Spectrum of Emotions

Week 5 insights from Kau Tapen Lodge, Patagonia

There is a phrase commonly used back home by anglers on the big western trout loughs (Irish lakes) that epitomizes precisely when he or she has reached wits end in a quest to outsmart tricky quarry. “I’m ready to jump in!” It’s a phrase I’ve used and a feeling I’ve experienced on more than one occasion, a type of torture by trout.

On the opposite scale, on those days that either by luck or by crook you land a trout or two, I’ve heard the feeling of satisfaction described this way: “As good as the ride.” These are two ends of emotion anglers go through on a regular basis. The Rio Grande and its fabled sea trout are no different, producing incredible moments of jubilation while in a matter of hours leaving an angler lost and perplexed.

It’s always interesting and at times amusing to watch a group of guests go through the spectrum as the trials and tribulations of a week’s fishing unfolds. Our group of guests this week experienced similar, enjoying some exceptional fishing, in fact the best so far this season in terms of numbers and size. Sea trout, however, by their nature can be moody fish and sessions of seven and eight fish followed by a blank leave anglers dumbfounded. It is not until the final session is over on Friday evening that a guest can sit back and process the rollercoaster of emotions experienced over the previous six days. Fortunately for us anglers, those moments of jubilation outweigh all others and leave us destined to search for more.

Kau Tapen regulars Johannes Kahrs and Daniel Stephan joined us from Germany for their fourth successive season. Johannes, best described as a flamboyant character, allowed his emotions to ebb and flow with the moods of the river much to the delight of his fellow guests who found him to be most intriguing. His sidekick Daniel, a seasoned regular on the Gaula river in Norway, is more of a closed book. Both worked well together on the river and ended the week with a combined total of 80 fish. Johannes having the edge in terms of numbers received a new Sage 15-footer as our top rod.

Having fished with my father from an early age, I appreciate that special bond between family members who fish together. The husband-and-wife teams of Wolfgang and Meta Spors, accompanied by their daughter Sara and son in law Anders, were a most pleasant bunch. Sharing such a unique passion with a loved one is in my eyes a recipe for success, I would be doing well to find a women to tolerate my fishing obsession not to mention join in. Jonathan Boulton returned as host with a new group of South African sea trout converts, more accustomed to being on the flats with shorts and shirt in the Seychelles. This hardy group donned layers of insulation and battled the elements. Jonathan had his own battle to fight on Thursday evening, an accomplished saltwater angler his preferred method of choice is the single-handed stick. Hooking into 19 pounds of fish on such tackle produced an epic battle lasting twenty minutes. Was it not for the astute thinking of his guide to force the fish into fast-and-shallow water before netting it the battle may have been lost.

Fishing duo of Nigel Lammas and Andrew Markland joined us from the UK. Andrew gave us guides a pleasant eye-opener (a rare occurrence) when he produced some very sparely dressed Monkey flies that in no time at all had accounted for several fish. While Nigel, on the other hand, finished the week with the title of landing the biggest fish: a super fresh 20-pounder from Boca pool.

February is generally regarded as the prime time here at Kau Tapen. Considering our success during the first week of spring these stellar catches look set to continue.

[Matthew Solon is head guide at Kau Tapen and a man of many unique vernacularisms gleaned from long days on big West Ireland trout loughs.]

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