Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Fly Fisher's Heaven!

TEAM 7x's Matt and Tom enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to the Patagonia region of Argentina for a week in early November…springtime in South America and the weather was perfect.  After a 9+ hour flight from Miami to Buenos Aires and a day of rest and sightseeing in BA, we left for San Martin de los Andes in the heart of the fly fishing mecca…PATAGONIA!

    Matt boarding the Citation for our 2 hour flight to San Martin…not a bad way to go at 400+MPH!

We were guests of the San Humberto Lodge after being met by Omar "Banana" Martinez our guide for the week.  This 6 generation working estancia borders 18 private miles of the Rio Malleo where we spent 3 glorious days sight fishing for slurping rainbows and browns, while enjoying the beauty of this region; the Volcan Lanin always in the background and wildlife galore.

                                                      Matt with a nice rainbow on a caddis!

The Rio Malleo is very much like a big spring creek; clear as gin, plenty of insect life and entirely wadeable…no drift boats!  In fact we never saw another soul on this portion of the river.  The fish are wild, spook easily but will rise to a well presented dry.  On only a few occasions in the always windy afternoons did we go below the surface with a floating nymph or a soft hackle fished in the film.  We both fished 5 weights the entire week with floating lines despite bringing 6 weights and assorted sinking lines along.

             I spent about 45 minutes and 5 fly changes on this sipper…he finally made the mistake!

Of the rivers and spring creeks I've fished out west, in NY state and in New England, nothing can compare with this absolutely perfect venue for fishing to rising trout!  A word about "Banana;"  no finer guide with 20 + years of experience throughout the Patagonia region.  He knew the river and got us to locations of the 18 mile stretch that would have taken days to scout out on our own.  We were on the river from 9 am to 8 pm with a break for a stream side fully prepared lunch, wine, and a "siesta" for Banana!

                                          Matt lands another one. Lanin in the background.

             Of course a Maker's Mark (or 2) back at the lodge before a superb dinner always works!

Off to Tipiliuke Lodge on the Rio Chimehuin for the next adventure!  Tipiliuke has hosted the ruler of Dubai, Tom Brokaw and many notables through the years and is a beautiful working cattle ranch with "gauchos" and all.  Again it's sprawling acerage provides access to miles of private water on the Chimmy.  This river is wider, faster flowing than the Malleo and in some ways, reminds me of the Madison.  With the spring runoff a bit more noticeable here, we concentrated on the many side channels, back eddys and seams for rising trout.  AND they were there!
               There's a whole story behind this rainbow…in a 40 mph afternoon Patagonian wind!

Again we spent full days on the river with superb meals at the lodge in the evening.  Our final evening on the Chimmy was bittersweet knowing this experience of a lifetime was drawing to a close…

                   Banana in his TEAM 7x hat!  This big brown sipped a size 18 soft hackle off the top.
                                       This memory will help speed along the winter months!

                                                           Tom and Matt…TEAM 7x