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Posts Tagged ‘Harfin reels’

20 Year Old Trout!

April 8th, 2021 No comments

Over this season I’ve seen 2 trout that I had first seen many years before. Both from high country rivers where trout are known to get pretty old. I contacted my friend, Rasmus Gabrielson, to find out a bit about how old trout get. Rasmus reckons from some surveys done on one of the rivers that it would take a brown trout about 12 years to reach 9lbs. 9lbs is important because both trout were that weight when I caught them first. The first trout I caught back in 2013. He was one of the most spectacularly coloured trout I had ever seen. He had a dark patch on his right gill cover. This would make him easy to identify if I was to ever see him again. Over the years I did see him on occassion. The dark patch easily visible as long as there was no wind riffle. His colour never seemed as striking as when I first caught him but I always assumed it was the same fish. Twice he ate my clients flies but but each time the rod came up empty. It wasn’t until this season that the stars aligned for Robbie to catch him. If it wasn’t for the dark patch on the gill I would never have picked him as being the same trout. For confirmation I compared photos and the spots matched. Some spots seem to have moved a little, some new ones have appeared and some have disappeared but its still easy to see that it’s the same trout. The dark patch has gotten much darker. Whats really amazing is that if that fish was 12 when I caught him first, he’s 20 now and still going strong.

The other fish I first caught in 2015. He was also one of the most beautifully coloured and marked trout I had seen – and still is to this day – both are actually. After I caught this fish I didnt see him for years. I caught him again in 2020 and again in 2021. Still the same weight and still looking good. Assuming this fish was 12 when I first caught him, he’s 18 now and also still going strong. I caught this fish from 2 adjacent pools. The first fish mentioned has been in the same pool for every sighting. This really proves the territorial nature of some trout. It also proves their resilience and ability to be caught and released many times. There’s photos of both trout on their first and last capture at the bottom of the list below. One has certainly changed a lot. Rasmus told me about brown trout from Norwegian high country lakes reaching 30 years of age. I wonder if we have a 30 year old brown trout in NZ? I think we could.

I’ve picked these two examples because they were such memorable fish. It’s also easy to know that they are the same fish. I have other examples too of old trout being caught many times over many years. It seems very normal for them reach a certain size and then maintain that weight. Some older trout stop spawning, making reaching old age more likely. Spawning is very hard on trout and claims many every year.

In other news, it’s been a great couple of months of fishing. I’ve been out a lot myself and had some big and beautiful trout. I’ve done some guiding. I didn’t expect to guide a double figure fish this season with so few guide days due to Covid travel restrictions, but Brian from Christchurch proved me wrong. We flew into a wilderness river on day 3 of 3. Fishing was slow – the only way to make it work was to cover kilometres and maximise opportunities. With this plan we found fish. At the end of the day we found a monster! He took the dry but Brian briefly foul hooked him in the tail on the strike. Luckily the trout didn’t seem didn’t seem too bothered and continued feeding. He took my #14 brown nymph a few casts later. This fish faught hard and Brian played him really well. At the very end, almost in the net, he made a dash under a rock. Fully under. We couldn’t see a fin! One chance before the tippet abrades off the rock – go and pull him out! I walked out to the rock and slid my hand under feeling around for the tail – taking a shot of water down my waders as I did. I felt the tail and got a firm grip and pulled him out and put him in my net. What a relief! I was expecting it would be a “one that got away” story! The fish weighed just under 11lbs. To me he looked like an early lake run trout. He was twice as big as any other fish we caught that day.

With the travel bubble open between Australia and NZ, the end of my season is pretty much full but there’s still lots of availability in May. Still plenty availability between now and April 18 for anglers within NZ. Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines, Ronan..

Boating, Fishing & Guiding..

January 2nd, 2021 No comments

I’ve had the boat out a couple of times now with the family. She’s lovely! Not built for speed but she gets along just fine. I played with the trim on the engine trying to get the bow down with the throttle opened up. It seems weight up the front might be the only option to get the bow down to plane properly. I’m not convinced that more power would get much more speed but I could be wrong. Even with the 15HP Evinrude I found myself throttling down for optimum performance. I remember learning about “hull speed” years ago – that a yacht cant go past a certain speed based on its hull shape and weight. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can knock a bit more speed out of it with somebody up the front. Maybe with correct weight distribution more power would equal more speed. Time will tell! Cant wait to get it out for an exploritory multi day lake trip. There’s enough room to sleep on board and heaps of space to carry gear. Now to find the time to do it! She also needs a name…


Plenty good fishing lately. I’ve put some highlights in the gallery below. My annual pilgrimage into one of my favourite and most physically demanding gorges was successful. Just like last year I found only one fish – turned out it was the same fish as last year. I’m starting to think he’s the only fish in the river and I’m not joking! I’ve watched fish numbers decline since I started fishing it 6 years ago. No idea why. Such a pristine backcountry river. Great to see my friend for the 3rd time. He’s still 9lbs, in great condition and still in the same part of the river. Funnily enough he was the first fish I ever caught on the river 6 years ago and currently he’s the last. Now he seems to have the whole place to himself. He must be old. 6 years ago he was 9lbs so he must be at least 15 assuming 1lb growth per year til he reached 9lbs. No science behind that, juat a guess. Hopefully when I go back next season I’ll find a new fish in one of the pools – and maybe I’ll see my old friend again too. (this is the blog he appeared in last season. I’ve spent the last hour trying to find the blog he first appeared in but I can’t find it!)


The weather has taken a turn for the worse. Bad timing as I’m supposed to be fishing down south with Robbie today and tomorrow. It’s been raining heavily for about 30 hours now. All rivers in flood. I might hit a lake myself tomorrow. I spent today sweeping water out of the workshop while trying to make some furniture. Guttering and drainage around the house need attention. I’ve added it to the infinite list of jobs!


Feel free to get in touch about a guided fly fishing trip. Plenty spaces in my calendar this season! Check out my website or email me directly ronan@sexyloops.com.

Tight Lines & Happy New Year! Ronan..

Balance…

December 6th, 2020 No comments

I have to say, I’m enjoying this season. I should be fretting over a lack of business but I’m not. I’m getting an occasional guide day and my wife Iza is working full time. We’re doing okay. We’re lucky, and I’m thankful for that. I’m looking after the kids most days but also managing to get out fishing regularly – especially now that Iza’s recent study has ended, a bit more time for me to fish. It’s a juggling act between kids, Iza’s work and free time, working on the house, family time, friends, guiding and fishing. The balance is good. I’m making the most of this season without tourists. It’s made me rethink what’s important. So much so that I might just reduce my guide days to make more time for family in the future. My goal in life is not to be financially rich – it’s to be rich with the important stuff.

This season has been really great. I have explored some new water and while I want to do more exploring, I realised something. I love going back to the water I know. I need to see the water I know at least once or twice a season. I don’t mind if I don’t catch a fish, I just need to see the water – it’s like catching up with an old friend. I like to see if the river has changed, are the fish in the usual spots, what more can I learn about it. Now that I’ve realised this I’m okay with it. Some days I felt a bit guilty for not exploring when I could have been. Exploring new water is certainly exciting. And while I have made peace with going back to fish familiar water I will always have the drive to find new water. Like life in general, its about balance.

The season to date has had a number of highlights. I’ll let the images tell the story about most of these but I will mention one. A day that I was guiding a half day, I went fishing myself for the second half. I hooked an 8lb trout for my client in the morning. He was about 12. He played it well and we got it into the net. In the afternoon I ventured off myself. I saw only one trout in 4kms which I didn’t get. Then I saw 2 in a pool. I was rigged up with one of my guide rods – a 5wt Airflo Blade with a Lamson Liquid reel. I hooked the first one quickly and landed it downstream. I knew it was big. I was thrilled to see it hit the magical 10lb increment on my weigh net. I went back up to the pool again and the other fish was still there, still active. There was a brutal crosswind and I had to cast way left of the target to compensate for the wind. It took a few attempts which luckily didn’t spook the fish. He sitting quite deep. Finally the dry went down and I lifted into serious weight. I landed this one in the same spot as the first. He hit the scales at 12lbs. This is equal to my biggest trout to date. 3 browns for 30lbs. I’ve never done that before. 2 doubles, thats also a first. First time I’ve witnessed it since my good friend Kristian Bang Foss landed a 10.25 and a 10.75 (and a 9) back in 2013. I’m happy if I can land one over 10 for a season so this day was certainly one of those never to be forgotton. Needless to say I was delighted. Also happy to get a great shot with the 10 second timer – my size 12 Brown Nymph from Fulling Mill visible in his mouth.

If anybody is reading this from within NZ and would like to experience some guided fly fishing, feel free to drop me a line.. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines! Ronan..

Seize the Carp!

May 22nd, 2018 No comments

Travelling to fly fishing destinations is not usually cheap, but there are some affordable options around the world. Portugal is one. Target species is carp! Initially I thought about hiring a guide but with a little research I found some decent info and decided to wing it. As luck would have it, my old mate Tonio was in the country and keen to meet for a fish. He also had quite a lot of experience with Portuguese carp so the stars really aligned for me. My research had pointed me towards Lake Alqueva and I also got wind of some small lakes near Evora. This was the area Tonio knew so Iza and I booked our accommodation in Evora first and then on to Monsaraz beside Lake Alqueva. Fly fishing really does bring you to some super places. Evora was a nice little town but Monsaraz was something out of a fairytale! A quaint, rustic, romantic little walled village full of character and history. The perfect place to bring your other half. No need to mention the lake full of carp which occupies much of its magnificent vista. I met Tonio the evening before our 3 fishing days began. We drank a few beers and chatted about old times. Roll on the next three days!

Day 1 and 2 were good. At times the carp were few and far between and we walked kilometres of shoreline in search of them. My flip-flops on day one were a very bad choice of footwear with lots of walking on uneven ground and mud! I don’t know what I was thinking!! When we did find carp they were not easy. As I had learned in the Azores, travelling fish were hard to entice but a fish with his head down and tail up – actively feeding fish were catchable. I was armed with my 6 wt Hot Toroedo and a Harfin reel. 3x tippet seemed to be the right choice for the carp we were encountering. We were using small buggers to begin with but I experimented with other flies, even catching one on a buzzer! One fly really seemed to have some magic though. It was a simple size 12, unweighted nymph with a claret body of possum fur and a red game tail. Once I put this fly on I really started catching. I gave a couple to Tonio and he also did well on it. We fished 3 different lakes landing about 16 carp over days 1 and 2 with the best fish around 5lbs. Good fun and challenging but where are the big fish?? We did see one 8lb plus fish come to think of it, but it was a fleeting opportunity.

Day 3. One of Western Europes largest dams, Lake Alqueva. Tonio had little info on this huge lake so we just picked a random spot near the bridge looking back up towards Monsaraz on the hill. We covered a few ks of shoreline only seeing about 6 fish. We didn’t land any but to our delight they were a lot bigger. Three times the size of what we were seeing on days 1 and 2. We decided to pull out and go somewhere else in the hope of finding better numbers. Tonio had an idea to drive quite a long way, then we followed our noses down some dirt tracks back to the lake. On arrival we knew we in better water. Lots of points, bays, drop-offs and weed beds. The banks were firm and gravelly and not muddy like a lot of previous water. We had lunch in the shade of a cork tree before hitting the water. I couldn’t help but think that maybe the handle of my fly rod originated right here! I went right and Tonio went left. We had walkie talkies to stay in touch. Tonio was just out of sight when he came through on the radio. “I’m in” he said, “and it’s big!” I replied “I’m in too, and it’s big”. The claret nymph once again. My first fish was also my biggest. I’d say 12 – 13lbs. After seeing the larger fish earlier in the day I upped the tippet from 8lb to 14lb. I was very glad I did. The moment these fish feel the hook they go ballistic! They’re incredibly fast, powerful fish and they run! I was delighted with my fish. Tonio was too. We knew the lake had a reputation for fewer but bigger fish so we were hoping to land one each. That was not to be however! Around the next corner there was another one, mooching around in a dense weed bed. I cast the nymph about a foot in front of the fish and let it settle, one twitch as it got to depth and I saw the carp move in slowly, then a quick motion of its mouth and I struck instantly. Chaos! This fish was as good as the first if not better. He went straight out into the lake against tight drag almost to my backing. Then I made a mistake! I told Tonio over the radio that I was in again and inadvertently eased up on the fish as I fumbled with the radio. He got into the weeds and broke me. Lesson learned! The next fish I landed. I ended up hooking 8 and landing 5 for the day, all between 8 and 13lbs. All sight fishing. I know Tonio also had a great day landing a number of fish. A well timed strike seemed to be the key to success. The place is spectacular too. Wide open, wild space dotted with cork trees. I’m not sure what the best time of year to go is but I was there last September.

For anyone living in Europe this fishery is very accessible with regular, inexpensive flights to Lisbon. We saw some great deals from Boston too. There is a fly fishing guide operating out of Evora. He can pick you up at the airport and take you to his base. He has a package deal with accommodation, food and transport included and it’s reasonably priced. You can contact Jose Rodrigues through his website – http://www.carponflyadventures.com. The other option is to go it alone! I was lucky enough to have Tonio to show me a few lakes near Evora. With respect for local anglers, I won’t name these lakes but just look on a map. My guess is that all the lakes have carp (but maybe I’m wrong!). A simple plan if you were to go unguided would be to base yourself in Monsaraz (or anywhere near the lake) and fish Alqueva every day. The lake is vast (250KM2, 1200km of shoreline) with a multitude of different types of lakeshore. The fish are big. Walk, stalk, you’ll find fish! I can’t recommend it highly enough. There are black bass there too!

On a final note, it was really great to hang out and fish with Tonio again. It’s been a long time! We fished almost an entire season together in NZ about 10 years ago. I met Tonio and Paul for the first time a few years before that. They were filming “The Instructor” which I happily got involved in. That was the beginning of my involvement with the madness that is Sexyloops and the beginning of my friendships with both Tonio and Paul. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since! We had a superb 3 days fishing! I hope it’s not 10 years til we do it again.. Many thanks, Tonio!

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

If you’re thinking about a trip to NZ next season and you’d like my guidance, please drop me a line. Well over half of next season is booked up already. Contact me on www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

 

 

Fly Fishing The Azores..

September 24th, 2017 No comments

I did a little research on fly fishing on the Azores Islands but nothing I read was overly positive. Some fish species could be targeted from the seashore on fly; big flies and a super fast retrieve seemed to be the way from an article I read. Lakes held multiple species but I read nothing about any great fishing, only a bit about catching tiny stocked rainbows – feck that! Initially I figured I wanted to take on the sea. My rough plan was to find a sheltered spot on the lee side of the island and blind fish into deep water with a di7. If i spotted surface activity then I’d adapt. Iza and I had 4 days on the largest island, Sao Miguel, with day 3 my only dedicated fishing day. Over day one and two I realised that shoreline access was difficult. Town harbours were accessable and a very good option from what I saw on a leisurely stroll with Iza. We saw mullet and some other small palagics I couldn’t Identify. My gut feeling was that these fish were there for the easy source of food from bread throwing tourists (like me!) so they were down the pecking order as a target species, also I didn’t want to hook a passer by in the face. The point of the main pier in Ponta Delgado looked better than the inside harbour but I never made it out there for a proper look. On a day trip to the most accessible of 4 lakes I found carp! I fished to them for about an hour with a little interest then they shut down completely at about 1pm. The next day was my fishing day.. sea or lake? Having found no seashore spot that took my fancy, this stunning lake which formed in a volcano crater was it. I started at about 8. Earlier would have been better but I found lots of carp feeding over some sand / mud flats. I quickly hooked and landed one on dad’s diawl bach, then hooked another which broke me in the weeds. Action continued. I wont bore you with details but I’ll mention what I think I learned over the day. Cruisers were tough. I may have briefly hooked one. Fish with heads down tail up – actively feeding fish – were catchable. Depending on the depth of water I used a weighted or unweighted PT nymph – one of Stu’s. The key was to make them see it! Due to their foraging in mud or weed and putting up clouds of silt, this was no easy task. Sometimes it took many casts to get the fly in just the right spot. If I could pull the fly slowly across the bottom, right in front of the fishes face then he may well eat it. The next problem is hooking them! I believe they can suck in and spit out the fly in a second so timing the strike was difficult. My best results came by staying in touch with the fly with a slow retrieve and hoping to feel or see the take. The takes were rarely obvious so I resisted the urge to strike. I had about 7 fish eat the fly that I’m sure of. I landed 3. I also sight fished a pike on a size 12 PT.

So, to sum up. Lake Sete Cidades was good! Carp fishing as described in a lake that’s split in two by a bridge, one side is murky green, the other side clear. Both sides fished well. If I had another day at them I’d start at first light. They mostly shut down during the heat of the day, at least they do in September. There are also pike, perch, zander, trout, bass and others. The potential here is incredible. There are no power boats allowed. I’m not sure about electrics. I only fished the easily accessible lake (Sete Cidades) and only from the shore, though kayak rental is possible. I didn’t see another angler. Lake Fogo is even more beautiful and remote. I doubt you’d see another person if you took it on. It’s crystal clear too.

The seashore has to have an abundance of fish, it’s just a matter of finding the spots away from the sea cliffs which dominate the island and learning times of year when different species come close to shore. If my life was different I might just move out there and learn this largely untouched seashore and lake fishery! Nice climate, great food, cheap good beer, beautiful women, friendly people, world class big game in the deep sea. What more does a fella need?? Maybe somebody reading this will take the plunge! I hope so because I want to go back a hire a guide who knows the score!! To say I only scratched the surface here is certainly true, scratched it with one nail. I had about 12 hours fishing with only half an hour on the sea on one of 9 islands.

I wrote the above on my mobile phone while in transit from the Azores to Portugal’s mainland. It was fresh in my mind and I had the urge to write so I did.. What followed was 3 days fishing with my old mate Tonio, before it came fishing in Irleand, USA and Malaysia.. I wish to feck I used more transit time to write because the season is about to kick off here so finding time to write will be tough once again.. If you’re reading this because you’re visiting the Azores, don’t hesitate to drop me line! I’ll tell you what I know – though its pretty much all written here!

Tight Lines All!

Ronan..

For guiding bookings for the upcoming NZ season email me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

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A New Dimension!

March 31st, 2017 No comments

Bob Wyatt got in touch with me earlier in the season to say he had just put his pontoon boat on Trade-Me (NZ’s Ebay!). He asked me if I knew anybody who might want to buy it. I immediately asked him to take it off Trade-Me that he had a buyer. Me! I have used it about 8 times now and what a great craft it is! It floats high on 2 large pontoons (4 chambers for safety), It’s very easy to manoeuvre and great to fish off. I’ve used it on large rivers and lakes with lots of success. It’s definitely added a new dimension to my fly fishing. I can go places that I couldn’t go before, the Clutha for example, I haven’t even scratched the surface of this rivers potential yet and it’s on my doorstep. I can use it for access onto small or large lakes and still waters; it’s light enough for 2 fella’s to carry it a fair distance! West coast river mouths (any river mouth!! or delta!). You get the message. This will be a lot of fun! Recently on the Kawarau I took it down a fast and lumpy rapid to see how it (and me) would handle it – no problem and great fun! I wonder just how much it can take??? No doubt I’ll push it a little!

The Piscatorial Pot fly fishing competition was great success this year with the best turn out yet. This was it’s 3rd year. I run the competition for the Wakatipu Anglers Club on my local Lake Dunstan. The winner is the person with the most fish over 350mm. A quick pic and the fish can be released so that no fish need to be killed to win the cup (sorry, pot). This years winner was Wesley Seery from the shores of Lough Mask in Ireland. If you’d like to have a chance to win the coveted Piss Pot all you need to be is a Wakatipu Anglers Club Member to fish the competition. Yet another reason to join a great club!

Guiding has been chaotic for the last 3 months but has pretty much ground to a halt now. I’m pretty happy to have some quiet time to be honest! As you can see from this blogs galleries I really haven’t fished much myself since the last blog, at least not by my standards. I’ll use the spare time to learn the required casting for my 2 week Toman mission with Paul in Malaysia this July, I’ll fish lots myself (April is a super month!!), tie some flies, I might even be able to write another blog in the not too distant future! If you’re at a loose end this April and are thinking about a trip to NZ and you need a guide, drop me an email!

I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from guiding this season is the fact that I can only do so much. I can’t make fish eat flies. I make the best decision I can with the information and knowledge that I have, then I guide my client to the best of my ability, then it’s out of my hands. I’ve learned that I can’t force a good result. I’ve learned to let the day unfold while trying not to let stress take hold (It’s stressful at times, I can tell you!!). Almost every time, as long as everyone is happy and relaxed a great outcome eventuates.

April and May are exciting months and I have plenty days available. See my website to book or email me, ronan@sexyloops.com

http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Stuntman Ronan..

 

 

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