February 2015


Huge Fish at The End of the World

Our sea trout lodges were blessed with an incredible season opening. River conditions were just perfect and a monster fish was landed during the first week. Good fishing remained, as well as a few more surprises. KAU TAPEN LODGE A week prior to the first guest arrivals, the odd fish was trickling into the mid-stretch of the Rio Grande, where Kau Tapen waters are located. However, the clients were welcomed with a bang! Massive tides, a dropping river, and low cloud cover created perfect conditions to get the week started off just right. The fishing exceeded everyone’s expectations. Fish of the week went to angler Fred Clough from Maine, U.S.A. His monstrous doe measured 100cm (39.4 inches) and weighed an estimated 27-30 pounds. He battled the wind with his 9-foot single-handed rod while everyone else was throwing double-handers. A trophy well earned and well deserved. A month later, the river is still pretty low, but running cold and clear. As with the last few weeks, this meant opportunities for some great technical fishing. Small heavy nymphs, and slow-sinking/intermediate tips and good presentations made all the difference. After sunset, small Sunrays were fished with confidence, often producing three or four fish during the last minutes of the day. VILLA MARIA LODGE At Villa Maria, the river’s course changed noticeably during spring floods and fresh fish entering the system were forced to adjust, seeking the best new spots to stop and gather. During these first days, our guides witnessed good numbers of chrome fish charging upstream. Timing was key. And adapting to the fast-changing circumstances called for a mixed-bag of presentations: everything from Type-8 sinking tips and weighted Rubber-Legged flies to delicately swinging Prince Nymphs on intermediate tips. The latest reports from the Rio Grande indicate that the previous week has been the most productive so far. Weather has been pleasant: not too windy, nor too cold. And fishing has been consistently good during the day, with […]

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Slow, Deep, and BIG

Kau Tapen, March 8–15, 2014 As I mentioned last week, changing weather conditions have forced us to switch up our regular tactics: from small nymphs and rubber legs on intermediate tips to a more robust system of 3- to 4-inch leeches in bright chartreuse and orange tones fished on fast sinking tips, going down to a T20 in the deepest pools. After ten weeks on the trot, it’s a style of fishing that suits us guides perfectly. Gone are the sessions where guests need constant tutelage and adjustments in terms of fly choice and swing speeds. Instead, we’re taking on a more relaxed demeanour, confident in the knowledge that slow, deep, and big is the best approach. Considering the excellent catch statistics from Week 10, icluding the highest average weight for the season, the process is working. And we’re seeing larger, aggressive male fish factoring heavily into our catch counts, alongside some impressive females. Orazzio Gatti’s report card for the week is a testament to the quality of fish this river produces. Gatti landed 19 fish. His top three weighed in at 22, 19 and 17 pounds. Fishing alone, his 22 pounder was skilfully beached on the bank, while his guide managed to arrive just in time for the all-important photo shoot. Ponoi regular, Laurence Kiernan and his wife Andrea joined us from Germany. While Laurence battled with cold conditions on the river, Andrea adopted a more relaxed approach and took residency beside the cosy log fire in the lodge. Coming off the river each evening frozen to the bone, I looked at her enviously. Laurence landed some superb fish, but came just short of achieving his quest for a 20 pounder… maybe next time. Our top rod for the week, Chris O’Neill, fished with his wife Diane. Both steelheaders […]

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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 […]

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Fishing for Memories

Having graduated from university in late 2008 and being well and truly hooked on the notion of guiding internationally I set about the intricate task of worming my way onto the guiding circuit. In hindsight it was probably the worst time possible to achieve my goal; my emails of expressed interest were replied to with the common catchphrases “downturn,” “crash,” and “recession.” With the Celtic tiger a mere pussycat of its former boom bonanza, attaining any form of employment was a difficult feat. After nine months on the scratcher I had to bite the bullet and take a position in a local grocery store, my outdoor dream had suddenly turned into a trolleys and isles nightmare. My lowest point came when my cousin no more than eleven at the time, snapped a picture of me in full uniform behind the deli counter. He sent me the photo with the added text “fly fishing guide or deli dolly?” Recounting a single moment or memory from those nine months is impossible, having no interest in my duties it was only a means to an end. So when a week passes like the one we just had I appreciate all the more the events and experiences that no doubt I and the guests will recount for years to come. Stories at the guide cabin can go back years, recounting in intricate detail individual fish, flies, guests, et cetera. Guiding late into the evening at Kau Tapen Lodge can be very special, referred to by many as the “magic hour” your guiding takes on a whole new perspective; as the light fades your senses change from visual to acoustic. You find yourself in an almost trance-like state gazing into the darkness, head tilted slightly, and ear intently cocked for any telltale sounds of action. […]

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