Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Trout Flats’

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..

Singapore’s Finest!

December 13th, 2018 No comments

I thought when I was writing my last blog that the weather would change for the better before too long. It didn’t. In fact, it got worse. I have never seen a spring like this and neither have any of my fishing buddies. It’s been thunderstorm after thunderstorm. Many rivers have not had to chance to drop in the last month. Guiding has been hard because of this. The difficulty has not been on the water – that has been surprisingly good and even great! The difficulty has been in the decision making. Watching river flows and looking for windows where a river might drop enough to be fishable before the next rain knocks it out again. Many times I simply avoided the rivers and fished the lakes. Rising rivers, even if they’re clear, often produce poor results as fish “go to ground”.  As reliable as the lakes are, some of them have suffered a bit too. With such huge volumes of muddy water entering some lakes even they have become unfishable, at least in parts. However, no matter what mother nature throws at us there will always be clear water to fish. I just have to find the best, most interesting and enjoyable bits! So far it’s worked out pretty well.

It’s funny how fate takes over some times. I drove out of Omarama and took a left towards the Upper Ahuriri. That’s where we intended to fish. Chuan and Kim were following in their car. Wei Chong was with me. Chuan called me on the phone because he was unsure where we were headed. Wei Chong told him we’d slow right down so he could catch up. I had told him where we were going and he’d been there before so I wasn’t too worried about him loosing his way but something must have gotten lost in translation. We got to the turn off, parked up and got out. We stood by the road and waited – only for about a minute. As they approached we waved our arms in the air to be seen. Neither Kim or Chuan saw us as they passed at a good speed trying to catch us. We got back in the truck and followed. There was no point trying to catch up with them as I expected they’d pull over when they realised they’d gone too far. That they did but not till Tarras about 50ks from the turn of to the river! No phone coverage til that point didn’t help matters. At that stage we’d all been driving for 40 minutes putting us in a different region altogether with different fishing options. I had a quick check of the forecast and it suited a local high country river. Plan A was abandoned and we hit for the the hills!

The river was high with a little colour as I expected it would be. The sighting conditions were good but pool after pool went by without showing us a fish. Finally I spotted one in a very reliable pool. We had 4 rods, each with a different rig. The first shot went to the person with the correct rod in hand. Chuan was up! I adjusted the rig slightly to suit this opportunity exactly. There could be no mistake here. I had a feeling this might be the only chance of the day. I got into position with just my eyes popping over a mound of gold tailings to keep the fish in view. Chuan got into position but could not see the fish from river level. I relayed directions as clearly as I could. After a couple of casts Chuan knew where his fly needed to land. One cast almost spooked the fish but he returned to station, the next was on target and down went the dry. A little chaos ensued with quite a large jumping fish, then it tore off down river. We were on the outside of a long bend with nowhere to land the fish. Before we got too far down the bank into deep water I suggested we jump in the river and cross. “yes, yes lets do it” said Chuan. In we went. My waders took on a little water as we bounced on tippy toes across the river. I almost floated off but we made it across and then easily landed the fish. For me, that was the best fishing moment of all the days we fished. Chuan and I pushed to the limits but we came out on top. We saw no more fish that day which makes a fish like that all the more important. Not often do we come off a river with a 100% success rate! Who knows how the day would have gone if plan A had worked out. Sometimes we just go with the flow…

I wrote this 5 days ago. Since writing there has been an improvement in the weather and many rivers have had a chance to drop, some right back to normal but others will be high and unfishable for ages yet!

The highlights from the past month are in the photos below. Quite a lot of big browns in there!

If you’d like to talk to me about guided fly fishing in the lower South Island you can visit my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com. I still have availability from mid March to late April.

Tight Lines and Happy Christmas if I don’t get a blog out before then!

Ronan..

 

Trout Flats!

January 24th, 2018 No comments

In my questionnaire I send to clients prior to their fishing trip with me I ask “Would you like to fish river, lake or whatever’s best on the day?”. Most say river full stop. Others say “river preferably but a lake if its going to be amazing” I can never guarantee “amazing” so river it is!!. Some say “whatever’s best on the day” but nobody says “lake please!” It’s pretty clear that the average clients understanding of lake fishing is does not really apply to NZ. I think they believe it to be standing in one spot and blind fishing all day. They could not be more wrong! One could fish that way but they wouldn’t do very well generally speaking.

For me, it’s usually sight fishing. Often along a lake edge which we walk and stalk. When an opportunity presents the angler must quickly and accurately intercept the fish with his or her fly. It’s different to a river because we rarely find fish on station waiting for food. Therefor every opportunity is time critical. We must follow the fish or back off if he’s coming towards us, sometimes diving for cover so he doesn’t see us. We don’t want to follow for too long because he may well turn to the deep or cross paths with another fish, another opportunity. Certain lakes offer lots of different shoreline types adding to the appeal.

Sometimes we find fish working a beat. This gives us a chance to plan our attack! Trout will often cruise a set route over and over again. If we see a trout on a flat we may be able to view the whole beat. A good approach then is to cast to the near side of the beat when the trout is at the far side, then wait for the fish to come back and cruise to where our presentation is waiting. Usually a nymph suspended under a dry at cruising depth. The trap is set! This is very exciting and extremely productive and I love it! Interestingly, my clients and I regularly stumble upon this type of fishing in backwaters on many rivers. Not a single client didn’t enjoy it, and certainly nobody asked to be taken back the main river immediately (so you see, you do like lakes!! You just don’t know it yet!!)! Another good thing about the lakes is that they stay pretty cool in hot summers like this one. I have had a number of days recently when trout get a lot quieter in the afternoon as the water heats up on small to medium sized rivers.

Another form of lake fishing is the cream of it. Trout flats. These are wide expanses of ankle to waist deep water of pretty uniform bottom where trout cruise. The approach is walk and and watch! I like to get out to knee deep water where I can slowly walk along stalking pretty much the 360 degrees around me. Sometimes there are lots of trout on the flats, other times few but the quality of the fishing when it’s on must rival bone fishing (I’m guessing, I’ve never done it!). I recently had a 2 hour spell with a client on a trout flat where we had multiple shots coming at us at any one time. It was feckin bananas. The whole day was good but that spell was as good as it gets! Reel screaming, knuckle busting runs from big healthy brown trout. Trout flats are not always easy wading with soft sand and silt often making up the bottom. However, some are firm and easy to wade.

Blind fishing is not to be sniffed at either, though I do understand why this is not top of the list. Being brought up on Irish Loughs, blind fishing was the way to catch fish so I’m very at home doing it here. It’s great from a drifting boat but also great from the bank. On days where you have no sun to sight fish a flat, blind fishing a couple of light PT nymphs can be excellent. Deeper weeded flats are often best blind fished regardless of conditions. The takes are electrifying! Blind fishing requires endurance casting. To be good at at you need to be able to cast repetitively for 8 hours straight. Thats how we role in Ireland anyway!

Tight Lines everyone!

Ronan..

Anyone planning a trip to NZ, I still have some spaces in February, March and April – May too! ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

 

[slideshow_deploy id=’10218’]