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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

 

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The Secluded Paradise

The location we were fishing was located halfway to Carlos Paz, through a national park, on a local rancher’s private property. The area itself was gorgeous. Large rock structures jutted from the ground reaching high into the air.

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The terrain was composed of hills covered in sparsely grown shrubs and high grass. The river itself was beautiful, crystal clear with plenty of natural rock formations providing cover for countless Brooke trout. The sun was out and a nice breeze continually swept through the area. Occasionally, a lazy cloud drifted across the sky providing fifteen to twenty minutes of cover. If you saw the fish most likely they saw you as well, making it an intriguing game of predator and prey.

I accompanied Jason, Sam, Juan, Augustin, and Martin today. Our guides, Augustine and Martin, were very excited as we started rigging up the gear. They had fished the day before making sure to scope out the area before our arrival.

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Clearly, they were pleased with the amount of fish and their aggression. Today we were using two four weight fly rods and a three weight rod. Our flies were nymph and moth patterns, exclusively dry flies. We finished setting up and began our walk to the river which was only a couple hundred meters away. As soon as we arrived at the water’s edge, Martin pointed out a small pool behind a large rock with close to fifteenBrooke trout in it. Martin beckoned for me to make the first cast. I complied and was delighted to see a Brooky leap from the water, devouring the fly in one graceful jump. Oh, this was going to be a fantastic day! Setting the hook a bit too hard, the trout flew onto the bank. I picked it up gently and washed it in the stream, slowly releasing it back into the current. It swam quickly back to its starting location where it joined its fellow Brookies.

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I looked to my companions faces and saw excitement strewn about their features. They were anxious and ready to start fishing. The river contained an innumerable amount of spots where hungry fish waited. They would not be disappointed this day. Sam and Jason began fishing. Each were inexperienced with a fly rod, yet their guides were solid fisherman and immediately began giving helpful hints. They were quick learners and adjusted their techniques accordingly. Soon after they mastered the basics of the fly rod, they began catching fish. One, six, ten, fifteen. The fish kept striking and Jason and Sam kept bringing them ashore. The average fish we caught was around half a pound, its length anywhere from six to twelve inches. Before we knew it, lunch time was upon us. We headed back to the vehicles.

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Martin and Augustine set up the table for lunch and we all sat comfortably, enjoying the scenery while snacking on a picada. The picada was composed of pickled vegetables, salami, duck pate, cheese, and sliced bread. A delicious appetizer to enjoy while our eyes wandered over the terrain and we shared stories, laughing and grinning in turn. The main course was grilled chicken sandwiches. They were filled with avocado, bell peppers, succulent diced chicken breast, and onions. A light splash of lime juice to add a wonderfully tangy flavor. Martin’s wife is quite the cook! Lastly, for dessert, we had arroz con leche. It was a creamy consistency of rice and milk. A light cinnamon flavor gave it a refreshing taste, cleansing our pallets. As always we have wine, beer, soda, tea, coffee, or water to accompany your meal. All said and done, it was delicious and filling. Finished with lunch, we headed back to the river.

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The rest of the day played out as you might expect. We caught Brooky after Brooky. Their aggression and quantity never faltered throughout the day. The last thirty minutes of our trip, I had wandered ahead a couple hundred meters in front of our group. I casted behind a large rock and watched my fly float nonchalantly for a moment. Then magic occurred. A large brooke struck the fly with a ferocity unmatched by any fish I had caught earlier that day. The fight was exquisite, bringing about a goofy grin to mark my countenance. I slowly tired the fish and brought him to the bank. It was by farone of the biggest fish in the river. It weighed around four pounds and was twenty-two inches in length. I looked around shouting for my companions. They were nowhere to be seen. My heart sank. Every fisherman knows proof is in the pudding. If I didn’t have someone to see me catch this fish, there was no way anyone would believe me when I recounted the story. So, I unhooked the fly and started running up the side of the river. Every ten seconds dipping the fish in the water, allowing water to run through its gills, making sure it could breathe easily. I repeated the procedure for a couple hundred meters until I finally saw my companions. I yelled excitedly beckoning them to come look at the monster I had caught. They quickly hurried over and took pictures. I kept the fish in the water, gently moving water over its gills, then releasing it with a sigh of pleasure. The Brooke moved swiftly into the current and then out of sight. A great way to wrap up the day. Later, before we left, Martin told me that there were maybe fifteen fish in the entirety of that river so large. It’s good to be lucky!

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Finished fishing, we headed back to the vehicles. We were all feeling quite tired and looking forward to a relaxing evening. We were lucky to have such fantastic guideswho provided such a wonderful fishing experience! As always, Pointer Fly Fishingdelivered in full.

Don’t cry for me Argentina!

Parker Tipton

Host & Guide

Pointer Outfitters

A trip to remember

The morning of that day started really nice. Weather was good but too windy. We woke up at the camp and started fishing at 9 am. Wind was behind us complicating the casting and the fishing but we managed to catch a really nice trout, doing a long and forced casting, from the back of a rock.

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After fighting against the weather, we finally caught a nice Rainbow trout of 19 inches in the second try,  throwing the fly to the exact place. That was the prettiest fish of the day.

That morning was spectacular. David fished with Gonzalo, as a guide, and I did it with Lieutenant Dan. We had lots of little catches but we lost three fish. In the middle of the morning, the temperature changed, so we had to use some nymphs Cooper Johnsize 10 and 12, because of the little activity in the surface.

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At lunch time, wind was getting stronger. We ate, under some willow trees alongside the river, meet and salad. That afternoon was really complicated because of the strong wind.

The zone changed; there were almost no trees beside the river, but there were longer sliders in which we caught 5 nice fish. All afternoon long was about catching 10 and 12 fish, but at the end of the river there were no fishing activity at all.

There was a really interesting moment when we were in a huge and deep slider; we left the fly go 40 yards and at the end of the slider, we let the fly cross down and so we caught a really nice trout that cut our leader. That was the biggest trout of the day and we had to fish it with this new kind of method because wind was not letting us present the fly propperly casting normally.

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On that four day of fly fishing we used fishing rods 5 with floating lines leaders 4X and flies Parachut Hoppers cadies and Cooper John. Also Pointer Fly Fishing shirts with inner layer and long sleeves Nike.

For something as important as protecting our body, we wore original Buff Gloves that are a special polar fleece that blocks 95% of the wind for great protection against cold, great for running, walking, biking and many other outdoor activities like fly fishing, Buff Neckwarmer to protect ourselves from the wind and sun; fleece and a drawstring for quick conversion from neck to headwear, a knitted outer layer combined with a Polartec fleece inner layer, super thermal product.

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Another brand that we like using, (and we have been using the past three days) when it comes to waders and boots, it’s Simms.

This brand is one of the best in terms of protection because it is a fishing company. Founded on the pillars of innovation, it strives to build the highest quality products to keep anglers dry, comfortable, and protected from the elements – no matter the conditions.

The Company was the brainchild of visionary angler John Simms who saw a need to develop better waders and accessories than what was then available on the market. That quest led to the development of Simms Fishing Products in 1980. During that era, Simms was one of the first companies worldwide to introduce neoprene waders, which provided enhanced warmth and waterproofing gear for serious anglers pushing the limits of their fishing pursuits.

Today, Simms continues to take the fishing market by storm with a trained eye on fisheries conservation and inspired product development of the world’s premier technical fishing apparel, footwear, and equipment.

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At the end of  the day, we stayed at Maiten Lodge located 30 minutes from the lake, and at 7 pm we were ready for Pizza and a couple of cold Stella Artois.

See you next time.

Pablo Aguilo

Director

Pointer Outfitters

The Stormy Highlands of Cordoba

The fishing in the highlands of Cordoba: On a typical day in the highlands, you will be using a 3 to 5 weight rod. Depending on the weather, the fly will be a dropper or a dry fly. Usually the fish range from 1 pound to 3 pounds and average length is between 4 to 13 inches.

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The rain drizzles. Thunder roars in the distance. Cold wind blows, chilling our bones. Another great day of fishing in the hills of Argentina! The river is beautiful, clear, and full of fish. Martin, our guide, did not lie about the quantity of fish. Rainbow and Brown trout are abundant and hungry. If only the weather would allow us to continue fishing. We huddle for warmth inside the car, waiting for a break in the storm. The river beckons to us. The storm laughs at us, producing hail in a quick flurry.

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Something mystical starts to occur, the clouds part and the sun peaks its way through for the first time. The downpour turns to a drizzle and then stops completely. It’s still cold, but we can handle that baby! Bill begins his trek up river with Martin. They stop at a beautiful area where fast water meets slow, eddying around various submerged rocks. We are surrounding by mountains on all sides, mist clinging to them lazily floating from one peak to the next. The scenery is gorgeous, as it should be, considering the drive to the remote river, nestled in private property, took us an hour up rough roads.

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I turn my attention back to Bill and Martin. Martin is expertly tying a dropper on the end of the fly line. A nymph mimic with black hair around the base leading up to red fringe around the collar. With the rod ready, Bill perched upon a rock, it was time for the fishing to commence. Slowly, he started casting. Five to ten minutes pass, nothing happens. I see frustration creep to the edge of his features. We move down the river to another promising spot. Again he begins casting. This time with luck on his side, his rod tip bends towards the water.  A monster, five kilos at least, thrashing on his line. His features light up, twisting and turning, trying to handle this six kilo rainbow.

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Luckily, Martin got his net out in time to safely subdue the seven kilo rainbow. Bill almost falling in the water battling the titan let out a sigh of relief, glad to be finished with such terrible exertion. All said and done, Martin pulled the nine kilo rainbow from the net, and gingerly handed it to Bill. Bill, struggling with the weight, frantically waited for Juan to take the picture. Juan, master photographer and videographer, quickly took the necessary shots before Bill passed out from the weight. It took all three of us and a small crane to strap the fish on top of the truck. By this time, the rainbow was at least thirty kilos and still growing. What in the world did they put in this river?

Well, at least that how fishing stories go don’t they? The fish was actually a little more than a pound and just under twelve inches. It put up a great fight however and had gorgeous coloring. It was the biggest fish caught that day. Most of the fish we caught were four to five inches and well under a pound. If you are looking for those monsters, then South Patagonia is the place to be!

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We settled down for lunch, enjoying a “la picada” before our main dish. Pablo makes sure there are three courses to every meal, in every operation he runs. Whether said meal is in the field or at one of his many lodges, the food is always filling and spectacularly tasty. A “la picada” is a sort of appetizer platter, with a variety of meat, cheese, and pickled goodies. Our next course was a sandwich, either beef or chicken, with delightful relishes upon it. Lastly, we had a milk chocolate or dulce de leche custard with sugary breadcrumbs. A great way to finish out the day. All said and done we caught nine fish that day. A great day with fantastic people and delicious food, the fishing wasn’t all that bad either!

Don’t cry for me Argentina!

Park Tipton

Host and Guide

Pointer Outfitters

 

Third day at Chimehuin River

Today is the third day of fly fishing in our beautiful country Argentina. We woke up in a quite spectacular morning with no wind at all. After having a quick breakfast, we went down through the Quilquihue River to the Chimehuin River.

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From there, we did a floated fishing and we stand by turns; sometimes I was at the front and sometimes at the back. We had to change flies several times until we found out that a particular one worked very well; a nymph that goes under the water calledCopper John 50.

Another brand that we like using when it comes to waders and boots, it’s Simms.

This brand is one of the best in terms of protection because it is a fishing company.  Founded on the pillars of innovation, it strives to build the highest quality products to keep anglers dry, comfortable, and protected from the elements – no matter the conditions. The Company was the brainchild of visionary angler John Simms who saw a need to develop better waders and accessories than what was then available on the market. That quest led to the development of Simms Fishing Products in 1980. During that era, Simms was one of the first companies worldwide to introduce neoprene waders, which provided enhanced warmth and waterproofing gear for serious anglers pushing the limits of their fishing pursuits. Today, Simms continues to take the fishing market by storm with a trained eye on fisheries conservation and inspired product development of the worlds premier technical fishing apparel, footwear, and equipment.

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We have also been using original Buff Gloves that are a special polar fleece that blocks 95% of the wind for great protection against cold, great for running, walking, biking and many other outdoor activities like fly fishing, Buff Neckwarmer to protect ourselves from the wind and sun; fleece and a drawstring for quick conversion from neck to headwear, a knitted outer layer combined with a Polartec fleece inner layer, super thermal product.

In the middle of the morning, we managed to catch many great trouts from under a place filled with fallen logs. That place gave paid us with three beautiful trouts of 18 and 20 inches. David did a great job. Most of the time he chose dry flies and, even though he did not want to use any nymph, he caught a couple of trouts of 16 and 18 inches.

At lunch time, we did something like a camp in a pretty place in a shade of a beach. We had a nice surprise when a domestic duck joined us and ate next to us.

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After that super nice lunch, we went fishing again. The afternoon was great but at the end it was really windy. Juan did his first casting and caught his very first brown troutof 16 inches. He was really excited and happy; it was incredible.

In that afternoon, wind was with us all the time, which complicated the casting but not the fishing. We did a camp next to the Chimehuin river and when we got there, they were waiting for us with dinner ready. We ate Patagonian lamb with grilled vegetables, always accompanied with red wine from a famous winery of Mendoza.

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After a few drinks, the day was over and we went to sleep and get some rest before another day of fly fishing adventures.

Pablo Aguilo

Director

Pointer Outfitters

The Secluded Paradise

The location we were fishing was located halfway to Carlos Paz, through a national park, on a local rancher’s private property. The area itself was gorgeous. Large rock structures jutted from the ground reaching high into the air.

IMG_GR_testimonials1460754766

The terrain was composed of hills covered in sparsely grown shrubs and high grass. The river itself was beautiful, crystal clear with plenty of natural rock formations providing cover for countless Brooke trout. The sun was out and a nice breeze continually swept through the area. Occasionally, a lazy cloud drifted across the sky providing fifteen to twenty minutes of cover. If you saw the fish most likely they saw you as well, making it an intriguing game of predator and prey.

I accompanied Jason, Sam, Juan, Augustin, and Martin today. Our guides, Augustine and Martin, were very excited as we started rigging up the gear. They had fished the day before making sure to scope out the area before our arrival.

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Clearly, they were pleased with the amount of fish and their aggression. Today we were using two four weight fly rods and a three weight rod. Our flies were nymph and moth patterns, exclusively dry flies. We finished setting up and began our walk to the river which was only a couple hundred meters away. As soon as we arrived at the water’s edge, Martin pointed out a small pool behind a large rock with close to fifteenBrooke trout in it. Martin beckoned for me to make the first cast. I complied and was delighted to see a Brooky leap from the water, devouring the fly in one graceful jump. Oh, this was going to be a fantastic day! Setting the hook a bit too hard, the trout flew onto the bank. I picked it up gently and washed it in the stream, slowly releasing it back into the current. It swam quickly back to its starting location where it joined its fellow Brookies.

IMG_GR_testimonials1460753940

I looked to my companions faces and saw excitement strewn about their features. They were anxious and ready to start fishing. The river contained an innumerable amount of spots where hungry fish waited. They would not be disappointed this day. Sam and Jason began fishing. Each were inexperienced with a fly rod, yet their guides were solid fisherman and immediately began giving helpful hints. They were quick learners and adjusted their techniques accordingly. Soon after they mastered the basics of the fly rod, they began catching fish. One, six, ten, fifteen. The fish kept striking and Jason and Sam kept bringing them ashore. The average fish we caught was around half a pound, its length anywhere from six to twelve inches. Before we knew it, lunch time was upon us. We headed back to the vehicles.

Martin and Augustine set up the table for lunch and we all sat comfortably, enjoying the scenery while snacking on a picada. The picada was composed of pickled vegetables, salami, duck pate, cheese, and sliced bread. A delicious appetizer to enjoy while our eyes wandered over the terrain and we shared stories, laughing and grinning in turn. The main course was grilled chicken sandwiches. They were filled with avocado, bell peppers, succulent diced chicken breast, and onions. A light splash of lime juice to add a wonderfully tangy flavor. Martin’s wife is quite the cook! Lastly, for dessert, we had arroz con leche. It was a creamy consistency of rice and milk. A light cinnamon flavor gave it a refreshing taste, cleansing our pallets. As always we have wine, beer, soda, tea, coffee, or water to accompany your meal. All said and done, it was delicious and filling. Finished with lunch, we headed back to the river.

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The rest of the day played out as you might expect. We caught Brooky after Brooky. Their aggression and quantity never faltered throughout the day. The last thirty minutes of our trip, I had wandered ahead a couple hundred meters in front of our group. I casted behind a large rock and watched my fly float nonchalantly for a moment. Then magic occurred. A large brooke struck the fly with a ferocity unmatched by any fish I had caught earlier that day. The fight was exquisite, bringing about a goofy grin to mark my countenance. I slowly tired the fish and brought him to the bank. It was by farone of the biggest fish in the river. It weighed around four pounds and was twenty-two inches in length. I looked around shouting for my companions. They were nowhere to be seen. My heart sank. Every fisherman knows proof is in the pudding. If I didn’t have someone to see me catch this fish, there was no way anyone would believe me when I recounted the story. So, I unhooked the fly and started running up the side of the river. Every ten seconds dipping the fish in the water, allowing water to run through its gills, making sure it could breathe easily. I repeated the procedure for a couple hundred meters until I finally saw my companions. I yelled excitedly beckoning them to come look at the monster I had caught. They quickly hurried over and took pictures. I kept the fish in the water, gently moving water over its gills, then releasing it with a sigh of pleasure. The Brooke moved swiftly into the current and then out of sight. A great way to wrap up the day. Later, before we left, Martin told me that there were maybe fifteen fish in the entirety of that river so large. It’s good to be lucky!

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Finished fishing, we headed back to the vehicles. We were all feeling quite tired and looking forward to a relaxing evening. We were lucky to have such fantastic guideswho provided such a wonderful fishing experience! As always, Pointer Fly Fishingdelivered in full.

Don’t cry for me Argentina!

Parker Tipton

Host & Guide

Pointer Outfitters

Tanzania Tigerfish

The last few weeks of any busy season can really seem to drag on for a jaded guide, and days and even sessions can have an infinite quality that takes some serious inner strength to endure. Given this possibility, it was really amazing how fast the second last week flew by in a blur of big fish and intense fishing, and altogether too soon we said farewell to Pat, Pete, Paul and Matt and suddenly the last group was upon us.

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With the water still high and dirty, the rains still building and threatening, and a full house group of eight anglers to deal with, this was going to be a big task to make sure it would be a success for all involved. Luckily we were hosting some familiar faces in South African medics Petrus, Tinus, Harold and Jan, who had all been to Lesotho and/or Sudan with Tourette in recent times. They were joined by fellow doctors Charl, Neil, Willem and Henk, whose medical expertise was immediately called upon to help stitch up Rob’s Tiger bite, incurred landing one of the many of last week’s fish!

035052A4111-XLAny time the water levels rise and colour, although the fishing switches off, as long as there is no more rain upstream, there is always the enticing possibility of wild fishing as the water resumes its original condition. This is what we were banking on rescuing the week, and the early indications were positive as the levels continued to drop over the first two days. Going against history, it was the Mnyera that seemed to be recovering faster, and the fishing began to follow suit. Starting slowly and progressively improving over the following days, it seemed that it was the larger fish that were the most active. This seemed to mean that extended quiet spells were routinely shattered by a series of violent takes before suddenly going quiet again, making for riveting fishing! By the end of their allotted 3 days fishing on the Mnyera, it was fair to say that the guys had made the most of their time, with Petrus boasting 2x 16lb, Henk a 17lb, Jan a 14lb and Willem helping himself to a 19lb late on the Tuesday afternoon in Kasingo rapids. Not bad going at all!

IMG_GR_testimonials1465338476The Ruhudji was proving a tougher challenge as the waters continued to drop, but remained cool and dirty, and the flood had also moved a lot of riverbed material around, completely changing the face of many of the established spots and forcing us to really re evaluate every spot from scratch. There was a healthy number of mid-smaller size fish that kept us busy with some areas really stacked up with plenty of lively specimens. Charl did break the mould in a big way early on the first full morning, in the midst of a couple of really good hits at a busy spot on the lower Ruhudji, finally converting a faultless 18lb and setting himself up very nicely for bragging rights! Tinus had some great shots at some big fish in a hot drift through a shallow straight on the middle Ruhudji, connecting with three 15lb+ fish that all somehow came unstuck! He did manage to convert a sweet 12lb the next day which went down very well!

IMG_GR_testimonials1465338563Come change over time, it seemed that Charl, Neil, Harold and Tinus were in the pound seats with the Mnyera showing slightly more promise than the still clearing Ruhudji, although they would do really well to top Petrus, Willem, Jan and Henks exploits!

IMG_GR_testimonials1465338589      As it unfolded, it did indeed prove to be the case, as really big fish were prowling aggressively, and time and time again, one of the guys found themselves plugged into a real handful of a fish. It reached a point where it became genuinely difficult to judge the size of the fish eating, as the hits were consistently aggressive, and all seemed to point to huge fish! Many of them proved to be too hot to handle, a couple more snapped off, and a some managed to make it to the boat, with Charl again in the mix with another 18lber, Neil with a 19lb and 13lb on popper during a purple patch in the rapids, and Tinus and Harold clocking in with 17lb and 14lb respectively. A high class roster of fish, no doubt, but these three days were definitely about the ones that got away, with everyone experiencing the true wrath of big aggressive tigers on multiple occasions, which is what it really is all about!

024052A3661-XLOn the Ruhudji, the fishing remained tough, but the laughs came easily as the guys made light work of fishing the unfavourable conditions. Henk managed to maintain his golden touch, and seemed to be right on the Tigers’ wavelength, knowing when to fish hard and when to sit back, relax, and enjoy some time out on the river. He managed a 14lb and 11lb plus a handful of smaller fish on a morning where the other boat did not register a take for the whole morning session! Willem also lured a 16lb out of a tricky spot to add some quality to a tough day on the upper beat.

017052A4429-XLOne of the great things about these trips is the quality time we get to spend with some great individuals, and the entertainment value of this trip was top-drawer, making the tough fishing a breeze as the jokes and impromptu musicals kept a constant upbeat vibe! Petrus capped off a superb week by spending his last two hours pursuing a Black Velvet, and I personally couldn’t have asked for a better way to cap of the 2015 season than landing a beautiful specimen at the death! The enjoyment and appreciation for this stunning fish will be remembered for a long time!

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In so many ways it was the perfect ending to a fantastic season, great fishing with a group of guys who were out to enjoy themselves whatever came their way, and who really took pleasure in the many small things that make tiger fishing on in the Kilombero Valley the life experience it is. The rains held off, the rivers cleared up, the big fish came out to play, and when the fishing was tough, and the guys took enjoyment from the mind blowing natural wonders around us. This was a blessing for us as season weary guides because it forced us to see it all again like the first week of a season, and reminded us how lucky we are to be able to work here and how much we would miss it until the next season!

016052A4334-XLThe staggering number of huge fish encountered in this last week is also a great comfort for us as it reassures us that the strict fishing management system is working, and that fishing pressure is not an issue throughout a busy season, and it means we can look forward to more of the same rip roaring action next year! Until then.

Greg, Mark, Stu, Rob, Keith and the KNS team!

Day two at Collon Cura River

The second day, we fished at Collón Curá river, which is a geographical feature of Neuquén Province, Argentina. It flows southward from the confluence of the Alumine and Chimehuin Rivers, near the town of Junín de los Andes, for around 70 km (44 mi), past which it becomes a tributary of the Limay River. The valley is famous for its two activities: Birdwatching and Fly fishing.

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The temperature of that morning was really nice, I think of about 17ºc, and wind was very slow. We went fishing in three different parts of the river with dry fly and afloat.

We started our day driving west direction and then north direction. When we got to the lake, we embarked with Gonzalo as a head guide, Pablo and David fishing and, the Lieutenant Dan as another guide.
We went fishing to places known as Manhattan, Las Buitreras, and “My Place” (as Pepe calls it); a great place for fly fishing, I must admit.
After sailing a few minutes, we crossed the zone where Andean Condors nest; a huge rock wall well-known in Neuquén.
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The morning of that day, fishing was very active. We caught fifteen Rainbow Trouts and lost ten others. Wind was very calmed but then got stronger at midday, which complicated fishing poles. Pablo y David tried out a Beetle when fishing watching the fish.
We got into the water at 9:30 am. Two fishermen, two guides. Fly lines with 3X and 4X leaders, trying to take out the offspring of some fish that go upwards and are eaten by the trouts.
Those offsprings are from Silverside fish and percs. You can see them at the riversides in low zones and big groups. What the trout does is that, when those little fishes are moving up and down, they eat from them.
At 11 am we could see the trouts jumping and feeding themselves with those offsprings in a special part of the river that is not too deep but always really variable with strong sliding that should be avoided.
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We had lunch on an island in the middle of the river and then we repeated the same kind of fishing in the afternoon.
Going back to San Martin de los Andes took us an hour and a half. David stayed atCasona Del Alto Lodge but before bed, we ate some tasty Pizza Cala and drunk beers.
For this fly fishing we used Parachute Flies and PMX in dry fly. We have also been using original Buff Gloves that are a special polar fleece that blocks 95% of the wind for great protection against cold, great for running, walking, biking and many other outdoor activities like fly fishing, Buff Neckwarmer to protect ourselves from the wind and sun; fleece and a drawstring for quick conversion from neck to headwear, a knitted outer layer combined with a Polartec fleece inner layer, super thermal product.
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Another important thing to protect are our eyes. In order to do that, we used Bolle and Costa sunglases, both with great results.
The first ones are really good for any outdoor activitie. They have this amazing shape and angle of the multi-plane nosepiece that can be adjusted to accommodate any nose bridge for a truly custom fit. The nose pads are very good because those are hypoallergenic and durable and can be tailored for custom fit, giving you additional control and confort. In terms of the optic control system, Bolle helps you stay on top of your game with this interchangeable lens system. By giving you the flexibility to match the lens to the condition, this system ensures optimum performance for any condition.
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The other ones, the Costa sunglasses ar as good as Bolle. In this case, all Costa lenses have 100% UV blockage for maximum protection and 100% polarization to kill reflected glare. Their 580 technology goes beyond polarization to produce the clearest lenses on the planet. It selectively filters out the harsh yellow and harmful high-energy ultraviolet blue light, making colors brighter and objects appear more defined. So no matter what you are doing under the sun, you’ll see it in stunning detail. Glass lenses are best for situations that require ultimate clarity, and the plastic lenses are more cost effective while being more durable for more demanding applications without sacrificing clarity.
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Another brand that we like using when it comes to waders and boots, it’s Simms.
This brand is one of the best in terms of protection because it is a fishing company.  Founded on the pillars of innovation, it strives to build the highest quality products to keep anglers dry, comfortable, and protected from the elements – no matter the conditions.
The Company was the brainchild of visionary angler John Simms who saw a need to develop better waders and accessories than what was then available on the market. That quest led to the development of Simms Fishing Products in 1980. During that era, Simms was one of the first companies worldwide to introduce neoprene waders, which provided enhanced warmth and waterproofing gear for serious anglers pushing the limits of their fishing pursuits.
Today, Simms continues to take the fishing market by storm with a trained eye on fisheries conservation and inspired product development of the worlds premier technical fishing apparel, footwear, and equipment.
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First day at Tromen Lake

This first day, we left Casona Del Alto Lodge in San Martin de los Andes at about 8: 30 am to the lake on west direction from where we spent the night. It was a beautiful sunny morning. Wind was very slow, probably 15 or 20 km/h. After an hour of driving, we got to the lake at about 9:20 am.

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Gonzalo was our main guide, but there was Pepe too as a great guide, and the trouts we have been fishing are Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout.

The first one is a very special trout, the rainbow trout, also called redband trout, is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia.

About appearance, they are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.

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Rainbow trout usually inhabit well oxygenated, shallow rivers with gravel bottoms; they also inhabit in lakes, although they are usually found in deeper, cool lakes with adequate shallows and vegetation for good production. The ideal temperature range is 50 to 60 degrees. Lake populations generally require access to gravely bottomed streams to be self-sustaining.

The second one, the brown trout (Salmo trutta), is a European species of salmonid fish that has been widely introduced into suitable environments globally.

The first introductions in Canada occurred in 1886 in Newfoundland and continued through 1933. The only Canadian regions without brown trout are the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Introductions into South America began in 1904 in Argentina.

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The brown trout is a medium-sized fish, growing to 20 kg (44 lb) or more and a length of about 100 cm (39 in) in some localities, although in many smaller rivers, a mature weight of 1.0 kg (2.2 lb) or less is common.

Within the US, brown trout introductions have created self-sustaining fisheries throughout the country. Many are considered \”world-class\” such as in the Great Lakes and in several Arkansas tailwaters. Outside the US and outside its native range in Europe, introduced brown trout have created \”world-class\” fisheries in New Zealand, Patagonia and the Falklands.

Last but not least, we also went fishing brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family Salmonidae. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada, but has also been artificially introduced elsewhere in North America and to other continents. In parts of its range, it is also known as the eastern brook trout, speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, or mud trout, among others. Apotamodromous population in Lake Superior is known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters. The brook trout is the state fish of nine states: Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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The brook trout inhabits large and small lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and spring ponds. They prefer clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range and are sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain.

We were fly-fishing on Tromen Lake, located inside the Lanin National Park and less than 2 hours north from San Martin de los Andes and Chapelco Airport.

This lake is a really special one. It is 1100 mts above sea level and it is a deep waters lake of about 1200 feet deep.

 

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Embarking boat, we head towards the lake bottom where we fished in stone walls.

The day was great since a little wind made some waves which helped us make a closer fly casting. Everything was catch and release and we used fishing rods Siege number 5 and L.L. bean number 5 too, with leading floating lines 4X and attractors flies afloat and fish hooks between 8 and 14.

On this first day of fishing, we used flys like Fat Albert and Turk’s Tarantula. We were also using Simms gloves, neck protector Columbia, Pointer Flyfishing shirts, Simms Wader and Simms wading boots.

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At the beginning of the morning, we fished around those stone walls. Although shadows didn’t allow us to see the fish clearly, we had really good results as we fished 2 and 3 pounds rainbow trouts mostly. During the morning we hadn’t any brown trout nut we saw a couple of brooks.

At the end of the morning, we had calm waters so we were able to see the fish, doing some casting to the identification of each one.

Between Pablo and David, 4 fish of about 17 to 20 inches and with great presentation on the flies were caught.

After an awesome morning, we had lunch at the camp, eating salads and omelettes, sitting in the sun and enjoying some cold drinks. An hour later we started the afternoon fishing. It started really hard. There was this really hot weather going on and we were costing like an hour without luck until we could finally start fishing again and, at the end, we caught 5.

_EP_0002_1As mentioned, we were fishing in San Martín de los Andes, a city in the province of Neuquén, Argentina. It is located in the Lácar Department in the south-west of the province, at the foot of the Andes.

A major change in settlement life came when in 1937 Lanín National Park was created. This meant that wood logging was gradually reduced and numerous small settlements along the lake shore disappeared. New roads were built effectively connecting San Martín with the rest of Argentina.

At present, either for the ski season or the summer, it is a popular destination for tourism, and the seat of the administration headquarters of the Lanín National Park. Its landscape is one of the most spectacular of Patagonia.

Going back to this incredible fishing day, I remember one moment at 4 pm when we were coasting on the rocks and Gonzalo said that he saw a fish 20 mts away from us and made us throw ourselves behind a log that was almost inside the water. The fly fell 40 cm close to where he said the fish was and we saw the trout turning and catching the fly. The success of that catching was thanks to the best guide of San Martin de los Andes, Gonzalo Flego.

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ANECDOTE

When you throw the fly and it lands on the water, you make something called “twitch” so the fly moves and then you have to leave it still for a few seconds to attract the fish. In this case, Pablo was a little obstinate, so he did the first twitch, saw the fish coming and not catching the fly, and did a second twitch which pissed Pepe off and so he got really angry ! After several minutes of arguing with Pablo telling him what he did was wrong, we all saw a brooke trout catching the fly, noticing that Pablo was right by proving something impossible for Pepe. After all this discussion, we fished some beautiful fontinalis trouts of about 21 inches.

In the hills of Cordoba

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It was early December when we went flyfishing with Lucas Dominguez to the high mountains of Córdoba. It was necessary to do some survey to see the fishing conditions of a river inside private lands in Altas Cumbres, a beautiful place with incredible landscapes that you cannot miss.

At 7 am we were ready to leave Jesús María and two hours later we were fishing in Altas Cumbres.  On the way there, access was mostly by asphalt and 45km on a dirt road that you can only transit with a 4×4 truck.

IMG_GR_testimonials1456946378Altas Cumbres road is well-know for the historic construction of it. In the last years of the 1950s, it became clear that there was a need to modernize the old Suspension bridges road in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. Increasing traffic and trade between the provinces of Cordoba Mendoza and San Juan needed new roads to expedite travelling times and decrease costs. At the same time, it was considered important to create a route linking the ports of the Atlantic with the Pacific through the Cordoba corridor.

In 1956, President of Provincial Roads Engineer Laisseca said that it was inappropriate for the old road to be improved, but a new one should be built using the best modern technology. For this reason, during the administration of Governor Arturo Zanichelli, an aerial survey of that region of the Sierras Grandes was undertaken to map the topography. Roads were cut to enable surveyors to design the best route.

IMG_GR_testimonials1456946259When we got there, we had to open 6 gates to finally see the river. Then, we left the truck in a place inside the land and walked to the river like 40 minutes.

We decided to put our lunch inside our backpacks and just take the day off to explore the zone. Surprised by rain, we couldn’t fly-fish very well, but we found out that it was a river that goes through the mountains, between the rocks, and has open waters too. It also has few sliding river and huge water mirrors, which makes casting interesting.

When fishing, we used fishing rods number 3 but the conditions were not the best and fish were not catching our fly, so we tried out different types of fly until we found the most suitable one. That day, Lucas did a great job when catching a 7 pound trout, which is very unusual in this part of Córdoba. Four years ago, Lucas laid 10.000 alevin that we can get to see now, but it is really tough to catch them because they are not active yet.

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After lunch, we continued up with some afternoon fishing, going upstream where we left our truck. Afternoon activity was not a very good one, but we saw some nice animals, mostly rainbow trouts and little trouts inside water well.

The walking back was not easy but neither impossible. For everything we used light equipment with little fly, hooks number 16 and 18, dry fly and no streamer except for one case that Lucas put to use with that huge trout he caught.

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At the end of the trip, I can say I have a new challenge; go back there and do another survey when those alevins are more active.

Pablo Aguilo

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