Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Ronan Creane’

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..

Fly Fishing Freedom…

October 16th, 2021 No comments

Between 2002 and 2011 I fished the majority of every NZ season. Total freedom. I’d work in Ireland during the NZ winter and save as much as I could for the next trip to NZ. After moving to NZ full time in 2011, much of the freedom continued – I just had to fit the fishing around work. As a single man I’d fish every weekend, public holiday and day off throughout all seasons. Things are different now. My wife and 2 kids are now my priority. It’s amazing how quickly time passes and I’m enjoying every minute with them. Recently I got a window to go away and fish myself for 3 days. I really don’t remember when I had this last! Guiding is different, I’m talking personal personal fishing time. Mark was on board to join me right away as we were trying to put a trip together anyway. Next I thought I’d ask a few of the other lads. 4 of us ended up hitting the road for 3 days… I forgot how great the freedom of being on the road fishing feels. That was the drug for 9 years of NZ seasons before I decided to live here. Of course I still fish a lot, a few days a week I’ll get out for a fish. Even if it’s just a few hours. But it’s so hard now to get away over night with my 2 little beauties to look after.

We had 3 brilliant days of fishing. We broke up in different groups each day and covered small streams, stillwaters and rivers. It was a nice mix of tried and trusted and totally new water. One of the exploration days yielded a superb find. A piece of water that I cant wait to get back to with better conditions. Also an excellent guiding option. The highlight of the 3 days for me was a stillwater that I used to fish a lot many years ago. Kevin (Shotgun) first took me there in about 2004. I have so many great memories of the place since then. I had magic fishing on it with my dad – some of our best memories of fishing together over here actually. I also fished it with Chris Dore, Bob Wyatt, Tonio, Fraser and now Wesley. Early season access has always been hard to get with lambing but we were just lucky on our day that they had moved the ewes into the next field and the farmer was happy to let us through. About the fishing – Wesley went left and I went right. Numbers were less than in the past but still plenty to keep us focused. We each landed a few of the most beautiful trout an angler can can catch. Sight fishing with a dry dropper accounted for most. When we were almost finished on it, I changed to a double nymph rig to fish some deep water blind. I moved 3 before landing another stunner.. That was the icing on the cake. I have to say, I’m delighted and relieved to have my HT6 again. It’s been cursed that rod! It keeps getting broken – not manufacture error I should say – just stupit shit keeps happening to it! I feel like the curse is now over and I’ll be able to enjoy this fabulous rod again. If not, I have a back up. Ha! Take that, curse!

Part of the craic on a trip like this is getting into the pub at the end of the day for feed and a schather of pints. I rarely look past the steak option and the beer was good. The pub was quiet but 4 like-minded fellas will always have a good time!

3 days, good friends, lots of craic and plenty trout. Now I need another fix!

In other news, I’ve had a few days guiding – delighted to get them under the circumstances. All very successful days with lots to the net each day. The best result had to be from Angela, who after a casting lesson landed three 5lb browns. That was her first day with a fly rod! Pretty amazing result. Great to see Brian again after his 11lber last season. Also lovely to get out with Sam and Fred again. Last time we fished together Sam broke in 4 big trout. On our recent day she made no mistakes! They both landed some magnificent trout. I know Chuan will be jealous..

Pure Fly NZ has moved off mainstream tv and onto youtube. This makes it very easy to access where ever you are in the world! Myself and Jeff had some super fishing in our episode and Nick was right there to capture it all. You can watch it, and all the other episodes from series 4 for free on youtube. Here’s a link to our episode.

If you’re in NZ and interested in some guided fly fishing, feel free to drop me a line to book a trip before you can’t travel at all!! Visit my website or email ronan@sexyloops.com

My nymphs have been accounting for nearly all the river fish and some of the lake fish in the gallery below. If you’re thinking about stocking up for the NZ season, these are my tried and trusted range of weighted nymphs. You can check them out here.

Tight lines, Ronan..

A New Tactic For Lakes..

August 20th, 2021 No comments

From about mid July, trout start repopulating the lakes in large numbers. Spawning for most browns and many rainbows has finished. This is a great time to fish the lakes. The trout are keen to pile on condition, so the fishing can be superb. You’ll pick up some skinny fish but it’s quite amazing just how good the condition is on the vast majority of these winter fish. I’ve been out quite a bit making the most of it. When conditions permit, I’ve had some great sight fishing along the edges. When the wind has been up, my possum & marabou buggers have been doing really well. I’ve been fishing another method too. Something new for me.

This method is simple. I have fished it before but never quite like my current approach to it. It’s a dry / dropper rig fished blind – okay, so nothing new there – but for me there is. Normally when the wind gets up and I can’t sight the edges I turn to a bugger or small streamer. I love this method so it was hard for me to change. I always thought that nymphs fished blind under a dry in the wind would work. In fact, I knew it would work, but would it be better than buggers or streamers? Probably not – but maybe. Recently – finally – I put it to the test, both shore based and drifting. Like any blind fishing, it’s not just chuck and chance. I’m always looking for structure, contrast, weed beds, sand patches etc. The trick is to cover as much likely water as possible, as efficiently as possible. so, while drifting for example, I fish a relatively short line. Long enough so that fish near the fly won’t see the boat. Keeping it short gives me the great advantage of being able to pick it up and lay it down with just one false cast. Speed can be key here. 3 or 4 false casts and you might drift past a good weed patch, or spook fish by carrying too much line for too long. I don’t leave the fly sitting for long. About 10 to 20 seconds, then pick it up an place it somewhere else. I’m always aware of the speed of the drift versus the water I want to cover. A drogue is on the cards. It’s a very involved way to fish. It requires focus because you must have your fly in likely water all the time to stack the odds in your favour. Thats what blind fishing is come to think of it. I’ve mainly been fishing 2 to 4 feet of water with this method. At this depth I know I can get my fly to “likely trout cruising depth” quickly. I’ve been using my size 14 dark nymphs with a 2mm bead to suit this depth, but there’s loads of scope to take it further. Bigger, more buoyant dries holding heavier mymphs on longer droppers for deeper water. maybe more than one nymph? This method really suits boat fishing because you can find large expances of ideal water and work it. Thats not generally as easy from the bank but it’s a good tactic on the shore too. The advantage of the dry fly indicator over direct nymphing is the static or sinking presentation and the indication to strike. Typical to most methods, I’ve had days where everything sticks and days where I lost a lot of fish.

To weigh it up against bugger fishing – you’ll cover more fish with buggers but they won’t all eat. You’ll cover fewer fish with this dry / dropper method but more will eat (in my opinion!) I think the only way to test it is to fish against Jeff Forsee on buggers while I use the dry dropper. That said it, the dry / dropper method suits both anglers fishing it because bugger fishing is quite dispuptive even to the water outside the anglers focus. There would have to be some rules to give both methods equal footing. I’m sure Jeff will be keen! (We would have been out there doing it yesterday only for this feckin lockdown – which I fully agree with!)

Guiding through winter has been quiet which is pretty normal. However, my now regular client, Bill was down a few times. We had good fishing, mixing it up with sight and blind fishing on a number of lakes and working on casting. While up in Mackenzie country we had an encounter with an absolute monster. Sighted on a lake edge. I’d say 12lbs plus. I don’t think canal fish can get in to this lake, so that was a genuine monster. He was hovering with his dorsal just poking out. One good cast from Bill and the trout violently spooked, shifting a lot of water. I’m itching to get back! That was certainly a fish of a lifetime and I want to catch it.

In other news, I’ve been using my green boat a bit lately. She still has no name! I totally misjudged it as a boat. I thought it was too heavy for fishing shallows and only good for cruising with the family. To my delight, It’s great to fish from and drifts like a dream. Ideal for one but fine for two too. Wesley was out with me recently and he found it really easy and comfortable to fish from the hatch opening. It works like a lean bar whichever way we drift, so I don’t need to mount a casting deck on the bow – though I might anyway! It’s a very versatile boat. Easy to tow and launch, very economical with a 15hp 4 stroke Evinrude – clips along nicely with that, drifts well and easy to cast from with nothing for flyline to wrap around (well, almost nothing). The other big advantage is the cabin. It will keep any amount of gear dry and out of the weather and there room for me to sleep in it. I’m really looking forward to the future with this boat. Some of you may remember Daltona. She’s still in the workshop and the renovation is moving forward very slowly. I will get there!

I wrote a piece for Fulling Mill lately about my top 10 trout for the 20 – 21 season. Here is a link to it. Some great trout in there and a brief recap on each one.

If you’d like to get in touch about guided fishing this season or next please do. Strange times but it costs nothing to have a chat! Email me at ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Saving My Sanity!

July 16th, 2021 No comments

I never worry when the regular season ends because we have good winter fishing locally. That said, last winter was hard work, so I hoped for better fishing this winter. The winter season usually kicks off with a bang as some big rainbows move up river in May. This year saw very few fish move in May. Also, feck all in June and now were well into July and still no great action. Every day out I find some fish, but not the big thumpers I need to scratch this itch. I want a big silver bar – fresh out of the lake, or just a plain big bow. For the 5 or so winters before last winter I always got them. Plenty of them. But not this year or last. Last year I had the excuse that I was busy with 2 very young kids, but this year I have fished it a lot. I have guided it and fished it hard. Lots of days, but I simply have not had that great day. I think the fish are there in very low numbers. Maybe the run is still to come! I certainly hope so. Lately I’ve actually gotten fed up going out to fish it. At the end of each fishing day, I return saying “right, thats it, not going back”… but the next time I have a window, I’m back out there, frustrating myself once again – sometimes not enjoying it. I move quickly to cover multiple spots which have always held fish. I also look in new water, blind fish, sight fish. Really work it hard but nothing decent to report apart from some dark 2 to 4lb bows or 1lb maidens but thats simply not what I want. I’m not greedy either – If I could catch one fresh run 6lb plus rainbow I’d be happy. That would make my winter. One day out – one of the few days with decent action – I hooked 8 only landing 2 rat bows. One fish I lost that day was one of those special fish, but I only caught a glimpse.

I had to get well away from the local in search of some good fishing. I went to fish some lakes I like to fish in winter. It felt like I hadn’t caught a decent trout for ages and I couldn’t take it anymore! The day on the lake saved my sanity. I worked a rocky shore hard all day with dries, nymphs and streamers – sight and blind and landed 7 trout to 7lbs. Lots of reel screaming runs from super trout.. I feel like an angler again.

Feel free to get in touch about guided fly fishing over winter or next season. Check out my website or email me @ ronan@sexyloops.com.

Links to some of the flies mentioned in the pics.. Complex twist bugger , Claret nymph , Indicator Klink.

Tight Lines, 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..

20 Year Old Trout!

April 8th, 2021 No comments

Over this season I’ve seen 2 trout that I had first seen many years before. Both from high country rivers where trout are known to get pretty old. I contacted my friend, Rasmus Gabrielson, to find out a bit about how old trout get. Rasmus reckons from some surveys done on one of the rivers that it would take a brown trout about 12 years to reach 9lbs. 9lbs is important because both trout were that weight when I caught them first. The first trout I caught back in 2013. He was one of the most spectacularly coloured trout I had ever seen. He had a dark patch on his right gill cover. This would make him easy to identify if I was to ever see him again. Over the years I did see him on occassion. The dark patch easily visible as long as there was no wind riffle. His colour never seemed as striking as when I first caught him but I always assumed it was the same fish. Twice he ate my clients flies but but each time the rod came up empty. It wasn’t until this season that the stars aligned for Robbie to catch him. If it wasn’t for the dark patch on the gill I would never have picked him as being the same trout. For confirmation I compared photos and the spots matched. Some spots seem to have moved a little, some new ones have appeared and some have disappeared but its still easy to see that it’s the same trout. The dark patch has gotten much darker. Whats really amazing is that if that fish was 12 when I caught him first, he’s 20 now and still going strong.

The other fish I first caught in 2015. He was also one of the most beautifully coloured and marked trout I had seen – and still is to this day – both are actually. After I caught this fish I didnt see him for years. I caught him again in 2020 and again in 2021. Still the same weight and still looking good. Assuming this fish was 12 when I first caught him, he’s 18 now and also still going strong. I caught this fish from 2 adjacent pools. The first fish mentioned has been in the same pool for every sighting. This really proves the territorial nature of some trout. It also proves their resilience and ability to be caught and released many times. There’s photos of both trout on their first and last capture at the bottom of the list below. One has certainly changed a lot. Rasmus told me about brown trout from Norwegian high country lakes reaching 30 years of age. I wonder if we have a 30 year old brown trout in NZ? I think we could.

I’ve picked these two examples because they were such memorable fish. It’s also easy to know that they are the same fish. I have other examples too of old trout being caught many times over many years. It seems very normal for them reach a certain size and then maintain that weight. Some older trout stop spawning, making reaching old age more likely. Spawning is very hard on trout and claims many every year.

In other news, it’s been a great couple of months of fishing. I’ve been out a lot myself and had some big and beautiful trout. I’ve done some guiding. I didn’t expect to guide a double figure fish this season with so few guide days due to Covid travel restrictions, but Brian from Christchurch proved me wrong. We flew into a wilderness river on day 3 of 3. Fishing was slow – the only way to make it work was to cover kilometres and maximise opportunities. With this plan we found fish. At the end of the day we found a monster! He took the dry but Brian briefly foul hooked him in the tail on the strike. Luckily the trout didn’t seem didn’t seem too bothered and continued feeding. He took my #14 brown nymph a few casts later. This fish faught hard and Brian played him really well. At the very end, almost in the net, he made a dash under a rock. Fully under. We couldn’t see a fin! One chance before the tippet abrades off the rock – go and pull him out! I walked out to the rock and slid my hand under feeling around for the tail – taking a shot of water down my waders as I did. I felt the tail and got a firm grip and pulled him out and put him in my net. What a relief! I was expecting it would be a “one that got away” story! The fish weighed just under 11lbs. To me he looked like an early lake run trout. He was twice as big as any other fish we caught that day.

With the travel bubble open between Australia and NZ, the end of my season is pretty much full but there’s still lots of availability in May. Still plenty availability between now and April 18 for anglers within NZ. Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines, Ronan..

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..

A Wilderness Float Trip Adventure…

June 12th, 2020 No comments

Every now and then the prospect of a fishing trip is incredibly exciting – more than the average trip. I get that buzz if I’m going abroad to experience a new fishery, or exploring new water, maybe in a new wilderness area. I think the key word is new. Seeing a piece of water for the first time is always exhilarating. A trip myself and Bryan put together last January was one of these. One of these with bells on! Not just one piece of water to explore but lots. We pooled our resources and planned a wilderness float trip. NZ was our oyster! Where do we go? After studying google earth for ages I had an idea. I knew very little about the chosen system which included lakes, rivers, streams and backwaters but that was the point. Some real adventure! We took plenty safety precautions. We went in with one sat phone and a PLB each, life jackets, raft repair kit, plenty food and first aid kits. The NZ wilderness is no place to take lightly. The river looked pretty safe to raft on google earth. Once everything was prepared and packed, it was time to hit the road to get the helicopter into the wilds!

On arrival, the pilot came out to greet us. As we chatted he gestured towards the raft fully assembled on the trailer and asked if that was the pack raft – sarcastically of course. There was a breakdown in communications in our correspondence. They thought pack rafts and we though they could sling-load the 40kg raft in. It turned out that they can’t sling load with passengers and even if they could it would be a very slow and therefore expensive trip. No problem though! We disassembled the raft and the pilot easily got it onto the back seats and into the pod on the side of the helicopter. We were off!

The flight in was spectacular. They always are. Mountains, rivers, forest and then our destination became visible. The weather was good and excitement was hard to contain. We landed and got our bearings. We had a rough plan for the 3 days. I had marked every place of interest on NZ topo 50. To fit them all in we had to get cracking. Once I reassembled the raft the trip was underway..

The fishing on day one was pretty poor. Lovely lake flats with only a few small trout. Then a river to explore. Lots of potential and reasonable numbers of mostly old looking trout – spooky trout! Some of the spookiest. We blanked on that river, but it was a magical spot and I’ll certainly have another go sometime. A few riffles and runs but mostly glass calm, slow moving pools. There were some stunning big lake like pools too but these were inaccessible due to treacherous soft silt.

After fishing the river we had a pretty major piece of water to cover to get to camp. Lots of rowing and drifting. The rain had come in as we fished the stream and it kept coming. As we travelled down the system the un-forecasted rain got heavier. Our gear and ourselves were getting soaked, even through rain gear. Camping outside was not too appealing at this stage but thankfully there was a backcountry hut not too far downstream. We jumped out now and again to fish likely water but the rain was getting to the point that the hut really started to beckon. With the GPS function on NZ Topo 50 it was easy to find the hut. We pulled up the raft and secured it to a tree well up a sandy bank in case the river rose with the rain. Once we got the gear into our home for the night we could relax a bit. I got the fire going while Bryan put on the spuds, then we hung up all the wet gear – almost everything! We demolished a couple of rib eyes with black beans and spuds. Some nice wine too. We slept well to the sound of rain even if we were a little anxious about the state of the river in the morning.

Day 2. The raft was still safely secured to the tree. The river had doubled in size over night but was perfectly clear and fishable. This was a huge relief since the rain didn’t quit until after we ate breakfast. With great excitement we took on the river. We started blind fishing all likely water and Bryan quickly got a nice 3lber to put us on the board. Then I hooked and lost a better fish and sighted another. As the sun broke through the clouds the cicadas started chirping and the trout responded. We had a spectacular few hours of fishing in the afternoon. One spot took us ages to pass because every time our flies passed the drop-off a trout would eat the fly. Dream fishing. All beautiful, healthy 3 to 7lb trout and mostly on a large Stu’s Cicada. The water was quite diverse in its make up. Lots of bouldery pocket water, some large pools, sandy glides, cut banks and fallen trees. A real wild river. We were sad to have to leave it to continue our mission downstream but we had more water to explore in our limited timeframe. The thrill of new water never waned and once we were back on the raft we couldn’t wait to see what was around the next bend. Before we made it to the next camp spot we had some good fishing on a small, tannin tributary. Very interesting spot. I got a follow from the same fish to my streamer about 10 times without an eat. Bryan had a nymph a foot under a dry. I suggested that I’d tease the trout in and then remove my fly quickly so that Bryan could cast to the fish. It worked a charm and the trout took the nymph while wondering where the glister disappeared to!

Back on the raft it was time to think about making camp. We had heard about a bushman living somewhere in the valley and that he didn’t mind a visitor. When we saw smoke coming from a chimney we decided to go and investigate. Sure enough it was Bruce. He opened the door with a big smile on his face and invited us into his house – which he said nobody owned and we were welcome to stay. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth we did stay. The craic was great! We took out our bag of wine and filled up everyones cup, steaks on the pan, cheese and crackers to start. This was one of those unforgettable experiences and we both knew it and made the most of it. Bruce regaled us with stories about many topics from eels to DoC to politics to topless women. We tried to take it all in while adding a story or two of our own.

Day 3. In the morning we had breakfast together before taking on our respective days. There were a few flags on my map yet to explore. Bruce was able to put me wise about which ones to avoid – not because there were no trout there necessarily, but due to the logistics of bush-bashing in to them. We said goodbye to Bruce but he said he’d be down to the helicopter later to chat to the pilot and to see us off. He took off down the river with his 15hp while we took a more leisurely pace. Over the day we found some really nice water. A pool with a waterfall that really must be right up the with the most beautiful places I’ve caught a trout, a backwater off the main river with lots of eager but pretty small trout. The size really didn’t matter to us though. The location and the quality of the fishing more than made up for that. Then a tiny spring creek with some quality trout that we didn’t catch and finally another lake edge to explore while we waited for the chopper. About half way through the day the rain made another appearance and quickly closed in to the extent that we weren’t sure if the helicopter could fly. Bryan got on the sat phone when they were a bit late only to get no solid information – they weren’t sure either! The pilot was stuck somewhere due to the weather and fuel was an issue. A short time later we heard the helicopter in the distance. He landed and seemed a little panicked by the weather closing in and fuel was indeed an issue. The helicopter had no pod on the side this time, so we quickly loaded everything onto the back seat of the helicopter. It was a tight enough squeeze but no problem. After we said farewell to Bruce it was time to go. Bryan and I both fitted in the front. At first the pilot thought he’d have to drop us to a road about 50ks from my truck but thankfully as we flew we caught a gap in the weather and made it back to the heliport. Absolutely pissing rain again, we hurriedly unloaded the helicopter and jammed everything into the back of the truck – far from the tidy truck that arrived here a few days ago. A quick change into dry clothes and we were heading home. What a trip – certainly, one of the best.

Let me know if you’d like to book a trip for next season. With all the uncertainty in the world right now my season is filling slowly so there are plenty spaces available. Email me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. I do not offer guided float trips by they way! But for anybody interested in this style of fishing you should contact Wanaka based Greg Dougherty.

Tight Lines! Ronan..

Bob’s Birthday Trout!

April 19th, 2020 No comments

I’ve know Bob since my first visit to NZ in 2002, I actually met him a year or two before at his home in the US. He cooked dinner for us. A New York Strip I recall. A very memorable steak! Bob is now 82. My annual brief is to help him catch a trout on his birthday or he jokingly (I hope) reckons he wont be around for his next birthday. No pressure or anything!! To relieve some of the pressure we have 2 days to catch the fish because it’s still his birthday in the US the following day. To add a little pressure the trout must be caught on a dry. We’ve succeeded in our quest for the last 3 years and I hope we can keep it going for another 23! This year we had one heli day into a beautiful wilderness river and a day with our mutual friend Camo Guy in his boat. Both days we were successful on dries and the weather was great – unlike last year. Cheers Bob! Bring on the next one..

I remember fishing with Alun earlier in the season. We were having a good day. Fish were out and Alun was doing well. We got to a spot where we could see a fish on station. He wasn’t doing much but he was moving to eat now and again. Alun covered him a few times. He looked at the dry once but surprisingly never moved to the nymph. After a number of casts Alun gave me the rod to have a go. I sent in a cast and the trout moved right up to take the dry but refused last moment.. my dry / nymph continued to drift. As I was about to take it out to recast, 2 fish cruised up from a dark, deep pool below. I left my flies drifting.. they perfectly intercepted one of them which ate my nymph and I landed a lovely 5lb seatrout. A bonus, lucky fish. I was not complaining. After this I gave Alun back his rod and he had another cast to the original fish. Up he came and nailed the dry! A nice scenario from a great season.

The weather for this entire level 4 lockdown period has been flippin unbelievable. Blue skies and light wind just about every day. There is a chance we’ll drop back to level 3 in a week, in which case fishing will be allowed again. Personally I don’t think we should rush to level 3 but if we do drop back I’ll certainly be making the most of the last few days of the brown trout season. If not, there’s plenty fishing in winter whenever we do get to level 3, some of the best of the year actually. I’m missing the water, thats for sure, but I’m happy to wait for the greater good – not that I can harm myself or anybody else by fishing alone but that’s not the point..

Some nice images below from the season pre-lockdown. I hope you all enjoy them.. Also a link to a short film by a mutual client of myself and Jeff Forsee. It’s from a recent trip with his friend Matt. Thanks Pat! Here it is..

Let me know if you’d like to book a trip next season. No deposit necessary until the travel ban is lifted. Visit my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Fishing with Grunde!

April 6th, 2020 No comments

I love it when I get a booking through Sexyloops. There’s a certain familiarity and understanding right from the start which relieves any pressure. I can simply plan the best trip I can. I basically just plan to do what I’d like to do which is not always the case. Dealing with Grunde was easy because we are like minded – like most Sexyloopers. He was happy to have me fish too so this was a trip I was really looking forward to. I had a rough plan in my head for the 4 days which included hiking into the backcountry but on the first day the weather turned for the worse. Extremely worse! A weather system which was destined to wreak havoc on the South Island landed on day 1. I know many guides cancelled bookings because of it. I’m lucky because I love the lakes which means I never have to cancel due to weather – I haven’t yet anyway. Apart from on the morning of day 1 there wasn’t a river to fish anywhere for the 4 days. We took on a very varied list of still waters from tiny to huge through almost every type of weather. We successfully blind fished with dries and nymphs on day 1, we also had a few shots to rising trout. Day 2 was all blind fishing with small streamers. We sight fished everything on day 3. Some magic fishing. Nine trout from 4 to 6.5lbs, mostly on dries. Day 4 sort of beat us. We got a few trout but the wind got really crazy. Every time I’d change location to avoid the wind it would change direction to ruin the new location! You’ll have days like that. All up it was a great 4 days of fly fishing – not for everyone I’m sure but we loved it! Looking forward to next time, Grunde! Thanks!

Feel free to get in touch with any enquiries for next season. Don’t worry about a deposit under the current circumstances – just let me know the dates you’d like. Hopefully the travel ban will be lifted by next season. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Good luck! Ronan..

Day 1. We fished the river in the morning til this happened..
And it got much much bigger!
Plan B was some some small still waters.. Casting dries around the edges was very good!
Another for me. Brilliantly coloured this time.
They’re all so different.
After a few missed opportunities this one to the net and Grund was off the mark.
Back he goes.. 4 for the day.
Day 2. With all rivers flooded it had to be another still water. This time to the high country.
We needed serious rain gear! I had 2 Simms jackets and this emergency poncho. The poncho was great!
The rain pissed down all day. This was the system that wreaked havoc all over the lower South Island.
We had really good fishing with small streamers.
Stunning fish are the norrm on these high country lakes.
Rain, mist and wind.. Cold too..
But good fishing!
Grunde in again..
Super fish!
Rain.
One more beautiful trout before heading home. Super day with 6 to the net to 5.5lbs.
Day 3. With rivers in flood this was a busy lake! 7 anglers on it. We got there early and staked our claim on a great 150m shore. A perfect blue sky day was very welcome after 2 of the wettest days I’ve guided.
9 for the morning mostly on dries.. including this double hook-up.
A very memorable moment.
Nice markings.. Plenty more opportunities in the afternoon but no more landed.
Day 4. Still on the lakes. We managed 3 or 4 but the wind got insane!
yep, insane!
Some Fulling Mill flies.
Sensibly packaged. Good flies.
Some of my own flies. My go to dry.
This with a yellow body was great for cicadas this year.
Lake edge cruiser fly.
My #16 nymph with a 2mm bead. This fly has accounted for 5 double figure trout from one river!
#12, 3mm bead. For depth or coloured water. The butt is backing line, possum body.