Week 14 and the thing on everyone’s mind: Are we in for another slow week or was last week’s decrease in activity just temporary? Well luckily it turned out to be the latter and we had a very nice bounce back week.
This week we had a complete Swedish takeover of the lodge where we were fortunate to welcome some old friends to a Patagonia in full autumn blossom. Led by casting phantom Thomas Berggren it was an excited group that arrived in the afternoon, ready to set up their gear and keen to hear what flies that were currently working. Some guests this week, Thomas included, had been here before while for some this was a first visit to Las Buitreras. Excited to hear about the condition of the river and how the fishing had been lately, we were all slightly uncomfortable when explaining that the previous week had been quite slow compared to what it’s normally like. However, towards the end of last week activity had picked up so we were optimistic for the week ahead.
Fortunately the fishing did pick up this week and we had some really nice fish landed. Perhaps due to the weather getting a little warmer again or perhaps the fish just got settled to the new colder temperatures. The water level remained consistent from last week, sitting at around -15.
Our first instinct fishing these conditions with clear and slightly lower water would normally be to resort to thinner tippets and smaller flies. But with the recent success using bigger streamers and sunray shadows we figured it would be worthwhile trying them as well. A bet that turned out really well with 10 fish landed on Sunray’s alone, already on the first day of fishing. But it wasn’t all Sunray’s on the surface. Robert, here for the second time, had his game face on from day 1. After starting the day with landing a nice 14 pounder in what is most likely the pool of the season, La Curva, we knew Robert was going to be hard to stop this week. When someone that excited smells blood, you know he will have a successful week. After covering Lawson pool with no result, he changed to a heavy nymph and tried the deeper part at the end of the pool one more time. This has been a very successful recipe for this particular spot throughout the season and it turned out to be successful once more! After getting a few final instructions by his guide Santi on how to fish this fly, it only took one cast for Robert’s line to go tight. While the crowd’s immediate reaction was that this was a good fish, Robert wasn’t so sure at first. A few deep headshakes without the fish really moving, followed by a slow upstream push while staying deep had all the signs of a potential monster. Finally the fish sped up and went airborne, and if anyone still needed confirmation this was it. Robert after seeing the fish, completely stopped breathing for a short minute and we could see his grip tighten around the cork handle. “Are you sweating Robert?”, his dad and fishing partner for the week, Leif, shouted as he was making his way towards the commotion. Robert, still having a hard time breathing, was now in full focus, and was following the fish’s every move with shaking hands (you can find the whole video on our instagram). Finally the fish decided to run downstream as they often do when caught in this pool, and Robert was in hot pursuit. Once the fish hit La Recta, about 150 meters downstream, it swam straight into a small patch of weeds. For a few very tense moments when we didn’t know if the fish was still on or if the fly was simply stuck in the weeds now, it felt like the air was completely still and no one uttered a word. Santi, being on his toes, was down on the weeds in a flash and after some digging raised the net with a perfect bar of silver from edge to edge. A stunning April chromer and Robert was almost in tears. Well done Robban, a fish to remember for many many years to come.
Leif, a fantastic fly fisher, always relaxed and calm, had a number of memorable moments of his own during the week. One that stands out was a beautiful 12 pounder in Barrance Blanca on the last session of the week. A perfect ending to the trip for the father and son duo.
Annacarin who always seems to find the big fish in the system, landed a spectacular, kyped, 17 pounder in her favorite pool Little Corner. Although only half the size of her record, 32 lbs fish from a few years back caught in this same pool, she was still smiling ear to ear when seeing the fish jump in the middle of the pool before taking off downstream. With her Einarsson reel spinning like clockwork and her running line flying off the spool it’s hard not to smile. This after all is why we travel to these parts of the world, for the chance to measure up with the sea-run browns of Southern Patagonia. Call it an addiction and you are probably spot on.
Lasse, being a wise man, had decided to book not one but two weeks, to make sure he got the most out of his trip. The best part about coming here for a longer trip is that it takes away some of that pressure we tend to put on ourselves when it comes to catching fish. We all know what it feels like on day three if you’re the one that hasn’t had the margins on your side and still have a zero in the landed column. Especially when your partner can’t stop catching fish, and even worse, won’t stop talking about it…
Lasse was totally relaxed on the river, giving himself time to adjust to the way of fishing here. After some smaller adjustments to the line and leader, Lasse was finding his groove. The starting point was a session in Upper Zone and Wagon wheel. Guided by Carlos they saw several fish moving along the weed bank on the other side. After properly covering that section with a small nymph but no bites, Carlos tied a small salmon double on to Lasses tippet. A few casts later and it was on. After a good fight where Lasse was into his backing several times he managed to land a solid 15 lbs fish. After that, Lasse with his super relaxed approach kept finding fish throughout the week.
That Thomas Berggren is a phenomenal caster and angler is a very badly kept secret so it came as a surprise to no one when he ended up top rod of the week with 19 landed sea runs. His stand out fish of the week came in upper zone 1, La Curva to be more specific. After deciding to quickly stop at the pool for one last cast Thomas hooked into what most anglers would consider a dream fish. Feeling the force and intensity of the headshakes Thomas immediately knew he was battling a solid fish on the other side of the line. What makes La Curva so interesting is the structure of the bottom with several bigger rocks and deep weed banks. However, that same structure also makes it a bit of a nightmare once you hook into a big fish. The number of fish we have lost in this pool throughout the season is too big to count so when a client connects with a big fish, as a guide, you know your odds are perhaps not the best. Luckily Thomas was able to control the fish during most of the fight and somehow managed to lead it in over the weeds where Carlos was waiting with the net. The reward, a 20,7 lbs colored chunker of a fish.
Thomas fishing partner Edward spent his week mixing it up between his double and single hander, really enjoying the hunt with his single hand rod. His highlights of the week came in Raquel and Bridge pool where he managed to land fish on his beloved single hander. Everyone who’s fought a decent size sea-run brown on a light single hand rod knows that it just hits differently. Well done Edward.
Kristian and Peter were another great pairing during the week. Kristian, who started his spey career only a couple years ago and is one of the most passionate anglers you’ll ever come across, had some great memories from his last visit here in 2019. At that stage he was completely new to the whole double hand thing but managed to land one of the most spectacular fish of the season. Goes without saying he had some high expectations for this trip, hoping to go one up on his previous visit. And for a moment it looked like he was going to challenge his previous record fish already on his first day. He was fishing Cantera and covering the water really well when he hooked into what we” think” was a very good size fish. It was one of those that doesn’t do too much but stays low and slowly pulls the line out. Unfortunately the fish came off after a while without ever showing itself so that particular fish will go on to the tales of lost fish and what could have been. A hard pill to swallow no doubt but luckily redemption came quickly. After hearing stories about how deadly Sunray shadow’s had been during the latter part of the season he decided to give it a go in Kitchen. It didn’t take many casts before he had a fish violently attack the fly on the surface before going high in the air. As fun as it is to fish Sunrays, you always know that the trade off for all the action you will have is that you’ll miss a lot of the takes. Fortunately this one was on and stayed on. A nice 14 pounder in the books for Kristian! Kristian’s fishing partner Peter also found success with the Sunray. Arriving at La Recta just in time for that magic hour when the light is slowly disappearing, Peter decided it was time to give his Sunray a chance. After already landing two fish earlier in the day, Peter’s confidence was high and he was fishing accordingly. No messing around, just covering water one cast, two steps, like a man on a mission. A couple cast in he got rewarded when a fish couldn’t stand looking at that Sunray cruising on the surface any longer. A good fight followed with several nice runs before Peter was able to land a solid 12 pounder. A good three fish day for Peter.
Yet another first time visitor this week was Petter. Excited to see what the fuss about Las Buitreras was all about, he came in with an open mindset to see, listen, and learn. A mindset that usually leads to success. One of the most scenic pools of the Las Buitreras beats is Kitchen pool. A favorite for most clients but because of its angle and the usual direction of the wind down here, it’s not every week we get to fish it. Petter however was lucky to be able to fish it already on his first visit at Las Buitreras, and to make it even better, he landed his first ever Rio Gallegos seatrout here. A beautiful 14 pounder that took a classic EMB put up a great fight but in the end was outmaneuvered by Petter’s patience and skill. Petters fishing partner Per has been here several times before and is well accustomed to the fishing. Per had most success fishing other classics like Prince, Copper John, and other similar nymph patterns that seem to work in all conditions in this river.
Again, a fantastic week with a lovely group of anglers and friends that makes all of us down here feel like we have the best jobs in the world. Thank you all for coming and hope to see you soon.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 20,7 lbs by Thomas B from Sweden
Top rod of the week: Thomas B with 19 sea-run brown trout landed
Fish over 10 lbs: 18
Average size: 7 lbs