Archive for March, 2012

Day one on the Collon Cura River seemed surreal as this trip had been a long time coming with a lot of effort, research and planning for what I hoped was going to be a Fly Fishing trip to be remembered. Within the first hour, I would in fact be able to confirm that Patagonia was a Fly Fisherman’s “Holy Grail”.

Getting to Patagonia
Having planned this trip for more than a year, doing hours of research, and sending countless emails to guides etc, finally my wife and I were checked in for the first leg of our three leg flight from Houston, Texas, to Bariloche, Argentina in the heart or Patagonia. Our three legs took us from Houston, to Lima Peru for one overnight hotel stay, then onto Buenos Aires, Argentina for another overnight stay, then a 4am wake up for our final leg to Bariloche. Once in Bariloche, we picked up our trusty Ford Eco-sport hire car, and headed north to the small town of San Martin de Los Andes, where we would base ourselves for the next 10 days

Day 1

Up at a reasonably hour, as my Outfitter, Carlos from Patagonian Fly Fishing was picking me up at 8am. After loading my gear, Carlos and I headed to his home town a short drive away to pick up the Float Boat and my Guide for the day, who just happened to be his son Charly. Charly is your typical keen as mustard 23-year-old Fly Fishing Guide, and fit as a Mallee (or should I say, Argentinean) Bull. For day 1 I choose to play it safe and take just my Orvis 6wt outfit to get the lay of the land so to speak.

We were on the river by 9-30, and casting my line into the wide clear waters of the Collon Cura River. The river lies in a very dry valley area, with the water coming from the lakes and the nearby Andes Mountains. Either side is covered with lush overhanging trees, which hide calm pools and deep holes which the trout of this river love so much.

Within the first 3 or 4 casts, I had my first Patagonian Rainbow hooked, but alias, it was not to be, and this was my first lesson from Charly and the trout of Patagonia. In other words, these fish know how to fight!! This first fish was one of 3 I would lose in the next hour, until I learnt that I need to let them run, and to take my time. After having fished several Rivers in Montana and Wyoming, the trout in Patagonia would knock out their North American brothers in the first round. Prior to coming to Argentina, no trout had taken my reel to the backing, and yet I was to find that this was going to be a common occurrence while down here.

My first Patagonian Rainbow

 After being told for the third time by Charly, to “let it run” and “take your time”, I finally landed my first of many Rainbows. This first fish was 22 inches, but fought like a 30 incher, and the day was only early!! With the first one landed, and released to fight another day, we continued floating the river catching several more before lunch time.

We broke for lunch under a nice big shade tree on the river bank, and as my wife commented, you get spoiled when fishing with a top rate fishing guide. Charly proceeded to set up a linen covered table and chairs, along with a spread prepared by his mum, fit for a king, or at least a big hungry Aussie fisherman!! Nibbles along with grilled chicken and salad, were complimented by my choice of an Argentinean white or red wine.

Lunch fit for a king

 Lunch digested, we were back on the river, throwing hoppers with nymph droppers at any and every back eddy, slow current or drop off the river had to offer. The day was very hot, and after drinking about 2 gallons of water, we called it quits around 7-30 in the evening, by which time I had landed around 27 Rainbows ranging in size from 18 to 26 inches. Overall for me it was a great day, and a great introduction to Patagonia and what it had to offer. Long hot day, and after a well-earned beer, it was an early bed for me.

Day 2

Well after such a great start, I was ready to take on anything Patagonia had to offer, so day 2 had me take along my brand new 4wt rod that was built by Matthews Custom Fly Rods of Spring Branch, Texas. Although the Rainbows of Patagonia give me a great fight on my Orvis 6wt, Charly assured me the 4wt would add to the fun and fight on another great river, the Chimehuin. This river, although narrower, had the same unmistakable overhanging willow like trees, with the same great back eddy’s and drop offs.

Within the first hour of fishing, we knew the fishing was not going to be as good as day 1, but I had a fly rod in my hand that I did not want to put down. The only word I can use to describe this work of art is sensational. Load the rod, point the tip and BAM, the fly line along with the fly shoots out like a bullet from a gun, and hits the target with the same accuracy.

As mentioned above, the fishing of day 2 didn’t turn out to be the best as far as size went, but as for numbers, I must have landed or hooked close to 40 Rainbows that were from a measly 4 inches to 12 inches in size. This goes to show that the rivers down here will be a health breeding ground for many years to come.

Lots of small stuff on Day 2

 We once again had the now “standard” Patagonian spread for lunch, only with a different choice of Argentinean wine, and cold beer!!

Day 3 – final fishing day

After the success of my new 4wt on day 2, I took my now new best friend, the Matthews 4wt, along with my Orvis Hydros 4wt. This I thought would be a great test to see just how good these 2 rods were. Today we headed out early to where the Malleo River meets the Alumine River. The Alumine eventually becomes the Collon Cura where our take out would be our launch site on day 1.

Today started fairly windy, so a 4wt wasn’t going to cut it first up, so I reluctantly dragged out the 6wt with a shooting line and a streamer. After just 2 casts, stripping the streamer as I was told, WHAM, our first hook up for the day. This ended up being a nice size Rainbow, which was uplifting after so many small fish on day 2.

Another nice Rainbow

We continued for several miles down river, and hooked up on another 2 or 3 good-sized Rainbow, but I also finally hooked a nice size Brown. Yes this was what I was hoping for. I’m not sure about anyone else, but Brown Trout to me are a level above Rainbows, even if it’s for the variety of colors. Ranging from deep brown to deep orange, they just look the goods.

Just prior to lunch, the wind finally eased to the extent I could drag the 4wt rods out and give then a trial. First off was the Orvis with a dry hopper and bead head nymph as a dropper. It didn’t take long to have my first Rainbow attack the dry, and we were once again down to the backing trying to pull back a nice sized fish. We continued on until lunch, and although the Orvis was light and great to use, I wasn’t convinced if it was better than the Matthews.

We stopped for what was once again a very relaxing and delicious lunch, thanks to Charly and his mum’s preparation. All washed down with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, we hit the water again, but this time armed with the Matthews 4wt using the same set up as the Orvis.

As soon as I had the Matthews in my hand, I knew this was the rod for me. I’m not sure what it was, but it just had something that suited me. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be getting rid of the Orvis, it a great rod, just the Matthews suits me better.

As for the rods performance when landing a fish, the large grip on the Matthews comes into its own. I hooked and landed 1 nice sized Brown and 2 nice Rainbows, and the rod performed very well. All tolled, I landed about 7 fish on each rod, and they both performed better than expected, even with good-sized fish.

Brown Trout

Brown Trout caught on the 4wt Matthews

The day ended fairly abruptly with the mother of all thunder storms coming over. I’m not too keen on lighting, and after 3 unforgettable days in Patagonia, I told Charly that we would call it a day. So as Charly paddled the float back to the take out as any good guide would do, I sat in the rain drinking a nice cold Argentinean beer and pondered over yet another 3 great day of fishing.

People to thank

Carlos and Charly Trisciuzzi – from Patagonia Fly Fishing – they were great guys and very professional guides. All guides and tourism in general has been doing it hard due to false report about Volcano eruptions. As such tourist are staying away in their thousands. The reports and info in the press is incorrect, and its entirely safe to travel. Just keep in touch with your airline.

Hector and Ida Scagnetti – from Arco Iris Cabins – Hector was the one who put me onto Carlos and Charly. He and his wife Ida are the best hosts one can have and made us fell at home. What a great place to base yourself for any type of vacation

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This is my new page where I hope to be able to post some of my exploits with Fly Fishing and using my Kayak to help me fish.

So this is day 1, so come back soon when I hope to have some pics.

Cheers Grego

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This is my current logo that I hope to have stickers made. Stay tuned.