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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Reygaert’

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..

The End of Lockdown…

May 20th, 2020 No comments

After 5 weeks of lockdown I was itching to get back at the rivers. We dropped back to level 3 only three days before the brown trout rivers closed. I managed to get one full day on day 1, a brief session while walking the kids on day 2 and a 3 hour session on day 3. The full day was just brilliant. I got to the river with a one hour walk downstream to complete before fishing back to the truck. I was at a jogging pace to get to the start of the beat – I just couldn’t wait. Straight away the fishing was good. The fish were out and feeding and holding where fish should hold. Thankfully the incredible weather all through lockdown held up for another day. Blue skies and no wind all day. Absolute bliss and I didn’t see another angler. I had 12 for the day and broke in 5 or 6 more because I ran out of my usual tippet. Very frustrating using bad tippet! A fantastic day regardless. I had decided in the morning that if I could get 2 decent trout near the truck I’d take them for dinner. Not something I usually do but as long as I know there are plenty trout about I don’t mind taking one or two on occasion. I got one with the truck in sight and had to work pretty hard for the second but got him in the end. They fed 4 adults and 2 kids and included a cold smoked fillet as a starter. There is something very special about feeding the family with freshly caught, wild trout.

One good thing that came from the lockdown was spending time with the kids when I’d otherwise have been working. Our daily walks were along the river where I’d frustrate myself looking at feeding trout. The crazy thing is I had never even seen this section of river that flows through the town. Local lockdown walks were the reason I got to check it out. It’s lovely water. I didn’t see heaps of trout there but there were enough. Unfortunately there was little chance to carry the rod on the local walks due to level 4 lockdown rules (no fishing!). Now that we can fish the season is closed (apart from the aforementioned 3 days.). Next season, whenever I get a day off, and there may well be many, I’ll be taking the kids for a walk and taking the rod. By then Adaline will be old enough to reel in a fish herself. Lochlan might be too.

We’re into the winter season now. There are still many rivers open til the end of May. Once June starts just a few large rivers and most of the lakes remain open. Plenty though. I’m looking forward to getting out whenever I get a chance. The kids have severely disrupted my fishing if you haven’t already guessed that! I’ve had a few outings recently. I didn’t catch many myself but the folks with me did pretty well. The first tug from a large winter rainbow woke me as I drifted off to sleep last night! That will tell you whats on my mind. Dying to get stuck in a large migrating rainbow – one of the highlights of my season. The next fishing on the agenda will hopefully be filming another episode for Pure Fly NZ with my comrade Jeff Forsee and fly fishing film legend, Nick Reygaert. We have a few ideas.

I recently did a podcast with Daire Whelan from Ireland On The Fly. I never did one before so I was a bit nervous. However, here is a link for anybody who’d like a listen. Or you can use this link. I’ll be doing something similar on Instagram soon – a live chat with Justin Spence in Montana. I guided Justin and his friend Dan last season. Justin needed no guidance really, I’d just take him to the river and he’d know what to do. Certainly one of the great fly fishermen! For our Instagram session were just going to chat about fly fishing! More on this when I know more.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions about guided trips next season or this season if you live in NZ. You can contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines… Ronan..

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

A Late Season Extravaganza!!! Yes Indeed…

April 28th, 2016 2 comments

CRANE-FLY-FISHING…

Earlier in the season while fishing with Dean Whaanga he told me about fishing the Crane Fly in his neck of the woods. He told me that it usually fires after the first frost late in the season and that he’d let me know when its happening. Recently he called to tell me “its on” and to invite me to join him the next day. Luckily, I wasn’t guiding so I was there with bells on. John Roach of the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club was in town so he came along too. I was excited to see and try this style of fishing which was pretty new to me. Fishing the crane fly, or daddy-long-legs as I prefer to call it, is well known on the Irish loughs but fishing them on NZ rivers is quite unique. I guess there are not too many rivers with a high enough crane fly populations around them that they get blown onto the river in sufficient numbers for trout to lock-on to them? A frosty start followed by a warm, breezy day is ideal. We didn’t get that, but the day warmed up a little and wind increased but there were not too many daddies about. Possibly due to the lack of a frost in the morning. For a while during the day there were a few on the surface and we saw a few rises. It was enough for me to see the potential of this type of terrestrial fishing. The trout seemed quite keyed in on daddies anyway because we all had a good few eats off the top. We landed two 6lbers, two 4lbers and lost 6 more! It’s always good to learn about a new way to catch a trout, particularly something seasonal and dependable like the cicada or mayfly. I have it marked in my calendar for next season!

A SPECTACULAR TROUT…

On a recent trip to a Wakitipu feeder stream I found what I was looking for. I wanted to encounter some browns moving up from the lake to spawn in a few months time. Along with a number of rainbows, I had 5 browns in the 5 to 7lb range eat or attempt to eat my fly. I only landed one but that fish alone was worth the trip. A very pale coloured trout, it was indeed unique, unlike any trout I’ve seen before. A unique fish like this is at least as satisfying to catch as a really big fish. It’s the brown trout’s infinite differences in shape and colour that make it the species I want to target more than any other. I hooked and lost another fish around 5lbs with what appeared to be a yellow back, again unlike anything I’ve seen before. I really wanted to see this fish out of the water. On hooking, I briefly saw a very deep, silvery flank. I’ve been back since in the unlikely hope of finding him but without success.. Wakatipu feeder streams are open until the end of may so I’ll be back!!

SQUAWKING, FLAPPING AND CRASHING! (AND A VERY BIG TROUT!)

Over the last couple of days Tom McAuliffe and myself went to a river we both enjoy. As luck would have it Robbie was there too so we all fished together on day one. Just before we met Robbie on the river he had landed an 8lb brown. Shortly after we saw another big trout and then things went quiet for the day. In fact we didn’t spot another fish! I had a couple of follows from a dark pool while blind fishing. Shortly after at the head of the same pool it felt as though I became connected to the reef I was fishing across. It was no reef!, it was a solid brown of about 5.5lbs. A real tank of a trout; I was happy to get it under the difficult circumstances. Two great fish for the day but the lack of trout about was a little concerning.

On day 2 it was just Tom and me. We decided to go hard into the wilderness and hope for the best. I had been in a few times before this season with poor results due to terribly low fish numbers but I’m a sucker for a good gorge! As before fish numbers were low. All season long I was hoping the fish were in hiding, under rocks in semi hibernation as these fish tend to do but now I’m confident the fish just aren’t there. Maybe its a cyclical thing and they’ll return but I’m worried to be honest. The number of shags living on the river is also a concern. These creatures feed on fish and only fish. More about that another time. About half way through the day we found the first fish (apart from one I spooked). It looked really big, maybe a double! Sitting apparently dormant against a rock at 90 degrees to the very slow current at the bottom of the pool. A weird position to say the least. Tom won the rock, scissors, paper to take the shot. I advised him on the approach I’d use since he was new to this type of fishing. A very long leader and a heavily weighted streamer, cast well above the fish, let it sink to the bottom and strip it passed its face. The leader had to be long so as not to line the fish in deep water, also to get the fly far enough up stream to give it enough time to sink to the bottom and still be upstream of the fish when it reaches the bottom. While we were setting up, the big trout decided to jump and then do a rapid loop of the pool for no apparent reason. This was a great sign! The fish was awake and not doggo. Tom made a number of accurate casts and from my vantage point I could see the fly passing just in front of the fish but it never flinched.. Then it became awake again, starting to swim up from the rock it was lying against just as Tom landed the fly in her vicinity. “Let it sink” I said, as I watched the fly drop into the fishes lair. “Strip, strip, strip” Tom did so.. I watched as the fish charged and inhaled the fly. Tom could see nothing from his position in the river but I could see everything form my vantage point. “Strike!!”, I said. She was on. After a dogged, heavy fight we got the fish into the net. We thought she might have been a double but the net doesn’t lie (I hope), just over 9lbs of magnificence. Tom was on top of the world and so was I.

Over the next while we saw a few fish. We had a couple of grabs to a streamer and missed one on a nymph but nothing of any size. There was one pool I wanted to get to before we called it a day. We had to push hard and waste no time to get there. We arrived quite late on the Autumn day. On arrival we saw nothing obvious. We carefully made our way up the pool trying to spot every inch of it as we went. In a backwater on the far side of the pool we saw 1 then 2 then possibly 3 or even 4 fish rising. My jaw dropped with anticipation and awe. At least one was a very big fish. Then Tom spotted a huge fish at the tail of the pool where we had just crossed. Now totally on the back foot, which fish do we target? behind or in front? The fish behind had to have been aware of us due to his position. He started to make his way up the pool. A shot had to be taken quickly. I had a dry and nymph on and took the shot. It seemed a better option than Toms streamer in the shallow, glassy water at the tail of the pool. The fish enquired, then enquired again firstly to the dry, then looked at the nymph. When I moved the nymph off the bottom he followed it a number of times before swimming away into the safety of the dark water. I was disappointed because this was a really (really) big, beautiful, catchable fish. However! We had possibly 4 rising fish to target so I looked forward with a confident smirk, Tom looked at me with the same smirk, we took a few steps forward, both considering the best plan of attack. Rise after rise, both of us eager to take them on. “That’s close enough” we both agreed.  With that 2 paradise ducks came squawking, flapping and crashing into the pool, sliding 25 foot right on top of all the rising fish before immediately lifting off again. Birds gone, fish gone, silence. Dumbfounded, I managed to ask Tom “What the fuck just happened?”,  “Fucked if I know” he replied, “para’s”. That was it, all over. I landed a 2.5lber in the next pool but it didn’t even take the edge off how I was feeling. Utterly heartbroken and time to head out. I hate Paradise Ducks!

That’s all folks! 3 days left of the brown trout season and I’ll be fishing all three of them I do believe!

Ronan..

Ps. Internet problems led to a one day delay in getting this out so just 2 days left of the season! Jeff and I fished today and landed 10 fish up to 8lbs! More on that in the next blog. Also, I wanted to write about filming and upcoming NZ fly-fishing TV show with Jeff Forsee filmed by Nick Reygaert but I’m out of steam now so next blog maybe. I also had a few great days and nights in Southland with Robbie Mcphee and Chris Jackson, stars of New Zealand Trophy Waters ( http://www.fishingvideo.co.nz  ). We fished, ate, drank and were merry! Very merry!! Also great to fish with and catch up with one of my first made friends in NZ, Bob Toffler. See you next season, Bob!

MAY IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS! For any guiding bookings or enquiries, ronan@sexyloops.com