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Posts Tagged ‘Lamson reels’

Some of the Biggest Trout on Earth!

October 28th, 2020 No comments

Last winter we had a little treat! Fish & Game opened a river to anglers to fish for monster rainbows on their spawning run. These fish reach incredible sizes from living in a man made canal system. Like a giant spring creek, the canals have a constant flow and they’re always cool. Perfect for trout to grow year round. They have a diet which consists largely of cockabullies, snails and fish pellets from under the salmon farms, all aiding their rapid growth. For the most part, these fish spawn in the canal system itself but some have the opportunity to spawn in a river – the one that was opened to anglers last September. I spoke to Rhys from F&G about the decision to open it. He said that by that stage in the winter all the redds are already full of eggs so no damage can be done to future stocks by fishing to the new arrivals. He also said that the river would not be opened in September again. This decision was due to the expected onslaught of foreign anglers next year. A pity I thought. I sugested making it for residents only. This year it was for residents only because there were no foreign tourist anglers due to the Covid travel ban. The river was busy at times but there was room for everyone. The perfect case study. In my opinion, making it for residents only would be a very easy management system and we could keep this unique fishery open in late winter. Last Septembers successful opening provides strong evidence that it would work. We also chatted about leaving the river open in May to allow people to fish for the first run of large browns which have all but gone by September. Who knows what will happen here in the future. I think the closed season in NZ in general is in need of a total overhaul. Many closed seasons make no sence and protect little or nothing – especially on lakes and still waters.

Needless to say I had to have a crack at this river. It’s possibly the best large trout river in the world at this time of year. I fished it for 3 days over the month landing 10 between 13 and 25lbs. It quickly became clear to me what I loved most about these winter rainbows. Not the fish or the fishing but the fight! Usually I like that trout are not like bonefish. I like that I can get them in quickly so that I can get back to the fishing. These were different. Unique because how often are you not worried about loosing a 10 to 30lb trout? I loved leaning into these brutes with heavy gear. Get them in fast and returned after a quick snap. I used an 8wt TCX, a Lamson reel with a decent drag and 12lb Maxima. No playing around with 5 or 6 weights. In the great scheme of my fly fishing I rarely fish for anything over 10lbs so it was great just to feel that weight and power on the other end. Watching a 20lb trout run, jump and thrash with the rod hopping and reel screaming was some of the best craic I’ve had fly fishing!

I chose a method at the start of day one which I stuck with each day I fished. I blind fished a weighted streamer (possum and marabou of course!) on a long leader fished on a floating line. This worked well because I could get the fly deep with some simple mends. Depth was key for me to blind fish the deeper water. A sinking line can be a disaster with heavy didymo and large boulders so more reason to use a floater. I love the control with this method. I can get the fly to the depth I want and make it move how I want. Not so easy with a sinking line since you lose much of your ability to mend. Dead drifting the streamer through deep bouldery runs or moving it slowly was the most effective for me. 9 out of my 10 trout over 3 days were bright, healthy hens. Just what I wanted. I saw some fellas happy to fish for coloured up jacks off redds at the tails of pools. This was not for me but each to their own. I did throw a few casts at these fish but when I got the feeling that they were spawners I left them alone. One thing I learned from this trip was that I really dislike fishing with egg flies – so I didn’t!

In more recent news – the new season has been fantastic so far! Some very big fish about too. I’ve already had 2 over the mythical 10lb mark. More about those and the season to date in my next blog. The boat has not been out yet but I do have an engine on the back of it now so I’m just waiting for the opportunity to get out there. I’ve had a couple of very successful guide days with clients landing trout to 8lbs. Some more work coming up too so very happy about that! Myself and Jeff have another epsiode of Pure Fly NZ coming up soon. We have a plan to watch it at the pub since neither of us have whatever channel it’s on. Duke I think. I’m looking forward to watching it. We had a some great action. It’s always a lot of fun filming with Jeff and Nick. We’re all on the same page. Anybody within NZ who’d like to get in touch about some guided fly fishing, I’d love to hear from you. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. For a look at some of my fly patterns available at Fulling Mill click here.

Tight lines.. Ronan..

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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