I am a busy self-employed father. My free time with my son is priceless, and as much as possible, I create outdoor activities for us, e.g. camping, hunting, boating, and fishing.
With conventional tackle, we fish Colorado lakes and neighborhood ponds for bass and other warm water species. We have tried fly fishing, but never for trout in a river.
For two days, we camped and fished with Mark at the Miracle Mile North Platte River, located in Wyoming. We had it all - sun, rain, snow, freezing night temps, and +20 mph wind gusts - evidently, not ideal conditions for beginners.
In Mark's 3X class, he taught us how to fish the weather and river conditions - swinging streamers with a two hand switch rod, and nymph fishing with and without a bobber. We caught large trout, and landed a few for the camera.
Mark's 3X class is the perfect opportunity to safely learn while doing. He is thoughtful, creative, funny, and makes fly fishing easy to understand. I am in the training/education business - Mark is one of the best instructors I have ever met, and I highly recommend his services.
C, Wright. Louisville, CO.
Adam. Denver, CO
Mark was great. Our trip to Argentina went as planned and our guides were friendly, skilled, and knowledgeable. They put us on a lot of fish. Nice accommodations. Highly recommended.
J. Martin. Boulder, CO
I recently attended one of Mark's casting classes and it was without a doubt the best fishing lesson/class that I have ever been to. I learned more in three hours than I have learned in all of my 15 years of fly fishing. Not only is Mark a great teacher, he is also a very talented angler who is knowledgeable on all things pertaining to fly fishing. His teaching style and technique is easy to understand and he is able to quickly identify and fix flaws in your cast. If you're thinking about taking a casting class, I highly recommend taking one from Mark...you won't be sorry.
J. Wolsey. Fort Collins, CO
A small group of friends and I took the beginner casting class with Mark and we loved it! I've been fly fishing for several years and took a Groupon class at a local fly shop almost 10 years ago, but didn't learn anything close to what Mark taught us. We were all so impressed and excited to get out on the water to try out what we learned!
Mark is patient, respectful, and uses many different coaching techniques so that everyone can relate to his examples. It was a great class and I can't wait to take the next level!
Dylan Demery. Fort Collins, CO
When I did catch fish, he showed me ways to safely land and release them. He patiently untied wind and bad cast knots, all with an easy going disposition and sense of humor. I learned more in one day with Mark than I have after several seasons muddling my way through videos, books, and advice from friends. As a retired teacher, I definitely know there’s a difference between knowing how to do something and how to TEACH something. Mark is a teacher! Best of all, he’s just an all around good guy, and I look forward to working with him again in the future.
K. Bunning. Granby, CO
Michelle and Seth Morton.
Fort Collins, CO
The other night my family and I met with Mark for our very first fly-fishing class. Mark really focused on my eight and ten year old boys, introducing them to casting methods in a fun unique way.
My boys enjoyed the paintbrush and bubble games the most. If you and your family are new to fly-fishing and want to test the waters without a huge expense, I would highly recommend Mark’s intro class. It’s a great way to learn something new and spend outdoor time with your family. We will be doing other classes with him in the near future.
Boris, Martin, Marian & Peter. Europe
We had an excellent time fishing with First Cast Fly Fishing. Mark was very easy to work with and provided a wealth of information that was helpful for planning our trip. The guides were truly top notch and worked hard to consistently put us in position to catch fish. Overall it was a wonderful experience and we hope to come back in the coming years.
My wife and I planned a bucket list trip to Patagonia in December of 2018. As we web searched for DIY fly fishing options in Patagonia, we were fortunate enough to find Mark Foley of First Cast Fly Fishing. My wife and I met with Mark in Denver. Mark gave us some good suggestions for areas to explore on our own, and he also set up three days of guided floating on the Collon Cura and the famous Chimehuen Rivers, with his partner and fantastic guide. His partner is a very knowledgeable capable guide, and he is also a lot of fun. We stayed in a Cabana in Junin de Los Andes for $40 USD/night, and we provided our own food to reduce the cost of our trip. Our two-person guided fishing was much cheaper than going with some of the expensive all-inclusive lodge’s in the area. We would highly recommend you speak with Mark if you are planning a trip to the area. We caught a number of nice Browns, Rainbows and even some Perca (Patagonian Bass) on the trip. We are looking forward to consulting with Mark on our next trip to Patagonia.
Dan and Heather Charbonneau. Denver, CO. USA
I recently did the E.I. Fly 1X class with Mark. It was one of the best three hours I've invested in my fly fishing career, and my only regret is not doing it sooner. I not only benefited from Mark's unquestionable knowledge and experience, but the purposeful nature of every single exercise and drill that we did. The session was organized and well thought out, with nothing left to chance. Mark diagnosed and remedied flaws in my cast (many ten years in the making) and more importantly reprogrammed me both physically and mentally. As a learner, it was important that I had the opportunity to not only understand cognitively but imprint the movements physically. And, I left with specific things to work on before seeing Mark again for logical next steps. The more I fish, the more I think money is almost always better spent learning than on more gear. Though we have a wealth of world class guides here in Colorado, I know of no one that specializes in casting in such a organized and logical manner. Anyone wanting to improve their casting---and fishing by extension---should take advantage of Mark Foley's expertise and teaching ability.
|Invaluable Learning Experience -- Drills-n-Skills|
Recently while in Denver, I had the opportunity to work with Mark Foley to help tune my casting. Initially I had contacted Mark in regarding his guided DIY fly fishing in Argentina, which led me to see that he was also an FFI casting instructor and had recently relocated to Denver. As opportunity would have it, I had 3 days in Denver that included a free morning -- so, I contacted Mark about a casting lesson. After meeting at the agreed time Mark set up targets, at varying distances, and the lesson began with him watching my casting stroke. As expected he noted both good and bad. In the next 3 hours, Mark worked on correcting my bad habits and expanding on the good. At the end of the session I was impressed with my progress, even with the 20+ mph wind that kicked up about halfway though the lesson. The 3 hours passed before I knew it, and my accuracy improved, as did my ability to deal with wind. I was so impressed, for my next time in the Denver, I plan to schedule another lesson for myself. In short, I was very happy with my progress and highly recommend Mark to anyone wanting to either learn to cast or improve their casting. Tight lines.
- Pre trip contact information from Mark Foley was frequent and helpful.
- The value of the experience far exceeded the price that we paid. Buy your airfare early!! We flew round trip from JFK to EZE for under $1K.
- The guides were OUTSTANDING!! FCFF partner/head-guide and associate guides and were beyond our expectations. They were knowledgeable, experienced, patient and great teacher, world-class fly fisherman.
- The guides brought us to MANY fishing locations on the Rio Malleo for walk-wade fishing. There were four in our group. One guide for two fishers. Received great one on one attention and instruction.
- Guides picked us up at the apartment promptly at 0730 and drove to first fishing spot. We usually returned to apt at 1830, including travel time to river. BTW, restaurants don't open in Argentina until 1800 hours. New experience for us.
- Do the overnight camping trip on the river. It was a great experience. Be SURE to view the Southern Hemisphere night sky. It is awesome.
- Float trips were really great. Fished Rio Malleo, Alumine, Collon Cura, and the Chimehuin. Caught many, many rainbows, browns, and Perca. Fish are wild; of good size 14" to 20" for us and they fight like crazy.
- Nymph fishing is THE thing down there. Nymph droppers off a dry fly and straight nymphs bouncing off the bottom. Mark Foley told me, "if you're not dragging', you're not bragging'. He is right!
- Bring plenty of flies. You'll need them, believe me. Guides are not your source for flies. They are, however, generous with a particular fly you may not have.
- The landscape and scenery there is incredible. Wide-open spaces, 13,000 foot snow covered volcano in the Andes off in the distance.
- We fished for 8 days and rarely saw another person, building, or vehicle.
Fishing was VERY challenging first day and a half. I decorated many bushes with flies, but our guides told me I left Patagonia a better fisherman than when I arrived.
Mark’s partner/guide is our hero. He’s a great guy, great fisherman, and he bailed us out by swapping dollars for pesos. Great teacher with great fish stories.
B. Geer. New Hampshire, USA.
|Friends since college, they spent 3 days - 2 nights floating the Alumine and Collon Cura.|
A Patagonia region-fishing trip has been on my bucket list for years, but I always worried about the cost. The FCFF emphasis on quality guiding and the fishing experience, without all the frills and costs associated with staying at a high-end lodge was perfect!
Mark did a fantastic job of introducing my son to the sport of fly fishing with several hours of casting skill development ~ thorough, knowledgeable and superb instruction. I wouldn't hesitate to have Mark work as a guide on the river but NH's loss in CO'd gain.
K. MacGeorge Teaver. MN, USA.
I just spent 3+ hours with Mark, working on my casting mechanics. Mark is a professional IFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor. This guy knows his stuff and is able to articulate and demonstrate the intricacies of fly casting. Seeing myself on video really drives home the points he teaches. Mark's company FCFF also arranges fly fishing trips to Patagonia, Argentina. A small group of us is going in December, 2017. I would highly recommend Mark's services. Plus, he's a nice guy.
Bradford Geer. New Hampshire, USA.
|Our guided DIY programs are ideal for father-son fishing trips!|
|We are extremely proud and happy to create family moments like this!|
|For a full day of fly casting instruction, we combined our 1X on-land with our 2X in-water casting class.|
I always wanted to take a fly fishing lesson, but hesitated as it was very much out of my comfort zone when I contemplated doing so. Mark was patient, kind, funny, and never made me feel intimidated. Breaking things down, using terms I understood, I had a blast today and feel confident that I can learn this. Breathe, relax, feel your feet, have fun, fish! Everyone should take a lesson and get in the water. Good for the soul!
M. Cloutier. Maine, USA.
What a fantastic day! My head is still spinning from all I learned and I still have a permagrin on my face from the fun we had! Thank you!!!
Jenn Gagnon. Maine, USA.
We had an awesome three days floating the Junin de los Andes area with First Cast. Our guide, was as knowledgeable and as good of a rower as any guide I have ever had, and he genuinely loved fishing and helping us hook into some big ones. One of the best aspects of First Cast is that everyone involved is really passionate about fly fishing, and that passion finds its way into their trips. Then there is the fact that the fishing is all you could dream of! Mark and his partner were also very helpful in planning the rest of our DIY trip in Argentina. Both are very communicative, which was incredibly helpful throughout the trip. I hope I can make it back down to Argentina to fish again, if I do, First Cast will be the first people to know!
B. Goodwin. Wisconsin, USA
The owner-host of Mark's private apartment was friendly, kind, solicitous and seemed genuinely concerned that the kids and I have a great time. The apartment worked well and we were exceedingly comfortable. After being on the road for 3 months, Norah was excited to be able to cook so we had a couple of lovely dinners in. Our host even went so far as to loan the kids a GPS so they could find the trail heads on some of the hikes they did.
Had a great time. Your guide was great!
J. Sullivan & C. Eberle. Colorado, USA
Had a great time. Your guide was great!
C. Eberle & J.Sullivan. Colorado, USA.
|David and Chantel enjoying our guided DIY program in Junin de los Andes.|
My wife and I visited Junin de los Andes, Argentina in January 2017 for five days and had a fabulous experience! I planned this part of my month long visit to South America through First Cast Fly Fishing. Everything about this company is genuine and professional! The unique aspect of this company (besides the lower cost) is the true local experience you will have as opposed to a typical lodge experience most commonly advertised to people searching this type of Argentina adventure. I worked with Mark to plan the visit (extremely helpful) and enjoyed the company of the apartment manager and local guides the entire visit. The feeling we had departing Junin was the local people we worked with enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed them.
We fished three days in a row on three different uniquely, beautiful rivers. The experience was priceless, the guides are hard working and knowledgeable, and truly let you test your skills to catch some amazing Trout! The only time we encountered too many people on the river was the one time we crossed paths with a lodge group (six people).
|Mrs. Leach catching Brown Trout on dry flies.|
T. Leach. Oregon, USA.
|Visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina? Four hours from the airport, this could be you!|
I'm an expert fisherman but novice fly caster and have been "stuck" for 5 years both trying to self-teach and to pick up some basic instruction from fishing guides, videos, etcetera. I finally realized that I needed more focused help and found Mark when searching for instruction in my part of seacoast New Hampshire.
Mark's approach was absolutely perfect for my needs. He focused on fundamentals, has a very organized approach and was patient, encouraging and incredibly helpful. He was also insightful enough to discern that even with the number of years that I had been trying to learn, a basic "level 1" class was the smart place for me to start. Most important, he gives results! At the end of 3 (VERY reasonably priced) hours of instruction I was hitting my casting target consistently and accurately, and the grin on my face was a huge testimonial to Mark's skills as a teacher.
E. Nash. Exeter, NH. USA
|Tim (L) and Stephen (R)|
Had the pleasure of taking a 2-handed casting class with Mark Foley this morning. A friend and I have been fishing single-handed rods for many years but wanted to expand our repertoire by fishing switch rods. Mark was great to work with and took all the mystery out of learning two-handed casting principles and also showed us how we can apply all of the same techniques to improve our single handed casting. Mark's teaching style was a perfect match as he showed us how we could build on the basic roll-cast to slowly work our way into a half dozen or so spey casts, without bogging us down with un-necessary technical discussions or history lessons - he just taught us what we needed to know to be able to go out and fish! Very much a productive way to spend a morning, would highly recommend Mark as fly casting instructor at any level and can see how he would make an excellent guide as well!
T. Sheehy. Newburyport, MA
I really enjoyed the two handed casting instruction, it will be a game changer when I am off to big waters this fall . As a single handed caster for over 45 years, I appreciated your instruction wasn’t right “from the manual of Skagit, spey or two handed casting”, but rather very individualized to my strengths, weaknesses, good and bad habits. Given I had my shoulder replaced last year, there were a few motion and strength limitations that you were able to find alternatives or solutions to. Thanks again, I will be in touch.
"I consider myself to be with fishing buddies; not guides; muy amables y muy simpaticos. Your guides have been very sensitive to my needs (many needs), have worked indefatigably, and have genuinely changed my thinking about fishing. I must be the client from hell; clueless, ill-equipped and hapless. Your team has handled it with aplomb and great humor. These are the best guides I have ever had."
"Overall it was a fantastic trip for me principally due to two factors; the fishing was really good and your guides were the best guides I have ever met - by a country mile! Your guide had to work really hard with me. I'm not normally so hopelessly hapless but he managed to cope with everything including no cash, non functioning credit card, broken rod, broken wrist watch, inadequate equipment and a whole lot more. He was great fun to be with. He quickly realized that I'm not a good fisherman at all and was sensitive to my needs. I learned a huge amount in the time we spent together which will continue to affect my fishing from now on. Unfortunately I didn't see so much of your head guide, as he was busy with your (doubtless more accomplished) American clients. But, when I did meet him, I very much enjoyed his company. I can't find anything to fault you in your planning and organization of my trip. The accommodation were fine; it was pretty basic, but that's what I asked for and I'd rather be spending the money on the fishing anyway. The apartment owner was very kind and welcoming. After he discovered that I had broken my rod on the first morning he immediately lent me one of his for the rest of the week (although he never asked I paid him extra for this)."
J. Paxman. Scotland
In 2014, we had the good fortune of working with First Cast Fly Fishing during a visit to Patagonia Argentina. By the time we met Mark and learned about FCFF, we had already planned most of our trip to Patagonia. However, we were very interested in Mark's unique Do-It-Yourself approach to fishing and traveling Patagonia, something he has mastered through his own experience traveling the world. We re-arranged our plans to include some time with FCFF on our first visit to Patagonia.
Prior to our trip, Mark spent time with us via Skype to learn more about our interests in Patagonia. He then tailored a trip that provided us with the experience we imagined (and more), and was a perfect fit for our budget. While fly fishing was the focus of our trip, we were very grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Argentina and, specifically, Junin de los Andes. Mark was an incredible resource. We felt that our experience immersed us in the local culture in a way that cannot be accomplished through most travel "vendors." It was a very unique, authentic approach to experiencing Argentina. Our time with on the Rio Malleo was one of the highlights of our 2014 trip.
In early December, 2015, we returned to Patagonia. Once again, we worked with Mark to create a memorable experience. We spent three days with his guides on the Rio Chimehuin. Mark arranged every detail, including transportation from the airport, our floating/camping trip on the Chimehuin, and an amazing stay in the heart of Junin de los Andes, at one of his private apartments.
FCFF's guided DIY trips are a great way to experience Argentina (and other places). Mark has spent many years working and living in Patagonia. He and his team have created an extensive network of private lodging, guides, and other resources that help provide a unique, affordable experience for their clients.
M. Ward. Vermont, USA.
|Guided DIY Maine: I think Leon caught +/- 20 wild fish per day|
|Guided DIY Rio Gallegos Sea Run Brown Trout|
Hola Mark! I just wanted to drop you a line and say I just had the greatest day with First Cast. We had some food and drink at the end of the day and I got to meet some of his friends. It was an experience I will remember forever.
About 10 months ago, I met Nick Drinker. I quickly learned that he had several bamboo rods that have been in his family for several generations; some of the rods needed repairs. So, off we went to visit our local bamboo rod expert, Fred Kretchman http://www.finebamboorods.com/Welcome_1.html
Fred told us that one of the rods was worth the time and effort to restore it. Nick did not hesitate, he asked Fred to restore the rod (it's a family heirloom). Fast forward to today; Nick invited me to go fishing with him. Post restoration, it was the first time he had used the bamboo rod. I had the pleasure of casting it. In all honesty, I have never roll cast a finer rod!
After a long lay-off, Nick is just getting back into fly fishing; I am glad to help him and be part of this energy!
Mark Foley, Owner and Head Guide, is outstanding. Mark is very knowledgeable about fly-fishing; helpful, insightful, patient and fun to be with. I would not hesitate to recommend him for guiding and/or teaching about fishing. I look forward to someday going with him on one of his noted Patagonia fishing tours, but for now, he's tops as a guide and friend in New England.
N. Drinker. Exeter, NH. USA.
I have used many guides in my 30 year fly fishing career. I have been abused by Florida guides and yelled at by New Zealand guides. All in all my experience has been good, however, this weekend in NH I experienced the best guide I have ever had. Mark instruction is gentle but very persistent and technical; he uses many props and physical demonstrations; he'll teach you how to best use your body so as to avoid injuries; he re-taught my wife how to cast a fly, and he corrected many mistakes I have accumulated over time. On the river Mark is not only patient, but he knows the fauna, flora, and the river's history. He told us about his winters in Argentina Patagonia, and we look forward to fishing with him there too!
I arrived in Junin de Los Andes to fish with FCFF this December with only two days of previous fly fishing experience. I didn't stand much of a chance at catching fish without some serious help and I could not have asked for a better guide and instructor. I was in the middle of a trip through South America and heard that Junin de los Andes offers some of the best fly fishing in the world and was not disappointed. Being inexperienced, on a budget, and with limited time, I needed another option than the lodges that I found online. I stumbled upon First Cast Fly Fishing and Mark’s system could not have worked better for me. I spent three days with Mark and his assistant, as he not only guided me to the best spots, but gave me personal and thorough instruction. From the research I’ve done, I’m convinced that there is no other option in Patagonia to get this type of instruction and experience.
D. Dwight. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. USA
|We caught a few and lost a few = pretty darn good for his 1st time nymphing.|
Great teacher! I am a new fisherman, and brand new to fly fishing, and Mark was the perfect way to start. He took time on the phone when we first talked to figure out what I was looking for and planned a day of fishing that was just right for me. While we were in the river he was a great teacher and I left with lots of good technique to practice and skills to build on. My passion for fishing has only intensified and now I can't wait to get back to it. I would recommend Mark and First Cast Fly Fishing to anglers of any level. If you are brand new he can get you started and if you are more experienced, he can customize an adventure for you. He is great.
C. Jablonski. Dover, NH. USA
|E.I. Fly Student = he now believes in the emotional intelligence approach!|
How do I even begin to thank you and First Cast Fly Fishing for the instruction that I have been receiving this summer? For the first time, I feel confident on the water knowing that my casting is more crisp, accurate and efficient than it has ever been in my life. Your E.I. Fly casting curriculum has provided me with a systematic series of lessons and drills that built upon each other seamlessly. Coupled with your patient and logical teaching style, your program has brought my casting to a level I never thought possible. You are a gifted teacher and coach that has helped me transform from a fisherman to a FLY FISHERMAN. Thank you!
Keith Tode. Exeter, NH. USA.
|Jeremy (L) and Kyle (R), on top of Cerro Catedral, in San Carlos de Bariloche|
|David Ames, stalking trout in Patagonia.|
I was referred to First Cast Fly Fishing by a fly shop owner in New Hampshire (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.
D.Ames. Quechee, VT and Bogata, Columbia
I have been dreaming about fishing in Patagonia for years. Trout fishing in January, when North America is frozen, was something I really wanted to experience. To say nothing of seeing country that's been described as what the West was like, a hundred years ago. My buddy and I wondered if we could do a trip like this on our own, having never been there, neither of us Spanish speakers. I looked at lodges, but they are expensive, and seem to cater to larger groups. And then I heard of Mark Foley, and the do it yourself fishing he offers. When I saw Mark's presentation at our local library, I realized his services would be just right for us. His focus on walking and wading sounded like the perfect way to fish Patagonia--it's how we like to fish.Then my buddy decided that he couldn't make the trip, but no problem--with Mark, I had a way to travel to Patagonia by myself.
Mark and I met, and we talked about the different times to fish Argentina, and each season's pluses and minuses. He asked questions about my budget and time frame, and put together a proposal that reflected my preferences. We decided to begin in Junin, his home base, but also to travel south to Los Alerces National Park and into Chile. This customized, do it yourself trip included lots of wading plus some float trips too.
I expected that Mark would show me beautiful rivers and great places to fish, and he did. You could spend a lifetime exploring the rivers around Junin. Patagonia's waters (and the country they flow through) are simply beautiful, and surpassed any expectations I had. It made me so happy to be in that unspoiled country. Even in January, high season there, in most places we never saw other anglers. I hoped to meet a lot of trout, including some big ones, and I did! What I didn't expect was how much I'd learn from fishing with Mark, and how this time would make me a better angler. He is a natural teacher, and he knows his home waters extremely well. I equally loved floating with Mark's partner Gustavou, who is an excellent guide, fisherman, and a great guy.
Nor did I expect all the ways Mark would introduce me to local food, customs, culture and people. If you only come to Patagonia to fish, you're missing half of the experience. We ate at places the locals eat, and the food was inexpensive and fantastic! I was amazed at how well we ate and drank, on such little money. Mark is an expert at finding the best places--whether that is to float a fly, chow on empanadas or gelato, or spend the night--whether camping or under a roof. With Mark's help, I got to see and experience the real Patagonia. And his facility with Spanish, and Argentine culture, provided a level of comfort and security, for a solo traveler like myself, that I really appreciated. When I had trouble connecting with my wife back home, he even let me use his laptop to write her.
I had an amazing time traveling around Patagonia with Mark, who's a great companion: he plans carefully, delights in showing you the places he's discovered, and is unflappable when things don't go exactly as planned. My three weeks in Patagonia were certainly the trip of a lifetime, and I relish the many adventures we had together. I'm already wondering when I can return to Patagonia to fish with him again. This was a journey I will never forget, and I'm so grateful to Mark for making it possible. If you are dreaming of traveling to Patagonia, talk to Mark--you'll be glad you did.
Frank Clarkson. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. USA
Fishing with Mark and his partner was a great way to experience the best that Patagonian fly fishing has to offer. They have an extensive knowledge of the rivers and how to fish them. Rather than being tied to one location, they offer the flexibility to fish how and where you want and to fish the most productive places at any time. Whether you prefer small streams or big Patagonian rivers, there is great fishing to be found in beautiful places.
Leigh Martin. Sydney, Australia.
In November, I found Mark Foley’s blog on the internet. At first, I was a bit skeptical and confused about what a DIY walk and wade trip entailed, and if the trip was even possible due to such short notice. Thankfully, Mark was very easy to reach and work with over Skype, phone and email, and after a few conversations, I booked my fight and was set for 10 days of mid-December fishing in Patagonia.
The day I was due to fly out, my flight was delayed by 8 hours, meaning I missed my connecting flight to San Martin de los Andes. This was a stressful moment, but with swift and insightful help from Mark, I was able to figure out an alternative route that allowed me to fly into, and explore Bariloche for a night, and still arrive on timd.
After a scenic, three hour bus ride from Bariloche to Junin de los Andes, I was greeted by Mark, and he promptly set me up with a habitable, affordable lodging, and got me a great rate exchange rate for pesos, and showed me where to buy delicious local food. Up until the trip, I have probably been fly fishing for about 7 months, (mostly nymph fishing around upstate NY, minutes from Cornell University,) and would consider myself a beginner. I was itching to fish, and Mark and his partner wanted to gauge my abilities, so we didn’t waste any time and hit up a local spot that evening. When they told me that there might be hundreds of fished lined up in this one run, I didn’t believe him at first. By the end, I knew he wasn’t kidding. I landed more than a few good trout, but lost more fish in a 5 hour session than I had hooked into all season in upstate NY. It was the start to a good trip.
Mark and his partner planned to progressively challenge my abilities as a fly fisherman, and each day we fished spots that became increasingly difficult. These spots became increasingly attractive as well, due to both their beauty, and the amount and size of fish holding in them. There were times where my lack of skills caused me (and I’m sure Mark and partner, as was well) much headache, and frustration, but this continual pushing of my comfort zone as a fisherman, coupled with their ability to effectively teach with simple analogies, immensely improved my casting and fishing ability in the 10 days I spent with them. They also introduced me to the dry-dropper combo, and man was it deadly on the fish! fish!
Aside from the fishing, Mark was very knowledgeable of local attractions in and out of Junin. I received the full Patagonia experience by visiting some local food and artist markets, and even had a Patagonia BBQ with a local family on Christmas Day.
All in all, the fishing was great, the weather was warm, and the beauty of Patagonia was jaw-dropping. Mark’s affordable, quality DIY service really made this trip a possibility for me. He’s knowledgeable of the area, and knows of spots that are relatively unfished (if that’s your desire). He’s really easy to get along with, and will do the best to make sure your fishing trip is unforgettable.
I know now what a DIY walk-wade fishing trip is all about....Affordable and 100% Fishing!
To read and see more about Kenton's adventure, please visit our Facebook page or www.firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/2014/01/diy-walk-wade-fly-fishing-patagonia.html
Kenton Chik. Brooklyn, NY. USA
In Munich, we have known each other since we were 6 years old. When we were young, we spent a lot of time fishing together during our days in school. As young adults, our studies (high school, college) began and we did not fish together, as much. Here in Patagonia, was the first time, after 7 years of no fishing, that we were able to fish together again. David was starting a business in Bogota, Columbia and I finished my masters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We were only 7,000 kilometers between each other, so before starting our careers, we decided to meet in Patagonia, and go fishing with First Cast Fly Fishing.
To read and see more photos you are welcome to visit our Facebook page or: http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/2013/12/diy-fly-fishing-in-patagonia-argentina.html
Since we were both in South American, and before our careers would soon allow us not much leisure time, a “Patagonian reunion” seemed to be perfect opportunity to revive good old times, that we once enjoyed in Munich Germany.
To read more and see more photos: http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/2013/12/diy-fly-fishing-in-patagonia-argentina.html
I’m not usually one to leave reviews – but my recent fishing experience with Mark (and his partner/guide) was truly awesome. And trust me, I was not paid to write this.
So let me first start off by saying this: Before meeting Mark, I knew 2 ways of fly fishing down in Argentina. You can stay at a lodge and pay at least $5000 per week (with little DIY walk-wade fishing options), or you can read up as much as you can, rent a car, and go off on your own. Both are very fun – as I have experienced each.
This is where the unique team of Mark and is his partner/guide come in. They are providing a service that you can’t find anywhere else down there. By unique, I mean Mark can pick you up in his truck and take you to GREAT DIY walk-wade fishing areas. He gives you the exact info you need; flies, fish behavior, and fishy spots. He then says simply “have at em”. I was able to enjoy the adventure of exploring a river on foot, with a knowledgeable fishing buddy and a truck
One of my favorite characteristics of Mark and his partner, is that they are game for anything. Often, when we were driving, I would see a bend in the river that looked particularly enticing. They would explain that the fish are small there, or that there is no room to cast etc, etc (they KNOW these waters). However, one time I pointed out a cool spot and asked them about it. They replied “Yeah, hmmmm I have never fished that bend, not sure how to get down there, looks good doesn’t it…. want to give it a shot?” Even if we had not gotten into many fish – which we did – I would still have loved the experience of scouting with someone who is open to explore…and who knows the area very well. They also happens to be a fabulous fly fishermen with many tips to offer. They were even prepared to drive down god knows how many hours to fish Jurassic Lake – just because I suggested it, and they thought it would be fun. I didn’t have the time so we didn’t go, but who else would do that?
He is more than a knowledgeable fishing buddy with a vehicle. For instance, I took my girlfriend (who is a beginner) out with Mark and his partner one day. She wanted to learn how to fish, but she was very interested in learning about restaurants, where to exchange money, and which hostel hostels we should stay in. They were of course easily able to answer these questions since they live there i.e. not some guide isolated within some fishing lodge. I should also mention that their patience with her was saint like.
Net net, I originally planned on fishing with them once – just to get some basic info – and to then go out on my own with a rented car. To be sure, that is actually not a bad way to “use” Mark Foley: he gives you all the info you need and boom, you are out on your own the next day. As it turns out, I had so much fun that first day that I fished with them 3 more days and did one float trip with his partner. Yes, they specialize in walk wading / exploring…but the beauty is – if you do want to float – he sets you up with his partner.
This brings me to Mark's partner/guide. An older friend ours had recently fished with him and made this ridiculous claim: “I have fished with over 500 guides and he is simply the best.” I dismissed this of course, but it left me worried that he might be one of those GO HARD alpha male intensity guides. Those dudes are okay at times when I want to fish hard, but I was with my girlfriend and hoping for a more relaxed float. I was relieved when I quickly noticed his gentle, calm, self-effacing manner. (but don’t let that fool you; he has a quiet confidence and the skill to back it up.) Anyway, once I was able to get past my girlfriend’s serious crush on this strapping +50 year-old man, I began to realize that he really was among the very best. He had a way of correcting my girlfriend’s casts and mending techniques, which was gentle, informative, and the opposite of berating. And the instructions worked too. I had spent many hours working on her casts in weeks prior, and so I sat there in amazement as she rolled out beautiful loops after listening to a few short instructions from him. This did not help my jealousy, but it was exciting to watch. I don’t need to get into the fishing – we floated the Alumine that day – if only to say it was awesome. Lot’s of hard fighting fish and never a dull moment. Oh yeah, and he was able to get my girlfriend the biggest fish of the day on the last run. I’ve never had such a perfect ending to a float trip.
Our Patagonian adventure started when Mark met my wife and me at the Bariloche airport. It was to be more than just a fishing trip as we had discussed in e-mails preceding our trip. We wanted a taste of Patagonian life to go along with some fishing. Mark turned out to be a great tourist guide, a currency expert, a casting instructor (how to manage a 40 mph wind at your back and get the fly out over 80 feet to those browns cowering under the overhang on the other bank) and a language instructor. We stopped at out-of–the-way markets, dined in local family-run restaurants, fished in rivers as clear as aquaria, enjoyed an asado (Argentine BBQ) on the banks of an incredible river that we had all to ourselves, spotted wild boars, guanacos, red deer and experienced wonderful fishing. Whether it was walking and wading or floating, Mark knew the fishing spots and made the arrangements for us to get to the fish. I had great dry-fly action as late as the second week in March followed by wonderful nymph fishing as the weather cooled off. Riding around in the largest pickup in Argentina is comforting given the local driving habits, and Mark even threw in a blown voltage regulator 40 km up a gravel road in Los Alerces National Park for a truly novel experience. Nothing phases this guy and he will introduce you to everything Patagonia has to offer. Thanks Mark!
Dr. R. Hodgetts. Alberta, Canada.
To read more and view photos about Ross's adventure: http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/2013/03/from-canada-to-patagonia-2-weeks.html
|Lower Chimehuin Brown|
I am a 70 year old Swede DIY fisherman, now living in Brazil. I have been traveling/fishing Patagonia for the past five years. I still love to walk-wade, but I now find myself needing affordable float trips. So, I did a Google search and found First Cast Fly Fishing. I swapped emails with Mark, discussed details and pricing, and I soon found myself on the lower Chimehuin River, with my fishing buddy Mike (in photo above & below). Mark's guide, spoke English and provided excellent professional service and information. We caught lots of fish during our two week stay in Junin de los Andes, but we caught the largest fish with Mark's guide (seen above) on the lower Chimehuin River. We plan to return next year and take more floats trips with Mark. I would highly recommend First Cast Fly Fishing, as they provide the most affordable options for walk-wade day trips, float trips, and they can find you the most affordable housing. See you next year!
Hi Mark, I am back in Sweeden and I am already missing Patagonia. I must thank you for one of the best, if not the best float trips of my life...the lower Chimehuin was every thing you said it would be! Also, I have been fly fishing for 35 years and in one day with your guide, I learned how to read and fish Patagonia waters. The next day, I walked the Chimehuin and landed fifteen rainbows weighing 2-4lbs, four browns weighing 2-4lbs and I lost a really big fish! Thank you, you guys are great.
To read more about Mike's and Sture's adventure, please go to: http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/2013/03/chimehuin-river-lower-best-of-best.html
E.I. Fly™4X: Thanks so much for making the You Tube video for me!!! What a brilliant idea. You are awesome! Watching it tonight gave me a good laugh and brought back great memories of my casting lessons with you! We actually made time to go fishing in our own great state of Colorado this past weekend on the Arkansas River outside of Canon City. I got to put your good casting lessons to use before they get rusty....... as in "HELLO? IT'S FOR YOU!!!" I had a great day fishing and caught a fair number of Browns and a couple of Rainbows.... lots of fun! Thanks for all your help! You were the best teacher ever!
E.I. Fly™1X & 4X: "Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own." -- Nikos Kazantzakis
Thank you Mark for introducing me to the joy and wonder of fly-fishing, a lifelong adventure.
H. Brown. New Hampshire, USA.
At first, I was pleased at how well FCFF listened to my personal needs. As a result, my British Columbia trip was a fisherman’s dream. I don’t know how they did it, but we always seemed to be in the right spot catching big fish. For example, at sunrise I found myself catching monstrous Salmon (King, Chum, Pink, Coho, Sockeye), and just before nightfall, we would dry fly fish small crystal clear streams for rainbows. I was so pleased with this experience that I approached FCFF to learn more about other destination trips.
Four months later, after my first trip with FCFF, I stepped off an airplane in Bariloche, Argentina (Northern Patagonia). I was blinded by beautiful mountains, entranced by Latin culture, and in awe of the massive turquoise lakes and crystal clear rivers. I soon discovered that fishing in Patagonia was challenging for a novice fisherman. But FCFF made sure that the level of challenge was exhilarating, not overwhelming. The end result was a progressively lower cast to catch ratio. Looking back, I can’t believe I stood in the shadow of a 12,300 ft snow-capped volcano catching fish in water that looked photo-shopped. FCFF seamlessly connected all the dots, i.e. transportation, equipment, lodging, food and fishing. All I had to worry about on this trip was fishing, taking pictures and enjoying the experience. Look no further, if you want the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, First Cast Fly Fishing will coordinate every detail, be it big or little. I’ve had three perfect trips with them and I plan to have many more!
H. Coder. New Hampshire, USA.
E.I. Fly™1X & 4X: Mark and I fished the Ibeck River, located in Cordova, Alaska, a particularly rainy and wet area. However, we had 4 days of picture perfect dry weather, great company and amazing fishing. In 4 days total, we landed some 40 silvers. One fish, in particular, stood out, a 32”, eighteen-pound silver caught on an 8-wt. fly rod. At first, I thought he was running from a bear, but soon realized he was running up and down the riverbank trying to land this big one. It was an amazing site to see Mark battle and land this fish. As for me, Mark showed me several fly-fishing tips, which allowed me to leave my spinning rod behind. In fact, with his guidance, I was able to pluck a large Coho from a pool littered with fallen trees...I have never done anything like this before. We both had a dandy time.
Mark certainly was a good resource for fly-fishing, and a gentleman in his demeanor. It was indeed a pleasure to fish with Mark Foley of First Cast Fly Fishing, and I would embrace another encounter to fish with him again.
B. Tiedeman. Anchorage, Alaska. USA.
E.I. Fly™4X: I have fly-fished Africa, Iceland, Mongolia, Costa Rica, northern California Sierras and northern Wisconsin (great lakes). Most, if not all of my trips, were lodge/hotel family style trips. I have always loved these family trips and our accommodations, but I have always wanted to fish with friends on a D.I.Y. adventure trip. Fortunately for me, I have known Mark for over 20 years and I was well aware of his experiences in South America. Finally there was an opportunity, and I soon found myself on a First Cast Fly Fishing D.I.Y guided trip to Patagonia Argentina and Chile.
What I discovered was impressive. For 30 days, Mark was able to bring not only a fishing guides eye to the water, but he provided an invaluable cultural experience as well. For instance, he knew where and how to access the waters that only the locals know. At times, we fished the very same waters that lodge guest pay $5k per week! Some nights we camped on the water. While camping, I can remember Mark preparing delicious Argentine meats with a locally known sauce (by the way, it’s unbelievable!), empanadas and artesian cheese’s, all while sipping the best Malbec’s and viewing the Southern Cross. Off the water, he knew the roads, towns, hotels, restaurants and people like the back of his hand. I found myself surrounded by locals and loving every minute of it. In the end, I truly believe I had an authentic Patagonian experience, yet for 30 days, the cost of my trip was less than $5k!
For those considering a trip to Patagonia, whether you wish to stay at a lodge or a guided D.I.Y. trip, I highly recommend First Cast Fly Fishing. Mark, thank you for your hard work and I can’t wait for our next Patagonia adventure.
D. Daly. California. USA
I took the E.I. Fly™1X beginner casting class with Quentin (a French exchange student). Mark has a practical approach to the art fly fishing. He is a great instructor and makes learning easy! I can't wait to get our on the water!
T. Piper. New Market, NH. USA
E.I. Fly™1X: Thanks again for an interesting and very useful learning experience. Although I am not a natural, at least I now know what to practice. You are an excellent teacher!
T. Foxall. Lee, NH. USA
E.I. Fly™1X: I wanted to thank you so much for your E.I. Fly 1X fly fishing lessons! I really appreciate your knowledge and teaching style, how you first provided me the big picture, having me get the feel of casting the rod, then showing me how it should look, and then explaining how to get there. I really appreciated how you explained to me how a person uses their whole body, and then broke it down into the individual parts, starting with my thumb, wrist, elbow and patiently having me practice each step before moving on to the next, and asking me questions so I had to think and figure out a few things, thereby helping me learn and remember better. Thank you again for an enjoyable and interesting time – I think I’m now hooked!
G. McAndrews. USA
Thank you for presenting your fly fishing Argentina slide-show to the Stratham 76'ers. Everyone was very impressed with the photography, as well as your story telling skills. You have lived a very adventurous life compared to 99.9% of Americans. My compliments on living your dreams. I am sure you communicate the importance of achieving personal goals to your younger fly fishing students. Thank you again for a great presentation.
D. Swett, Stratham New Hampshire. USA
To say 'thank you' for the most interesting program at the Stratham NH 76'ers meeting on April 17th. Enclosed is a donation for your community youth programs. We all enjoyed your presentation very much.
I. Goodrich, Stratham New Hampshire. USA
The April chapter meeting proved to be an eye-opening adventure to the big fish waters and dramatic scenery of Argentina. Exeter based Mark Foley of First Cast Fly Fishing guided the group the length of Argentina - from the subtropical north to high latitudes of southern Patagonia. All along the way, Mark shared his experiences, photos of challenging trout, salmon, and the golden dorado.
Argentina is the world’s 8th largest country in area and is home to 40 million people. The average elevation of the Argentine Andes is 12,000 - 13,000 feet. Argentina’s northernmost point and Key West, Florida both lie 22 degrees from the Equator. Argentina’s territory in Tierra del Fuego, extends to 54 degrees south latitude. For comparison, Alaska’s panhandle begins at the same high latitude. Mark has fished many places around the world but has done most of his international fly fishing up and down Argentina’s 2,200+ mile length.
Mark’s first stop on the Argentina tour was in search of a powerful warm water fish with a big head, a toothy mouth, qualifies for the Olympic high jump, and is a fighting fish that rewards the fly angler. The golden dorado is found in the Parana River, 600 miles upstream from Buenos Aires and in other watersheds of northern Argentina. Golden Dorado averages between 6 and 20+ pounds with the largest known to have weighed 69 pounds. Both the “small” dorados and the larger ones are acrobatic and aggressive - rewarding the fly angler willing to make the journey to their home waters. In Salta province in northwest Argentina near the Bolivian border is what Mark calls “Dorado Nirvana”. If you don’t know much about the golden dorado, it’s worth the time to find out about it. The Internet has lots of videos, photos, and stories - and books have been written too.
Mark’s next set of adventures took the group to San Carlos de Bariloche. Bariloche is at the same southern latitude as central New Hampshire is north. A comfortable and safe city of 100,000, Bariloche claims to be the Tourist Capital of Patagonia. Fly anglers come here to fish for big browns in the Rio Limay. Less than 200 miles north in Neuquen Province is the Fly Fishing Capital of Argentina. The town of Junin de los Andes (nestled on the east slopes of the Andes near the Chilean/Argentine border) offers fly anglers abundant fishing opportunities on several large lakes, mountain rivers, and in Lanin National Park. The Alumine River is home to big rainbows and browns - which prefer big dry flies with droppers.In scenes reminiscent of the ethereal landscapes of the movie Avatar, the small Andean head water streams are clear with a light green cast enclosed by large arching branches of stream side trees. Here you can hook a sizable native trout that experiences very little fishing pressure.
Our last journey took us another 700 miles to southern Patagonia. The open country resembles parts of the American West - except the trout that are here are sea run browns. And they are very large impressive fish. Mark noted that it gets more expensive the further south you go in Patagonia. There are fewer cities, towns, and people. It is a remote part of the world made famous by Magellan’s Strait.
Since 1999 Mark has been fishing much of South America and has come to know much of it’s fly fishing waters. One year, Mark worked as a guide at a resort on the Rio Chemehuin. Although resorts are not inexpensive, Mark feels they are a value if you have only a week or so to spend. However, he has found if you have time, learn some Spanish, and ask around, you can fly fish, have nice accommodations like our B&B’s, and travel affordability in pursuit of your passion in friendly Argentina. It’s worth the trip.
Mark, thanks and great presentation!
Basil W. Woods, Jr. Chapter. Concord, New Hampshire
E.I. Fly™1X & 4X: I have lived along the Cocheco River in Dover, N.H., for three years now. On occasion, I heard there was good fishing in the water just behind my house. Between work, life, a new baby boy, and also being a beginner fly fisherman, I kept putting off fishing the river. But recently, I grew tired of the all the fish talk and the unkempt promises I made with myself. So, I contacted a local guide (Mark Foley) and before I knew it, we were on the river catching fish! Being a beginner, I was a bit unsure of my skills, but Mark helped me stay calm and focused. He taught me how to read the water and how to make a not so perfect cast into a beautiful presentation. I ended up catching three Brown Trout that ranged between 12"-16". Like most folks, I have fished with bait/lures for 25 years; and have had lots of memorable experiences. But, now I get it...catching my first fish on a fly rod was such an amazing RUSH! I will never forget seeing the trout strike my dry fly. Mark is a great teacher and clearly loves what he does. Thanks Mark, and I can't wait to take your fly tying class.
L. Martin. Dover, New Hampshire. USA.
We cannot thank you enough for all of the time and expertise you shared with our boys group. I have never seen that group of boys as quiet as they were on that day! What a wonderful service you provide to our community. Thanks Mark!
S. Illingworth. Executive Director of New Outlook Teen Center. Exeter, NH. USA
E.I. Fly™1X: Mark, thanks so much for making my first experience with fly fishing a great one! Prior to working with you, I had never picked up a fly rod. Your teaching techniques (how you broke everything down so I could easily understand) was amazing and afforded me the opportunity to grasp the science and art behind fly casting. I really look forward to practicing the techniques you gave me, and I can't wait to apply them out on the water for years to come.
M. Weand. Exeter, New Hampshire. USA
I had a spectacular day on the Cocheco River with Mark Foley, an amazing guide. What a beautiful, stunning waterway! I felt like a 'sport' more than I would have liked, but who cares, it's December 15th and I caught a great looking Brown Trout, and fished a water I never had. Along the way, I was introduced to the president of TRSA, Rick Hutchins. To boot, I got some fresh air and exercise. An awesome day, just what I needed. Thanks for all you do Three Rivers and First Cast Fly Fishing.
I took the beginner fly tying course offered by First Cast and hosted by the Dover Adult Learning Center. The price was right, all the equipment was included, the location was convenient, and with a class size of five students, it was the perfect size for personal attention. The course was well taught and Mark's attention to detail gave all of us an excellent introduction to the basics of fly tying. We tied Wooly Buggers, Brassies, Gnats, Gurglers, and Elk Hair Caddis. Now, I feel much more confident tying flies. Thanks Mark for being such a great resource for our community.
P. Bayko. Dover, New Hampshire. USA