Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rio Gallegos

In just over 20 days, months of planning, preparation and gear testing culminates in a Patagonia adventure. (I say adventure in a tongue in cheek way, its not like we're roughing it in the Andes, tenting under freezing skies, avoiding condor attacks). What's really happening is that 5 kiwis are heading over to fish the Rio Gallegos in the Santa Cruz Provence for a week; a week of chasing huge sea run brownies and their more modest river dwelling cousins (which run up to a pretty damn respectable size themselves) - to put the fish in perspective in the week just gone, 8 anglers landed 51 "sea trout" at an average weight of over 9lbs with the largest going 22lbs. The stats for resident fish are not published, but looking at it, its a game of working hard and being rewarded hard.

The fishing itself looks super different from anything I've personally done - the river is long and meandering, the scenery sparse and wild, and the landscape is harsh and wind-battered. The river can be affected by rain anywhere along its ~300km course, from the headwaters in the Andes to its confluence with the Atlantic. So you could be fishing on a cloudless day and experience rising water from a rain event in the foothills of the Andes. The river bed looks stable and snag free (no trees to fall in) and reasonably shallow. The fish themselves will hit flies mid water, so dredging is not necessary and an intermediate line/head will suffice most of the time. On the topic of flies, after dark its just big black bushy numbers... but in the daylight, well, all I can say is I've never used so many white rubber legs on flies in my life! Have a nosey here -> http://solidadventures.com/rio-gallegos-argentina-las-buitreras/flies/

We were given advice by our (unofficial) team leader Tim that our nymphs were to be tied on heavy duty hooks - we've pretty much opted for Kamasan B175s - really heavy shank numbers.

4 of our party and either proficient or semi useful with spey rods so that'll be the main mode of fishing for me, although a couple of single-handers will make the trip also in my kit. I've an unused Abel 7/8 N that needs a run, while more of a bonefish reel it would be plain wrong to leave it at home. 15-20lb tippet - for trout!!!!

So, now most of the preps are done and the rubber's soon going to hit the road. May the force be with us.

Tim with a beaut Rio Gallegos fish, 2016
Photo Credit: Tim Angelli