Sunday, March 30, 2014

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: Hidden Hook Walks the Rio Alumine

The Patagonia fishing season is almost over.  With the exception of a few leaf peeper's, the tourist folk are gone. The weather is changing.  The leaves are changing. The nearby mountains just a got a dusting of white stuff last night; it's windy and cold, but beautiful.  Fishing tends to slow between the transition of summer and fall (at this moment, it feels like fall is coming sooner this year).  But, if you are willing to add a few extra layers and if you are willing to walk-wade, we can put you in some amazing spots; with plenty of healthy fish to be had.  In fact, I just finished six days of walking-wading with another young gun from the states.  

Turns out, this young gun, Rudy Babikian, is the owner of Hidden Hook; a 100% made in the U.S.A fly tying/manufacturing company.  Total employee's = one poor soul, hopelessly addicted to fly fishing, with the initials RB.  I also discovered, upon his return to the U.S.A., that he will be newly employed by the Snake River Angler Fly Shop; located in Jackson, WY (stop in and say hello).  I also learned:

  • Originally from Falmouth, Maine. 
  • Started fishing and tying flies at age five (seriously, good job mom and dad).
  • Graduated in 2013, from Salve Regina University, located in Newport, RI.  Why SRU? He could walk out the door and fish before and after class.
  • Currently living in Jackson, Wyoming.
  • 100 miles north of Fernie, British Columbia, within the last twelve months, he was attacked by a grizzly bear.  As a result he has one crazy story and a large scar on his left arm.
  • In Rhode Island, he dons a wet suit, swims out into the ocean, climbs up onto rocky islands, and catches monster stripers.
  • In the summer months, for the past three years, he has lived out a Ford Transit.  Why?  He has a severe personality disorder that drives him to sleep as close to the best fishing spots as possible; and spend every nickel he earns on anything fishing (fishing equipment, fishing adventures, etc).
  • Goals:  At age twenty-four, he has already acknowledge that he has a pathological fishing disorder, and without hesitation, plans to live happily ever after, fishing his way around the world.
  • Most importantly, I learned Rudy is a good kid and will go far with his fly fishing and enjoy an eventful life.

 Two Days on the Alumine River

When we work with anglers, no matter what skill level, we start off slow.  For safety, on the first day, we watch their walking ability = Patagonia water can be deceptively deep and fast; even in low water conditions.  We also like to watch the anglers casting ability and presentations skills.  From the spot seen in the above photo, on his second cast, Rudy caught his first Patagonia trout.  Onto to the next trial = walking-wading.
Rudy passed the walking-wading test with no problem = he even walked across this river with his camera exposed.  On the other hand, I slipped and fell 3x's in one day...a new one day record for me!  A reminder, that low water conditions brings slippery rocks; and even seasoned pro's can take a plunge.  Fortunately for me, it was 82 degree's that day.
Rudy is 100% streamer man, and big streamers.  On his first day, he caught a decent amount of fish, but I could tell there was something wrong.  He wanted BIGGER fish and more of them. I felt a little bad because he was watching me slay trout in the 16"-18" range; with my tango nymph rig.  I did not want to discourage him from doing his own thing, but before we ended the day, I suggested he try casting to some very unique spots; spots that he was not targeting.  So, we walked and found a perfect spot; I said, "these spots would most likely hold the fish you are looking for."  He looked at me with a weird face (typical response from a Patagonia newbie...just like me many years ago).  Sure enough, he had a few PBM (patagonia brown monsters) follow his fly, but at the last second they rolled away.  Why?  As I watched Rudy fish these spots, I could see two or three things that would have caused the fish to turn away. He felt frustrated, so I did not want to lecture him.  Another day would pass before I pulled him aside and said, "you need to do the following..."  The results, read and see pics of Rudy's four day wading adventure on the Malleo...he gets it now.  

On our second day, me and my tango nymph rig were on fire again.  Things were a bit slow for Rudy and his streamer, but he was catching enough fish to be mildly happy.  At mid-day, I asked him if wanted to try nymphing.  He said sure, but he admitted that he had not done much nymphing.  No worries... I set him up with my tango nymph rig and with a few suggestions, he was catching BIGGER fish.  

Fishing with FCFF in Patagonia

We feel very fortunate to host anglers from all over the's a wonderful experience sharing our angling cultures. We also feel very fortunate to host anglers from the USA; in this particular instance, a twenty four old fish addict from Maine.  Rudy, thanks for working with us and we hope to see you again. 

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Many Thanks.


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