Quillen River, Back After 20 Years

Finally after 20 years I got the chance to come back, to fly fish again at the Quillen River in the province of Neuquen in Argentina. We went there from Cordoba by car, we drove almost a for a full day till we got to the Alumine area where we had organized to stay at the famous Casa de Campo for 5 nights while we would be fishing in different rivers.

In our itinerary our first stop was the Quillen river, for we had decided to go with Christian, a friend and guide from Alumine.

_MGL0124.jpg

We arrived at Casa de Campo, our accommodation for the trip, and had a great meal with Dani and Marisa where we enjoyed some amazing pasta and nice red wine from Ventus Vineyard. Judging by the wine, we knew this experience was going to be unique. Ventus vineyard is an exclusive premium class wine produced by the first winery in the Province of Neuquen. Neuquen had been considered a desert for a long time, but it has now became an oasis for wine production given its unique characteristics. This highly awarded winery is called “La bodega del fin del mundo” The Winery from the End of the World, given its position in the southernmost part of Argentina.

After that delicious meal, we spend the night together with Juan and the following day we woke up early. At about 6.30, 6.45, we prepared our rods, our lines, all our flies, specially our dry flies and nymphs that would be the ones that we would use the most. We also prepared some sandwiches with tuna, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, and some special cheese that Juan brought for the occasion. We also took some water and gatorade for the day in a nice cooler. We were expecting a waiting day over big rocks and we were prepared to spend a lot of energy around. We picked up Cristian at around 9 am at Alumine with a selection of flies. We had our boxes packed with flies and a couple of minutes later we were driving in the direction of the river. It is not far away, just 20 minutes driving and we got to a middle area of the river where we got the lines in our rods, mostly number 3,4,5 rods, all with floating lines, long, long leads of 15 feet, normally a tippet in the front of the line to get a good presentation. We were always assuming a fish can break our tippet, especially if it gets tied around the trees in the water or the algae.

_MGL0047.jpg

Lets talk about the Quillen river for a while. It starts in the mouth of the Quillen lake and runs to the east for about 35 km before joining the Alumine waters. The Quillen river has profuse vegetation on its banks, being willow trees the most typical species.

For February the river had very low level of water and its temperature was kind of warm. We arrived in a very sunny and clear day. During the morning there was no wind, which was nice for fly casting but in a certain way the warm temperature of the water made it more difficult to get the nice fish because they were kind of non active during the morning. In the early morning there was no activity on top of the water but later in the morning the water got calm and we saw a lot of small fish. Unfortunately,  we lost two small fish. Juan lost one fish, he lost this nice fish even before we got the chance to see how big it was. Then something similar happened to me when the line got stuck in a branch of a tree. I was landing on the water and the fish got stuck around with this tippet and I did not have the chance to hold it. Cristian was helping us a lot changing flies. We moved to different spots looking for deep waters that most of the time were calm. We looked for correderas of water, channels of water, trying to get some fish. We saw some action in those channels but the fish were not really trophies. We caught a nice one that was about 15 inches that morning and a couple around 16-17 inches. After that we stopped for lunch, we had a nice lunch looking at the river.

_MGL0605.jpg

That lunch was amazing, we had some meat prepared by the guys of Casa de Campo and we had some great vegetable salads, too. It is nice to have some light food during the day in the water. We all met the other different groups fishing for lunch. We took a short nap, about 15-20 minutes some of us under the shades, others under the sun. When we recovered our energy we were ready to come back to the water.

Cristian, one of the guides, brought a special wine from Mendoza, where he is originally from. We appreciated that a lot. It was a really nice present from a friend. It was a nice invitation, a red Malbec wine. We decided to keep it for the evening though, save it to have it with some good cheese during a nice sunset at Casa de Campo. After lunch we decided to change the area so we came back to the pick up truck and we started to look for a different area after Christian’s suggestion. We had been in an place with lots of trees around in both sides of the river, which make it impossible to fly cast. We did the casting with the rods, the rods casting way. It was not easy, but we liked the challenge and we managed to cast the flies and present them in the right area where we were expecting to get the fish from.

Cristian was very polite, he helped us change the flies, made suggestions, and fixed leaders. Like our friend from Santiago del Estero province said, “if you’re not getting your flies in the trees, you’re not fishing.” We tried to put the flies in the last little corner looking for a trophy.

_MGL0217.jpg

During the day Cristian was nice to invite us to fly fish in Mendoza province. There’s a couple of rivers he’d like us to go fish with him. It’s in our bucket list now! A new challenge to go to Mendoza and  see how the fishing works over there and maybe visit some wineries, too.

We had to use loads of sunscreen because the sun was really strong. We were wearing our long sleeves Columbia shirts and nsilta shirts, we were also using buffs to protect ourselves, Simms waders and fly fishing gloves and boots.

We used Sage rods, the zxl, Sage 1, Sage Approach and Sage Method. We found this latest was the better for this waters, it was stronger and we enjoyed it a lot. Sage Approach number 3 was kind of short but very interesting when we caught fish. Sage 6 feet was very challenging for this rivers. By the afternoon when the wind picked up and started blowing stronger we put the rod number 3 in the case and we decided to continue fishing with rods number 4 and 5, specially a Sage 5. It was very helpful.

The day went by very quickly. We could not believe it when we saw it was 6.30 and time to make our way back to the lodge! We were going to meet Rell Tipton, a friend coming from Cordoba where he had been wingshooting; he was joining us for the rest of the fishing trip.

_MGL0052

We finally met Rell Tipton that evening at Casa de Campo. He made a great connection: Cordoba, Buenos Aires, San Martin de los Andes. He left in the morning and he landed around 1.30 pm at San  Martin de los Andes in Neuquen Province. Someone from our staff picked him up and took him straight to the river and Rell had some action over there and after some hours he continued driving up north to Casa Campo. 

Casa de Campo is a beautiful lodge located in the town of Alumine in the province of Neuquen. This lodge offers the unique calm typical of rural settings in the foothills of The Andes. Marisa and Dani, the lodge owners, offer the guests the most comfortable experience and wonderful breakfasts in a lodge that offers great accommodations.

The day had been really good to us, a good beginning for our trip! We enjoyed a delicious dinner together with the Malbec wine Cristian had given us. That night we were all excited for the days we had ahead.

Stay tuned and check the following reports about the rest of our experience in Patagonia!

 

Pablo Aguilo

Director

Pointer Outfitters

Advertisements

Fishing for Dorado in Rio Parana

Imagine this. An unexploited river delta stretching for hundreds of miles with countless of Dorado spots, situated in a truly amazing environment. Then add that you’ll probably be fishing with the best guides available for coming days. Goosebumps!

 

IMG_2296.jpg

After a long trip from Sweden with a midnight arrival at the lodge I was nicely greeted with some great food along with the game-plan of our adventure. I was teamed up with Federico, a chef & guide from Cordoba and Ramon, the local guide and host of the lodge. I’ve been on similar trips before, but none were the guides were just as excited to fish as their guests. Young and hungry for adventure, no doubts, this was going to be something special.

Early rise, big breakfast, 5 layers of sunscreen, hit the water and start the chase. This was my first time fly-fishing the legendary river Dorado, and wow – This.Is.A.Beast! 

IMG_3107

Know as the Tiger of the river, these guys have a temper and strong territorial behaviour. No need to sneak and be dead quite when you approach, just keep an eye out for activity along the shoreline where they lure for prey. With big flies you can hit the water hard. Try to disturb and trigger their attacks.

You know when you get it right as you’ll probably have an angry Dorado on the other end. Acrobatic jumps, heavy deep pumps and blistering runs…they offer the vast portfolio of tricks to get rid off the fly. Priceless fights plus many screams of excitement from the team… And don’t forget to celebrate your successful catch with some ‘tradicíon’ – a sip of whiskey!

IMG_3118

Over three days we mounted up 40h of fishing and we never returned to the same spot. There are countless of opportunities on each corner or current. But make sure you save some energy for the Hora Dorada, the golden hour (20-21:00h).

This is when the big boys come out for dinner. In this time frame – we had +20 strikes, we had Dorados attacking other Dorados, we broken flies from vicious piranhas (that will show no mercy), we had crocodile on the shoreline, birds scouting for prey and 10 something cows swimming by the boat. Action everywhere and non stop fun! Personally, I caught 34 Dorados (…and 34 sips of tradicion) with fish ranging from 1lbs-12lbs.

IMG_2427

Jump on the plane, take the overnight bus from Buenos Aires and you’ll find yourself in this unforgettable environment with great people! Many thanks for the service, the food and the fishing.

See you soon Pointer!

Saludos,

Markus

A Legendary Adventure

Fly anglers are a different sort as many of you know. An immediate bond is created between perfect strangers when the discussion of fly fishing comes up in conversation, which frequently does.

BLOGG8

I realize I’m biased on this topic but, seriously, can you imagine having an animated impassioned conversation with a perfect stranger if you were, say, a thimble collector? No offense to thimble collectors but the passion and the experiences just aren’t the same.

Evidence is found in the fly angler’s willingness to travel far and wide, crossing oceans and continents, just to have an opportunity to fly fish new water with new friends who may not even speak your language. Such is the case with Argentina, and with Andes Drifters out of San Martin de los Andes in particular.

BLOGG1.jpg

The trout of Argentina are legendary of course. But it’s more than this. It’s the entire adventure; the land, the history, the people. When you leave Buenos Aires and then Bariloche on your way to San Martin, you actually feel your mind and body changing pace. You’re with new friends now in a different world than the one you left back home. And it’s comfortable yet full of anticipation.

You’re fly fishing for world class brown and rainbow trout in a variety of settings. Each day is different yet tailored to your desires. Day one may be wade fishing the mouth of a river where it enters a lake. Tiny minnows are migrating from the lake to the river to spawn and huge trout are following them. It’s a feeding blitz like you’ve never seen in freshwater.

BLOGG9

Day two can find you on a crystal clear glacial lake carved out of the Andes eons ago. You’re fishing big attractor dry flies as the winds pick up and create enough disturbance on the surface to bring up cruising browns and rainbows looking for a meal.

The morning of your third day finds you standing at river’s edge watching a magnificently choreographed beehive of activity as the guides and support staff load rafts for an overnighter on the Collon Cura River. The camp staff will move on downstream of the anglers and have everything set up by the time you step out on land at day’s end. A gourmet meal and the famous Malbec wine await you. As you drift off to sleep, you wonder if tomorrow can possibly be as good as today. The answer; Yes, yes it can.

In all my travels, Gustavo Hiebaum and his staff at Andes Drifters are second to none. They are the friendliest, most accommodating group you’ll find and they show it in their eagerness to insure your complete satisfaction. If you want a break from fishing, they have a myriad of other activities available from hiking and biking to art galleries and sailing from which you may choose.

 

Jimmy Harris

Courtesy of Andes Drifters

Alphonse Island The Dream

I have seen a great video some months ago, and for the first time in my life I had found out what a Giant Trevally or a GT looks like! Amazing!

low_80070.jpg

No many times in my life I had the feeling that there was something I had to do in the next 24 months to be extremely happy, and I promise myself I will go there no matter what. So, I had thought to call them and get reservations for 2017 for a group of 6 people, and since then I had started thinking, who will be those six crazy fly fishermen that will come with me to this lost place in Paradise.

alphonse 2

The fishing looks crazy. There are 7 species there but really one epic fish, the giant trevally. I have seen one of the most amazing videos about GT made by 7 degrees south 30 sec teaser. I would like to share this link in this report because is such an amazing video, that I would like every one of my friends to enjoy it:

7 degrees south 30 sec teaser

I hope you had as much fun and joy watching that video as I still do every time I have the pleasure to watch it. Adrenaline!!!

alphonse 6

So, it was funny; where the heck is Alphonse Island? No idea.

Only google maps can help, right?

But the surprise was when I had seen the island is as big as the land trip, and I was working with the zoom in my screen, and only water, and salt water and more water… only water, and finally I had seen another small island, Desroches Island. At that time, in your screen you will see nothing, just water!!! NOTHING! Just water!!! I want to be there!! And I had continue playing with the zoom and finally I had seen Seychelles!!! We are in the Indic Ocean. Desroches is only a little bigger than Alphonse! Just a little biger LOL

I am on my way to Alphonse! It is a dream! And I would like to do it with 5 more friends!

So I had started reading about it and this is what I have found out in their website:

Considered a fly anglers paradise, the expansive sea flats surrounding the atolls of Alphonse and St Francois provide the fly fishing experience of a lifetime. This spectacular wilderness has ten thousand acres of white sand flats, which provide easy wading and world class site fishing. The atolls are home to incredibly large populations of Bonefish, 3 different types of Triggerfish, Barracuda, Snapper, Grouper, Permit, Parrotfish, 8 species of Trevally (including the Giant Trevally), and the incomparable Milkfish.

alphonse 4

This diversity gives anglers the opportunity to target a myriad of different species during their stay. The St Francois fishery caters for just 12 fly anglers at a time to maintain exclusivity and sustainability. To ensure guests the ultimate fishing experience, an international team of knowledgeable guides and qualified managers are on hand to share their passion for this unique fishery and its environment. Anglers are transferred for the short run from Alphonse to St François lagoon by the 40′ mother ship to where the skiffs are kept anchored.

The fishing is very much tide dependent so the prevailing conditions will dictate which species you will focus on. You are then able to access the vast expanse of flats, lagoons, channels and reefs which spoil anglers in the choice of environment and species for which they would like to hunt. The accommodation at Alphonse is amongst some of the most comfortable you will encounter at any fly fishing destination in the world.

I am excited, and I hope you get excited too. We are going!

So, what to do now? Just send an email and get in touch.

So I have called …

Pablo Aguilo

Owner

Pointer Outfitters

Another Great Fly Fishing Adventure in Cuba

For this time we were planning to be in Punta del Este area, which is the southeast side of Gardens of the Queen.

4H8A0724.jpg

Gardens of the Queen is about 80 miles long and 10 miles wide, so it is a huge territory for water with amazing colours like green, violet, pink, blue and white. Everytime you move through the flat, the scenery changes, every time the sun comes up to the sky, the colours of this places change and make this place a paradise.

After all these years of going to Cuba for fly fishing, this was a special occasionbecause my friend from Houston, Rell Tipton, decided to join me and so we went there fly fishing together.

I’ve met Rell many years ago when his son was 13 years old, and it has always been a pleasure for me to be in touch with him and hunt with him through the years, but this time is unique for us because is our first time fly fishing together.

His son Parker has visited us in Argentina and stayed there for an internship and hosting at our lodges. Park is a professional Fly Fishing guide. He spends his time in Colorado, Argentina. He is a great kid, 24 years old, so we hope to continue doing many things together through the years.

4H8A0303.jpg

 

Now, coming back to Cuba, we decided to go to Gardens of the Queen and our goal was to try to go for the big Tarpon – 60 to 100 pounds Tarpon-. This is something that does not happen all year round. The transition happens from late April to June or even late June. So, because of our latest request to go fishing we ended up finding a beautiful spot in Hooker.

Hooker is a small village where most of the boats for fly fishing depart on friday and leave for an entire week.

For this occasion, we brought some Sage rods, number 12 sold model for big tarpon. Sage reels, Sage rods, everything was ready. We also brought number 10 rods for some Permit and number 8 to fly fish Bonefish. I would always recommend to have three different types of rods, because sometimes we are searching for Bonefish and we see a Tarpon, or we are looking for permit and we see a Bonefish. So you should always be ready.

4H8A0269.jpg

We knew we would meet our friends from Scotland, Ian and Mark, two great guys that were on a different boat. We had to join them to share this amazing experience with a bunch of friends from North America and two other guys from Germany.

So, six days and six nights for fly fishing in the middle of nowhere at Gardens of the Queen.

We are two blocks away from La Floridita, and about six or seven blocks from La Bodeguita Del Medio, two very famous places in which you can go and drink and smoke great cigars. In those places there’s live music every day and night, there’s a lot of people going there to grab a beer. There are, of course, some other places like Agua de Oro, which is very nice and, apart from tourists, you can see many local people going to that place too, to drink some mojitos, ron and ice-cold beers too.

4H8A0022.jpg

The logistics to get to Hooker Apart was not as easy as we thought it would be. They picked us up very early in the morning and then drove us from Havana to Hooker, which was like a five hours drive, and then we had to take a boat to get to Gardens of the Queen. Somehow, that is what makes this place so special, because, once you get there, you really feel like you are in a completely different world.

This time, we were very lucky. It was a great week because all of the best guides were there, and I had the chance to fly fish with Bemba, who is a great guy that has been for more than fifteen years fly fishing in Cuba as a guide. Bemba did an extremely good job taking me and Rell to where the fish was. We’ve been searching the waters a lot for a big Tarpon, and we tried out different things. We went Fly Fishing in Punta del Este, a place in which you have to be very patience because, what you have to do is that you have to hold the boat with an anchor and wait till you see the big fish coming, and when that happens, you have to be ready because you will only have one or two chances, and if you screw that up, you are not going to be lucky again. We would say that probably 50 or 60 percent of our flycast was short or too long and we were not lucky.

4H8A0336.jpg

Lets talk about  the good ones, the cast that was followed by the Tarpon. In my case, I had an amazing day in Punta del Este, because three different Tarpons, big Tarpons, came to my fly, followed my fly, and I remember I lost the first one because, when I wanted to catch him, he was not able to get the fly in his mouth, but the other two were not good enough.That happened in between an hour and can’t tell you how frustrated I was, but then, my friend Rell, was at the top of the boat and he was able to catch a beautiful Tarpon of probably 60 pounds, and I say probably because something unique happened. He was fighting with this animal, we saw him jumping, but then, the fish got closer to the boat and while he was trying to catch him, my friend put the line inside it. We fought with that fish but we couldn’t take the picture we needed as a memory of that great moment.

It was amazing. Rell is a great person to go fishing with. He lets you fish alone , he gives you space so you can fish and be amazing at it, so, when you meet someone like Rell and you are with him on the water, is incredible. I wish I could do this many more times.

To get to Cuba nowadays is becoming easier. There are many flights from Florida, through Mexico, and also some flights straight from Houston. Going from Argentina is easy; I took a flight from Cordoba to Panama and then to Habana.I met Rell in Habana on a friday afternoon. We both stayed at Parque Central Hotel, which is a very great option because  is located just on the Habana Vieja part where Obispo street is, place in which you have most of the restaurants, bars and music is.

4H8A0629.jpg

This time, before leaving to Cuba, I decided to take very light pants because in July, Cuba is hot and quite wet. So I took some Patagonia light pants and Asilta pants, too.Asilta is an Argentinean brand that has been growing a lot and has also a great potential. This company makes amazing clothing and I personally think they should be on the hands of somebody that want to do some business with this type of companies.

I’ve also tried a blue shirt from Ansilta that worked really good. It was very light and fresh and, of course, comfortable, as well as some blue and grey long sleeve t-shirts from Patagonia.

So, now, let me tell you about another amazing experience;the second day.

On this day, Bemba told us about a blue hole inside the ocean that was a little far away from the coast. So we did like fifteen or twenty minutes on boat until we got to this place in which the colour of the water was different and Bemba told us that there was a huge rock on that place and that the fish was around that rock, so, to fly fish on that place was quite tricky and different so we had to do a long long cast with a sinking line and let it sink for about three or four minutes so the line would have time to go deeply inside the ocean.

4H8A0685.jpg

I did that a couple of times, but then, I was surprised that I was hooked by a sixty pounds Tarpon that fought us like crazy for twenty minutes- I can say that he jumped out of the water like fifteen or sixteen times- and there was a moment when I decided to put a little bit +of extra pressure to the lines so it would be time to bring him to the boat,a dn so that little pressure on one of the fish’s jumps made me lose my fly and my Tarpon. The feeling of disappointment was really strong. It took me like half of hour to recover from that episode. So, in order to do that, I told Rell to go to the front of the boat to fly fish while I was grabbing a beer and trying to calm down a bit. In the other hand, I must admit that it was an amazing feeling to be fighting with that incredible animal. It was a challenge that I’m willing to face again soon.

Another thing about Cuba is that it always depends on what would you like to do. There are areas for everything and just that. You can fly fish in Gardens of the Queen on a luxurious boat, or you can stay in La Patana, which is a boat that is kind of parked in the middle of nowhere, or even stay in smaller boats. I would recommend you to check with us the kind of fishing trip you would like to have so we can give advise on the likes or dislikes that you may have.

4H8A0496.jpg

Talking about flies, there’s not much to say about that. I guess that in every single fly shop in North America, as well as in Latin America, if you go and say that you are going fly fishing to Cuba, they will know what are you talking about and they will help you the best way possible. Just in case, I would recommend you to use the Avalon flythat works amazingly for Permit.

Another thing I would recommend everyone to do before going to fly fish to Cuba is to double check the gear and equipment information so you bring all the necessary stuff like sunscreen, gloves, hats, buffs, sunglasses, comfortable shoes, everything!

4H8A0573.jpgGoing back to the fishing, I want to mention that we also had Coqui with us that week. He is one of the beginners on that company, but he is well known for being one of the best Permit guides on the southern part of Cuba. He is a great guy, talented and polite, and I think every person that loves doing Permit Fishing should meet Coqui for sure.

So this weeks we fished a lot of Tarpons, baby and big ones, and also a couple of bonefish just to change some days because the Tarpon fishing was kind of slow and I think it was because the weather and the moon were playing against us and so probably that affected a little bit our fishing days.

Great days with great people made this trip to be another amazing fly fishing adventure in Cuba.

Stay tuned for the next incredible adventures we have ahead!

Pablo Aguiló

Owner

Pointer Outfitters

4H8A0634.jpg
Testimonial:
I was fortunate to be invited by Pablo Aquilo to join him in May of 2106 for a saltwater fly fishing trip to Cuba. We fished one of the most well known areas in Cuba known as the Jardines de la Reina. We stayed on a large boat named the Avalon Fleet II. The trip was about one week in duration. We spent one night in Havana upon arrival as well as one night in Havana upon departure. This was my first trip to Cuba. Pablo has been saltwater fly fishing in Cuba a few times.
 
The guides and staff were great. The amount of fishable water in the Jardines de la Reina was staggering. Lots of good sized bonefish. We put hooks in lot of tarpon that were 15 to 60 plus pounds. We were told that at different times in the year you are able to get multiple shots at 100 plus pound tarpon. We also had shots at a few permit. A couple of young fellows from Germany who were on the boat with us caught a number of sharks using their fly fishing gear. 
 
It was a great experience and I very much appreciated the opportunity to tag along with Pablo. The most interesting discovery made on the trip was that Pablo is a better fly fisherman than shooter.
 
Rell Tipton

 

Llao Llao Hotel: Great combo for Cast & Blast!

Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, San Carlos de Bariloche

Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, San Carlos de Bariloche

“Las Peñas” Lodge

“Las Peñas” Lodge

At Pointer Fly Fishing we offer a great combo for cast & blast. First we have dove hunt in Cordoba at the luxurious “Las Peñas” lodge; and then, rainbow trout fly fishing in Bariloche at the elegant “LLao Llao Hotel and Resort”.

Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing

Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing

Dove Hunting at Las Peñas Lodge

Dove Hunting at Las Peñas Lodge

Las Peñas Lodge

The hunting lodge itself is a client favorite, and over the years, has drawn plenty of critical acclaim from industry insiders. The lodge has been completely renovated in 2010 to meet the absolute highest standards of excellence.

baja_emails_1024tn_bajamf_2010_140-101

The Lodge perfectly blends the charm of “old-world” Argentina with contemporary luxury, and offers 5-star amenities seldom found at hunting lodges. The Lodge sits on an immaculately-kept boutique estancia, and has an inglenook den, an outdoor fire pit lounge and a formal dining area.

baja_emails_1024tn_bajamf_2010_140-39

Llao Llao Hotel & Resort

Located in the tourist resort of San Carlos de Bariloche within the province of Río Negro, Argentina, this famous hotel is situated in the foothills of the Andes on a hill between the Moreno Lake and NahuelHuapi Lakes.

Amazing view

Amazing view

This unique hotel has everything a guest could ask: a spa with the most modern techniques for men and women blend with delicate aromas and scents creating the perfect atmosphere for relaxation and enjoyment.

llaollao3

Outdoors swimming pool

The hotel also counts with a golf course surrounded by perfect Patagonian scenery. 18-hole golf course with rolling fairways, stunning greens and perfectly integrated bunkers.

Like the combo?

More information at http://www.pointerflyfishing.com