By MATT HARRIS Itati, a humble farming village on Argentina’s remote northern border seems an unlikely spot to find a spectac..
Kau Tapen Lodge Week 6: Feb 9-14, 2020
What a week! My hands are still shaking, and I am still trying to catch my breath. Such an eventful, fun, successful, and overall amazing week that none of us wanted to end.
A full house with some good friends returning to visit us: Vini and Luke, who we got to know last year and immediately were adopted into the Kau Tapen family. Jim and Roger both of whom have been coming here for a number of years and every season we cannot wait to welcome them back. Graeme, who had been here a few years ago and was as prepared as could be – mentally and physically.
We also had the pleasure of welcoming some new faces: Piggy and David, two good fishing friends who have fished this river before but never here at Kau Tapen with us, both are amazing fun, on and off the river, and were such a great addition to the group. Last but not least we have Charly, his brother Russel, and son Nick, along with their good friend Jorge, all of whom started the week as sea trout and spey casting rookies.
The previous week’s fishing had been a bit difficult with variable weather and water conditions. Our fingers were crossed, and we were hoping for more consistent conditions this week. And so it was – the river settled, cleared up even more and dropped at a very, very slow pace. The consistent water conditions enabled the fish to settle in their pools and as soon as that happened, they became more active and miraculously “switched on” again.
Slightly warmer water (14-16 °C), thanks to warmer days and mild nights caused the fish to be more surface oriented. All of these factors combined, made for some of the most amazing fishing we’ve had so far this season. Despite seemingly tricky conditions during the first three days (only a little wind from a strange north-easterly direction and bright skies), the fish were very active. During the very first session, Jorge and Russel, who were “just” practicing how to spey-cast, were able to land 6 amazing fish on light sinking tips and small flies. During their evening they kept going, hooking into 9 more fish (!) and Russel was able to end the day on a stunning 17 lb fish. Most fish were chrome bright and in outstanding condition, fresh from the ocean and full of strength. Roger and Graeme also experienced a good start to the week, both managing to land a 16 lb fish, amongst some very nice specimens.
While we could not have asked for a better first day, the fishing gods were kind and gave us an even better second day. Almost every pool was working and literally every one of our anglers was able to land multiple fish! Just over 60 fish – an astonishing number that the group managed to hook in just that day, most of the fish in outstanding condition. Piggy alone managed to land 8 fish that day, including two 16 pounders and two 14 lb fish.
Graeme brought an astonishing 9 fish to the net! Jim also took care of business quickly and landed a perfectly chromed-up, 19 lb fish within his first 10 casts of the day. The quality of the fishing during these days was simply outstanding – most of them fresh, incredibly strong and full of stamina!
While we were taking it all in and enjoying the ride, we were expecting that the fishing would slow down again at some point, but we were blessed with one more day. Tuesday especially produced some larger fish than the previous days, such as David’s outstanding 16 lb fish, Nick’s 17 pounder, Piggy’s amazing 18 lb fish, another stunning 18 pounder for Charly, and Russel’s fantastic 19 lbs. And Graeme – Well Graeme simply did not stop and kept riding his wave, landing 12 fish that day, including a perfect, kyped-up 19 lb male and hooking into even more!
While we got the catching part out of the way during these first three days, the rest was just easy riding. The atmosphere around the lunch and dinner table was great – relaxed, fun, happy, and a bit tired from such eventful days. Long nights with maybe the odd drink too many and hilarious stories that will stick in our heads for a long time to come. It all added to the fun and made this week as special as it was. We could not have asked for more – but the week was only half over. And, while the fishing eventually did slow down a bit, the bar had been set very high and to be quite frank, the fishing remained pretty dang good for these last three days, at least judging from a “normal” standpoint.
Although this week was dominated by amazing fishing and lots of activity, it was also the week of the lost battles. Just like the four monstrous fish that Vini and Luke hooked into but unfortunately were not able to bring to the net after some spectacular fights. As painful as it is, those are the fish that fuel the need to come back more than the ones landed, and they surely make for some great stories.
During these last days, still great numbers of fish were hooked and landed, and Graeme finally managed to achieve the well-known “20/20”: Landing 20 fish during the week with one over 20 lbs, with the exception that did it twice! He landed over 40 fish and two stunning fish of 20 lbs, something that only very rarely occurs on our beats. As well prepared as he was, Graeme surely came, saw, and conquered – incredibly well done and congratulations from all of us here at Kau Tapen!
I feel like I could keep writing countless more lines after a week like this one, but I will let the attached images do the talking and leave the rest to your imagination. Not only am I incredibly happy with the fishing results of the week, I simply had an amazing time on and off the river and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with every single group member, sharing unique moments and making new friends. This has been a very special week and I am sure I am speaking on behalf of the entire Kau Tapen team.
Here’s hoping we get to repeat the week next year!
Paulo Hoffmann – Kau Tapen Fishing Guide