Words by Dave Parkes, Guideline Ambassador UK
Images by Pablo Saracco ( IG @pablosaracco )
This was my first ever visit to the river and l fell in love with the whole place immediately. From the moment we drove across the cliff face overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and then down into the camp, l was spellbound. Compared to the Rio Grande the Iriygon is small and the low clear water conditions demanded stealth. The sea trout are tremendous looking creatures and big, a great combination! 20lb fish are common and the river record now stands at 27.5lbs, caught by our own Guideline Ambassador Neil Barcock.
The landscape is beautifully wild, huge forests dominated by ancient, petrified trees with tracks cut through to the upper beats. To access these beats you have the use of an ARGO 6X6 ATV to transport you. Around every corner you expected to come face to face with a dinosaur but we only saw wild horses, wild bulls, guanacos, beavers and packs of wild dogs. The bird life is tremendous and we saw condors, many birds of prey, woodpeckers and lots of others I didn’t recognize. The foreshore held many species of waders, ducks and geese which all seemed to fly up river when the tide moved them from the shore.
The river is less than 30 miles long from source to sea and runs into a sea pool where it is joined by the Malenguena, a canal type river which has its own run of sea trout which is included in the operation. The sea pool then narrows before running into the sea where at low water there is a reef with masses of rocks and seaweed, a perfect safe haven for hunting sea trout where they find substantial feeding in relative safety.
The operation is run by Pablo Lopez who is a family member of the owners “Estancia Maria Luisa” and Nahuel Stauch Pancotti who is the camp manager. Nahuel lives in the area and has previously been a guide at Estancia Maria Behety where l fished with him for years, becoming great friends. He is passionate about his river with good cause. The hospitality extended by the camp was faultless. The guides were excellent, as were all of the staff. The food cooked and served by Jonny and Maria was of the highest quality. The lodge lounge and dining room sits on a hill overlooking the river which meanders it way through a series of pools and log jams before reaching the sea pool, all in view of the lodge. The fishing schedule for 4 rods was tuned to the current conditions and had no fixed schedule which worked very well.
The forest protects the river from the wind and rarely causes a problem and being intimate was easily covered by the new NT11 10´ #7 weight single hander. Fishing the low clear river in the daytime was daunting, we didn’t see any fish in any pools but we were assured they were there, hiding unseen under trees and obstructions. My first encounter was at the sea pool where l fished a Guideline Bullet WF line, long leader and small nymphs and small Sunray Shadow tube flies. We saw lots of fish rolling and jumping which got me quite exited, the pool contained not only sea trout but also a species called Robolo. The sea trout were moving up and down the pool getting acclimatized to their new surroundings before moving up river.
I had a good pull and connected with my first Irigoyen sea trout about 7lbs, a great start. The sea pool over the week produced some great fish up to 19lbs and watching them take the nymph or Sunray was so cool. We also had a few sessions fishing for the Robolo, which was great fun, they grow to upwards of 20lbs and on the incoming tide there are hundreds to be seen and caught, but it was the sea trout we were after. On occasions we watched sea trout traveling through the lower pools, going like trains. l am sure nothing would have stopped them on their onward journey.
Like all migratory fish fishing its right place right time and because of the low clear conditions, stealth on the river was paramount and although l did get a few sea trout in daylight hours our best chances came at dusk into darkness. The sea trout now tend to lose all their inhibitions and my confidence soars. I am now in my element, this is what l love. The anticipation of fishing a surface lure in darkness is my adrenalin fix and the takes are unbelievable, most times the rod is almost pulled from your hand and playing big fish in small rivers with many log jams and trees is hard enough in daytime but heart stopping in darkness.
Most fish caught were over 10lbs with many mid and upper doubles all bright chrome. The new NT11 coped with everything these fish threw at us. Worlds End Lodge has cast a magical spell on me, one word – EXCEPTIONAL! My week there came to an end all too soon and l was sad to leave but my journey was to continue.
Worlds End Lodge can be booked through Sportquest Holidays >> Worlds End Lodge: