Another great week comes to an end at Las Buitreras, and what a week it was. Not only did we see an exceptional number of fish being landed, 130 Sea Trout in total, but the way they were caught has really made us think about adjusting our tactics for the upcoming 2023 season. Those of you who have been reading our reports throughout the season may already have an idea of where we are going with this. Yes, we are talking about the good ol classic salmon fly, Sunray Shadow, who now definitely cemented its case as a staple in every anglers fly box when fishing the Rio Gallegos. But more on that later.
The water conditions for the week were great and had finally stabilized for a few days at a level around zero. In terms of color we had that perfect Earl Grey tea color that the fish just seems to love so much. These conditions allow us to fish slightly bigger flies which usually translates into less lost fish. To top it off we had a huge run of fresh fish hitting the system. Popular patterns for the week were Girdle bugs, Yuk bugs, all types of streamers and leeches, and of course Sunray Shadows in various sizes. The group for the week represented the UK, Ireland, USA, Sweden, and Lithuania.
Glenda and Noel, representing Ireland, were here for their second week straight and this week they were part of the normal rotation, meaning full focus on fishing. Glenda, who despite only sparsely fishing the week before still experienced an incredible amount of action during those sessions, decided that this would be a “Sunray only” week for her. Not only did she fish Sunrays all week, she fished the exact same Sunray all week long, and with it she landed 20 Sea Trout. Glenda’s biggest of the week came at Cogedero where a perfect 15 pounder hammered her fly and more or less went aerial for a full minute. Luckily her partner Noel was there to capture most of it on camera. Noel, when not taking photos of Glenda posing with fish, had a great week on his own and landed several stunning fish in the double digits. One that stands out in our memories was when Noel on his first cast of the day, in glassy, windless conditions, presented his Delphi Collie pattern fly perfectly near the far bank in Little Corner and was rewarded for his excellent casting with a beautiful 12 pounder. A good way to start the day.
Ronan, here for the first time, was ecstatic to finally make it down here. After boarding his flight in London back in March 2020, that was to take him to Buenos Aires via São Paulo, Ronan and all fellow travelers heading to Argentina were suddenly asked to depart the plane before take off when the first covid lockdown in Argentina was enforced. He was ready to go again in 2021 but this obviously didn’t happen either. This time though, he was finally going to make it down to Argentina and southern Patagonia to try and master its mythical Sea run Browns. Well, two days before departure Ronans covid test came back, and it was positive….After the initial shock and realization that he was going to miss out on Las Buitreras for a third time straight, we were able to move Ronan to a later week in the season and now at long last…Ronan was setting foot in the lodge. You could see the excitement in his eyes when he was walking around in the Estancia, studying the map of the river, sipping Malbec, and just taking it all in.
When it came to fishing we were all curious to see what mother nature would throw at him, if Karma is truly a thing, or if he was going to have to work for it. Later that evening we had the answer: five fish landed the first day for Ronan, the biggest one caught in Little Corner and weighing in at just under 13 lbs. A great start to a long overdue trip and the wine and whisky shared that evening tasted bloody good. Ronan’s highlight of the week however was not the Malbec that was served that night. Fishing the bottom part of Lawson pool with his smaller switch rod, the part with the tricky back eddy making your line go in all kinds of directions, he was just done counting to 8 to make sure the fly was in the right spot before making his first strip. And right on cue Ronan’s first strip was interrupted by a hard strike resulting in a deep bend in his light rod. After an initial standoff where nothing really happened, the fish suddenly had enough and took off like a race car down stream. Things got very real and very exciting as the guide had a hard time containing his excitement when realizing the size of the fish. Ronan however kept his cool, followed the fish all the way down to La Recta where he was able to land a stunning 19 pounder. This fish also turned out to be the biggest landed of the week. We’re not gonna say it was worth three years of waiting but not far off.
Ronan’s fishing partner Andy, here for a second week straight, was enjoying every minute here in Patagonia. Apart from being a highly talented angler and just a fantastic human being, Andy had some amazing stories from his years as a correspondent with Reuters and at times it was hard to stop enquiring him about everything that went down during his years in Africa, Russia, and more. In terms of fishing Andy kept being successful, just like during the previous week, and landed plenty of gorgeous fish including a nice 12 pounder in Bridge pool that fell for a copper John.
As an extra treat this week, we had the pleasure and privilege to welcome our very good friends Michael and Jordan from the US back to the lodge. Michael, here for the second time this season and god knows what time overall, needs no introduction to anyone who’s been following our reports over the years. Together with his partner in crime Jordan, they are an unstoppable force that lights up their surroundings at all hours of the day. These guys know how to have a good time and make the most of everything that is on offer at Las Buitreras. One moment you see them on the couch, sharing stories with the group, the next they are in the kitchen, joining the staff for some laughs and a cooking show down, only to move on to the fly tying table to whip up a couple goodies. Muhammad Ali himself would be impressed by Jordans ability to float around the lodge like a butterfly, dropping positive vibes and making people laugh and smile in his presence. And even though these two may be the most relaxed fishing duo we have visiting during the season, never on time for a session and always enjoying just being on the river, they do manage to get a few casts in every now and then, usually with great results.
Jordan, a great caster and experienced steelhead angler should be added, always catches a great number of fish and this time was no different. One of his standouts was a perfect 15 pound male from Outer Limits that took the fly on a classic steelhead swing. Another great moment was when Jordan was fishing Lawson pool and in the middle of telling Rick how he had never had a fish there, was interrupted by a big thug only to see a nice 10 pounder take straight to the air. To make sure his fishing partner wasn’t going to lose this one, Michael came running full steam all the way from La Recta, his own net in hand, to assist our guide with the netting. That poor fish never had a chance with two nets chasing it around half way out in the pool.
Michael himself knows this river as well as anyone and had his fair share of fish when he actually decided to fish. One of those came in Little Corner on a leech pattern called Silver Shadow, a fly that was very successful this week.
Austin, now armed with a full week of spey fishing experience, was oozing with confidence each time he stepped into the water. The progress he made with his casting was almost hard to describe but it was very gratifying to watch him cover pool by pool these last three days. One of his nicer fish this last half week came at the iconic Kitchen pool. After a perfect cast right below the big rock that everyone that has fished here is familiar with, a stunning chromer took his fly and went right up in the air. 10 minutes later the fish was in the net and Austin could let out yet another roar of relief and happiness. We can’t thank Austin enough for his enthusiasm and commitment and dedication to spey casting during these 10 days, and we’re excited to see you again next season.
David, Austins fishing partner for the first three days came to Buitreras after spending a week at Glencross where he mainly chased resident Browns with a 5 weight single hander in the tributaries, was now ready to try out some spey fishing for the searun Browns at Las Buitreras. Even though David had managed to hook a couple bonus searun’s on his single hander up in the tributaries at Glencross, he knew this was going to be very different. Being eager to learn, David improved his casting quickly. The most memorable session for David came mid week when he landed no less than three fish in one session. The biggest weighing in at 12 lbs. Well done David. We know this trip was long overdue for you and we are glad you finally made it.
Our Swedish team and Argentina regulars, Göran (Mr. Sunray) and Håkan (Mr. Single Hand), after three days in Glencross and three days in Zone Zero, were finally ready to start their week in the regular Las Buitreras beats. It didn’t take them long to land their first couple of fish after experiencing some thrilling fishing with Sunray Shadows. It wasn’t a Sunray however that would land them their biggest fish of the week. Instead it was classic nymph patterns that helped Håkan catch a 13,5 pounder, while Göran landed a 17 pounder in Kitchen. Well done guys and thanks for joining us for 2 weeks down here in Patagonia.
Marius, joining us from Lithuania, arrived mid week for three days in Zone Zero before his week at Las Buitreras. Marius has been here several times before and started catching double digit fish as soon as he hit the river. But more than anything Marius was over the moon to be back and experience the solitude and vastness of the patagonian plains. Welcome back Marius and we’re excited to see what next week brings.
Stats of the week
Biggest Sea-run Brown Trout landed: 19 lbs by Ronan B from Ireland
Top rod of the week: Glenda P from Ireland with 20 Sea-run Brown Trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 26
Average size: 7 lbs
Our fly fishing specialist Peter Collingsworth has been over to Las Buitreras, fishing the banks of the famous Rio Gallegos many times, so if there’s anything you would like to know about the fishing or if you have any questions you’d like to ask him, you can contact him on 01603 407596 or email at email@example.com he would be delighted to speak to you.