By MATT HARRIS Itati, a humble farming village on Argentina’s remote northern border seems an unlikely spot to find a spectac..
Villa María Lodge – Week 12: March 20th to 27th, 2022
This was the last week of our fishing season and definitely the most challenging of all in 2022.
On the first day, we found the river was high and brown due to the different showers we had in the previous week plus the melting of the first snowfall on the Andes. So for a couple of days, we had to fish primarily the pools where the beach is on Villa Maria side as it was risky and almost impossible to cross over the river.
These water conditions led us to fish with different setups than the ones we used throughout the season. The big rods came out of the tubes and those nice 14’ rods replaced the single-handed and switch rods that we used most of the time with low water.
These 14 footers were matched with different types of lines like floating skagit, FLT/H/Intermediate sinking rate skagits, and full fast sinking scandi shooting heads. We can say that the sinking skagit was the most successful and it is a line that has a good balance between “castability” and fishing. We matched it with different T-tips depending on the clarity, level, and speed of the water. At the beginning of the fishing week, the best was to pair the sinking skagit with 12-15ft of T17, and by the end of the week, as the river dropped approx. 30cm and the water clarity improved greatly, we used lighter sinking tips all the way down to T8. These lighter tips makes casting and presenting the fly a much easier process.
When we had to choose flies, we had to apply the same line of reasoning used to choose rod/line setups. With muddy and fast water it was a must to find high visibility patterns. Colorful and with a good profile. Usually, sea trout patterns are not this big but being creative helped a lot. Staking tube flies is the best recipe to achieve the color and silhouette requirements. An example of this is combining a bright green tube in front of a black flashy intruder. With this all the boxes are checked and being feather-tied patterns, they cast relatively easier than a rabbit-based pattern.
As the water dropped and got clearer, we were reducing the size of the pattern and by the end of the week, Tracey was catching her best sea trout -which reached the 19 lbs- with a normal chartreuse leech and Will caught a beautiful 18lbs cock fish on a more traditional rubber-legged fly.
The whole group of anglers, all first-timers at Villa Maria Lodge, did great work in very demanding conditions. The rest of the guides and me want to thank them for their patience and for following our wildest recommendations in the quest of catching that dreamed fish in less than ideal conditions!
By Alejandro Martello – Villa María Lodge Fishing Manager