Articles

Teamworking a Pool

By Stephan Dombaj   The headline “Teamworking” may come as a surprise to some readers. Fishing tends to blur the lines between recreational joy and the diehard reality of numbers. Some of us count fish, others like to record the length and weight of prize catches. And really, there’s nothing wrong with chasing more and bigger fish.   The late Mel Krieger referred to fly fishing as, “solitude without loneliness.” And no coincidence, he coined that phrase on the Rio Grande, a river that fueled his endless pursuit till the end. This solitude we’re all seeking may also be the reason why we develop a one-man-army attitude when we’re on the water. But inevitably you’ll find times when you’re not alone. And this is when working together can really pay off.   The idea of claiming team rewards seems odd, even to myself. But hear me out. If I’m fishing with other anglers, I always pay attention to the strongest rod in the group. That’s because I’m always up for a lesson. And that’s the beauty of this game: there’s always something to learn. Sea trout and Atlantic salmon are migratory fish with minds of their own. Their behavior is dynamic and their moods are ever changing. So it can help to have two “thinking” rods on the same piece of water, testing different theories and experimenting with different approaches.   Let’s assume you have teamed up with a capable rod. You happen to be fishing behind him or her, covering the same water. Whether the rod in front of you catches a ton of fish or nil doesn’t matter. But would you cover the same water with the same line and the same fly again? Hoping for the same or a better result? You shouldn’t.   Teamworking a pool […]

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Gearing up for world’s end

Tierra del Fuego means land of fire. But “land of wind”, as many traveling anglers know, would be an equally appropriate title for this breathtaking part of the world. When it chooses to blow hard, casting can become more complicated. With the right equipment and the proper technique, however, a blustery forecast can be easily conquered. Casting in Windy Conditions Casting into or against the wind is a tiresome task. Fortunately, the beats at Kau Tapen, on the upper river, and Villa Maria, on the lower, have enough water on both banks that you can generally switch sides when needed, keeping the gusts at your back, rather than in your face. Because the wind here comes predominantly from the west, it follows the river corridor downstream, which benefits right-handed casters when it comes to both distance and presentation. But while the river meanders from left to right, leaving fishy cutbank pools at every turn, there will inevitably be occasions when the wind works against you.   Being able to switch from right- to left-handed casting helps minimize problems. Another tip to consider: Keep your backcast low, and finish with the forward stroke high. A shorter spey rod or a switch rod helps with the latter by allowing for more compact D-loops, and more consistent anchor placements. A slow, wide D-loop, on the other hand, gives the wind more time and space to blow the line away, with can compromise your cast/presentation. For me, the ideal spey rod for windy conditions will handle a compact, slightly overweight shooting head that doesn’t give the wind time to mess everything up. Rods between 11 and 13 feet work great. A deep-loading, quickly recovering 7- or 8-weight is my preferred rod of choice, matched either with a short Scandi shooting head for normal conditions, […]

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How to shoot the perfect hero shot

How to Hero Shot by Stephan  Dombaj You travel halfway around the globe to explore the best fishing waters in Argentina, so don’t settle for a lame photo to commemorate a great fish. More than 36,000 years ago, successful hunters in Spain dragged their kills back to their dark caves and then painted elaborate murals to immortalize their feats. And while the Cave of Altamira, in Cantabria, may not be the oldest account of polychromatic hunting scene imagery, it’s certainly is one of the most famous. Ancient evidence that that the hero shot has deep roots! In this the day and age of affordable digital cameras and high-rez cell phones, capturing a great moment is a little easier applying charcoal to a rock wall. But still, a lot can go wrong. Presenting a fish correctly for the camera can be troubling for some anglers. (And, if not done correctly, for the fish too.) Here are a few simple tips from the Fly Fishing Nation crew that’ll get you the be-all and end-all hero shot you want. Just keep in mind that not every fish needs a picture. Trust me.   Prepare the camera Check battery/memory card (Seriously, you guys can’t even imagine how often people snap away with no memory cards in the camera.) Keep the fish wet Keep the fish sideways in the net while preparing the shot. Dip it into the water in-between the images, let it breath. Do not expose the fish to air for too long. Rule of thumb is less than 10 seconds. Ten seconds can be a long time when you’re gasping for air, so try to keep it as short as humanly possible. While it doesn’t take a good man to be a good sportsman, it certainly is one of the ground rules […]

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Top Flies for Rio Grande Trout… And How To Fish ’Em

By S. Dombaj and T. Burrell Argentina’s Rio Grande and its Rio Menendez tributary are home to healthy returns of migrating trout that can reach near-mythical proportions. In order to turn lore into reality, preparation is key. In this short series of articles, we intend to help you do just that by sharing tips and tricks—from our guide staff, as well as accomplished Rio Grande anglers—that will help you succeed. Let’s start by looking inside the fly box. Flies, in all their glorious varieties, are designed to deceive fish by imitating a known food source or by provoking a territorial response. Some, of course, work better than others—and this is absolutely true on the Rio Grande, where over the years we’ve fine-tuned our “ammo” to best suit our quarry. Here are 5 highly effective patterns that will surely turn your fishing guide into your best friend for a day, or a week. 1) Metal Detector Intruder Intruders have become undeniably popular in the Pacific Northwest over the past decade. Designed to be swung across the river, they combine fast-sinking design elements and a great silhouette with the benefits of short-shank stinger hooks. The abbreviated shank doesn’t provide the exuberant leverage of a longer shank, hence more twisting and turning fish will stay on once buttoned-up. Favorite color variations for the Rio Grande and the Menendez include Black/Chartreuse, Blue/Chartreuse, Black/Silver, or simply chartreuse. They are great flies for when the river blows out, when something that pushes a lot of water is required. Heavier versions are also a good choice for when the fish stack up in deeper pools.   Presentation: Depending on the water level, all line types apply. Mostly fished on a floating head with a heavy sink-tip. Cast down and across the pool, at a 70° angle. Let […]

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Dorado Fishing Resources

Ever thought of going Golden Dorado fishing? The season is just getting started at Pira Lodge. Here are some great resources to learn more about dorado fishing:  

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DORADO TIPS: MAKING YOUR CASTS COUNT

Those new to freshwater dorado fishing are sometimes intimidated by the bigger flies we use for these fish, and are oftentimes unsure about how to cast them. Don’t panic. Those 2/0 streamers that are the all-rounders for the species, and even larger flies, can be as enjoyable to cast as smaller flies with lighter tackle. The key is to fish a balanced rig. With the right balance between rod, line, and leader, casting becomes less daunting. In fact, a well-balanced rig is empowering, helping make you a better caster. The most common mistake we see is anglers using a tippet or leader material that’s too thin or light for the weight of the fly, plus the wire. Unless you’re looking for small dorado, or using a light or ultralight approach (which by the way can be really cool), you shouldn’t use mono or fluorocarbon that is less than 20-pound test. Except for those special situations when dorado may become leader shy, 30-pound test is the standard. Another “trick” is to fish a line one size bigger than the rod weight. Most modern, fast-action rod designs cast well with the heavier line. And this kind of setup helps you load the rod more quickly and turnover a larger streamer more effectively. If you’re unsure of your casting ability, it’s also a good idea to start practicing during the lead up to your trip. You don’t even need water. Lawn casting in your backyard, or at a local park, is great for perfecting your stroke and tightening those loops. Use pliers to pinch off the whole hook bend to prevent accidents or snagging, then tie on the fly. Use your whole arm when casting rods from 7-weight on up. Bring your back-cast skyward, wait for the line to go straight, then punch it forward. And be sure to learn both the double-haul and the strip set. […]

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Iberá Marshlands, Argentina: Freshwater Dorado Fly Fishing.

  Morphology: The Iberá Marshland, located in Corrientes Province in northeastern Argentina, is the world’s second largest wetlands system after Brazil’s Pantanal. Difficult access makes it a celebrated wilderness stronghold. In 1983, it was designated a Provincial Natural Reservoir, making it Argentina’s largest protected area. Its headwaters slowly flow in a southwesterly direction, eventually merging to become the Corriente River, an important tributary of the Paraná River. The system is a dorado fishing sanctuary, defined by its natural beauty. Species: There are numerous fish species swimming through the Ibera. But in terms of angling, the dorado is the most heralded. For those who enjoy stepping out of the mainstream experience, there are other interesting opportunities. Pira pita, tararira, surubi, to name a few—plus a long list of smaller exotic species for ultralight fishing enthusiasts. Size: In recent years, the Ibera system is where most 8- to 15-pound dorado have been landed on flies. Most of them with floating fly lines. There have also been good numbers of larger fish caught, reaching upwards of 15 to 20+ pounds. Privacy: Although there are technically no “private waters” in the system, tough access provides shelter from human impact. It’s highly likely that guests will not see another boat during their visit. Encounters with other anglers, from other lodges, are not an issue here. Fishing Techniques: From Pirá Lodge, we can fish two different types of waters: the Ibera Marsh, and the Corriente River and its headwaters. Fishing in the marsh is always from our Hells Bay flats skiffs, quietly drifting through clear water streams and channels while your guide uses a push pole to put you in casting range. This is an all floating-line experience. Sometimes even floating flies. And oftentimes, with good chances for sight-casting. At the river and headwaters, if the […]

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Gear we love – What’s in your box? All you need for your bonefish trip to the Bahamas

Gearing up for fishing trips is half the fun – ok, not quite half as much fun as pulling on a bonefish but it’s still fun.  Most people want to overthink their fly selection for the Bahamas.  These five patterns are all you need to get those fish to eat when you come to South Andros or Abaco.  Don’t overthink it, if you tie one of these on and put it in the right place the fish will eat. Puglisi spawning shrimp–  Far from a secret anymore this is our number one fly.  It has all the magic, translucent, lifelike, hint of orange.  This one gets fish to light up.  We like it in tan, sz 4 and 6 with beadchain eyes, get a few with lead eyes too just in case.  We cut off the weed guards as long as there isn’t any turtle grass. Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp– Simple, clean, no flash.  You can tie this one on and leave it for the week. Classic Gotcha – Never leave home without it!  Invented in the Bahamas by Jim McVay. We use bigger sizes for sharks and permit too.  Throwing on some rubber legs doesn’t hurt either. Micro Crab – you always need a superlight fly you can float into fish tailing in ankle deep water.  This one is it.  Tan size 8.  It lands so soft you can put it right on the nose when they are digging in and feeding. Chicone’s Coyote Ugly– Drew’s the real deal when it comes to custom bugs.  We order from him before all of our adventures, nothing beats custom ties.  You can too here.  This one is staple and is now commercially available from Umpqua.

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Rio Grande, Argentina: Best river in the world to fish for Giant Sea-Run Brown Trout.

1. Morphology: The Rio Grand comes to life on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego and flows for 150 miles in a generally eastward direction, twisting though Argentine territory toward the South Atlantic Ocean. Given its moderate flow, and generally even gravel bottom, it’s an easy wading river that’s both remote and spectacularly scenic. 2. Species: Sea-Run Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) were first stocked in Tierra del Fuego by British expat John Goodall in 1935. These fish eventually found their way to the sea, attracted by the rich food supply. That’s why they grow to unbelievable sizes. 3. Size: Sea-run brown trout dine on shrimp, crabs, and sardines in the Rio Grande estuary. When they return to the river to spawn their average size varies between 7 and 9 pounds. 20-pound trout are caught and released every week. 30+ pound fish are caught every season. 4. Privacy: Nervous Waters has access to the most productive waters on the Rio Grande, split between its two lodges: Kau Tapen and Villa Maria. The river is divided into beats, ensuring proper water management. Each beat is composed of different pools, allowing anglers to fish different waters every day, while encouraging the sustainability of the resource. 5. Fishing Techniques: We always wade. The structure of the river allows anglers to fish single, switch and spey rods. The lower stretch of water (Villa Maria Lodge’s 25 miles) is ideal for two-handers. The middle stretch (Kau Tapen’s 30 miles) is ideal for all types of angling. We fish dry flies, nymphs and various streamers; we “dead drift”, “swing,” and “skate”… no matter how you fish, be guarantee a memorable experience. Join us on the Rio Grande, at the first and finest fly-fishing lodges Tierra del Fuego has to offer.   Last Openings 2018  Kau Tapen Lodge January 6th – 13th: 2 […]

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10 Truths About Dorado Fishing

You’ve seen them in the fly-fishing film tours, all over the web, and splashed across brochures advertising far-flung adventures to exotic locales. And although you may think you know dorado by now, there are numerous idiosyncrasies—from misleading information on concepts to debates over knots, habitat preferences and handling practices—that make this moody fish difficult to master. Noel Pollak is considered Argentina’s preeminent dorado expert. Today he shares with all of us some of his knowledge. Taking into consideration these 10 essential elements will not only make you a better dorado fisher, it’ll make you a better angler in general. So let’s get started. One trait that makes dorado a perfect gamefish is its exceptionally wide range of moods. Keep your mind open and sharp while you fish for them. Especially when darker water makes sight-fishing a non-option, and where “reading water” is the only way to go. Some anglers underestimate how cool (and educational) reading water can be. Understanding it—in terms of structure and where fish will hold—can take you on a great ride through your powers of observation that’ll ultimately make you a better angler. Even better, with dorado you can oftentimes have the best of both experiences: sight-fishing and reading water. Despite their many moods, dorado demonstrate two very distinctive behavioral patterns: migratory dorado moving in larger groups and fish that become resident to an area for X amount of time and move in smaller groups, or as solo predators. Generally, these singles represent the benchmark for dorado fishing in terms of challenge and merit. In certain situations, smaller “resident” dorado might be much more difficult to fool than a larger migratory dorado in a school. Dorado fishing is not always about catching the biggest fish. Egos, business, and ignorance are responsible for a lot of the nonsense […]

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