Week 6 and it was finally time to welcome our good friend Peter and his Sportquest group from the UK. It’s so great to welcome our old friends that we haven’t been able to see for two years now and to meet new excited faces as well. Spending time down here really makes us realize how much we have missed this place and meeting all the wonderful people we are lucky to call our guests each week. And no matter if they are first time visitors or Las Buitreras veterans, the first questions are always the same: What’s the water level like? How many fish did they catch last week? What flies are working best right now? And the best part about it is that it never gets tiring answering these questions. It’s actually one of the best parts of being down here as it reminds us how excited each and every one of you walking through the doors at this estancia really is.
As mentioned in last week’s report, we had some good news regarding the water level for this new group as the river came up significantly friday and saturday and were now back to more normal summer conditions. As the rise didn’t affect the water color almost anything, we kept on with our proven tactics using mostly smaller nymphs with the occasional girdle bug and salmon double here and there.
The weather started off very warm for the week with temperatures up to 29 C (84 F), only to drop all the way to 12 C (54 F) later in the week. In a classical southern patagonian manner, one day to the next we went from wearing only t-shirts and sweating, to wearing six layers and freezing.
Fishing wise the first day started off with a bang when first time visitor Philip caught his biggest fish ever on the first morning. Philip started his session by landing a 9 pounder in Little corner before moving down to Old bridge pool. A well placed cast later and all hell broke loose. Philip was just about to make his second strip when the line was ripped out of his hand and all of a sudden his neatly tied yuk bug was on its way back towards the Atlantic ocean. Backing was flying out of Phillips reel who at this stage was holding on for dear life, still not sure about what was going on. A stunned crowd was watching from the bank as Phillips reel was getting decimated quickly. Luckily the fish decided to turn and run upstreams, and at this stage Phillip was back in the game and on point with his handling of reel and line, keeping enough pressure while the fish was moving up river fast. A few stressful jumps, rushes, and head shakes later, and Phillip was finally able to get the fish close enough to be netted. Staring back at him from the net was a perfect 18 pounder waiting to be released again.
And while high fives and hugs were flying all around at Old Bridge, celebrating Phillips new record, Las Buitreras veteran Big John was battling an even bigger fish down in Cantera in Zone 4. Using all his skill and years of experience he’d managed to hook the fish of a lifetime and was now running around on the bank trying to keep calm and avoiding making any mistakes which is so easy to do when you are fighting a dream fish. “Stay calm, stay calm, don’t force it John”, was repeated in his head as minutes passed and the fish was sitting in the current. 25 minutes later, yes, 25 minutes later, John managed to get the fish close enough to be netted. The reward, a stunning 23 lbs cockfish!
Chris and his son William were on their first big father and son fishing trip together and had decided that Las Buitreras was the place to go. Chris of course has been here before and knew what they were in for. We are not sure however that he had anticipated how quickly Will was going to pick up spey casting and it didn’t take long before Will had a beautiful 14 pounder in the books. What a way to start your spey fishing career. It’s great to see so many young anglers mixing it up with the old guard this season. Will continued by landing two more fish in the 15 lbs range early in the week, putting some real pressure on dad. Chris however has been around this game for years and knows that if you put in the work and stay focused you will eventually be rewarded. And so he was. On the last session of the week, fishing Kitchen, Chris’ highlight came in the form of a proper dream fish that went completely crazy on Chris Green Machine fly. Anyone who has ever fished Kitchen pool knows that catching a big fish in that pool on a light wind day is an absolute dream. A proper way to end a week at Las Buitreras. We hope to see this friendly father and son duel continue in the future.
Neil and John, childhood friends and fishing buddies since the beginning of times, experienced several highlights during the week. One of course being John’s monster fish, but apart from that there was one particular session that stood out a little extra. They had decided to give the pool called Turning bank a go and Neil was in position to make his first cast. Strip strip boom! Fish on but quickly lost. Second cast: strip strip boom! Another fish and unfortunately another fish lost. Third cast: strip strip strip Boom! This time Neil was as sharp as you can ever be and landed a perfect 15 pounder. John, thus far a spectator in this particular pool, figured that well if there are three fish in three casts, why wouldn’t there be four. He went down to the bottom of the pool, made one long cast and Bang! Fish was on and taking line but just as the fish stopped it’s run downstream the fly came loose. One landed and three lost in four casts may not be the best landing ratio but it makes for a hell of a story and we’re sure they will never pass turning bank again without making at least one cast. As a side note they finished that session with four fish landed between them.
Even though this was a week full of action throughout, perhaps the most memorable stories were created on the first and the last day. We’ve already told you about Phillips’ first day with landing his personal best 18 lbs fish. Well the last day is a story about his fishing partner, 84 year young Ross, who was casting and fishing like a machine all week but somehow had very little to show for it. He lost a nice fish in Lawson pool early in the week and had a few bites here and there but nothing landed as he came into the friday afternoon session. Back in zone 2 and Little Corner where he began the week six days earlier Ross was fishing the upper section of the pool and covering the water as well as anyone could. About halfway down the pool, on a perfect swing the line came tight followed by a big swirl. Everyone watching could tell this was a big fish, and so could Ross seconds later as the fish went airborne before taking off down the river. Ross, standing on a gravel bank with a high cut bank behind him had very little space to maneuver but played the fish perfectly from his tight quarters. Especially considering he had no less than 4 people constantly giving him directions on what to do and not to do. With over 70 years of fishing experience you would think he probably knows how to fight a fish but in the midst of the excitement it’s sometimes hard to stay calm even for the guides. Ten minutes later the fish was in the net. A perfect 15 pounder and wild celebrations took place on the bank. That was probably the most well deserved fish of the week and really made the week for the whole group.
Fishing buddies David and Greg were a force to be reckoned with and the banter between them never stopped. Being good casters they fished really well all week and after missing several strikes and eventually losing a couple fish as well, they both managed to land some nice fish. David especially managed to miss fish almost every session until he finally landed a really nice 11 pounder in Barranca Blanca. Greg claimed David caught his fish using a bobber and worm but the guide said differently. In this case we’ll give David the benefit of the doubt and add it to the catch book.
Niall who’s no stranger to the Las Buitreras beats came in hot from the get go and started racking up fish from the first session. He eventually ended up with 19 landed and several fish in the 14 to 16 lbs range. A very impressive number and a good challenge for him to beat next year.
Our friends from Sweden, Pontus, Stefan, and Patrik had extended their week in Buitreras with three days in Zone Zero and were catching both brown trout and seatrout on a regular basis. Patrik managed to end his 9 day trip the way everyone hopes to, by landing a 14 pounder on his last cast of the trip. Coming back to the lodge for a last lunch before flying back to Sweden his smile from ear to ear said it all. Another highlight from Zone Zero this week was Pontus 18 lbs hen fish caught in the last light on a sunray shadow on the exact same spot as he lost an even bigger cock fish the night before. As happy and relieved as he was after landing that beautiful fish he still couldn’t stop thinking about the fish he lost the night before. Somehow in fishing it’s always about the ones that got away and perhaps that’s why we all keep coming back to the river.
A huge thanks to Peter C for bringing such a great group of people yet again! We are really looking forward to seeing all of you next season.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 23 lbs by John D from UK
Top rod of the week: Niall M and John D from UK with 19 sea-run brown trout landed each
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 34
Number of fish over 15 lbs: 8
Average size: 9.8 lbs