Sunday, January 27, 2008

A couple more road trip shots

A boat is a hole in the water...

in which you fill with money. It is a verse that my grandfather has on the wall of our cabin. When the four of us in the the rental car came across this small local port, this verse came to mind. Unfortunately in this case, the poor guy that owns this hole in the water has to figure out a way to savage what he can. At least the emergency floatation device can be reused.

The effects of a 600 kilometer car ride

After a short bus ride to Bariloche, Eric and I found ourselves a nice little place to stay in downtown called The House. It was there that we ran into Casper and Aeiou from Spain that informed us that they would be renting a car for a day long tour of the local lakes. Split four ways, it was a pretty cheap deal and we made the most of it.

Saying goodbye to Raul

The other day we left Esquel saying goodbye to Raul San Martin. We would be hard-pressed to find another guy like Raul. His kindness, generousity, humor and all around knowledge of fishing was incredible and we will be forever greatful towards him.

Fishing with Raul - Part Two

Fishing with Raul - Part One

Eric and I went out with Raul to fish for the remaining two days we had in Esquel. We returned to El Canal on the first day and then hit up some of the other smaller lakes around the park.

People in Passing

When planning out this trip, Eric and I made sure of everything. The places we wanted to go, things we wanted to do and the means of how we were going to do them. I don't think there is really anything you can do to prepare for the avalanche of individuals that you meet on your travels. Everyday it's a new face, a dozen new names, and just as quickly when you met them, they disapear into the night. It is a fun yet at the same time, a difficult lifestyle to get used to. I like to think about the paths these people have endured to get to this crossroad of here and now. And with the brief time we share together over a beer, or a pick up game of cards, or even just sharing a mirror to brush your teeth, we make a profound effect on one another.

Just the other night at our hostel in Esquel, this local funk band from Buenos Aires decided to play a free gig for all the people in the tents outside. As I watched, it was more than just a concert, it was a reminder of the unity of all those who travel. Language barriers didn't matter. Everyone danced.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Estrecho de los Monstruos

The following day Raul took all of us out to a connecting lake called Lago Futalaufquen which then pours into the famous Estrecho de los Monstruos aka the stretch of Monsters. When trout where introduced to Argentina back in the early 1900's, many of the rainbows imported from the states and the browns from the England and Europe would eventually end up in the lakes at one point of their lifecycle or another. The story of the stretch of Monsters dates back into the 1970's when the sport of fly fishing started gaining popularity and deticate aka rich travelers slowly began trickling into Argentina to fish for them. Back then these fish in the "Monster" had not seen much if any fishing pressure since their introduction. So by the time the fly fisherman came around they were pulling out 8/10 kilogram sized trout. Just huge for those that don't understand the metric system. Nowadays their are still some good size fish in there but nothing compared to the days of old. We hooked into them using sinking line with a wooley bugger casted towards shore and dropping hoppers into the sandy reed beds.

Bring Boats - Part Two

A couple more glimpses of the day.

Bring Boats - Part One

Los Alerces National Park reminds me a lot of Glacier Park back home. It is a romantic place filled with jagged mountain tops that drop imediately into numerous large lakes at their base. Raul, his guides Alvardo and Geronimo, Bill, Eric, the clients and I loaded into three 14 ft boats and left the mud of the spring creek beds for some lake and river fishing. We left the shores along Lago Verde and headed out the towards the Rio Rivadavia in search of brown trout along the weed beds. The scenery only added to the large bows and browns we hooked that day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back to Willie

The other day we returned with the group to Laguna de Williemanco for a day for lake fishing. When we were expecting the worst in weather conditions from previous experience, instead we arrived to dead calm waters. Both Eric and I have been baffled by how unpredictable the weather here in the Patagonia is. IT isn't like the mountains back home in the West are. There you could usually expect rain in the afternoon but here it comes and goes on a much different schedule. Shade and sunlight temperatures differ greatly and a dead calm day can quickly change into a huirricane in a blink of an eye. It makes it very hard to know how to dress for the elements. This time around in WIlliemanco there were no three foot waves to battle. This actually made the fishing harder because the fish would see you sooner and then spook. A lot of the fishing we have been doing is sight fishing aka spotting the trout and then casting to it before it sees you. It is not so much fishing as it is hunting. We found that the rainbow trout would be cruising along the sand flats and then hang out around the reed beds. It is not the kind of place where you would think to find a species like trout. It felt more like bass fishing.

To eat like Kings

I have to hand it to the Argentineans when it comes to cooking there beef. They don't mess around. Combine culinary expertise with meals on a fly fishing guided trip and you have yourself a recipe for success. This last week and a half, Eric and I have been joining up up with Raul, Bill Marts from the Redding Fly Shop and four of his clients on a fly fishing trip throughout Los Alerces National Park. Every day we were treated to the best damn lunches we have ever had. On this particular day Raul fixed up his famous parillia aka riverside BBQ of the best cuts of meat found on the cow. With his made-from-scratch meal, he introduced us to a special Argentinean sauce called "Chimmychurry" Basically you mix 4 parts salt with 2 parts oregano, red pepper, four cloves of chopped up garlic, olive oil and water. Let it "ferment" for about 3-4 days and then apply it to beef on the grill after you have braized both sides. I have never known beef to taste so good. It beats the hell out of homemade sandwiches.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The other day Raul took us to this great little spring creek called El Canal while the other clients floated on a nearby stream. I am really loving this kind of fishing. The constant, cold, slow moving water and with the thick vegetation all around it creates a perfect environment for large rainbows and brown trout. The visability is superb. You are literally hunting and stalking for trout.

In many places we would have to wade through marshy areas, where to our discovery, six inches of muddy water can drop to 2-3 ft without notice. At the same time we would suddenly see a big brown holding in about 6 inches of water far from the main creek channel. We found trout in places I would never think to look and hooked into plenty using large nympths and the occasional hopper pattern.

This is also the creek Eric and I found ourselves completely lost in after we were separated from the rest of the group. We followed the main channel and they went another way. This small mishap turned into a three hour trudge through mud and thick bamboo groves. Opps. We ended up finding our way back to the car and needless to say we slept like rocks that night.