By Dave Parkes – UK Power Team.
I was looking forward to this years visit to Estancia Maria Behety on the Rio Grande river more than ever, if that was possible, with another knee replacement in June in 2017 most of last year’s fishing season was lost recovering, so I was looking forward to this year’s visit was with great enthusiasm and anticipation. We spent a night in Buenos Aires and met up with one of the old guides from EMB who is recovering from a medical problem, successfully and as usual we ate large Argentinean steaks and drank to much Malbec wine. Many memories were related of awesome times we had spent on the river in past years.
The following day we made another nearly 4 hour flight to the city of Rio Grande, which is situated at the mouth of the river and has a population of around 100,000 people. We were picked up from the airport and taken to the lodge by the guides and old relationships were renewed with not only the guides but also returning guests who hardly ever change. A testimony to the class of fishing experienced and the hospitality extended to the guests by the Estancia.
With no fishing for us on Saturday, we prepared our gear for the first days fishing, beginning on Sunday. I was very excited and was looking forward to again using the new NT8,s I had used a 9/10 wt on the River Tay in October 17 which was very impressive, so for this trip I had a double hand 12ft 9in 7/8 wt and a single hand 10ft 7wt to put through the test, they were both awesome and just effortless casting rods. I always use a full multi tip Spey line on the double hander and a 4cast full floater on the single hander, the double hander set up gives me total control over the speed and depth I need to fish with nymphs for these wonderful creatures. The Rio Grande sea trout almost always lie in a slightly deeper channel normally closest to the opposite higher bank. The full Spey line cast at a long downstream angle with continual mending, allows me to keep the fly in the channel and at the right depth rather than just swinging the fly over the sea trout at a depth they will not respond to. The single hander was used with great effect to fish surface lures and Sunray Shadows.
Normally there are 12 guests fishing in pairs on the 32 pools at EMB, with 6 guides, we have 6 days fishing, with two sessions a day and everyday you have a different guide on the rotation, a great system. The guides are amongst the best and most knowledgeable I have come across. We fish a morning session where we use either small nymphs or Sunray shadows, the fish will sometimes just TURN ON and you will get a fish or two or sometimes more in a short sharp session. The evening session we start using the same tactics but we always finish fishing with either bigger black temple dog tubes or surface lures, this period just into dark is the most reliable and productive time on the river, the sea trout seem to lose their shy inhibitions in the low light and takes are savage. Fishing in the darkness is not allowed in Tierra Del Fuego, it would be awesome!
Our first session was on probably my favourite pool on the river, a long bend about 400 metres with a good chance of getting a fish anywhere down its length, the prevailing wind which is nearly always very strong coming from the Andes, blows downstream and is your friend and is very rarely a problem. The morning ended in disappointment with just one small fish of 6lbs. Things got worse for me on the evening session and the following morning session and I didn’t get any more fish, doubts were creeping into our heads, were the fish there in any numbers??, were they coming ?? The week we always fish is a very early but normally a very consistent one with big, bright chrome fish appearing every day. Perhaps this year the run would be late?? I need not have worried, things were to look up, the evening session on the second day proved successful, landing four fish to 13lbs.
The rest of the week just got better with a good number of big fish to 19lbs, some of which were caught on sunray shadows, such an exciting visual way of catching these most enigmatic of creatures. The fight from these fish is a great experience, sometimes the first indication you get is when you see them jump up to 5ft out of the water as your rod pulls round. The new NT8 rods were exceptional, effortless and a pleasure to use. Two of the guides are highly qualified Argentinean casting instructors and they all agreed the NT8,s were without doubt the best rods they have used, a great testament to the Guideline gear. The week all too soon comes to an end and we have to start our long journey home. The memories of these large, almost freakish fish remain with you until hopefully your next visit.
By Dave Parkes – UK Power Team.