April 2016


Kau tapen Lodge: March 28th – April 1st, 2016

Fernando and his group of Argentine amigos joined us for a shorter than usual five days this week. In the past this group has predominantly experienced high dirty water with the use of heavy colourful leeches being essential. So on the opening session of the week it was somewhat of a culture shock to suggest the use of green machines. Many of the anglers had never even seen this deadly creation, producing four inch long green leeches when asked did they possess one in their fly box. After four hours fishing all were convinced of its effectiveness with all anglers landing fish. Fernando had a particularly good session landing three fish, best of which was 14 pounds. For the first morning session of the week we were greeted by foggy overcast conditions with absolutely no wind. It is probably the first time I have experienced such conditions on the Rio Grande and it was most eerie. Guiding on Hills beat with father and son, Ricardo and Ricardo, I got them fishing seperate pools and warned them that the only audible noise to be made was a whistle to indicate a fish was on such was the poor visibility and stillness of the morning. Not long into the session a short sharp shrill was heard upstream and I was off at full tilt, net in hand. Upon arrival the single handed eight weight was doubled over and the long lazy head knocks indicated a fish well over 10 pounds. A tedious battle ensued with the end result being a 20 pound hen fish for Ricardo jnr. Julio and Guillermo did well the same morning both landing fish in the teen’s. A major drop in overnight temperatures midweek saw water temperatures plummet to four degrees celcius and the green machine tactic went […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: March 20 – 25, 2016

Unseasonably warm weather this week was a pleasant surprise, keeping the water temperature high and the fish in a relatively good humour. Many weeks particularly at this time of year have been destroyed by cold and dirty water.  The conditions lead to the opening day of the week starting with a bang with just eight anglers hooking forty fish of which twenty nine were landed. Father and son team of Roberto and Fransisco from Argentina had differing fortunes on both sessions, Fransisco saw all the action in the morning landing a total of three fish while it was his father Roberto who account for a total of five in the evening. Argentine guest Christian came equiped with a single handed set up but strong winds early in the week saw his guide suggest the use of a double hander, the speed at which he grasped the technique was astounding, experienced anglers find the single spey difficult to master at times but Christian was at the stage of fine tuning after just twenty minutes. His new found talent ensured he landed fish after fish. His fishing partner Ed from the States joined us for his second season in a row, having only taken up fly fishing in recent years this guy has become a complete addict making multiple trips each year to destinations such as Kamchatka, Alaska and here. Although he failed to beat his personal best of 22 pounds from last season a not to shabby 18 pounder with Andrei has no doubt ensure his name will feature on the team sheet next season. Fishing partners for many years Arnold and Steve from the States were here for their first time. The pair were a complete pleasure to guide, relaxed anglers of considerable talent their expectations were set at just […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: March 12 – 19, 2016

For me one of the major attractions to fishing for sea trout on the Rio Grande has always been the ability of the river and its fish to put the angler to the ultimate test. If you do not have “your shit together” as a former guide used to say, you will experience frustration, the feeling of inadequacy can burn through your arms as each cast fails to land in its desired location. Its not all doom and gloom however as each session passes your ability improves and you slowly begin to conquer your demons. Your confidence rises once things start fitting into place and that burning sensation turns to pure elation once your line goes tight and you feel thoses first couple of head shakes. I feel a greater appreciation and sense of achievement is  obtained by doing some hard yards at the start of the week rather than nailing fish from the get go. The Rio Grande certainly made our guests appreciate their fish this week as gusts of 80 kmph were experienced on the opening session. The river was transformed into a sea of white horses and for the first session of the season all guides returned for siesta empty handed. A significant abatement in the wind for the evening session allowed us to restore some parity on the scoresheets. Italian angler and Kau Tapen regular Andrea managed to land three fish, the biggest of which was 13 pounds, while his fishing partner David landed the fish of his dreams a beautiful 19 pound female. On the same evening Bernard here for his second week had a 19 pounder with the current big fish specialist Diego. Monday morning saw the wind causing more havoc, blowing from a North easterly direction which makes many of our pools extremely […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: March 5 – 12, 2016

Adjectives Reading people, specifically anglers is a talent all guides acquire after just a short time guiding, as my ghille back in South Kerry would say “ is not needed but paying close attention to the adjectives they use usually gives the game awayhe week, however  you can tell by the way they walk down to the boat whether they are any good to fish or not”, of course this refers directly to talent which ultimately affects the anglers success during the week, however success does not have to determine how much an individual angler enjoys their week. This is where reading your guests goes to the next level, a degree in phycology is not needed but paying close attention to the adjectives they use usually gives the game away. “I need to catch a fish this evening”, as opposed to “I would like to catch a fish”. Kau Tapen guide Diego, with his limited English (a good deal better than my Spanish) uses what I feel the perfect adjectives when it comes to fishing, his catch phrase has become ¨maybe I have the opportunity and possibility to catch a fish in this place¨, for all anglers, no matter where they are fishing this is a super approach to take. Needing to catch a fish is like buying a lotto ticket in order to pay your next mortgage instalment, you will be over the moon if it comes through but there is an even bigger chance you will be disappointed with the end result. Timo from Sweden was our most anticipated guest of the season, somewhat of a father Christmas to the guide team he had in his possession a large order of Danielsson reels which we had ordered, needless to say we were like children around a Christmas tree […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: February 27 – March 5, 2016

  Dream Guests Its no secret that you enjoy guiding some guests more than others, nationality is irrelavant as difficult guests can come from any corner of the planet. It is always astounding to get the distinct impression from your guests that you are actually trying to hinder their chances of catching a fish when in fact you are doing your upmost to do the opposite. Thankfully such guests are few and far between and the group we welcomed to Kau Tapen this week were all polar opposites to those just described, in fact for both guides and house staff these folks could only be described as dream guests. Both relaxing and pleasant to be around, our time on the river this week seemed to fly by and no sooner had we finished assembling rods than it felt like we were having our final tapas night of the week. A slight rise in water levels ( 4 – 5cm) just as the guests arrived lifted not only the river but also the sea trouts spirits and quite alot of movement was observed during the low light conditions of early morning and dusk ( the sea trouts preferred time to travel upstream). The family group of Janet and Bill accompanied by their sons Jake and Frost started their first week of two on the Rio Grande, here with us in Kau Tapen, they have travelled down river this week to see what the Villa Maria waters have to offer. For Frost and Jake it was their second season down here with the double handers and the improvement in their ability was tenfold, so much in fact that they almost got a compliment  from fly casting supremo Max Mameav “ Almost”. Although it may kill their father Bill to admit it these […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: February 20 – 27, 2016

  Midway point Week number 7 has seen us reach the half way point in our season, physcoligically for all staff this is a significant milestone, working in an isolated location, far from family and friends is not easy but knowing you are on the home stretch gives you a calm reassurance that you are almost there. We had a predominantly Russian group of guests this week with the exception of Kau Tapen legend and all round gentleman Gianni who was also accompanied by his wife Lalla. Thankfully the moody fish of last week have settled into the cold water regime and  were less affected by cold overnight  temperatures. Persistant upstream winds on Sunday, Thursday and Friday did hamper the anglers efforts at straight line presentation however cloudy conditions on the evening sessions made for very productive fishing and with the early on set of darkness some of the fishing at the so called magic hour was ridiculous. Sergei with guide Gaston set an early benchmark on the warm up session landing a 13 pound fish which heightened expectations for all other guests immediately. His fishing partner Igor did not have to wait long and went one better the following morning landing an 18 pounder. Fishing alone Gianni did what he does every year, taking his time he carefully picks out as many fish as he can from each pool, at the age of eighty  the mans ability to catch fish after fish is amazing and if the truth were told caught many more fish than men half his age. The phrase “the olde dog for the hard road and the puppy for the path” comes to mind. There was a touch of Hollywood around the place as Vladimir, making a film about different fishing destination around the world had […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: February 13 – 20, 2016

Mood Cycles The sea trout at Kau Tapen this week reminded me of a girlfriend I once had, her early morning mood was generally bad and no amount of cajoling or sweet talk could bring her around. As midday approached her spirits would lift a little and a smile or even a kiss were not out of the question but as soon as darkness fell a whole new person would appear and the cranky tyrant that you had to tip toe around all day was as playful as a puppy. We went our separate was in the end and to this day I could never figure out the reason for her daily mood cycles, as for the trout behaving in a similar fashion the reasons are straight forward, freezing over night temperatures made them slow and lethargic, as temperatures rose during the day they became more active and by nightfall they were happy to cooperate. Obviously fewer fish were landed in the morning sessions but in the long run the figures balanced themselves, the simple reason being that more fish were willing to take the fly at night, having not felt the anglers hooks earlier in the day. David and Kjell for Norway made the short trip over the fence from Aurelia lodge just upstream, to spend there second week in pursuit of these prized fish. David had a case of déjà vu landing the biggest fish of the week, a title he also received during his stay upstream. Kjell’s tales of big fish are far less joyous however, clumped by a giant of a fish on Wednesday night he returned the following evening for revenge only to be clumped for a second time. Scottish pair of David and Lorne had been well informed of what to expect down here […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: February 6 – 13, 2016

Kau Tapen Lodge

Key Ingredients Free time last summer allowed me to spend sometime in the Southwest of Ireland fishing on what is considered the premier sea trout fishery on the island. This was probably my 15th or 16th time visiting the fishery and in the past I had been pleased with my success ( I am talking Irish standards not Rio Grande standards ). I decided to break with tradition this time around and instead of plodding my own course I hired a ghille, a gentleman who I had know for many years and who had been guiding on the fishery for many more. Leaving any ego or self professed knowledge I thought I had on the bank I approached the day as a learning experience and hoped to gleam as much information from a man who had spent a lifetime on the water. Without going into too much detail a most enjoyable two days was had on the water, landing sea trout on both days and picking up a few valuable tips along the way. One abiding phrases however will stick in my head for many years to come. No less than two minutes into our first mornings fishing my ghillie turns to me in his unique southern draw “ lisen to me here now Matthew, fishing here is like playing soccer in the Premiership but not only that you are playing in the top three of the table”. In hindsight this was a form of physcological grooming, things needed to be done in a certain way in order to acquire the desired result and no matter how many other ways I had caught fish in the past “this was the way it was done in the deep south”. Rio Grande’s sea trout while more plentiful and much bigger can be […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: Jan. 30 – Feb. 6, 2016

Kau Tapen Lodge

  Journey Men Ever since Max M. went south to the Rio Grande and Steve E. travelled North to the Ponoi there has been a huge connection between both places. Both guides and guests have followed the same paths and made similar journeys. Week number 4 at Kau Tapen saw quite a collection of these journey men all gathered in the one spot and although the current weeks fishing was top priority one could not help feel the sense of nostalgia in all those present. Former Kau Tapen manager and current Ryabaga CEO Steve E. as well as former Ryabaga manager Roddy H. joined us for the week, having first crossed paths with guides Max and Andrei some 17 years ago in Russia they all had plenty of stories to catch up on. Jon S. and some of his party of friends are also regulars in both locations and fishing tales from near and far abounded on our first tapas night. Jon being no stranger to the Rio Grande has land more trout down here than he cares to remember, the story was no different this time around and from the very first session he was into fish. His best session of the week produced seven fish all on a single handed rod. Father and son team of Hubert and Jean were more interested in quality than quantity and had an amazing streak of land fish on 6 consecutive session, none of which were less than 10 pounds, the largest tipped the scales at 16 pounds. Jon’s party also consisted of two complete fly fishing virgin’s. Mike and Ralph having heard Jon speak about the Rio Grande for many years they decided to bite the bullet and see what all this talk was about. Taking a little time to find […]

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Kau tapen Lodge: January 16 – 23, 2016

Fishing con Chicas Anglers the world over have heard again and again the conundrum as to why female anglers catch bigger fish, many hypothesis have been developed ( mainly by the dominant practitioners of the sport – Men), pheromones, shorter casts, delicate presentation, luck etc etc. Having witnessed this weeks fishing I would propose a much simpler answer “Chicas are just better to fish”!!!! Week number two at Kau Tapen saw the arrival of twelve guests, nothing unusual there, of the twelve however four were female anglers and when I say anglers I mean anglers, not some poor olde doll dragged here with tall tales of glorious weather and light winds, and an Antarctic cruise thrown in as a sweetner. These girls were the real deal, avid anglers, here by choice, ready to take on what ever the Rio Grande had to offer. Female anglers are common the world over and we regularly have mixed couples fishing together, be it husband and wife, father and daughter etc etc. Quite often it is the female of the couple who ends the week with more fish, in the past I would have given this very little taught and put it down to the luck of the draw. However, as the statisticians would say, having a greater sample population of four female anglers the results are closer to the mean. By the weeks end on Friday it was blatantly obvious which of the sexes are better to fish. Not only had the chicas out fished their male fishing partners they had out fished the entire male contingent of eight anglers. This had my luck of the draw theory in shreds and I began to analyze the scenario deeper. Guiding as opposed to fishing gives you a unique opportunity to “fish through someone else’s […]

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