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Posts Tagged ‘Heli-fishing Otago’

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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Aoife Creane Takes the Piss (Pot), 2018.

March 22nd, 2018 No comments

In 2015 the Wakatipu Anglers Club asked me to host an event for the club on my home water, Lake Dunstan. I was happy to do it but I wanted to host something a little different, so I came up with a competition for the perpetual Piscatorial Pot. I can’t claim credit for the idea as there is already one on Lough Corrib in Ireland. This year was the 4th year of the competition and its gathering momentum, even if the fishing is always pretty hard! As luck would have it My mother, father and sister were over from Ireland to meet Adaline (and see Iza and I!) so I registered my sister, Aoife and my dad, Joe in the club so that they could take part in the competition. A win for dad would put his name on a Piss Pot in each hemisphere so he was off to the lake with a solid battle plan. The anglers arrived and hit the water, some on the bank and some in various floating devises. I took Aoife out in the pontoon boat where she did her best to rid the lake of lagarosiphon. Chatting to a few anglers during the day it was clear people were struggling to land a trout! The 2017 winner, Wesley Seery was standing on top of a high cliff near O Malleys Bank looking down on the water. I called up to him to hear how was doing, “I lost 4” he said. Then Aoife shouted that she had one. My response was “just drag it in there and I’ll take the weed off” but then the weed jumped! By some miracle she hooked a trout on her first day with a spinning rod. She played it well and directed it safely into my net. “The winner” shouted Wesley.. “Hardly” I thought, “but it’s possible!” Shortly after the wind came up so we went ashore. The pontoon boat struggles in the wind! Aoife and I fished the shore at the 45th parallel for a while before heading back to the house a little early to help with the barbecue. The fishermen started appearing after 5 o clock. “Any joy?” I’d ask, “No” they’d say. More and more arrived but the answer remained the same, “No”. There were still a few good anglers who had not reported in but I could see Aoife’s excitement was getting hard to contain.. The last anglers arrived. No fish! Aoife’s excitement was justified. She had the best catch of the day with one rainbow trout of about 3lbs. So, on her first day fishing she managed to beat some top class anglers to take the Piss Pot, as its affectionately known! Congratulations Aoife! She’s also the first female club member to win any Wakatipu Anglers Club cup. Needless to say everyone was delighted for Aoife and her fantastic achievement. We all celebrated for her even though she was in bed at midnight.. the Irish contingent of the club with Brayden pushed through til 4am.. I just want to say one thing “Conor O Boyle” haha..

I’m way behind on my blog! I can’t possibly add all the photos I’ve set aside for blogging, but I have added a few pics from some guide days since my last blog. The fishing has been really excellent as the pictures below will tell. The Lakes & Still Waters option is getting more popular as it should!! I’ll try to get another blog out very soon to catch up.. I still need to add a few stories about fishing with dad. The story of a 10lb trout I guided a month ago too! Speaking of big fish, I have included a photo of my good friend Robbie Mcphee’s monster Kingfish from a recent trip to Golden Bay at the top of the South Island. The fish measured 110cm and was estimated at 36 – 38 lbs. Surly the biggest landed on fly to date from the fishery. An amazing result which left a few local anglers pretty gobsmacked and envious (I heard!!)!

More to come soon. It’s pretty full on right now with work and family! Aoife just left today but mom and dad are here for another week. Work tomorrow but then dad and I will fish 5 days. Can’t wait for that. The rest of the season is pretty packed but there’s a few spots in early April and most of May is still available. Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some guided fishing! ronan@sexyloops.com or check out my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

All the best for now, Ronan..

Guiding Magic!!

December 7th, 2017 No comments

The season so far has been pretty flipin’ amazing! It feels like every day is a blue sky day. Rivers are low and clear and the fishing has been top notch. The winds have been light and favourable most days so there are really no excuses not to be out there reaping the rewards. So far the rivers are reasonably full but that will change if this dry weather keeps up. I have noticed a few rivers like wading in bath water of late – sooner or later the fish will shut down considerably if we don’t get an occasional fresh or cold night! Right now it’s all on, so we’ll just deal with the downsides of this hot summer if or when they present.

I have made some time to fish myself since my last blog – indeed I landed my joint second biggest brown ever at 11.5lbs but more about that in the next blog. This report is about guiding! It’s going well. I’ve been busy and really enjoying it. Most of my fishing addiction is satisfied from guiding so that makes it easy to get up in the morning. The pictures below tell the story since my last blog pretty well, but I want to tell one myself. I was on a 4 day road-trip with a 3 day wilderness heli trip straight after it. I really wanted a day off to prepare and organise but couldn’t make it happen. Planning on the road is not easy! I was bouncing a few ideas back and forth in my head, I called a few mates for some opinions, a few emails to the heli companies I like to use.. Finally, the night before the trip, the plan was made. The brief from my client was around something that I would get excited about doing myself. Well, that would have to include some adventure, some unknown. The plan was to fly to the bottom of a gorge, fish hard for 3 days then chopper out from the top. I was familiar with the bottom and the top but the upper middle bit I knew nothing about. There is something about fishing in a gorge that excites me. There is some risk involved, it’s easy to get bluffed making it necessary to climb out and drop back in. You never know what you’re going to get from extreme terrain to monster trout. Proper gorge fishing is not for the faint hearted.

Day 1. The fishing started in an uncanny way. Marks first retrieve of his first cast connected his streamer to a 5lb rainbow. Instant action! Quite unbelievable. The day was pretty easy going but really good. 8 fish landed and the river was getting more exciting as we advanced. We spent the first night in a backcountry hut with steak, spuds, beans and beers. Luxury! Day 2 was different. I knew that to get through the gorge we needed to go hard on day 2. We threw on the packs at 7.30am and didn’t stop fishing till 6pm. As with day 1, the gorge got more and more exciting and interesting as we progressed. Some bush bashing became necessary and an odd climb out, all adding to the sense of adventure – but it was real adventure because neither of us had been there before! The fishing was excellent. The only thing we didn’t find was a large brown or rainbow. I thought we might find one in there somewhere. That said, we did have one follow the streamer of about 6lbs which certainly qualifies as big – just not really big! The gorge was stunning. Lots of pools; many deep and blue, incredible cliffs, rock formations and waterfalls. At the end of the day we pitched the tents and tucked into a simple dehydrated Backcountry meal. Mine was shite. I did carry in a bottle of red in a plastic bottle making it a bit more palatable! The bottle of red was no match for the sandflies however. They were almost as bad as I’ve experienced! By the end of day 2 I reckoned we had gotten through most of the gorge. I didn’t know for sure how far it was to the top flat but I did know we’d make it there easily over day 3. On the morning of day 3 came the tightest part of the gorge. Totally surrounded by beech forrest on both banks. The banks were so steep that little sunlight ever made it through to the river. The fish didn’t mind, they were in there and still happy to eat our presentations. We pushed on, both of us quietly excited about getting out of the gorge and onto the flat back into the sun! Before too long we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It was about lunchtime on day 3 that we made it out of the gorge. The whole thing was a great experience, as much for me as for Mark. For me it was more about the place than fishing (not because I wasn’t fishing!). The thrill of walking up on a pool I had never seen before, seeing whats around the bend, learning the unknown.  For Mark I’m guessing it was both in equal parts. With the remaining few hours we clocked up the tally to 33 trout over the 3 days before the helicopter came to take us back to base. After the drive home I was fecked!

Many thanks to everyone I guided since my last blog! It’s been a pleasure.

Tight Lines,  Ronan..

There are quite a few days available over the rest of the season. Drop me an email if you’d like to book ronan@sexyloops.com, or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

ps. I’m taking the latter half of the month off for paternity leave! Hopefully I timed it right. Iza certainly looks like she could pop at any moment! Exciting times, thats for sure!

 

“I Put on Wet Socks in the Morning”

February 25th, 2017 No comments

I wanted to chat briefly about the Damselfly nymph and how most anglers standard pattern makes no sense to me. I had some great photo’s of a damsel nymph which was still alive inside a trout I took from Lake Dunstan recently, but I deleted them by mistake!! I put the green nymph in a jar of water with a sprig of rosemary (haha) where he lived happily for a week or so. I watched how it moved, how it swam (or wobbles!) etc. The one thing that struck me was how similar it was to mayfly nymph. I thought this before, but I though I was missing something that everyone else seemed to know because most damselfly nymph patterns have a long marabou tail. Why? A mayfly nymph representation generally has no marabou. I see some merit in a short marabou tail matching the length of the 3 strands in the real nymph. I’m not one for perfect representations of what fish are eating, far from it actually. However in my opinion, a damsel nymph with a long marabou tail is a woolly bugger, not a damsel! I use a long shank #12 PT or similar as a damsel nymph.

Guiding has been happily chaotic! I’m out most days at the moment but I did manage a few days for myself recently. Iza and I fished together for a day and a half too. Next season I’ll do things a little differently. I’m going to put blocks of time aside for me to fish each month. I need it!! I get a lot of what I get from a days fishing during a day guiding but not everything. Fly-fishing is my life and I must make this work. I know some guides who don’t fish at all during “silly season”. I must not let this happen!! This is only my second season so I guess I’m still finding my way a bit. Guiding continues to teach me a lot and I believe the most important thing it has taught me is how much I don’t know!! A great lesson. Therefor time must be put aside to explore new water and simply get better and better at this.

Recently I explored some new water to the north and the east. Some of it was re-familiarising myself with old haunts and some was totally new. Fishing new water is such a thrill! Absorbing everything the river has to offer, the excitement of seeing whats around the next bend, piecing it all together. Putting on wet socks in the morning means you’re in the thick of it!

Guiding has been lots of fun! I recently took Tim Kempton out for a few days. Great craic with him and his mate Fergus. Tim has fished with Paul in Malaysia which makes him the second (I think) to have been guided by both Paul and I in our respective countries (the other being Chuan Tay!). I hope more anglers do this! On the topic of Malaysia, I’m going there this July to fish with Paul for 2 weeks. I’ve been practicing a little from Paul’s instructional video on youtube so when the time comes I hope I’m on form. Speed is very important with trout fishing too so if I can make one second shots for snakehead, I’ll do it for here for trout too!!! Back to guiding, what else.. Some great heli stuff lately with Nick Mills and a fantastic West Coast mission with local regulars Bryan and Tim. That was a real adventure! One thing about heli-fishing.. The chopper takes a lot of the hard work out of it but the best results come if you’re willing to go hard while your in there. That we did! I think we had 14 trout in total for 3 days with the best fish of the trip going to Tim just before the chopper came to take us home. Many thanks to Greenstone Helicopters! Also a new personal best for Bryan, Bob and his birthday fish, the list goes on.. The pics tell a better story anyway!!

Time to prepare! I have an afternoon mission in an hour..

Tight lines!

Ronan..      ronan@sexyloops.com

 

For bookings and information see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

For Pure Fly NZ dvd’s go to http://www.flyshop.co.nz/product/DVDPFNZ.html

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