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Posts Tagged ‘Heli-fishing NZ’

What Defines a Trophy Trout?

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

When we think of trophy trout many of us think about the elusive 10lber. Clearly a trout of this size in NZ is a trophy but there’s more to consider. Rainbow trout live about half as long as a brown trout making it much harder for them to reach 10lbs in weight in a natural, wild environment. I have never caught a 10lb plus rainbow. I have landed at least 3 of over 8lbs which I believe to be trophies. From my own experience, I would equal a 10lb brown to an 8lb rainbow. It may be more relevant to say that a trophy trout is relative to the fishery. Anyway, I’ve gone away from the point I had intended to make. There is another trophy trout available in NZ. I think the ultimate prize is not only a very big fish but a very beautiful one too. I think that the odds of catching a big and a beautiful fish are stacked against you, so it’s okay to reduce the “trophy” weight a little! On a recent 5 day trip with my friend and client, Marcus, we got one of those. It was the last fish landed out of 24 for the trip! The scenario was interesting. We were deep in the backcountry and time was running out. We got to a pool and there were 4 visible trout. Mostly around 5lbs but one was clearly bigger than the rest. Certainly 7 plus. I know this section of river to hold some of the most stunning late season trout I’ve seen and I really wanted Marcus to catch one of those. We both agreed, go straight for the big one even though doing this would most likely spook the rest. Marcus sent in a good shot and the fish ate but no hook up. The fish stayed happily in position so he tried again with no response from the trout. I made a number of fly changes with no joy. The other fish were getting a little agitated but generally pretty happy – then I spotted a new arrival to the pool glowing with striking orange colouration. Marcus had seen him moving from the left side of the pool to the right, I missed that but as soon as I saw the fish I knew he had to be our number 1 target. He maybe looked a little smaller than the big one but these orange browns are unique to this river. I’ve been lucky enough to land a few over the years. Our attention moved to him. He ate the first nymph Marcus cast to him but didn’t stick. A few casts later the trout decided to move around the pool passing right under Marcus, eyeballing him as he went.. I passed him my streamer rod before the fish left the pool. Sometimes a spooked fish will still eat a streamer. Marcus sent in the shot, strip strip strip and the trout nailed it! The battle was chaotic including me nearly falling into a deep hole of swift water in my attempt to net the fish. Thankfully the fish stayed on and we landed him downstream a short while later. A truly spectacular trout – he hit the scales at just under 8lbs. One I wont forget. The photo I got does him some justice but it was hard to get a great shot in the low light of the gorge. A trophy trout? You decide!

This blog brings me up to date with my guiding escapades. I’d like to give an account of all the days out but the photos and captions will have to do! I’m loving the evolution of my guiding career. More and more repeat business, forging great friendships with those I guide, more multi-day trips, fewer Queenstown pick-ups. Next season is filling up incredibly quickly so please get in touch if you’d like to lock in a trip.

I managed lots of time to fish myself in the last 2 months so my next blog will be about that.. Some big / beautiful fish, fishing with dad, Robbie, Jeff, Kota etc.. I’ve also started doing a little editing again. I have 3 short films on Vimeo. Here are the links..

Willow Grubbing https://vimeo.com/265928287

Fishing with Dad and Shotgun Kevin https://vimeo.com/264378584

In the Gorge https://vimeo.com/263071289

Thats all for now.. Still plenty spaces in May! For bookings and information contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

Five Days With Marcus..

 

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The Bay of Pigs!

May 11th, 2017 No comments

Lake Benmore from the boat was the plan. We arrived late because I slept in. The lake was blowing a gale! We drove towards the boat ramp, not too happy about our impending soaking while driving the boat back through the heavy wave to get to the mouth of the Ahuriri. I turned the truck around thinking we could use a different (much closer) access to launch the boat, but a sign clearly stated that no power boats were allowed.. so we turned around again and went back towards the boat ramp.. then we changed our minds altogether in favour of some exploration… I had never fished our chosen lake from a boat and only skimmed the surface from the shore so this was new for both of us. We searched lots of likely water and did quite a bit of drifting with limited success before drifting into one very good weedy bay. We moved about 10 browns to streamers landing a couple. The exploration continued. We checked out all sorts of water; all with potential for different times of year. Then one bay got our attention. We figured there would be a chance of a big trout because fish from the canals could get in. Soon after starting we spotted a monster brown beside the boat. He calmly drifted away and out of sight. Multiple drifts produced nothing and we didn’t see any more. Jeff had a huge streamer on which I was expecting to be eaten at any moment but it wasn’t. I was using a clear intermediate and Jeff was on a floater, both with weighted streamers. I decided to change to the di7 rig. Almost immediately, I was into a solid fish.. I hoped it was a brute but the short head shakes gave his size away. A good fish though and I kept it for dinner. A few drifts later a solid thump from the deep. I had counted the line down so I knew I was well below the surface. Jeff saw the flank and knew it was a big rainbow. I was well armed with my 8wt tcx and 13.5lb tippet. He fought hard and heavily before Jeff put the brute in his net. We chose Jeff’s net for the boat because of its long handle, never thinking it only went to 14lbs! We’ve both seen a few very big fish from the canals and we agreed the fish was not less than 20lbs and not more than 25lbs. Jeff named the bay “The Bay of Pigs”. Apt indeed. Our exploration day certainly paid off! It’s funny how fishing days transpire sometimes..

In other news, the Clutha is fishing okay. I think it will improve when (if) it rises. Much of the water I did well in last winter is too low now but there are new areas for me to explore. The power companies release huge amounts of water from Lake Hawea on a regular basis but the water is short-lived and not there for long enough for fish to move into certain ares, or so it seems.. I’ve also had a look at some other rivers which are open until the end of May around these parts, but with limited success. The potential is there though. All my personal fishing seems to be exploratory. Guiding is a little different. I had a great wilderness heli mission with Jesse & Kaisa recently. We saw about 15 and had 4 or 5 eat the fly. That day also included one of the most intense fish fights of my guiding so far! It included the fish going through a snag with me following to get it out, me falling in the river and drowning Jesse’s iphone which was safely (oops!) in my top wader pocket, the fish going through my legs mid stream and just madness in general, all in the 200m battle.. by some miracle we got the fish in the net… where the hook fell out! A fantail landed on the rod at the beginning of the fight. They say this is good luck. Maybe it is!

The next 3 days I’ll be out with Tim Kempton. I’m just off the vice after tying 30 flies.. I have a plan – sort of!!

Tight lines..

Ronan..

For bookings and information contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com