Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: From Vermont to Rio Malleo

At the moment, I can't recall the exact day/month/year, but a while back I was invited to give my presentation Fly Fishing and Traveling Patagonia Argentina and Chile, to the Great Upper Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter (http://tu226.wordpress.com).  Our host for the evening was Steve Cole of Lebanon, New Hampshire, the owner of Upper Valley Outfitters (www.uppervalleyoutfitters.com).  I was both impressed with Steve's store and the TU attendance of +/- 30 people.  So where am I going with this?

In the 'now,' I don't always see how life and people are connected. At times, hindsight (i.e. looking at the past) seems to offer better clarity and comprehension.  In this particular situation, by utilizing hindsight, I am able to see how certain events in my life have lead me to this very moment.  For instance: 

  1. I give my presentation to the Greater Upper Valley TU.
  2. I connect with Steve Cole on Facebook.
  3. David Ames of Quechee, VT (a non TU member currently living and working in Bogata, Columbia) is home visiting his parents; in Vermont.  He walks into Steve's store in Lebanon, New Hampshire. David says to Steve, "When I return to South America, I would like to take a fly fishing vacation in Patagonia...can you recommend a guide or outfitter?"
  4. Steve Cole replies, "talk to Mark Foley, he offers DIY walk-wade and float trips, in Patagonia"
  5. David contacts me and the rest is history.

Much like Austin Powers, the 'international man of mystery,' David Ames is DANGEROUS!  How so?  David is a graduate of Cornell University.  He is civil engineer and a commercial scuba diver, specializing in underwater marine construction.  David started his career in the harbors of New York City; spending thousands of hours underwater inspecting and repairing the things that we 'dry-landers' can't see.  He has lived and worked all over the world.  Speaking of, about three years ago, David was given an opportunity to move to Bogata, Columbia; a land-locked city of about 4 million people.  Why? His company wanted to open an office in Columbia, to work on special marine projects on the coast of Columbia.  So, at age forty one, with his bags packed, David moved to Bogata and opened an office entirely by himself.  No big deal, right? 

David had five years of Spanish classes; from 7th grad till 12th grade, and he's a pretty smart guy.  But, as some of you may know, American Spanish training/classes is entirely different from the spoken form. My point?  I managed a lodge for one season in Patagonia.  I know what it is like to hire, train and work with people from South America = it's not easy folks; in fact it's freak'n hard and it's one of the reasons why I decided to discontinue managing the lodge.  So, picture yourself in David shoes = you need to find an office and comply with local employment laws; you need to hire a staff of engineers and train them; all while re-learning a language that you have not used in over twenty years. He did all this without taking any refresher Spanish classes!  Needless to say, I was impressed with David's professional accomplishments, but he casting skills? Let's say, as I said previously, he is dangerous; much like Kenton Chik, a December client, and soon to be Cornell graduate.  Maybe all Cornell anglers are dangerous?

Rather than verbally dissect David's casting skills, I will let him speak for himself: 

"I tend to fish by brute force rather than delicate presentation, having success by covering large stretches of water rather than by out-smarting any of the more selective fish. Until now, I'd been satisfied by that approach; but over the course of my trip, Mark demonstrated some of the unique challenges I was missing, and made it evident that, through improving my casting and not being so quick to bypass certain river features, I could get even more out of my fishing experiences. "

Folks, I don't see myself as a guide.  I see myself as a teacher.  That being said, I am no expert, but I can guaranty you this, if you come to Patagania and work with FCFF, regardless of your skill level, you will learn more about yourself and  fly fishing.  How?  It's all about creating a DIY experience that allows you to learn about you vs. being spoon fed a fly fishing package, like a 'caribbean cruise ship' vacation. We put you in the 'now,' and our clients love it. 



Rio Malleo



Rio Malleo Facts

Location: Junin de los Andes, Argentina.  Approximately, +/- 1 hour from Junin.
Province: Neuquen
Fishing Season: Generally, November 01 till May 31st.
Licensed Required: Yes, general fishing only.
Floating:  Floating the Malleo is prohibited.
Entrance Fee:  Currently $40 pesos (per day) to enter the lower section or Mapuche reservation.
Camping: Yes, only on the Mapuche reservation, $15 pesos per night.
Length: 64 Kilometers or 40 miles.
Origin: Lago Tromen (third major lake tributary to the rio Alumine).
Termination: Alumine.
Fly Rods: 9ft/4wt through 9ft/6wt. Switch = 11ft/5wt.
Fly Lines:  Floating for dry flies and nymphs.  Seasonal use of sink tips for faster-deeper water.
Flies:  Sorry, but we only share this information with our guest. 



David Ames, stalking trout in Patagonia.

David's Testimonial:

I was referred to First Cast Fly Fishing by a fly shop owner in New Hampshire (Steve Cole of Upper Valley Outfitters; www.uppervalleyoutfitters.com) who had heard about the do-it-yourself options Mark offers in Patagonia and thought I would appreciate them. In reading the introduction and a few entries in Mark's blog, I was impressed not only by the logistics of Mark's approach, but by the philosophy. Although I have been fly-fishing for about five years, I tend to take two or three multi-day trips a year rather than get out on the water on a consistent basis. So my skills are unrefined at best, and non-existent at worst. I tend to fish by brute force rather than delicate presentation, having success by covering large stretches of water rather than by out-smarting any of the more selective fish. Until now, I'd been satisfied by that approach; but over the course of my trip, Mark demonstrated some of the unique challenges I was missing, and made it evident that, through improving my casting and not being so quick to bypass certain river features, I could get even more out of my fishing experiences. 

My three consecutive days of walking and wading on the Malleo gave me the unique opportunity to both fish at my own pace and in my own style, and to receive periodic instruction that would enhance my experiences on this, and future trips. Mark allowed me to fish on my own, while at the same time providing insight on improvements I could make to my casting, presentation and target selection to catch more fish in more places. The instruction Mark provided was timely without being intrusive, and was focused as much on overall philosophy as it was on specific technique. I have a long way to go in terms of improving my mechanics, but these three days did more to set the direction I'll take my fishing in the future than any three before. There are fish in places I couldn't even imagine in the Malleo, and Mark knew how to find them. And the insight he provided throughout the trip will stick for many outings hereafter.




Fishing with FCFF in Patagonia

We feel very fortunate to host anglers from all over the world...it's a wonderful experience sharing our angling cultures.  We also feel very fortunate to host anglers from the USA; in this particular instance, Vermont...our 'green mountain' neighbor (Vermont is next to New Hampshire).  We have had some great moments, both on and off the river.  Please feel free to read client testimonials at http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/p/raves.html

Many Thanks.


Mark


PS. Our business is 100% organic and by referrals only.  So, please feel free to share amongst friends, or reply with comments.  We also have a Facebook page.  


No comments: