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Posts Tagged ‘Heli Fishing’

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..

River Keeping – Part 2

October 26th, 2018 No comments

In a blog over winter I spoke about river keeping. After that I bought a saw, a cheap one with a 200mm fold up blade. That’s what I’ve been using. I carry it every day I go fishing. Many of the rivers I fish are willow lined and these are the main contenders for having pools made difficult or unfishable from overhanging branches. At this stage this season I have made about 10 impossible pools possible and others more user friendly. It’s actually extremely satisfying – especially if there’s a fish that you can’t cast to at the time, because now you know you can catch him next time. There was one pool where I had to climb about 10 feet up the willow to tackle the offending branches. There were two. My saw and myself were at our limits trying to cut them. I realised then that I needed a bigger saw! My client that day, Tim, said I should get a Silky Big Boy. Yesterday I googled it and found a shop in NZ that sells them. Here is the link. This has a 360mm blade with extra large teeth! I think I can take out some serious trees with this. I’m looking forward to having it in my pack. If we all carried a saw we could keep our rivers under control. This would benefit every angler!

Guiding has been quiet enough so far but from tomorrow on it looks like it will be all go til the end of April. Hopefully I’ll be able to stay on top of my blog. Time will tell. Some nice images from a few trips in the pictures below.

I’ve had a bit of bad luck with my own fishing! With looking after Adaline while Iza is working I can’t fish as much as normal, so days out are more precious now. 4 of these precious days I’ve had to go to plan B. Once, because my chosen river was blown from a flash flood and 3 times from snowmelt. I knew I was taking a chance – a chance I wouldn’t take if I was guiding! However, I thought I’d get away with it. My plan B each time worked out well but still reduced my fishing time to a half day. The fish are in good numbers and in great condition. Between rain and snowmelt the rivers are nice a full with great prospects for November.

For bookings and information you can contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines,

Ronan..

MY OWN FISHING!

GUIDING GALLERY

In the Merry Month of May…

May 3rd, 2017 No comments

April has been a fabulous month! I had lots of time to fish myself but was also kept pretty busy guiding. The fishing was excellent! With terrestrial insects still locked into trout brains and magnificent mayfly hatches to boot, most of the activity was on the surface. It’s rare that I’ll fish with a single dry but I did a lot this April, both for myself and my clients. Cicada’s, blowflies and mayflies were the leaders of the pack. April sees the most consistent and reliable mayfly hatches of the year in these parts. For the last 2 – 3 weeks of April, the main hatch kicked of at 2.40 every afternoon on a number of rivers from Omarama to Invercargill. The dry-fly action during the hatch was simply as good as it gets and the best for many years by all accounts. It was most welcome after the constant onslaught of wind and rain brought by the early and middle parts of the season. Summer lasted ten days!

Earlier in April, Nick Reygaert, Jeff Forsee and myself got together again to film another episode for Pure Fly NZ, this time series 2. We went to the West Coast to film a variety of fishing locations. I think we all worked well together to bring something pretty full-on to the screen. I won’t elaborate too much so that I don’t give anything away before the show airs, but watch this space!

Most brown trout rivers are closed now, but many of the rivers flowing into the Southern Lakes (and a few besides) are open until the end of May. A few rivers and most large lakes are open all year, so thankfully, the season never stops. It’s May now and time to stalk migratory fish! I love fishing at this time of year as the leaves change colour and fall from the trees. Fish start to move up river on their spawning run and opportunities arise that are unique to May and the winter months. These fish respond well to streamers, large nymphs and a little later in the season, egg flies. The first part in fishing for migratory fish is finding them. In many cases when you find one you find a few or lots – fishing for migratory fish is like that. The first cast to a pod can get a chaotic response from a lot of fish, then it gets a little quieter. It’s not unusual to catch a few fish from a pod. At times you’ll stumble upon a large fish or two which has spent the last 8 months or so deep in a lake. This is exciting stuff and I will be trying to make it happen this month! I think I know where some will be..

I must change the format for this blog! With the amount of time that passes between reports I struggle to choose what to write about and end up breezing over everything. In the future I need to try (try) to write more often. Maybe less, but more specific content, the way it was before guiding.. I’ll do my best! The pictures below tell the story of full-on month on April!!

Tight Lines and bring on May!!

Ronan..

I’ll be guiding until mid July for the few that are keen on winter fishing! Let me know if you’d like to plan a mission.. ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

 

PERSONAL GALLERY