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Posts Tagged ‘Manic Tackle Project’

Off to Fiordland..

June 19th, 2024 No comments

There’s something very special about getting into some of New Zealand’s most wild and beautiful places. In late March myself and Chuan did just that. We had a couple of days. Day 1 was very sunny but with a brutal downstream wind which certainly cost us a few fish. The late season sun cast contrasting shadows across the river making sighting challenging in many places. Fish were touchy but we had 6 for the day. A good day apart from Chuans hat blowing off and disappearing down a rapid. Shortly after he got in a fight with a sandfly which gave him a fat lip! Day 2 was cloudy with a little less wind. The cloud was better for sighting than the sun. The diffuse light caused by the cloud and having a good backdrop to sight against was an ideal combination for sighting. That was a good lesson for this river in March. Fish were even more spooky on day 2. Sometimes we’d quietly arrive at a pool and sight a fish. As quickly as we’d see him he’d just melt away into the pool. It was one of those days where they seemed to have an extra sense. We only managed a couple. No regrets though. Places like this are as much about the location as the fishing. There were hunters and other anglers in the hut too. A mix of Kiwis, Singaporean, Scotsmen and Irish. Some craic! I might have had a few beers and a whisky too many. I felt sorry for the hunters wanting an early night before their hunt.. that just didn’t happen!

After our wilderness adventure Kim arrived and the 3 of us got stuck in to a variety of fishing. Rivers and lakes both in the mix. I’ve been guiding Chuan and Kim for about 8 years now and still try to show them something new on every trip. This was no exception and we had some good fishing on a river and a lake they saw for the first time. This is why exploring new water is so important to me. I want to keep it fresh and interesting for myself and my clients.

June now and my streamers are doing the business! For a look at all my flies check out this link. For bookings and info about next season please check out my website or contact me ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight lines and Free Palestine.. Ronan..

Guiding and Craic with Chris Dore..

March 10th, 2024 No comments

The week with Chris, Steve and Joe was a great one. Not just for the superb mix of rivers and fishing but also for the chance to catch up with my good friend Chris Dore. One of the biggest cons about being a guide is that it’s so feckin hard to hang out with my fishing friends. We’re lucky to fish together once a year – usually in winter – so spending the week roughing it in Southland with Chris was great. We made time for a few beers in the evenings which always went down well. Chat, banter, fishing talk, the usual. The steak night in the caravan when Shellen joined us was a blast. She tied up a few flies and the craic was good. It was really good to meet her and I wish her the best with her future as a guide.

Chris and I go hard with our guiding and work at about the same intensity. We don’t look for easy options and we’ll do whatever it takes to give our clients what they hope for, and usually a lot more. This made us a good team to look after Steve and Joe. According to Steve and Joe, we guide in a different way but we compliment each other and both of the fellas enjoyed alternating between Chris and I each day. This is something we may do more of in the future. Chris and I enjoyed it too. It’s a great way for 2 anglers to really get the most from a trip to NZ. No sharing shots and you can hang out with your friend and compare stories each evening.

The week was very varied. It started with two completely different Heli days out of Wanaka. Both produced great results but they didn’t always come easy. Heli fishing doesn’t guarantee anything other than a remote and beautiful location so it’s always a relief when the fishing is good. It usually is good, but like I say, no guarantees. Then to Southland for another 5 days where we mixed it up with some of our favourite rivers. We had some really great days and some tough ones but we always came up trumps. Joe and Steve are both great anglers which really helps!

This takes me up to the end of January so I’m still way behind but that’s okay! There’s been some great highlights since, including 10lb brown with an epic story. The fishing gods really looked after us! More on that later..

Check out my flies featured below and a few more at Fulling Mill. They’ve all been great for me and quite a few others this season.

Next season is filling up quickly. Feel free to get in touch to make a booking or talk about options.

Tight lines.. Ronan..

Getting Jumped!

January 31st, 2024 No comments

December and into January… December is a great month to fish. Trout start looking up and responding well to terrestrials. Everyone seems to love dry fly action! There were some nice mayfly hatches too. Usually short and fickle but we made the best of it when it happened. As January arrived many of my local fisheries got too warm for good (or ethical) fishing. With this I venture away to find cooler water. I like to mix it up anyway.

One day I went to a high country river in the hope of some cicada action. We got to the river at 9am and got the piece of water I hoped for. At 11am, perched high on a rock I could see a vehicle (large black ute) pull up 1 kilometre above us. They could see us I’m sure and I’m pretty sure they saw my vehicle earlier too. It’s totally unethical to do this. It takes quite a brass neck to arrive there so late and then just cut someone off. They were just too far up for me to go marching up there for an argument so we pulled out and went downstream only to get jumped again by another clown fishing downstream from an upstream access point. A really infuriating day. We should all treat other anglers as we’d like to be treated. To cut someone off so blatantly is basically stealing someones experience. I’m pretty sure I know who was in the black ute and they should know better. Sadly, I heard that they make a habit of this. Against the odds we managed a couple of good trout! One on my cicada and the other on my unweighted nymph.

All my flies are working well on their relative days. They’re available from Fulling Mill or in-store at Patagonia Queenstown.

More about January in my next blog! Its been a challenging but great month. A few days off now before KC and Mark arrive.. I’m looking forward to seeing these 2 again!

Tight lines.. Ronan..

Some Late Season Highlights…

June 7th, 2023 No comments

There was a nice mix of fishing to be had in April. At times the rivers were in great shape between rain events and I made the most of those opportunities for myself and my clients. There were a few days where the rain pushed me away from the rivers to take on some lakes – this worked out very well. As anyone who reads this knows by now, I love any opportunity to fish the lakes. Generally my clients prefer rivers but for one reason or another, most of my regular clients have fished lakes with me by now. Some are a little bit on the fence with some aspects of still waters but the majority now love it and usually request at least one lake day on a multi day trip.

Later in the month my streamers really came into their own. As some chunky browns congregated around some high country stream mouths, it was time to get stuck in. I had some great fishing for myself and for my clients landing trout with a few over the 7lb mark.

After 7 months looking after Adaline and Lochlan, our Au pair, Ilana wanted to catch a trout. We got out for a day on Dunstan where I figured trolling sinking lines would easily do the business. It didn’t! She lost one right away, then got a few hits before finally (after many hours!) getting stuck in a 1lb rainbow. She was delighted and relieved, we all were! I prepared it for dinner, crudo style with lemon, salt, olive oil and capers. A lovely way to eat fresh, wild trout.

It was great to see many of my regulars over the month and a few new recruits too. Seeing people coming back for more certainly makes it all worth while.

If you’d like to check out my range of flies for NZ you can do so on the Fulling Mill website. It’s winter now so I recommend my hotspot nymphs for the larger rivers which remain open and my range of streamers for the rivers and lakes. You can see them all here.

Next season is filling up fast but feel free to get in touch to lock in a trip. You can contact me at ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines. Ronan..

The Wilds of New Zealand…

March 29th, 2023 No comments

I usually get the chance to get into Fjordland once or twice a season. I’ve been a visitor to the area since my second trip to NZ back in 2003. I have many great memories from this vast area with lots of my fishing buddies. Wekas stealing our biscuits (I got the blame), melting my boots and socks beside the fire, almost getting stranded in a flood, filming “the man and his fish”, exploring new rivers, assembling a raft with zip ties, duct tape and tent string, catching seatrout, rainbows, browns, kahawai and jack mackerel, and many more… This trip cemented a few more great memories.

The fishing was magnificent as the photos below make pretty clear, but as I get older I think I appreciate this location and others like it even more. It’s a truely pristine environment. Looking around, it’s as though man has had no impact on the area. Frequently, I found myself gazing up the valley with my jaw hanging open, awestruck, expecting a moa to wander past. I think this is what makes it the cream of angling in many ways. Unreal scenery, gin clear water, good numbers fish of an impressive average size, keen to eat dries (and nymphs!). It’s the picture of NZ that many foreign anglers have in their head. Fish & Game have implemented strict controls on some rivers in the area to prevent overfishing and maximise angler satisfaction. I think they’re working very well. That and the sandflies! We had a few days of fishing back in normal NZ after that (next blog). There was certainly a bit of an anticlimax coming from such a magnificent wilderness which compounds why it’s such a special place.

One of the highlights of the trip was randomly bumping into my great friends Robbie and Tom with a couple of their friends. Plenty room for everyone at the backcountry hut! Good food and fine wine, great company, a fire on the beach, a few beers, plenty craic… what’s not to like. A really great trip. Hopefully we’ll get back next season!

I would like to say that Fjordland Outdoors are a fantastic company to deal with. Very professional and accommodating. Great staff and a super boat to get you where ever you need to go.

As always, my Fulling Mill patterns did the business. Mainly the Tussock Cicada and my range of nymphs. All available here.

Plenty spaces still available for next season. It’s filling up quickly so I advise not wasting too much time to secure your spot. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website

Tight lines.. Ronan..

Finally – Some Rain!

February 22nd, 2023 No comments

The lakes and rivers were already too low and warm a month ago when I last wrote. Nothing changed. Just continuing hot weather and warming, shrinking rivers and lakes. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it certainly made me think outside the box for guiding and my own fishing. Lots of rivers and still-waters became unfishable so I travelled to find cooler water. Living in a desert – which this area technically is – means I have to do that at times. I think this has been the longest dry spell I’ve experienced in NZ. It must be about 10 weeks or more since we’ve had any decent rain.

Yesterday afternoon the rain started and continued through the night and only stopped about an hour ago. I think there’s a lot more coming later today. It was cold too, so just what the place needs. The rivers are getting a much needed top-up and cool-down. This might be the beginning of Autumn and I hope it is. It will certainly invigorate the fishing and open many options which haven’t been available for a couple of months.

Fishing has been generally quite hard. Even when searching out cooler water there was still a noticeable shutdown in the afternoons. Some lake flats that usually stay cool were also suffering the effects of the heat. It’s funny that January and February are the most popular months over here with foreign anglers, yet they’re regularly, even usually, the hardest months of the season in many parts of the country.

In spite of the relative hardship in the last couple of months there has also been some magnificent fishing. Large rivers, lower reaches, lakes and mountain streams all provided some super sport.

I’m still playing catch up with my photos – Everything below is from January. It would just be too many to put in the February photos too, but I’ll try to write another blog next week to catch up completely.

I recently got my hands on a Fujifilm XE-3. I’m still learning how to use it well but I think its improved my picture taking. I hope you like the images below. I’m pretty happy with lots of them. It’s a new learning curve which I’m enjoying. The old Lumix point and shoot is now a handy back-up.

Pretty much all the successful flies I’m using at the moment are my own patterns available with Fulling Mill. You can check them out here.

The remainder of the season is full apart from a few gaps in April. Plenty spaces for next season but it’s filling up more quickly than usual. Feel free to get in touch – ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines – Ronan..

Back to Work!

December 6th, 2022 No comments

It’s great to be busy guiding again after a couple of hard years. November was a challenging month to guide. Not many nice days! Lots of rain and stormy conditions. The rivers were regularly coloured up as a result. Now and again I had to use lakes and still waters to keep my clients on the fish – but of course I adore this type of fishing so for me it’s not really a plan B, it’s just another option. All up it was a successful month through bad weather. I enjoy the challenge of finding good, clear water to fish through these rain events and I’m yet to cancel a guide day due to weather or water conditions. There’s always water to fish!

Fish were a little leaner than usual earlier on in the season. I put it down to the harsh winter and more specifically a monster flood last July which completely changed many parts of my local rivers. Some of my favourite beats were unrecognisable when I went back to fish them with dad in October. Fish numbers and quality certainly suffered as a result. It was really heartbreaking at times. Walking upstream and not even knowing where I was on the beat. Large corner pools gone – pools that I never thought would move. Long sections of pools and bends bulldozed straight and useless by 460 cumecs. I’ve been using all my spare time trying to get out there to rediscover them and find out where is or is not worth fishing. Thankfully I’m getting a good handle on where is fishing well. Fish are in good condition once again and the rivers are starting to get comfortable with their new courses. Certainly my biggest fear going forward are these huge floods. Hundred year floods they call them… the annual hundred year flood I call them! The flood in July did so much damage around the country. I can’t imaging what 2 or even 3 of these events in a short space of time could do. Utter destruction to rivers and fish populations. I have already been hearing some sad stories from the top of the South Island. Anyway, right now the rivers down here are recovering well and fish numbers are still healthy in most of the rivers. Many rivers were unaffected, thankfully.

My own fishing was pretty limited through November because I was so busy with work. I did get out for a relaxing few hours before a 10 day straight stint. Also one big day through a gorge on my annual pilgramige to catch up with my old friend. Check out the full story here. It’s well worth a read!

The gallery below covers the highlights of a busy month of guiding. I was out most days and now I’m taking a few much needed days off. When I get a chance I’ll put together an account of my time fishing with dad in September and October. We fished 26 days so it certainly warrants its own report!

You can check out my fly patterns, the ones I use on a daily basis over here on the Fulling Mill website. If you’re within NZ I may be able to help you out with a deal. Just let me know. I currently have 7 patterns available in various sizes but I expect to have 7 more patterns available next month.

My season ahead is pretty much full – There may be a gap here or there although I know April still has gaps. Feel free to get in touch about guided fishing this season or next (which is already filling up). Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines.. Ronan..

Fishing Never Stops…

September 25th, 2022 No comments

This has been a real winter. One of the harshest I’ve been here for. Lots of wind, rain, frost and snow – so different to the mild winter last year. Usually by July the fishing on the lakes starts to improve, but this year it took a lot longer. Locally, the lake fishing only picked up earlier this month. Mackenzie Country a little earlier in August. There were always a few fish to be caught but they took more persistence and some were on the lean side. I really don’t mind not catching many fish in a day – or any for that matter. I enjoy the search, trying to figure it out, working hard to put it together. It is a bit a kick in the balls when I can’t figure it out but this is part of continuing to learn – or adjusting what I already know – or think I know! Afterwards, I’ll consider what I might have missed and think about what I’ll try next time. There were days this winter when the fish really seemed “off”… like there was little or nothing I could do to drag out a result.

I have my parents here at the moment so dad and I are fishing most days. This is exactly what I need after a tough few months of colds, flus and covid in the family – and a bad injury to recover from after a dog bit my face. The fishing has been excellent so far – mainly because we have my boat to make the most of the lakes. More about this in my next blog as I haven’t downloaded any photos yet! We’re heading north tomorrow for a few days and then the rivers will open again on October 1. So, I have a very full on 5 weeks of fishing ahead with dad and then guiding kicks off full bore in November. Happy times! The rivers are looking good now after being high and dirty for much of the last few months..

This is a good time to stock up on nymphs, dries and streamers for the coming season. Some of my most successful patterns are available on Fulling Mill. They’re all designed for the NZ fishery and well tested!! I’m very happy to say that I’ll have 7 more patterns available next year.

Still a gap or 2 in the coming season if you’d like to book some guided fly fishing. Contact me – ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines all and enjoy the new season! Ronan..

Buggers!

June 28th, 2022 No comments

I never seem to have enough buggers. They’ve always been a fly which I tie the night before a trip, so at best, I’ll have 6 nice ones in my box – but I’ve often been reduced thrashed old shite. They’re such a useful fly and can be fished anywhere, so finally, I bit the bullet and set out to tie a box of them. Although, initially that wasn’t my intention – I started by tying a few for a friend, then a few for me – then, when a bad cold went through the house, I found myself with time to tie and a new fly-box to fill. What I ended up with was a box of about 120 buggers from size 12 with 2.4mm beads up to size 6 with 4.6mm beads – all on Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight hooks. I generally like to avoid starkly contrasting colours but since I was tying a comprehensive collection I tied a bit of everything. They’re all tied with possum bodies and marabou tails. I’ve been using this combination for many years now and I find it to be excellent. Rabbit is also very good in the body, but years ago I lucked onto a load of possum in lots of colours and that’s really what set this combination in stone – I had lots of it, and it worked. I don’t add much bling or rubber legs, just one or two strands of flashy stuff on each side or none at all. Of course they’re far from the original pattern. No chenille, no palmered hackle but if a fly has a marabou tail then it’s in the bugger family.

Last weekend I put them to the test. Myself and Brayden went to Mackenzie Country for a couple of days on the lakes – both of us trying to shake off a cold. Day one would have been good but there were 5 other anglers on the lake which made it harder to find good water. We got a few fish none the less, we just had to work a bit harder to get them. The scenery was really spectacular though. In winter, the snow really shows you just how big and dramatic these mountainous valleys are. My eyes were regularly taken off the water to enjoy the scenes. At the end of the day a couple of hot whiskeys were most welcome!

Day 2 – Fog! The fog never left the water all day. This was a bit frustrating because the skies were clear above it and sun was trying unsuccessfully to break through all day. There were a few fish cruising the edges in the morning but they were just hard enough to see to make them very difficult to approach. We worked hard to land a couple for the day and we covered lots of lake edge to get them. June on the lakes is generally hard because the majority of fish are up the rivers spawning. I don’t mind that it’s tough. There are still enough fish about to make for a good days fishing and I can’t wait to get back up there.. The new buggers did their thing anyway! I lost a couple but replaced them yesterday..

I still have a heap of photos from local fishing over the winter to date but they’ll have to wait for the next blog. It’s just too many photos otherwise!

If you’d like to get in touch about guided fishing over winter or next season please get in touch! ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. Tight Lines, Ronan..

Link to my fly patterns on Fulling Mill here – and a link to my latest article for the fulling mill blog here -Winter in New Zealand.

Taking a Gamble…

June 13th, 2022 No comments

Because I live here, taking a gamble is not such a big deal. If I want to go after a really big fish, I often have to forgo even the chance of catching average fish. That’s the nature of some of the big fish rivers I go to – they only hold large trout. Very few but very big. It becomes all about the fish and not the fishing. I’m fine with this because I’ve been fishing for long enough that I really don’t mind if I blank and I have plenty time to try again if I do. It’s very different for my clients. I don’t generally want to push those “big fish” gambles on them unless conditions are perfect or they just want a trophy and nothing else.. but it’s different for Marcus. He simply loves the prospect of catching something really big! While he enjoys every aspect of trout fishing he’s more than happy to gamble everything, even his few days of fishing, for a chance at one great fish. This makes it easy for me in some respects. We just need to fish where big fish are – even if the conditions are against us – and they were! After a couple of months of what seemed like blue sky days every day, the clouds formed and the rain came as Marcus landed. Watching river flows online I was trying to determine what rivers would be fishable in our fishing timeframe. I had safe options for great fishing but with little likelihood of finding fish to double figures. The big fish rivers were being hit with spike after spike of rain. On one day we got it wrong – found our chosen river in flood and unfishable – but managed a great evening dry fly fishing locally to redeem the day. Another day we got it half right and just managed to squeeze a decent trout before being flooded off. Another day it worked. It had rained all night and I expected the river to be dirty but I thought, maybe hoped, it would be just okay. On arrival at the river it was dirty but fishable. As we drove up river to where the bigger fish reside it got dirtier and dirtier. The feeder streams were clear – effectively cleaning the main stem a little bit more below the confluence of each one. This was worrying. We continued venturing up river only to find it becoming pretty much unfishable. There’s not much in the way of a plan B here so we just kept going upstream to where it seemed to be getting worse! Way up top, to our relief it was a bit clearer – and just fishable. I think by now it was clearing from the top down. Whatever the reason, it was fishable to our great relief.. The plan was to streamer fish it down. Marcus is a regular to my hometown in Ireland and knows the local salmon fisheries well. This river, especially with the tannin colour was just like a west of Ireland salmon river. Marcus was fishing it like it was. To me it was the right way to fish it – across and down, covering the water methodically. The water was fishy – it just screamed fish and we were both feeling it. We were just waiting for the pull… and then it came. Like an Atlantic Salmon, he was on. Nothing chaotic about the take. I had to see what he was into so I quickly moved to the edge to find out. The fish rolled on the surface and he was big. I had caught a 9.5lber from the same pool earlier this season, so I thought it was likely to be him – but maybe not. This fish could have been bigger… or smaller! I got into the water and as soon as a chance presented I put the brute safely in the net. There’s a great sense of relief and excitement when a big fish goes in the net. Relief for obvious reasons, excitement just to see this great creature – to look at him with awe and respect… and of course to find out if he’s cracked the mythical 10lb mark which we all pretend doesn’t matter. I guessed 9.5 because I assumed he was the same fish I caught a few months earlier on my last visit. He was 9.5 – but he wasn’t the same trout as I had caught; he was a much more beautifully marked trout. We were both delighted. This was the ultimate payoff for a huge gamble – April is a bad month to fish it, conditions were terrible and the river was in flood! Fortune favours the bold they say. Well it certainly did that day.

It was great to see Tim again after quite a few years. We had a few great days fishing with regular hatches, lots of trout to about 7lbs, a few beers, a 4×4 adventure, Wilderness lakes, a few beers, backcountry rivers and good craic. Looking forward to next time..

Right now we’re in the midst of winter and the fishing is very good. Better locally than the last couple of years I’m relieved to say. I’ve had quite a few good sessions on river and lake but more about that soon. I wanted to catch up with the month of April first. I’m always a bit behind!

I’m pretty much exclusively using my own fly patterns which are available from Fulling Mill for everything now. I have enough patterns available with them for most of my needs. The hotspots and streamers are great through winter and the brown and claret nymphs with the kiwi dun were pretty much all I used through April. I’m delighted to say that quite a few more of my patterns will be available in 2023. Exciting times indeed. I’ll have another article in the Fulling Mill blog in the next month or so too.

That’s all for now! Feel free to get in touch about winter guiding or about guiding next season. There’s still a few spots available. Tight lines! Ronan..

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