the spark plug broke away from the coil. This we fixed with Mikes tapered leader (fishing line for you non fisherfolk). Then the starter motor started grinding rather than starting. This could not be fixed with my leatherman but by wrapping a rope around the fly wheel I could start the engine to get us back to safety. Today I finally got around to fixing the old outboard…

The Secret Dam.

November 11th, 2012 1 comment

Dad and I used to joke about how trout in NZ would live in a puddle. The truth is that this is only a slight exaggeration. Farm irrigation dams, duck ponds, oxbow lakes, ditches, gold diggings, and every other imaginable body of water can and do support thriving trout populations in NZ. What’s in the water over here that makes this possible? Fish & Game introduce fish to some of these small waters but trout often find their own way in either through times of flood or little rivulets and streams. Either way, once they’re in they live there for years and have no problem surviving the winter months. In Ireland stocked lakes have to restocked at least once a year because so few fish survive the winter in their new, unfamiliar home.

Kevin was working on a farm last year which had 2 small dams on the property. The location was kept secret but finally he brought me to fish them this weekend. I’m forbidden from bringing anyone else there and I can only fish there with Kevin. This is fine by me! One could walk around each of the dams in 5 minutes. There is a small water race connecting the dams to a nearby creek and the ever opportunist trout have made their way into these waters. Over Kevins 2 weeks working there he picked up over 30 trout on lunch breaks and evenings with only 4 under 7lbs. This is an exceptional average even for NZ.

We had beautiful blue sky days during the working week but Saturday brought heavy cloud cover making spotting very tough. Thankfully the morning on the dam was dead calm and we managed to spot a few even in the low light. We did well with our chances. As the wind picked up we went to the creek which feeds the dams. We hooked a fish each. A 6lber for me and one about 8lbs for Kevin which he lost around a snag after taking my advise on where to beach the fish. We know where he lives!

Tight lines all.. Ronan..

Sunshine & Snow!

November 5th, 2012 No comments

It’s always hard to judge how much clothing to bring with you for a day on the water in NZ. The mornings can be freezing cold but the afternoons can get into the high 20’s and even more at times. I guess it’s better to have too much rather than too little. The weekend passed was truly one of extremes when it comes to weather and temperatures. We had a blizzard on Saturday after a beautiful sunny morning with blue skies, then occasional sun throughout the day between the prolonged heavy snowfalls. As Jeff and I walked down river on Saturday morning before starting fishing there were numerous stops made to take raincoats off and then to put them on again before the snow settled in for the majority of the day! Sunday started out freezing cold but warmed up to be a cracking, hot blue sky day. I brought an extra layer with me but didn’t use it. I nearly melted on the 5k walk out!

Fishing was tough all weekend. We didn’t get a heap of shots but we did have some great moments with trout unexpectedly eating our dries. I had one cruise up from about a meter down. That few seconds when a fish is rising up to take your dry removes everything else from your thoughts. It’s just you and him, you’re watching with absolute attention hoping he keeps coming and does not refuse. This one didn’t!

I also had a fish after about 50 casts and 4 fly changes. In the end he took the nymph stripped! I moved the fly by mistake in the previous cast and he chased it, so I tried it again on the next cast and it worked!

All up it was a weekend of difficult but enjoyable (as always) fishing and some extreme weather!

Thanks for the pics and the beer Jeff!