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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Villa María Lodge: March 20 – 27, 2016

Season Essentials

We have just  finished one of the most challenging weeks on the Rio Grande this season. The problem wasn’t fish—we have the fish! But the weather  divided the week in half–cold and windy and very mild, windless, and warm the second half. In fact we had a couple of the warmest days of the year with temperatures up to 26 degree Celsius! Generally, it was cool early in the mornings and very warm during the day. This also altered the water temp that was moving like a roller-coaster. And,at the same time, the water was starting to warm up, it’s level was dropping fast. I.e: last monday at 8am the air temperature was 5C and the water 6/8C but around 2pm the air was 25C and the water 14/16C. All these fast changes and the complete lack of wind and blue sky made the fish very unpredictable, shy, and prone to very short periods of activity. Good casts, better presentations, slow swings, and good dose of patience were the ticket to succeed with Rio Grande’s sea trout. We had a group lead by women this week, something not very usual to see in a fishing lodge at this latitude. So we were not short on laughters and good conversation. And for first timers in this river, they did a wonderful job! Every rod in the group got at least one fish over 17lbs! In these conditions, there was not a special set up to use and we were forced to change lines, tips and flies constantly. The tips varied from 3 to 12ft and from intermediate to T14, depending on temp, pool depth and fish activity. Smaller than usual nymphs and bright streamers of different colors were the first choice of guides and fishermen. Thanks a lot to Sam, Demetre, […]

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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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Villa María Lodge: March 6 – 13, 2016

We just finished another “tempestuous weather” week! The wind and large temperature variations across the days made this week quite particularly challenging in that aspect. Winds up to 60mph and near freezing temperatures overnight were the main challenges to defeat. But with patience and between wine talks, jokes, and hard work we enjoyed great success. Similar to the last couple of weeks, we had a few hours of rain that bumped up the water level a couple of centimeters. Even when it still looks like too little to make a difference, that event stirs things up. There was no a pattern of behavior of fish preferring one fly over another. In one pool someone was catching on green machines and in the next one below, on collie dog tubes. Even leeches were good on some cold mornings and when the fish were not moving to anything else. Of course Leeches remain the almighty option in lower light conditions. Regarding lines, skaggit lines with short sink tips were the best options, as usual. Floating and intermediates lines saw a lot of action this week with great success when fished teamed with a Sunray shadow style tube.  

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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 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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Villa María Lodge: Jan. 31 – Feb. 7, 2016

  This last week we hosted a great group of Austrian and German anglers. There was a mix of first timers, second timers, and long-time repeaters at Villa Maria Lodge. And, luckily, the fishing was in tune with all the fun. We had, so far, the most productive week of the season. The weather was a bit crazy at the start—crazy good—with pleasantly warm days and light winds. But then we had a full day of heavy rain that led to a subtle spike in river levels. Fish typically don’t like to take flies when the river is rising. Fortunately, the water clarity remained good and after a couple of fishing sessions the fish started committing to the fly again. After the rain, we had three straight days of unusual heat, where thermometer readings climbed all the way to 26-degrees C! Again the fishing turned tricky, but stabilized in the mornings and late evenings when the sun was off the water. We experimented with a variety of flies without a clear overall winner. We skated dries, fished nymphs high in the water column, we dredged some pool with tiny flies, and we also used more traditional streamers. Everything seemed to work when fished properly. As always, good presentation is key. Green machines worked well on picky fish. Of course leeches were a must in the darker moments.   Largest fish of the week: 23.5 lbs. Fish over 20 lbs: 5 Fish over 15 lbs: 32   Alejandro Martello, Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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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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