Monday, April 15, 2013

Patagonia Fly Fishing: From New York City to Junin de los Andes, Argentina

Hope you enjoy this...

Picture this for a moment, if a 14 year old boy (me) had never been kicked out of a private school located in New Hampshire, for a stupid teenage prank, I would have never met my high school best friend, Barry Cusson. If I had never met Barry, now a surgical orthopedic physician assistant, he would have never told his co-worker, an operating room nurse about my Patagonia fly fishing and travel adventures.  In turn, she would have never told her fly fishing husband, a retired opthalmic surgeon, about my DIY walk-wade-float fly fishing trips in northern Patagonia (Argentina).  So, if Marc Richman, (see blog post, From Maine to Argentina: DIY Patagonia Fly Fishing) did not come to Argentina to fish with me and Gustavou, and then travel to Chile by bus to meet his wife and stay for a week at a lodge called Martin Pescador (which is run by a couple from Maine), then Julia DeCiantis (from NYC), the head chef at Martin Pescador and her boyfriend Jeffers Lyon, would have never done the following DIY and float trip with FCFF.  But before, I offer details of their trip,  by now, two things should be obvious:

  1. Who would have thought that my teenage prank would have resulted in the below trip for Julia and Jeffers!
  2. The power of referrals are priceless.  So I would like to say the following...
  • I made a stupid mistake at 14 years old, but if I had not, this would not be happening!
  • Thank you Barry Cusson for always being a GREAT friend!
  • And, THANK YOU, Marc Richman for coming to Argentina and then telling Julia and Jeffers to come fish with me and Gustavou!

What the reader does not know... Barry, Marc and myself, now live within 20 minutes of each other.  Not entirely the strangest occurrences, but something at least worth mentioning.

Now about fishing...

Julia and Jeffers are originally from Connecticut and Trinity College gradutes.  They now live in Brooklyn, NYC, but are thinking about a move out west (hard to fly fish in NYC).  Julia is a trained professional cook, who has recently finished her first season working at a Chilean fly fishing lodge. Unfortunately, she did not have anytime to fish in Chile, so based on Marc Richman's recommendation, she and Jeffers decided to visit Argentina and fish the waters surrounding Junin de los Andes.  Jeffers (named after Jeffers Montana, of which his great grandfather founded) worked in a Wymong fly shop at one time, and currently works with a CT based family business that makes women's sandals and leather belts.  Both are wonderful people and we were very fortunate to have them opt for our DIY walk-wade and float trip combination programs.  We feel the combination packages offers the angler the best opportunity to see, feel and fish Patagonia.  But, don't take our word, please read and enjoy the photos below...

Julia and Jeffers (now referred to JJ in the post), welcome to Patagonia's best DIY walk-wade river.  Be prepared for beauty and great fishing!

JJ could have not timed the weather better.  April is mid- fall in Junin de los Andes and the air is cool, the sun is warm and the BIG fish are back on the bite.  The photo above is the upper Malleo, which offers breath taking views of +12,000 foot volcan Lanin, and GREAT fishing (for those who don't mind walking to find virtually untouched waters).

All I knew about JJ was that Julie was a beginner angler.  Beginner anglers and Patagonia wind don't  mix well, but I had just the spot, the upper-upper Malleo, located in the national forest.  Why?  At this time of year the water levels are low, so there are lots of small pools and easy to manage runs.  Plus, there are lots of small fish eager to take a fly and the scenery is stunning.  Julia was quickly introduced to dry fly, dry-dropper, and nymph fishing. After only a few strikes on the dry and dry-dropper, we settled on nymphing and we gradually walked our way up stream, to the last and deepest pool.  She caught a handful of bows and one pretty 8" brown, all on a nymph...which is pretty hard to do for a beginner = Passing Grade, now it's time to step up to junior varsity and varsity level!

When clients fish on a DIY program, we have the ability to... we jumped in my truck and headed to the lower Malleo; junior varsity and varsity fly fishing, at its best.  Julia quickly got into a few nice bows (8"-10") and then allowed Jeffers, who was anxious to get into the game, to do some varsity time on a few key pools (see below pics).

If you are a more advanced angler (Jeffers can fish!), and if you have a guide that knows the river and how to fish it, then big Malleo fish await you!   We used my adjustable thingamabobber indicator with two nymphs to land this beauty.  The fish was caught in a spot that Jeffers would not have expected...for some reason some of the biggest fish in Patagonia, hang out in the least likely places!   So, you need to work every inch of a pool.

Jeffers on another nice lower Malleo rainbow.  I told Jeffers to cast into a particularlu unusual spot;  understandably, he looked at me with serious doubt.  I simply said do it, and on the first cast he caught the above fish.  I call that great team work.

Day Two: Just Jeffers and I today = 100% Varsity Level!  Jeffers felt really good about his big bows on the lower Malleo; I think he said they were the largest trout he have ever caught.  But before we headed out on day two, he asked me if we could target BIG brown trout water, especially in the boca's.  The boca's are great spots for BIG browns, but I didn't think it was time yet (we need cold nasty weather, to get BIG browns moving).  So, I brought Jeffers to a special upper Malleo spot.  He immediately caught a few bows and browns in the 14"-18" range, and then I told him it was time to cast into the 'spot.'  He knew exactly what was expected: a perfect cast and perfect mend! Moments later, we landed this beautiful +/- 30" brown beauty!  What a cool experience to watch Jeffers make the perfect cast and mend sequence; and then land this fish. Thanks for the show Jeffers, and thanks to the fish gods for being so kind to us!    

The last and final day for JJ was a float trip with a former Argentine national rowing champion and head floating guide at FCFF, Gustavou Sarthou. Marc Richman told me and Julia that Gustavou is one out of three best guides he has every had in his entire life...March Richman is a man who has taken 75 float trips around the world (FYI, at 76 years old he can walk-wade and he can fish!).  That speaks volume about Gustavou and his abilities!   

Moments after JJ and Gustavou started their float trip on the Alumine, Julia catches her first rainbow on the Alumine.
Jeffers told me that the action was non-stop, both rainbows and browns in the 12"-20" range.  Further, he told that Gustavou was kind and always there to help, when needed.  Julia said the food was excellent and that empanadas were the best she has had, since being in South America.  Always great to hear that clients like the fishing, the food, and the guide.  

The last cast of day, Julia hooks up with a nice brown.  Great job guiding Gustavou! 

Julia with the fish of the day!  

This boy took the dry on Julia last cast of the day.  I was there and watched a guide, you could not ask for a better way to end the day.  

We only had three days to work with JJ, but as you can see from the photos, JJ covered a lot of water, caught lots of great fish, and in the end, experienced the best that Patagonia has to offer.  Not a bad start for Julia, the beginner.  And, not so bad for Jeffers, the advanced angler.  That being said, we apologize for sounding like a broken record, but we believe the custom designed DIY walk-wade and float trip combination programs that we are offer, are the BEST options for future Patagonia anglers.  

Once again, on behalf of FCFF, we thank you for working with us; and we hope to see ou next season.

Gone Fishing,


PS. Our business is 100% by referrals (word of mouth).  Please feel free to share this amongst friends.  Also, you can follow our blog via email, Facebook or Google Connect.  Also, we are currently upgrading our services and prices.  For the most current information, please contact us directly.