Rio Grande 2013

GTB

New member
First time posting as a new member on this forum, I had already put this on the SFF but happy to share with members on here.Im going back to the same lodge on 6th March 2014 so I cant wait.

GTB

Hi

Managed now to get on top of my work and now out in the Midle East working for a couple of weeks so with today off thought I would put together a summary of my trip this year and of course some pictures taken during my time on the river, so here goes!!!

I left Glasgow on the afternoon of Thursday 28th February on British Airways on what is a long trip but of course full of anticipation of what lies ahead.Good to get away from the cold in Glasgow and out to some late summer sunshine in Buenos Aires. Usual short flight down to Heathrow T5 and a couple of hours there to grab some food for a evening meal and then board, what is one of the last flights of the evening out of T5.Aircraft is a Boening 777-ER and I guess the ER is for "Extra Range" as when seated the pilot anounces tonights flight will only take thirteen hours forty five minutes!! Not much you can do but sit have a few drinks and grab a few drinks and try and get some sleep while listening to music and watching some movies. Flight goes as best it can and the morning sunshine in Buenos Aires is a wonderful sight out the window as we come into land at 08.45 next day Friday 1st March as Buenos Aires is three hours behind UK time. Arriving at the International airport stand in the line for immigration and the long wait for my bag and rods, good they turn up as it would be a problem for the next week without them. Agents rep Alex is waiting for me to drive me to the hotel, its warm about 28DegC so a welcome change in weather.Alex tells me their infamous lady President is addressing Congress in the city so he needs to take some back routes to avoid standing traffic on the motorways and streets near my hotel subject to security and closures.During the 70 minute drive we chat about the city an some places to go the rest of the day, suddenly a bang and a grating noise on my side of the car as a bus decides to go for a space that didnt exist and my poor driver watches as the bus takes the side off the car with a horrible scraping noise, they exchange details and guess Alex is really mad ( I would have killed the guy!) but again Im thinking is this a "Omen" of how things will unfold on my trip, I pray it isnt.

We arrive at my hotel the Loi Suites Recoletta, I check in and drop my gear in my room. I now make contact with four of the other rods I will be fishing with all I know having fished with them before on the Rio Grande, they have arrived similar time to me from the States. They have arrived trouble free unlike myself and we arrange to meet up for lunch and drink. Recoletta is a lovely area and only takes me 30 minutes to walk to their hotel. We go for lunch where we share stories of their recent fishing trips drink and eat and drink, we take a wander around the downtown area and head back to our hotels. Its a early start at 04.15 on the Saturday morning.Air Argentina has a bad habit of making the only flight of the day to Rio Grande at very early hours, so you just cant affordd to be late. With as many alarms as I can set and a early morning call from reception Im up and downstairs as Alex is collecting me for the short trip 15 Minutes to the local domestic airport. I wonder whats going on with the flashing lights and banging from outside and realise its torrential rain and lightning, unknown to me as I slept a huge storm hit the city. Alex is there but as he drives off we pass branches down from trees and a lot of roads are flooded and it wasnt helpfull seeing cars abandoned at traffic lights almost submerged in water!! Again is this signs of things to come? is it a warning of the week ahead? should I just go home?
We get to the airport a little late but make check in and flight is delayed one hour because of the storm. The other rods are there so we grab a coffee and wait to board. The flight should really be renamed the "anglers express" as almost all the people on the 737 aircraft are anglers heading to the various lodges on the river for the next week. Argentina is a big country and its another three and a half hour flight down the Eastern coast of the country to Rio Grande airport. I sleep most of the flight, as we start to land it doesnt look windy, could this be a good sign for once, lets hope so. We leave the aircraft and as we enter the baggage hall we can get a quick glimpse of all the anglers leaving on the the return flight, those that have just fished the river the last sixdays, some are smiling, some look sad and some with no expression, that will be us seven days later but what one will I be?
Rods and bag collected and two of the guides are there to meet the six of us fishing the La Villa on the Maria Behety. Federico the head guide along with a new guide Diego collect us and we are quickly loaded and on our way in the two HiLux trucks to La Villa. Im with Diago a well respected guide for the last 15 years on the river moving this year from the Behety top lodge to La Villa. It was Diego who guided for Paul Young when Paul caught his 31Lb Sea Trout! so maybe my luck is changing. Staurday is the only day off for the guides during the 14 week season so I understand the need for them to collect and deliver us as promptly as they can. We are met at the lodge by Heather who is the lodge hostess and her team who will look after us for the week. Having been before, I now the ropes, unpack my gear in my room and fishing gear into the wader room and its time for lunch. Here are a few pictures of the lodge and its facilities.:

La Villa A welcome sight after nearly 48 hrs travelling.


My Room.


Area outside the bedrooms where afternoon tea is served and a couple of fly tying stations just in case you need to create a fly you dont have!!


The Lounge


The bar with the table at the side where the lodge "Record Book" is kept only fish over fifteen pounds get recorded, so very fortunate people get their names in there.


The wader room with its underfloor heating , after the end of a evenings fishing hang your wet stuff up and its all dry for the next morning!!


Home for some of the guides during the season which sits at the rear of La Villa.


Method of communication with outside world, no mobile network here!


View out the rear of the lodge, its bleak and baron on the Patagonia plane and you can see why the winds are relentless!


You can always play a game of snooker in the lodge if you were off your head and didnt want to go fishing or is it when you cant go outside because of the wind?


After lunch we set up our rods, I had taken two 14Ft double handers or as they call them down here "Spey" rods, I have a Guideline LPXE and a Thomas & Thomas DH both 9/10 weights, both with Hardy Demon 9000 reels loaded with Rio Skagit lines. I set one up for the morning session where we usually use lighter tips and the other for the evening session where tips can be a lot heavier with fifteen and twenty feet of T17 or even T20 not unusual as your trying to throw those big leeches about and get them down deep to the fish.Its good to be in the fresh air and anticipation of the days ahead. We check and double check our gear, my leader material is Seagur 15 and 19Lb strength, Guides will not let you go much lighter due to the size and strength of fish. We relax over a few beers and glasses of wine, have a wonderful evening meal and more wine before bed and a early start.
Breakfast is at 7am every morning and guides collect you at 8am sharp, however on our first morning we have to be kitted up and ready to go ten minutes early as new rules on the river mean all your kit has to be disinfected, so we charge down to the main Estancia buildings where I basically think they converted one of the sheep dip troughs into a dip for us anglers and its fun watching each other wade through the disinfectant. I think this is a wise move for the fishery given the International band of anglers that visit here, it only takes a few minutes and if it helps protect the fishery then its a good plan.
So to the fishing on Day 1 Im with another rod from the States, Richard who I had not met before and had actually fished here just one month previous and was returning.We are fishing with Colo (Red) the guide for the first two days.

Red's truck on Day one, it will not stay clean for long on the muddy tracks!


My first day was a mixed bag really, the pools we fished, Sea Trout were rolling everywhere and some huge ones as well, we fished Type 3 and 8 sink tips with the EMB fly and some other smaller flies going onto larger leeches in the last hour of light. A frustrating day for me only landing eight fish the largest 8Lbs, but the worst was I easily hooked 15 fish but just couldnt land them, their runs resulted in slack lines, their jumps resulted in slack lines and sometimes during the fight the line just pinged back on me. In fact I never took a picture on Day 1, Red was just as frustrated as myself, we checked our hooks, leaders, my striking and playing technique and drag setting and basically nothing amiss, it was just one of those days.

Day 2 was a almost a repeat of day 1 and I dont know who was as upset myself the angler or Red the guide, Im sure the three guides have little competitions between themselves across the week? and I wasnt doing Red or myself any favours.

Here are a couple of fish from Day 2 at least I was happy to take some pictures today.




So onto day 3 Im now fishing with Federico and things change again fish are rolling everywhere but Im now getting to land them, many in double figures and I mange two book fish at 18 and 19Lbs with Fede over the day and next day images below.

18Lb fish as the light goes down.


And safely returned.




The river is great to fish lovely wide and long pools and all gravel, no stones bigger than a hens egg make the spawning faciities for the fish perfect, also wading is easy, dont need a stick and nothing other than Sea Trout to trip over. I have listed some river pictures below.

















The fishing for me really picks up weather is warm and very little wind which is unusual, but autumn is on its way and even across our first few days the evening and morning temperatures are getting colder, forecast is for rain which could make the river dirty and difficult to fish so we pray its only local rain and not in the headwaters up in Chile. Fishing with Federico and the fish stay on including the ones pictured below, fish conservation and well being is paramount 100% C&R and a quick picture and that's it, sometimes in fact all the times the fish are landed, unhooked and released before I get the camera out my pocket. This reminds me I must get one of those head cams like DeeRod!!!!
We pick up fish on Collie Dogs and Sunrays just under the surface and from previous trips some chartreuse flies specially tied by the Forums Helmie ( Thanks again Ron).
Rest of my fish with Federico below.







A Rio Grande "Finnock" they only weigh about 4 to 5Lb!!!



A good 19Lb evening session fish.




So my numbers go up a couple of fish in the book and Im a happy man.
The last two days come round far too quickly, Im now with Diego a guide who comes as a legend in these parts.
We head out and on our first morning session its fast and furious, for a 45 minute period I hook a fish every cast Im on a hot spot and I land seven fish, my luck is not good and all the big ones get off but Im happy seven fish for a mornings session is good going down here, that evening its just as good another six fish and what a day.

My last morning now, its area No13 my lucky number and we are fishing Alexandro pool, What can I say the best four hours fishing in my life, I hooked fish, saw fish and landed fish all on the EMB or Yuk Bug fly on a type 8 tip. Two smaller fish at 5Lb and 14 Lb would soon be forgotton as I then landed three fish at 20, 21 and a record for me 27Lbs!!! I cant believe it three fish Sea Trout for 68Lbs, it really is a magic place. I really cant add any more words than show you the pictures Enjoy<

My first at 21Lbs


Second at 20Lbs


The third at 27Lbs a stunning fresh Hen, she measured 37Inches long and girth of 24 Inches, some feeding in that ocean as you can see and safely returned. The "stranger" in the last picture is Diago with my big fish he deserved it having put me on the honey spot that morning.











My last night it was worth looking at "The book" what a catch !!!!!



So there we go the end of this years trip, we had a great last night with the guides, record week for 2013, the six of us had biggest catch of 172 fish, I had biggest catch of the season so far with 44 fish and I equaled biggest fish with two other rods this season who also landed 27Lb fish.

It wasn't hard to sleep that last night as I was a happy man.

The long trip home didn't seem so bad as previous years, will I go back next year ?? of course I will given the opportunity, why? because it really is the best river in the world for Sea trout and there are some far bigger fish to be caught.

Hope you enjoyed reading this report.

Many Thanks GTB (Gareth)
 

Andy R

New member
Great report, something I aspire to, maybe my bonus next year might go on this type of trip ( or Russian salmon) rather than building extensions to the house etc!

Good to have you on board...
 

GTB

New member
Thanks Guy's for the kind comments.

Andy R, I hope to keep the reports and pictures coming, only ten weeks till I fly out to the Rio Grande again and my fishing week is the 8th March this year so fingers crossed and a bit of luck will have some stories and hopefully some pictures of decent Sea Trout to share with you on the Forum. First anglers to fish the 2014 Rio Grande season will be heading off this week so will be good to hear what the early conditions and catches are like.Normaly the lodge I go to we get a weekly report by email so I will post a few updates when I get them.

Cheers GTB
 

jj1

New member
Brill' article gtb and congrats on the big one. The accom' i see has changed hugely since my trips in the late 90's! :)
 

haptonlad

Member
Super report. maybe one day I might get lucky enough to fish in a place like this, sometime in my lifetime.
Thanks for sharing.
I hope you a successful the next time you are out there pal.
The only down side for me in fishing a place like that, would be that it would probably not put me in the mood to fish your own country rivers for sea trout, knowing that you've no chance in catching any fish like the ones you get over there.
I'm not knocking this at all GTB!
I know if I had the money, i'd be booking tomorrow.
 

GTB

New member
Hi jj1 The "Original" La Villa lodge unfortunately in 1989 caught fire one September evening and the whole building including all the historical records, lodge books and artefacts were all lost, the only part of the building that wasnt totally lost was the area where the snooker room was, and the snooker table is still original, when the pace was rebuilt they of course kept the same character of the building but with the modern amenities, e.g under floor heating, jacuzzi baths, hence you saw a diffrence in the pictures from your recollection.

haptonlad,
I never tire of the "Buzz" going out onto my own local river which is the River Leven part of the Loch Lomond system trying to catch a fish, although I have had successful trips to the Rio Grande as you say I have been very very lucky to catch the size of fish most people will only dream of, the Rio Grande is not like catching fish in a barrel!!! Yes if you hook one it will be no doubt be averaging 8Lbs and good chance double figures and one in twenty fish over 20Lbs its just as hard to catch them. My first trip I went three full days without even as much as a tug at the fly, the other angler I was fishing with, caught fish above and below me, fish rising everywhere and it just didnt happen. I then went out next morning and third cast had a fish at 25Lbs.
Thats what I really like about the place, you need to work hard for your fish and of course be able to cast in those horrific winds when they get up.

But im a carzy fisherman, just love to be out there on the water no matter where it is or what my chances are. As many people have said before its just waiting on the "tug" that keeps us all on the river.

Cheers GTB
 
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