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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Toffler’

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..

Old boots & Old friends…

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Recently I had an encounter with a trout I’d caught about 18 months ago. The fact that I had caught him before meant that I had no great need to catch him again, or so I thought before our re-encounter. I knew where he lived, during a day on the river I was never too pushed If I fished that pool or not. On this day I did get to the pool, I scoped it up and down and didn’t see him. I did see a smaller trout of about 4lbs but never managed to get a shot to that one. When I was leaving the pool I spotted my old friend in a slack back eddy at the head of the pool. He was cruising around sipping down dries like a 3lb brown in a Mataura backwater.. But this was no 3lber! He may well be a double by now considering he was 9.25lbs when I caught him. I didn’t hesitate in getting into position well away from the trout, my heart rate increasing. I quickly removed my nymphs so I had a single size 12 dry left on the cast, my go-to dry. I felt no need to put on a smaller one. The tippet was 4x, so nice and fine. The fish turned on his beat and I sent in my cast. I was as happy as I could have been with my shot.. I landed the fly well in front of the fish and a little to his right so that on approach to the fly most of the tippet would be on the other side of the fly. He cruised towards it, raised up in the water column just a little and then continued under my fly. After seeing my offering he went into high alert moving out of the slack water into moving water. Still maybe catchable but much more difficult. I changed tactics and put a nymph on. First attempt with the nymph and I picked up some scrub on my back-cast which landed beside my old friend. With that, he was gone. He didn’t bolt off, just cruised into the depths. I was haunted by him that night, every time I’d close my eyes I’d see that head on profile with pectoral fins like a jet plane, changing to a huge pink and green flank as he turned. Now I have to catch him again. (This is fly-fishing!)

I’ve had plenty other great days on the water since my last report. Jeff and I pushed into some new terrain and found more trout than we expected. We did pretty well, catching fish on dries and nymphs.

I caught up with my great friend Bob Toffler last weekend before he headed back to the States for another northern hemisphere season. We had a wonderful meal together cooked by Bob’s partner, Carol. The following day, Iza, Bob and I fished the Mataura where the hatch lasted from morning until evening! It was fantastic fun. I got to know Bob on a visit to the US about 13 years ago. He told me that he fishes in NZ every season, and he invited me to join him during my planned NZ visit. I took him up on his offer and we’ve been friends ever since meeting up a few times a season. Through Bob, I met Guy; through Guy, I met Paul and the rest is history still in the making.

That’s all for now, Enjoy the pics and feel free to subscribe if you’re new here and you like what you see!

Oh, and Happy 40th to Mike Wilkinson! He looks a day over 39. The party meant I didn’t fish on Sunday last! I doubt any one else did either… Jeff?

Ronan..

Striking Gold!

January 2nd, 2014 2 comments

So far on this holiday season the fishing has been pretty average. The first mission to the coast with Guy and Jeff was okay, the second with Mark Adamson was a bit worse. The mouths didn’t fish well, but then, in truth, we did not really give them a serious run. One was too coloured, one was full of glacial silt but just fishable, and the tide was wrong when we had time to fish another. So if conditions were right they may have been epic, but my gut tells me otherwise.

Mark and I had 2 days on the coast. Day one we tried some mouths as I just mentioned, also a spring creek but it looked as though someone had been in there earlier that day with a chainsaw. Possibly to clear a run for a jetboat, or to get bulls out of a grazing area farther up the creek. A farmer told me that. Either way, It felt like a waste of fishing time being there. The water was spectacular though. We tried another spot with no joy, so we went to the pub for a steak and a pint.

Day 2 we fished a typical, large west coast river. It was high after rain but clear. I got one on a dry right away. Mark spotted the fish but as he was not set up, I took the shot and got the fish. It’s essential not to fuck around when an opportunity presents itself. Take the shot! Waiting for someone results in too many lost chances. I’ve learned this many times. We expected plenty more shots but unfortunately, they did not come. We got 2 each for the day, 3 on that river and one on a river during a quick stop on the drive home. So not many fish, but a truly great day in one of the nicest places I’ve seen.

My old friend Kevin Alexander, who you’ll know from many previous blogs, has just moved to Cromwell. We’ve been doing some gold dredging and some fishing as well as eating and some drinking. It’s great to have him and his family here and he’ll probably be popping up on this a lot more from now on. Soon we will fix Daltona! She’s been idle too long.

This has been a good Christmas so far for catching up with friends, especially Bob Toffler. Bob, I’m delighted that broken leg healed up and thank you for showing me your secret spots! I managed a 5 and a 6lber to finish off 2013..

Happy new year everyone from the thundery and rainy Otago night… I don’t know what’s in store but I expect I’ll stay in NZ, especially after reading about the Irish Budget. They’re squeezing every last drop out of those who remain..

Ronan..