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Posts Tagged ‘Wesley Seery’

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..

Help Protect the Manuherikia River (Also, a Winter Fishing Update!)

June 13th, 2021 No comments

The amount of water allowed to be taken for irrigation from the local river, the Manuherikia, is coming up for review. Currently, so much is taken off the river that in summer the river gets too low and warm for fish to thrive, especially in the lower reaches. The fish shut down completely as soon as the day warms up. I avoid the river when it’s like this so as not to further stress the trout, as do most anglers. With this, anglers loose much of their local river for fishing (and guiding in my case) for up to 2 months a season. Currently the river is permitted to get as low as 900 litres per second before abstraction is reduced to keep it at that level. This low flow also makes the lower river unsafe to swim in and visually pretty horrible as brown algae takes over. This should be quite a large river but it’s not allowed to be as the demand for irrigation increases with land use intensification. Some of the water take-outs are huge, taking what appear to me to be half the river at some points. Sadly, this is quite normal for many NZ rivers but we have a chance now to make the situation on the Manuherikia a little better. Please take a moment to fill out this survey – it only takes a couple of minutes. The link is at the bottom left of the page. Of course, the optimum flow outlined in the scenarios would be 3000l/s. You don’t have to live here to care about the river so please have your say. If you’d like to take a little more time and write a submission, please do so. You can email it to policy@orc.govt.nz . You have until June 18th. Thanks in advance to those who make the effort to take the survey or write a submission.

We’re right in the swing of winter fishing right now. As always its fickle but mostly pretty good. That’s the nature of chasing migrating trout; you may or may not find them. The most exciting prospect for me at this time of year is catching is a large, fresh run rainbow. I’ve been lucky in the past, usually catching one over 8lbs every winter, sometimes more. This winter (so far) and last winter combined, the best I managed to catch has been about 5lbs. I’m not sure whats changed but those big fish seem hard to find. I’m dying to get stuck in a big one again. I’m out tomorrow fishing myself so hopefully I’ll get one.

I’ve had a busy May guiding, relatevily speaking. All up very successful. Only one blank with 2 complete beginners to fly fishing. That was an interesting day though. I don’t think I’ve ever guided an ambidexterous person before but both Ian and Craig were. What are the odds? The first challenge for them was to decide which arm was best suited for the task. After about an hour I had to insist that they “pick and arm” or we were not going to advance much. Once they did they did great – Ian in particular (sorry Craig!), a real natural caster and angler. I hope they keep it up!

It was great to see my regular client and friend Brendan back over again from Australia. We mixed up the few days with local rivers and lakes and a couple of days deep in the backcountry – hoping for a big rainbow or brown. We caught heaps of average sized fish. We saw some very big fish but they elluded us. The best we landed was over 5. A nice fresh run fish. A magic couple of days though, covering about 20 kilometres of river. Frosty mornings with mostly sunny weather to follow and little wind. The sun sets quite early in the valleys at this time of year so warm gear was essential. The backcounty hut provided great shelter for the night. It was a very basic hut which gets little use but a good sweep out, tidy up and warm fire made us right at home. That and some good food and wine. Next time I’ll have to bring a roll mat because one of the two bunks is made with floor boards. Brendan didn’t find it very comfortable!

Lots more stuff too all documented in the photo’s below! Some very enjoyable days out with friends and great to use the new club boat. It’s a weapon!

Feel free to get in touch to book a winter fishing mission. Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight lines, Ronan..

The Manuherikia River!

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..

A few days winter fishing..

July 10th, 2020 No comments

It’s hard to get time to fish at the moment! Iza is very busy with work which means I’m looking after the kids. I’m also putting a lot of effort into restoring our house and making furniture for it. I enjoy the tools almost as much as fishing. Its easier to work on the house if I have a 2 hour window because winter fishing options very close to Alexandra are limited. So I need at least half a day free to get out for a decent fish. I think I’ll do a lot more fishing once August comes around. I’ll put the home restoration project on pause and concentrate on fishing again. I also need to make time to finish restoring mine and Shotgun Kevin’s old boat, Daltona.

I’ve had a few days out since the last report. Unfortunately I have not seen any really big rainbows this winter. I heard the big fish ran early (back in March). The deluge of rain last February may have triggered this. The fishing was decent every day I was out with fish to about 5lbs.

I had a very enjoyable live chat with Justin Spence and Matt Klara from Big Sky Anglers on Instagram recently. We chatted about my approach to guiding and fishing in NZ. Here is a link if you’d like to watch it!

There has been some positive talk about opening up our borders to Australian tourists so hopefully by October I’ll be back in business. Feel free to get in touch to chat about a trip! Contact me ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines – Ronan..

Lough Corrib

November 30th, 2019 No comments

No trip to Ireland is complete without a few days on Corrib. It’s a lake that has rarely been very kind to me but that does not stop me wanting to go back. It’s an amazing lake. It would take a lifetime to get to grips with the entire 44,000 acres. Maybe multiple lifetimes. There is still so much of Corrib I have not seen. It’s an explorers dream with deeps, shallows, points, bays and islands making up the lake. It encompasses many townlands on it shores from Galway to Oughterard to Cornamona to Cong to Headford. The fishing varies from early to late season with very specific times of different fly. The chironomid first, then the olive (a small mayfly), then the large danica mayfly then the sedge. Of course the fly seasons overlap but with such specifics in trout food, the fly and method selection is very important. There are many other flies on the water too just to add to the puzzle. Caenis and terrestrials for example. Traditional wet fly techniques have taken a back seat to various nymphing methods in the passed 20 years, especially with chironomid and olive fishing. Let me know if you ever want to go and I’ll connect you with the right people.

I had 3 days out while at home. John and I went out on day 1. John hadn’t been out for a while so he was unsure where the good fishing was. We went to some trusted deep water where wet fly fishing can produce the goods. John got 1 of about 1.5lbs and I blanked. 

Day 2 was with Dad and Tom Doc. This was a social outing as much as a fishing day and the craic was great. We went out in Toms dad’s boat. A beautiful custom built Philbin Lake Boat. A pleasure to be out in. That boat has seen some action and anglers over it’s lifetime, and she still looks new. We fished very close to where John and I fished but we were on the fish. Tom is a guide on the lake and fishes most days so he knows where the fish are. It didn’t take long for us to start moving a few. This was my day as it turned out. Out of 8 landed I had 6 with the best over 3lbs. I was delighted, as was Dad and Tom. Lunch on Inchagoill with the traditional Kelly Kettle was super. The cup of tea from Tom’s Kettle will not be beaten! It’s so good that I decided to bring my Kelly Kettle to NZ. Thanks Tom for a great day out..

Day 3 – I didn’t expect much. The forecast was for horrendous wind. Rain too, and the lake was high and rising after rain. The reason for going out was give the New Zealanders who were over for the wedding a taste of Corrib. We had 3 boats. John and Fraser in one, Dad and Damien in another and Myself, Wesley and Mark in mine. It was a day where open water would have been very dangerous so we stayed in relatively sheltered bays. The craic was good but the fishing was bad. The pints flowed afterwards which made the world good again!

Still lots of space available in the current season for guided fly fishing in New Zealand. Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website.

Tight Lines, Ronan..

Heli-Fishing!

February 27th, 2019 No comments

Heli-fishing is a tough one! For me, it’s often very stressful. When people are spending the extra 2 or 3k for this mode of transport to the river, I do my best to get them value for money. I usually spend unpaid hours trolling through weather reports, getting info from mates, emailing and phoning heli companies; whatever it takes to remove as much uncertainty as possible. It’s a bit of a catch 22 too. The whole reason for heli fishing is to get to a remote, rarely fished location but as a guide I need to know the river well. I can’t afford to fly in to locations on a reconnoiter mission and walking could take days (Which I’d love to do but don’t have time!) so learning the rivers sometimes happens on my clients time. I make no secret of this. If I’ve never been to the river, I’ll tell my client. I have faith in my abilities to read the river and to deliver a great day but the intimate knowledge of a section of river which begins at about 5 visits takes time to achieve.

There are no guarantees with heli-fishing. I have not had a bad heli trip yet but its certainly possible. Flying in doesn’t mean we’ll have the river to ourselves. I inform my clients that if we arrive to find anglers who’ve walked in then they have the right of way – first choice of water. I always ask the pilot to fly above and below where we intend to fish in search of other fishermen in an attempt to avoid unnecessary confrontation. Some helicopter options are used by more than one heli company so its possible that another party could arrive before or after you. Just recently a chopper dropped off fishermen 3kms above my party right into the best spot on the river. We had pretty tough fishing outside the “golden mile” but everyone understood that this can happen and we all had a super trip regardless – though we all felt the sting of loosing the cream of the river! On that 3 day trip where we fished 11ks of river (actually 10 subtracting the good bit) we only landed 5 trout. My point is that heli fishing doesn’t guarantee great fishing or lots of fish. The nature of the remoteness and the often fickle ways of backcountry rivers means that a lot is left to chance.

Having outlined the risks I think it’s important to talk about my actual experience with heli fishing. Once all the planning is done and we board to fly in it’s great fun! It’s the ultimate way to look around this unbelievably beautiful country which I’m so lucky to live in. Only twice have I encountered other anglers and both times a fairly positive outcome was achieved for both parties from a friendly meeting. Heli fishing has been very good overall but little or no better than rivers I can drive to. The one thing that heli fishing does guarantee is that you will be fishing in a remote and beautiful environment. The rivers are usually crystal clear flowing through spectacular and dramatic landscapes. Heli fishing usually requires a pretty high level of fitness. Most backcountry rivers require a lot of walking to get a decent number of shots at trout and the terrain is often bouldery and difficult. To get the most from a heli fishing experience its best to stay in for 2 or 3 days and go hard. It’s about the whole experience from the flight in and out, to the walking, to the trout, to the environment. It is fun!

It’s been a great month or so of guiding since my last blog. Plenty dry fly action and pretty good weather. Great people too! Justin Spence from Big Sky Anglers was over with his friend, Dan. The lads gave it hell for a week smashing some of my guiding records. Justin is one of the best fishermen I’ve met. We were very much on the same page with our fly fishing philosophy and understanding. I’m pretty excited about staying connected with him and his business in Montana. If your thinking about a trip to his neck of the woods I can’t imagine that there’s a better guide out there to take care of you. You can check out his website here

It was great to see Tom Doc Sullivan over from Ireland for a month. We fished together about 25 years ago on Lough Corrib and now in NZ. He’s already planning a return journey next year. He’s been bitten by the bug! See you next year, Tom! The box of stuff you left will still be in the garage.. apart from the mug, I swiped that.. and the headlamp. 

The fishing in the last week has been some of the hardest all season! I hope it picks up soon.. The pics in this blog don’t include the very recent stuff. I might have a chance to edit a short film for the next blog too. 

Still a few places in March and plenty in April if your thinking about a visit! See my website or email me for bookings and information, ronan@sexyloops.com

Tight lines,

    Ronan..

A Heatwave in Ireland & Becoming “MR STEEL TESTICLES”, 2018.

August 8th, 2018 No comments

When Iza and I arrived in Dublin we were surprised to walk into a wall of heat getting off the plane. I thought we got off at the wrong country! We boarded a westbound bus and watched the temperature rise to 30 celsius by the time we made Galway. It turned out we landed right in the middle of a heatwave! The weather continued for weeks. I had a few days after trout and salmon but the lakes were like bathwater and the fishing was useless. Generally, when weather doesn’t suit one species, it suits another. Even this theory was pushed a little off centre. I heard the pike fishing was poor during the heatwave. The extreme temperatures, which were unprecedented in Ireland, don’t do shallow water fishing any good. No surprise there. When the water cooled down a little, the pike fishing was okay but the trout needed further coaxing – rain and cool weather was desperately needed! Even the inshore pollack fishing suffered. I have never felt Roundstone’s beaches so warm. The heat was great for swimming, snorkelling and the like but not for fishing. The one species I didn’t chase that maybe I should have was mullet. Their numbers are on the rise again after declining for a while. In the latter end of the trip I got wise to a few great spots to chase them but I didn’t make it happen for one reason or another. I’m probably better off! Mullet around Connemara are, in my experience at least, virtually impossible to catch.

During my last few days in Roundstone the rain came with a vengeance! Dad and I took on Lough Inagh and a river beat for the rain day expecting / hoping salmon would run. I’m sure they did but we didn’t intercept any. The Inagh, Ballynahinch system rose as fast as I’ve experienced. Usually the first hour of a rising river is good but we missed that (it was at about 4am!). After an hour or so on the river we went to Inagh. It didn’t fire either, though I think I rose one grilse before it got too dirty to fish anymore in the afternoon. The lake rose at a rate of about 1 foot per hour. As Kylemore and Inagh settled in the past few days the fishing has improved.

One thing I have learned over the 6 weeks at home – I prefer Irish weather to be Irish! Wind, rain, an odd good day, cloud and cool. With global warming upon us, this type of heat is probably going to become more common in Ireland. Look out Spain!

And now for something completely different. Petanque! Myself and Justin have being playing our own version of the game for a while. Justin decided to run a competition. The plan was to gather the old crew together, get on the beer and play Petanque to the proper rules. We had a couple of ideas for the trophies so I spent a couple of hours in the workshop knocking them out! Last place, “The Hand of Ineptitude”, Second last “The Kick in the Arse”, “aka Christy” because there was a left foot on the trophy. Funnily enough, Daniel Day Lewis was in town. What are the odds? I should have asked him to present it! Second place, “Just Out of Reach” (hence the back scratcher!) and First place, “MR STEEL TESTICLES”. Of the 6 lads in the competition (James, Justin, Nigel, Niall, Tom and Myself) I knew I’d be well down the rankings, probably last. By some miracle I came back against James from 8 – 2 down to win 10 – 9 in my first game. That was the beginning of my lucky streak. Somehow I gained the title of MR STEEL TESTICLES, 2018 in a tie breaker against Justin. All the trophies will become perpetual with names engraved for the future of the cup! Who wouldn’t want one of these on their mantlepiece for a whole year?? The craic was mighty and half of us pushed through til dawn.. I need to get a set of balls to practice for next year!

The 6 weeks in Ireland was more family and friends oriented than ever. Adaline enjoyed her first trip to Roundstone and met her first cousin, Casey. It was a pleasure to see them together. Paddling pools, a christening, a 40th, trips to the beach, dinners at home, Kila in Galway, a few carpentry projects to make life a bit easier for the recipients, Guinness, seafood the likes of which is simply not available in NZ (thanks to Vaughans and O Dowd’s), snorkelling, swimming, an odd pint, the list goes on. Home is home!! So much to do we rarely ventured far from Roundstone. Family and friends, Thanks you all.. and a special thanks to those who travelled to see us!

Back in NZ now, Next season is 2/3 full but still plenty spots available. If you’d like to lock in a trip, please get in touch, ronan@sexyloops.com or see my website www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines,

Ronan..