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Posts Tagged ‘Wesley Seery’

Summer snow!

May 15th, 2024 No comments

One of the most memorable days of my season was in March. I was out with Skyler and Eamonn. The prospects for the day were good with a little rain forecast in the morning followed by a nice sunny day from about noon. Off we went to the river. The morning was cool and dry. We got rigged up excited about what the day might bring. Shortly after starting fishing some light rain began. As we moved up river the rain turned into snow and the temperature rapidly dropped. This was unexpected but I didn’t think it would persist. Well, persist it did. It got heavier to the point of blizzard conditions and inches of snow started to accumulate on the ground. I was confident it would abate and the sun would come out and warm us up.. but 2 hours later the snow was still bucketing down with no end it sight. We were all wet wading. My feet were freezing – all our feet were freezing. With no sign of a break in the cloud I had to make the very unusual decision to bail out. Nobody complained. Once the decision was made to get out, it seemed important to make haste. Frostbite crossed my mind for the first time in my fishing life. We walked back in the river to stop our toes from freezing. I doubt we were in any real danger but holy feck it was cold. We got back to my truck and headed to the warmth of my house. We had lunch with the heat pump on full and cups of hot tea. After about an hour our core temperatures came up a bit and we were ready for round 2. The sun was now shining and it was nice a warm. Hot even! Such extremes in a day I’ve rarely experienced. It was March 15th which is usually still like summer!

It should be said that this summer was cooler than usual. There were some very cold spells which actually made some options fishable in high summer that usually wouldn’t be. It was also extremely dry. I don’t think there’s been any notable rain in this area for about 6 months.

The photos below tell a few more stories. Trips with the kids and Rahel – our fantastic au pair, a lakes trip with Graeme, fishing with Bryan, the Highlights from the world famous Pisspot and more. Enjoy! Next up will be late March and into April.

For a look at my flies check this out. They’re all available to purchase in-store at Patagonia Queenstown too. To book for next season (filling up fast) contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines and Free Palestine. Ronan..

November – Thoughts & Highlights..

December 18th, 2023 No comments

Typical of this time of year, it’s hard to make time to write! There’s more photos than I generally add but I hope you can make the time to enjoy them. They tell the story of a busy month of fishing and guiding.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot more lately is barbless hooks. It seems crazy that it’s taken me this long to really start moving away from barbed hooks. I was never too concerned about the barb. What I always told people was that I don’t have any trouble removing barbed hooks. This is true. The part that has always bothered me is breaking in a trout with a barbed hook left in his mouth, but it never bothered me enough to fish barbless. Now it does bother me enough. There’s a great relief breaking in a fish knowing the hook is barbless. There’ll be minimal stress on the fish since he’ll easily shake it free. I often heard that trout can dissolve a barbed hook quite quickly. I wonder if that is true? I should google it! The silly thing is I always knew that I’d loose feck all fish by going barbless. It only takes a second to crush the barb or better still, tie on barbless hooks to begin with. My range of flies with Fulling Mill are barbed so this is something I may look at changing in the future.

I had a solid month of guiding starting with Brendan and Dave. As usual for these two the rain came and blew out the rivers – it happens every time! We managed the fist day on a local river before they all blew out completely. Luckily, both of them love the lakes and we had some brilliant and varied still-water fishing with epoxy buzzers playing a very important role.

Next up was Tim and his brother Graeme. Great craic as always with the bros! Just about every fish was 5lbs. A very enjoyable few days.

Late in the month I had a new client. A man who knows my father quite well and fishes with him a lot back home. I also met him 25 years ago when I looked after the Inagh fishery for a season. His name is Jack Meredith. A very experienced angler who’s chased salmonids all over the world. I was delighted to show him around my area for a week. We mixed it up with local streams and rivers, backcountry fly-ins and highcountry dams. It was no surprise to me that the dams got under his skin. Anyone who fishes Irish loughs will have a head-start in understanding these special places, which are not for everyone. The fishing was very tough on the dams – but that’s not a bad thing. It just means you have to dig deep, fish to the conditions and persist – then enjoy the beautiful reward if you get one. Jack was not going to come back to the South Island after having a terrible experience a number of years ago. His guide didn’t know where he was going or what he was doing and spooked every fish in the river. I glad he changed his mind. I’m looking forward to next time.

A quick note about buzzer fishing (aka chironomid). This season and last season I’ve noticed a huge increase in buzzer numbers in many of the the lakes I fish and some rivers. On still-water days when fish have been hard, switching to a buzzer, usually epoxied, regularly made all the difference. I didn’t have a huge stock to begin with but my father can tie these in his sleep! One the phone one evening I asked him to send me a few which he did. Now I’m well armed with flies for these increasingly important tactics. Dad’s buzzers are particularly good too.

I’m very happy to say that my Fulling Mill patterns are now available in the new Patagonia shop in Queenstown. If you don’t live near Queenstown you can still order them online. They’re pretty much the only patterns I use. Check them out here.

Next season is just starting to fill up. Feel free to get in touch to make a booking or to chat about options. You can check out my website or email me ronan@sexyloops.com.

That’s all for now. Hopefully Decembers report will have a more user-friendly amount of photos. Tight Lines! Ronan..

October Adventures…

November 1st, 2023 No comments

October is usually a pretty quiet month for guiding. I like that it is. It allows me to ease into my work after a long winter. Come November I’m pretty much fully booked. It also means I can fish myself during what is arguably the best month of the year. This year myself, Wesley and Brayden went south to explore two new rivers. One was a dud (with potential) and the other was great. I opened my season with a 7.5lber and we encountered other big fish too. One might even have been that elusive 10lbs.

We also took my boat to the highcountry during opening week. It was windy going out. Too windy really, but I just wanted to get to a sheltered island. We had a great hour of fishing as the wind dropped but then it changed direction and roared from the south. Too windy to fish and freezing cold as it blasted horizontal snow across the island. I went for a walk to get phone coverage from a high rock to let the folks back home know that we might have to stay the night. It was too wild to cross. This got some welcome heat back into my feet. While I was out I went for a walk to scope a route back to safety. There was shelter on the north side of the island but all the other water had huge, worrying waves. The wind was completely insane reaching 150kph. luckily we had the shelter of the cabin. With the waves slapping on the side of the boat I thought it would be a good idea to move her farther into the shelter of the bay. As we were moving the boat the wind dropped a bit so we all agreed it was an opportunity to get back. We went for it and made it safely across without any problems.

I was back there again with Mark Adamson for an overnighter. I was hoping for a calm evening and following morning for buzzer fishing, but it didn’t happen. The cold southerly wind blew all through the night.. We had great shelter behind a rock on Camp Island. The fire was essential because it was flippin’ cold. Nice wine, good steak, a warm fire and good company. Life was good! The boat was lovely to sleep in. The wind continued to blow in the morning so still no buzzer fishing! The bugger fishing was good in the wind. I generally don’t bother trying to set up 10 sec timer “grip & grins” anymore. Sometimes I just take a David Lambroughton style trout portrait but they frequently look shite so I don’t use them!

It was a pleasure to meet and guide Joe Libeu and his partner, Cathy. Both great casters and anglers who have contributed lots to fly fishing and casting in the US. For me it was great to spend time with people who’ve invested so much into fly fishing and truly understand the sport. We didn’t have it easy but sometimes fishing is hard!

For a link to my flies available from Fulling Mill please click here. I have availability to guide from late March onward next year. Feel free to get in touch. ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

That’s it for now! Tight Lines.. Ronan..

Restoring the Boat!

September 20th, 2023 No comments

I find it easy to start on a project if its small. Large projects can be a little daunting. Because of this I trick myself into large projects by doing a small part, convincing myself that that’s all I’ll do. Hence, I frequently don’t have ‘before shots’. By the time I think to take a few pics I’m already well advanced with the project so that ship has sailed. This is what happened with the boat recently. Initially it was just a little repair, which lead to repainting the repair. Then I thought I should repaint the cabin. Before I knew it I had many components taken off to allow for easy surface preparation and painting. Then I ordered non-skid paint for all the traffic areas – this had never been on the boat before. The whole job took me 2 weeks. It’s amazing how boat restorations absorb time. I almost did inside the cabin too but I managed to curb my enthusiasm just enough to not. It can wait. I did the roof inside alright because it needed it.

She always had a hatch on the cabin but it was damaged and didn’t stay on. I fixed that and also built a removable door so that I can close off the cabin for sleeping in or keeping gear dry in bad weather. I’ve been threatening sleeping in it for ages but still haven’t. No excuse now! She still doesn’t have a name by the way…

I’ve had the boat for 3 years and she’s had a lot of use. She’s been stored outside all that time. Mostly under a tarp but often not. Because of this she was in need of a tidy up, some repairs and a paint job. It’s done now! From now on she’ll have a roof over her head. Next up for restoration is Daltona. She will ride again (again).

It was good to get out guiding recently. Dan and I went to Mackenzie Country to fish the lakes. Late August. The fish were there in good numbers in 3 of the 4 places we went. They were not easy. Very spooky but not impossible. To me, this is perfect. Without some challenge it’s not that interesting. Fast, accurate shots made all the difference – especially when keeping the loop travelling low and fast over the water. Big open loops spook a lot of fish in calm water. I often side cast to ensure the loop stays low. Speed is such an underrated skill. It’s something a fella can practice. How fast can you get the fly off the hitch and in front of a cruising fish? This and other aspects of speed and accuracy were some of the things we worked on. We had some really good fishing where it all came together. Dan landed some really solid, fat trout up to 7lbs which is a top end fish on the Mackenzie lakes.

Also did a little uneventful exploring on the Clutha locally. Nothing to report from it. I had a few outings to some local river mouths – they were decent. Last but not least, Wesley and I (mostly Wesley) changed the bearings on the boat trailer. It was great to learn this skill from someone who knows what they’re doing.

That’s me up to date again! The season kicks off in a little over a week. Needless to say I’m looking forward to it. There’s a few gaps, not many but feel free to get in touch with any questions about availability. You can contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website. You can check out my Fulling Mill fly patterns here. Some of these have been tweaked and improved for 2024.

Tight Lines and a big Happy Birthday to Sexyloops! 25 today! Ronan..

Fishing Never Stops…

September 25th, 2022 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Been a Good Winter!

July 18th, 2022 No comments

So far, this has been a good winter season. The Clutha has been the best in a few years. Still not great but way better than the last 2 winters – which were shite. That’s encouraging. Most days out have produced some decent results but the big fish are still nowhere to be seen. I believe the larger fish (5.5lb plus) are running as early as March and by the time me and the other winter anglers get to the river in May, they’re nowhere to be seen. If you don’t hit these fish on the run, it seems we’re not likely to get a shot at them at all. That’s my take on it anyway.

Myself and Jeff did our thing with Nick Reygaert in another episode of Pure Fly NZ. It’s always great to take on an episode with Nick and Jeff. We just go fishing – and often somewhere totally new! All the fun of fishing is still there, even with a camera on us. There’s no pressure – we just let it happen and it generally does. I guess there’s been a learning curve to get to this stage. You can’t force it – the harder you try, the less likely you are of getting a good result (I had to learn this – Nick already knew of course!!). It seems to be one of the few times in a season where Jeff and I actually fish together so that’s another bonus. I’m looking forward to seeing what Nick comes up with after the edit. I won’t give too much away but we certainly kept the best til last!

It’s been a great winter to catch up some good friends on the water too. I’ve had some cracking days out with Wesley, Conor, Matt and Chris. The results are well documented in the photos below.

In other news, I’ve been laid up for a while with a pretty bad injury. Recovery will take a while and fishing will have to wait at least another week or 10 days. I also have covid but to my great surprise I’m almost completely asymptomatic. After 2 dreadful flus this winter, I expected covid to kick my arse, but it didn’t – so I’ll take that bit of luck!

That’s all for now. Feel free to get in touch about winter guiding or trips next season. Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Here is a link to my fly patterns on Fulling Mill and this is my latest piece for the their blog.

Tight lines.. Ronan..

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..

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..