Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Otago’

Clearing The Decks!

May 12th, 2022 No comments

Just a quick blog today to clear the decks. I had a busy and successful season finale with some superb trout for clients. One very big fish to report on too. Before I get to that I’d like to share the rest of the seasons highlights. It’s a while since I put up a blog so some of these photos go right back to summer! I’ll also be changing back to the previous blog format after this one. Paul and I made this change back to the old format because it seemed like a good Idea, but the one I’ve been using for the last few years is much better for images. I put a slideshow at the bottom or you can click on the thumbnail images, but you have to go back to click the next one. WordPress can be very user unfriendly at times!!

Some exciting stuff coming up – Jeff and I will be doing another episode of Pure Fly NZ with Nick Reygaert. We have some ideas but nothing is set in stone as yet. Also the Piscatorial pot! I probably wont run it this month but I hope to run it in June. We’ll certainly need a good stock of wood for the brazier – which wont be a problem! Also a potential visit to the coast on the cards..

If you’d like to get in touch about guided fly fishing next season please get in touch. The season is already quite full but still some decent gaps for multi-day trips. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Enjoy the pics below and I’ll be back soon with something more!

   Tight Lines, Ronan..

ps, Here is a link to my flies available from Fulling Mill. 

 

New Flies, Big Browns & Lots of Fishing!

February 12th, 2022 No comments

It’s been a very full on start to the year. Some guiding which has been great but more importantly I’ve had a lot of time to fish myself – I’m not quite sure how that happened but I’m not complaining! There’s been lots of highlights. One of them, the biggest highlight for sure was a trip to Fjordland with Nick Reygaert. The trouble is, too much other stuff has happened since to do that trip justice in a shared blog. It deserves it’s own report and it will come!! I’m just not sure when yet.

Another highlight I’d like to mention was on a day I went in search of a big fish or 2 on a solo mission. It was a day when I needed to walk a lot of river to find fish. Over the day I walked about 12 kilometres of river and only saw only 5 fish. 3 of those I landed. Number one and two took my Kiwi Dun without much difficulty but the 3rd was a different story. This turned into an hour long cat and mouse tactical battle on the last pool of the day. It started as I approached a long, slow pool and saw some nervous water half way up. Then a rise in the same area. “Brilliant” I thought, “theres a fish in the pool”. I advanced carefully up the pool looking as intently as possible – then I spooked a small fish of about 3lbs. That was not what I was expecting. Surely that was not the fish I saw first? I didn’t think it was a small fish. On the reasonable chance there’s still a big fish cruising the pool, I’ll continue to proceed with caution – that was my thinking. Sure enough, I saw another rise and it looked big. “Game on” I thought. I moved slowly to intercept the rise but could not see the fish. Then he rose under the cut bank at my feet. Knee length grass obscured me from the fishes vision and I could just make out his tail as it pushed him gently upstream and out of sight. The light was not great. This was the point when I decided to take a more careful approach than I might usually take. I decided not to persue the fish by way of following him up the pool because I thought I could easily spook him. Instead I decided to reset altogether. I went right back to the start of the pool and started my approach again. I ended up doing this numerous times. Somtimes I got a half chance, sometimes a brief visual, sometimes nothing. On one occasion I got a great visual and enough time to make a cast. 3 actually. I covered him each time with the dun and he totally ignored it each time. The fish was cruising like a trout looking for a cicadas but there were none on the water – at least none that I could see. I put one on anyway and once again reset. Back to the start. Another careful, slow and stealthy approach. Then, right up at the head of the pool I saw him rise. “Now” I thought.. I ran lightfooted half way to the rise then slowed right down. My thinking was that if he was cruising towards me after that rise he should be close now. From a crouched position I was scoping all round, now staying still. Then I saw him – cruising at 45 degrees away from my bank but in my general direction. I laid out my cast and dropped the cicada about 2 metres in front of him with an intentional plop. He immediatly set his course for it and cruised confidently all the way to it and….. chomp. The lift into such big weight is like a drug and I’m certainly addicted. What a high.

I thought he would make the magic 10lbs. He looked it during the fight but my weigh net said 9.5lbs. Of course it doesn’t matter but there is a certain fixation people have (me included!) about those ellusive double figure fish which is why I like to say the weight. That was the end of a really amazing day in the backcountry. I had the whole upper river to myself and I walked pretty much all of it.

In other news, I’m delighted to have another 4 fly patterns in the 2022 Fulling Mill catalog. I could not be happier with how well the team at Fulling Mill replicated these flies. 3 of them are streamers and one is a dry. One of the streamers is the tried and trusted Bruiser. Immortalised in the Lake Pukaki episode of Pure Fly NZ. This fly caught all the fish for both Jeff and myself on day 2 – before it had a name! The 2nd one is the Killer Smelt. A newer pattern designed to immitate cockabullies and smelt. I’ve had great success on this fly. It works well in clear water when darker streamers will get follows but not takes. This is also great in the salt. And last but not least is the Green Machine. Lighter in colour than the Bruiser and darker than the smelt, this fly completes the little family of streamers. In my humble opinion, what sets these flies apart is their simplicity. Just 2 main componants of possum and marabou which seemlessly gel together in the water. Their profile is very lifelike with natural, fluid movement. Another advantage of these flies is that they don’t wrap around. They’re tied on the Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight hook which is incredibly strong. Just as good as the Kamasan B175 which I always used in the past, now I just use the FM version. The dry fly is actually one of my fathers creations which he’d been tying for NZ for about 10 years, so it’s very much tried and trusted. It’s a favourite of many of my clients as well as one of my own. The only thing I added to this fly was the sighter post to make it more visable. In a 14 its a great mayfly immitation and the 12 is superb for larger mayflies or as a general dry. I’m excited to see how these flies do around the world! I know dad has had a lot of success on his dry on Lough Corrib in the West of Ireland during olive and sedge hatches. A good friend is using them in Tasmania right now. There’s a batch of 60 streamers headed to Malaysia to help Paul fill up 6 boxes of flies for the guides involved in the Sungai Tiang project. I’m really looking forward to seeing them in action over there! I know my good friend John O Malley is going to give them a swim on Corrib for early season brownies. I’m confident they’ll work well. All my Fulling Mill patterns are available here.

Feel free to get in touch about guided fly fishing on the lower South Island for the remainder of the season if you’re within NZ. For those of you abroad, it looks like visitors will be allowed in this October – although a dates has not yet been set. Feel free to get in touch to arrange a booking starting in November to be on the safe side. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website

Tight lines! Ronan..

Here’s to 2022!

January 4th, 2022 No comments

It feels like the season has only started and it’s January already. This is why I try to get the most out of winter fishing – once the regular season opens, it’s over in no time, it accelerates. I guess thats why we have to make the best of everything. Life is short and we don’t know whats coming. On that note, I’m certainly trying to make the best of these challenging times. Yes, my business is in ruins and I worry about and miss my family in Ireland but all other aspects of life are better. Family time, my own fishing time, time in the workshop and restoring our old house and garden. In a normal guiding season I don’t see the inside of my workshop and maintaining the house is limited to mowing the lawns now and again. I know I’ll miss this when things go back to normal. In fact, it’s made me rethink what’s actually important so much so that I’m considering reducing my number of guide days per year to keep more of this work / life balance that I’m enjoying so much. I think when all this is over many people will realise the good points of this strange time – and there are many, at least there are here in NZ. I want to enjoy the good bits right now and forget about the negative as much as I can. I’m not going to look back and think I missed out or could have done things differently. I’m thankful to be in NZ where our freedom has not been affected like peoples in other parts of the world.

I’ve been on the water 3 out of the first 4 days of this year. Good results from various conditions. I have a very exciting exploratory backcountry mission coming up so this year is kicking off in style. More on all that in my next blog.

I’m attempting to improve my photography a little. David Lambroughton has been giving me a few valuable pointers. I’ve taken my wifes 10 year old Lumix GF2 out of the closet and got a polarising filter for it. I love the results. Polarising was always something I wanted from my picture taking but waterproof cameras are limited in this regard. Putting my sunnies in front of the lens wears thin! Don’t worry, you wont see “Photography” after my name or watermarks on any images! The photo’s below tell the story of a great finale to 2021.

I have 4 new patterns coming out this year with Fulling Mill. 3 streamers and a dry. I’m excited about that. More on those soon. My nymphs are currently available here.

Feel free to get in touch about guided fly fishing whether your in NZ or abroad. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines and I sincerely wish you all a great 2022. Ronan..

An Insight Into 8 Days Guiding.

May 5th, 2021 No comments

As soon as the trans-Tasman travel restrictions were lifted I had some of my regulars booking trips. I didn’t think it was going to happen but finally, it did. It felt great to be busy again and things are looking good for May too. I had 8 consecutive guide days to finish off the regular season and managed a day myself on the 30th to polish it off. It wasn’t always easy and hatches were average to poor apart from one day where it really fired. Generally, April is the best month for mayfly hatches down here, so when it doesn’t happen it’s a little disappointing. Some days when the hatch was happening, we were almost running up river to find rising trout before it switched off again. Because it can switch off so suddenly! On one of the days, fly was pouring off for a while in the late afternoon. We got a couple during the hatch, then it stopped. Then 30 minutes later fly was pouring off again but the fish didn’t respond. 2 variables, fish and fly – and they both need to be “on” for it to work! All up, the guiding days went very well. I really enjoyed the time with my regular clients who are also friends at this stage and great to meet Vipin and Dave for the first time. About that day, Vipin was having a run of bad luck. Hooking fish but loosing them, getting the eat but not the hook-up and loosing a very big fish at the net. He landed a small one just big enough to count. At the end of the day I decided to look in one more pool to see if he could have another chance at a decent fish. There he was – under a tree. Vipin is a novice caster and this was a very tough shot for any angler. I coached and encouraged him and tried not to get frustrated. Then he made the side-cast land close to the target, the fish turned and swam downstream to see what made the disturbance and ate the fly. We got the fish and that absolutely made the day.

One thing I started looking at recently is the step counter on my phone. According to it, I walked 103kms in 8 guide days. The biggest day was nearly 19kms and the smallest was over 8. An average of 13kms per day. That all sounds about right to me. Walking is an integral part of fishing in NZ. Its not all on the river of course. Many of the 103 kilometres were walking to a river or river beat where vehicle access is not permitted, or climbing in and out of gorges. Ultimately, the harder you can go the more fish you’ll catch – or, at the very least you’ll see some great country!

The story of the 8 guide days is told in the photos below. I included the fish count so you can get a clear picture of just how varied that can be. Out of the 8 days, 2 were very hard where we could easily have blanked but managed 1 and 3 respectively. All the other days were good to very good. It goes without saying that angler ability has a huge role to play. The great thing about taking Marcus out, for example, is that I don’t have to plan much around wind because he can cast into it with relative ease. So where am I going with this? I’m not sure really, but casting skill and fitness are clearly of key importance to a successful trip here. One thing I think I need to advise my clients on at the time of booking is to get out and practice casting as much as possible. Also to get out walking a bit just to raise the fitness a little if needs be. It needs to be said though, you don’t need to be a marathon runner to have a great time fishing in NZ. There are plenty great options to suit anglers not keen on, or not able for big walks.

Still spaces available in May and it can be a super month! Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines, Ronan..

High-Country Dams..

February 13th, 2021 No comments

The more I fish the high-country dams the more I love them. Like any good fishery they’re not easy. They can be incredibly dour in fact. Many anglers only go up there during high summer in the hope of being there when the cicadas emerge and get blown onto the water. In my experience this rarely actually happens.

When Dad and I used to travel around the South Island every year or so, we would always include the dams. Dad was always over for the month of November. We never had any dry fly action over that time, but it can happen. I was happy walking shoreline stripping buggers and dad liked moving more slowly fishing two of his PT nymphs or buzzers with the figure of 8 retrieve. Both methods worked. For me these dams are blind fisheries. Only during perfect sighting conditions might you sight a fish. Fishing to rising trout is always on the cards with a plethora of terrestrial insects included in the trouts diet, caddis and chironomid too. Whatever is happening, be prepared to blind fish. I think this is why dad and I both love it. Coming from a lakes background in Ireland we had to blind fish – that’s all we did. But as I’ve said many times blind fishing is not chuck and chance. Every cast is considered, we look for something fishy; weeds, structure, drop-offs, points, bays, rocks, shallows etc.

Once you get into the groove of your chosen method you just have to have faith and persist until something tells you otherwise. The reasons I still use my possum / marabou bugger as my go-to blind fishing method is: 1, The trout feed a lot on fry. 2 They feed on Koura and a bugger is a good representation of this too. 3, I can cover a lot of water quickly. 4, The trout are very opportunist. I occasionally take a fish for the table. When checking the stomach contents there are usually multiple different food items in there. Commonly, for example, loads of caddis with one fry or loads of corixa with one koura. This tells me that they won’t pass up a bugger! These dams offer trout the largest range of food of any fishery I know. Because of this, my guess is that when the dams appear to be dead, they’re not! The fish just out of our reach for whether it be physical or otherwise.

I fish my bugger on a floating line with a long leader so that I can count it down if I need to. Also, so that if fish start taking dries I can quickly change over. Sometimes in shallow bays I’ll blind fish nymphs instead of a bugger or if its calm I’ll sometimes do the same. If you are lucky enough to be there when the trout are looking up then its simply magic. I’ve only really experienced it once. I was with Justin and Dan from Big Sky Anglers in Montana. Day 7 of 7 – the dream finale!

On a personal level, fishing these dams are very similar to fishing Corrib or Mask back home. The dark water, the wind, the rocks, the drift if I’m in a boat, the sounds and smells, the blind fishing aspect, the memories. Without doubt this is a huge part of the reason I love fishing them. The common methods are very similar indeed – nymphing (PTs, caddis or buzzers), dries (sometimes 2 or even 3 dries), Wets – I strip buggers instead of wets but these are fisheries where lough style can and does work. Another thing I love on some of the dams is the quality of the browns. They can be some of the most beautiful on the planet. Every time I hook one I get excited to see what he / she looks like. I guess finally, they’re all just stunning places to spend a day. They’re all quite similar but with their own characteristics. I never go up there expecting to catch lots, they can always kick my arse. I’m happy if I get a fish or 2 and I’ll work hard to get them.

BOB’S BIRTHDAY

Bob has been on here many times over the years, so if you’re a regular reader you’ll know he’s my oldest friend in NZ, not because of his age, he’s the person I’ve known here right from the start. We try to catch up for a fish a few times a season and for the past 4 years we always fish for his birthday. He jokes that he must catch a fish to make it to his next birthday. We got the Birthday fish on day one at the very end of the day. It was tough – fish just not responding but we did it in the end with a lovely 5lb brown. Day 2 we went to the dams. I did well with my P/M bugger. Bob stuck with his dries hoping for that magic take which never came. Guy was with us too. My second oldest friend in NZ. Bob introduced me to Guy, so I love it when the 3 of us catch up. It’s becoming tradition now that Guy joins us for day 2 of Bob’s birthday fishing expedition. Happy Birthday, Bob! Looking forward to the next one.

I’ve been reasonably busy at times with guiding thank feck. Happy clients, plenty trout. There’s a few bookings coming in but please do get in touch if you’d like to set up a trip or if you have any questions. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Here is a link to my nymph patterns available at Fulling Mill. They’ve been doing great this season! Also getting some great feedback which is always nice to hear. I have one box of my own patterns from Fulling Mill, and they cover me for pretty much all my river nymphing needs.

Tight lines, Ronan..

Boating, Fishing & Guiding..

January 2nd, 2021 No comments

I’ve had the boat out a couple of times now with the family. She’s lovely! Not built for speed but she gets along just fine. I played with the trim on the engine trying to get the bow down with the throttle opened up. It seems weight up the front might be the only option to get the bow down to plane properly. I’m not convinced that more power would get much more speed but I could be wrong. Even with the 15HP Evinrude I found myself throttling down for optimum performance. I remember learning about “hull speed” years ago – that a yacht cant go past a certain speed based on its hull shape and weight. I’m looking forward to seeing if I can knock a bit more speed out of it with somebody up the front. Maybe with correct weight distribution more power would equal more speed. Time will tell! Cant wait to get it out for an exploritory multi day lake trip. There’s enough room to sleep on board and heaps of space to carry gear. Now to find the time to do it! She also needs a name…


Plenty good fishing lately. I’ve put some highlights in the gallery below. My annual pilgrimage into one of my favourite and most physically demanding gorges was successful. Just like last year I found only one fish – turned out it was the same fish as last year. I’m starting to think he’s the only fish in the river and I’m not joking! I’ve watched fish numbers decline since I started fishing it 6 years ago. No idea why. Such a pristine backcountry river. Great to see my friend for the 3rd time. He’s still 9lbs, in great condition and still in the same part of the river. Funnily enough he was the first fish I ever caught on the river 6 years ago and currently he’s the last. Now he seems to have the whole place to himself. He must be old. 6 years ago he was 9lbs so he must be at least 15 assuming 1lb growth per year til he reached 9lbs. No science behind that, juat a guess. Hopefully when I go back next season I’ll find a new fish in one of the pools – and maybe I’ll see my old friend again too. (this is the blog he appeared in last season. I’ve spent the last hour trying to find the blog he first appeared in but I can’t find it!)


The weather has taken a turn for the worse. Bad timing as I’m supposed to be fishing down south with Robbie today and tomorrow. It’s been raining heavily for about 30 hours now. All rivers in flood. I might hit a lake myself tomorrow. I spent today sweeping water out of the workshop while trying to make some furniture. Guttering and drainage around the house need attention. I’ve added it to the infinite list of jobs!


Feel free to get in touch about a guided fly fishing trip. Plenty spaces in my calendar this season! Check out my website or email me directly ronan@sexyloops.com.

Tight Lines & Happy New Year! Ronan..

Mad Weather and Big Trout!

December 28th, 2019 No comments

I compiled this guiding gallery a couple of weeks ago now. Loads has happened since and it’s pushing the contents of this gallery to the side, which of course it shouldn’t because there were some excellent days on the water which I have accounted for here, but I really want to clear the decks now for more recent fishing, which has been superb!

One trip worth a mention was with Andrew. He had 2 days to fish, day one was off the charts landing 6 trout with the biggest hitting the scale at just over 9lbs. That fish took some work. We fished to him for about an hour before I put on one of my fathers unweighted size 14 hares ear nymphs. Andrews first cast with that fly and it was all on! Second biggest was 7lbs. They were all great trout.. Day 2 we blanked bringing us back down to earth. It’s funny how it goes!

It was great to see Brendan and Dave again. They were over for 5 days, Day one was simply magnificent with 11 fish to 7lbs, Day 2 and 3 were also good days but then I got struck down with severe stomach cramps. I gave the lads my truck and some info for their last 2 days. They landed another 9 trout. It took me 5 days in total to come right which included 3 nights in hospital. They were my first sick days in 5 years guiding.

I also took out Micah Adams and his friend Dave. Micah has been involved in fly fishing TV in Australia. We had a very enjoyable day on the water even though it was a pretty hard day. Micah got a 3lber on a dry and Dave landed a super 6lber.

The weather has been nuts. Rain, wind, hail, flooded rivers etc.. I like it when the conditions go to feck. It makes me think outside the box, take gambles, use what I’ve learned over the last 18 years in NZ. I’ll put a trip together for my clients regardless of what mother nature throws at us. I will use every avenue available to me to make it happen. Crazy weather seems to be pretty normal now so if a fella can’t adapt he’s in trouble!

The next blog will be about one of my own greatest moments in fly fishing with a superb old 9lber and The Mighty Chuan landing an 11lber.. Not mouse eating monsters, just bonafide brutes!

I’ll let the photos tell the other stories. Still some availability for this season if you’re thinking about coming over. Visit my website of contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight lines & screaming reels for the new year! Ronan..