Travelling to the end of the world with Sportquest Holidays
It is amazing to think where fishing takes us to around the world in pursuit of the target species we wish to catch. We have just returned from one of those such trips. Sportquest Holidays very first hosted Sea Trout fly fishing adventure to the one and only Worlds End Lodge in the most Southern location in Argentina.
It was week 6 of the season when myself and four other keen anglers, Peter, Phil, Andy & Tracey, all met to start our adventure. After a relaxing night in Buenos Aires to catch our breath and prepare for the onward journey we found our favourite local restaurant serving delicious steaks and bottles of Malbec wine to celebrate the start of our new adventure.
Early the next morning it was a little over 3-hour flight to Ushuaia where on arrival we were met by Diego and his team. From here we drove 3 hours through the Andes taking in stunning scenery which is in total contrast to all the other Sea Trout destinations in Argentina we had visited and fished before. The lush evergreen trees, mountains capped with snow made the journey interesting and the time quickly went past. Along the way, we stopped at Panaderia La Union in Tolhuin which is a famous bakery & café. What was surprising was the gallery of photographs inside of people with huge Sea Trout and Chinook Salmon from the region. It seemed like it was a regular stop for travelling fly fisherman’s, which we could understand after sampling their range of the most delicious empanadas.
The famous Panadería La Unión bakery
Not long after our stop for lunch, it was time to turn off the main road and head towards the Southwest of Tierra del Fuego onto the gravel road which eventually turned into a private road belonging to the estancia. This then took us a further 1 hours’ drive through the stunning landscape of the ancient forests and along the clifftops which you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Dover with views far and wide across the Atlantic Ocean, which was surprisingly a flat calm, looking more like the largest lake in the world you had ever seen than an ocean.
The end of this private road is literally the end of the world as there is no further vehicle access any further in Argentina. Therefore, you arrive at the appropriately named Worlds End Lodge.
The entrance to the end of the world
Arriving at the Lodge
On arrival, Diego showed us to our rooms before giving us the grand tour of the facilities for our weeks stay. Worlds End lodge consists of separate, beautifully constructed log cabins in well-manicured grounds overlooking the magnificent Irigoyen River. There is the accommodation cabin which has four roomy twin bedroom rooms each with their own large ensuite bathroom. As the lodge usually caters for a maximum of four rods each week, this means each customer gets their own private room. The rooms are large with plenty of space and to hang up all your clothing for the week. The bathroom has western-style toilets, sink and bidet. There is also a large walk-in shower with constant hot water. In the main accommodation cabin there is also a drying/changing room which with its large wood burning stove ensures that all your outside clothes and waders are always warm dry and a delight to put on for each session.
A closer look at the accomodation at Worlds End Lodge
Outside and only a few steps away is the main social and dining cabin. This building is perched high up overlooking the riverbank which gives stunning views each morning and evening of the river. Inside there are comfortable chairs, a dining room table large enough to seat the whole group, with a large wood-burning stove to keep us all warm. This main area is were each morning we would take a hearty cooked breakfast, and/or fruit, cereal and toast, before heading out for the mornings fishing. A full three-course lunch is served around 1 pm along with hand-picked Argentinian craft beers and Wine.
The stunning Social Cabin at Worlds End Lodge
After lunch all the guests are able to either siesta or relax. After a nice afternoon of relaxation, tea coffee and freshly baked cakes are available in the dining cabin after which it would be back to the river for the evenings fishing often not returning until well into the darkness or as we like to call it, the Sea Trout magic hours. On returning to the lodge from the evenings fishing session the staff are always present to welcome us back with drinks and more delicious food. One thing for sure is we were never going to go hungry during this week. One of the many nice touches I appreciated about this operation was the wine. Each night we would be served a different red & white wine with explanations of where it comes from in Argentina and what it is renowned for.
Outside there is also another cabin which contains the fisherman’s cave, which has a lounge area and a very well stocked tackle shop for such a remote lodge. There is a good selection of flies, fly lines, tippets, rods, reels and even some clothing. Basically, if you forget something Diego and his team will have you covered.
An anglers paradise, the Fishermans cave
Time for Fishing
As previously mentioned the fishing is split like many Sea Trout lodges into two main sessions. Each session two customers depart with one guide usually by 4×4 truck unless fishing Zone 1 which is accessed on foot. The whole fishing stretch is divided into seven zones and each zone has many pools to fish in all levels of water, high or low. One definite advantage of this destination is the variety of water which is available to suit the conditions, so unless the river is in total flood you will always have accessible water.
All customers fish on a rotation system but with seven zones for only four anglers there is also room for flexibility of the whole program so you the customers can make the most of the Zones that are fishing the best during your week. I must say we were all very surprised how well Diego and his team worked tirelessly to make sure everyone was fishing well, with the correct set-up and into as many fish as possible which could easily be seen by the numbers at the end of the week.
One point worth mentioning is there is quite a bit of walking between pools, which is no problem at all as it’s an easy walk and if anyone is struggling Diego and his team will ensure that you are only fishing zones and pools that are more easily accessible.
The Irigoyen River was a delight to us all, what a stunning and totally different contrasting Sea Trout river to all the others in we have been to in Argentina. It flows through the middle of a dense Lenga forest, and a beautiful tree-lined valley, covered and sheltered from the famous Argentinian wind. The Irigoyen is a river perfect for single-handed or a light switch rod for along the river there are many different spots, pools, logjams, and underwater structures, providing Sea Trout with perfect situations and places where they hide on their way upstream. This makes fishing the Irigoyen River a technical challenge which is lots of fun and never boring.
A look at the range of pools available on the Irigoyen River
The distance to cast is not overly long, averaging 15m. Presentation is done in various ways, swinging flies downstream, sometimes casting upstream to let the fly sink down deep, and stripping at various speeds. The guides are experts at fishing this river and taught the whole group all the little tips and tricks required to get you presenting your fly to as many fish as possible. The main idea was simple cover as much water as you can during every session, which is also the reason why Worlds End Lodge has long zones with lots of different structures & pools in each Zone.
It would be fair to say that the fishing surpassed every customer’s expectations and some amazing fish were caught each and every session. On the very first day on the river, the four anglers landed four fish with the best being just under 20lb for Peter M, a fresh chrome fish literally hours from the ocean which incidentally turned out to the biggest fish of the week. Tracey also got off to a flying start with a stunning 13lb Sea Trout. Considering the day was flat calm, bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky and our first day on a new river it was a great start.
A look at some of the stunning Sea Trout in the Irigoyen River
Day 2: It was a bright morning with a slightly overcast evening session the group faired even better with banking ten fish between us all. Philip found himself getting amongst the fish including two really nice doubles to just over 16lb.
Day 3: Presented itself with perfect Sea Trout conditions, a light breeze no sun, dull sky and no surprise that we all got into some really fast action. A total of eighteen fish were landed between the group, no monsters but everything from a 1lb to over 14lb which was just one of two more doubles landed by Tracey.
Day 4: Was much the same, this time fourteen fish accounted for. Again, everything from small Sea Trout under a 1lb to the best fish of the day in the magical hours of darkness to Peter C a beautiful 16.5lb hen fish.
Day 5: The sun started to break through in places which slowed down the fishing a little, having said that the group still managed to land nine fish several over 10lb topped off by a new personal best for Philip at 19.5lb what a cracking fish it was. So fresh were some of the fish it was the first time I had ever seen the blue metallic hue they have on the gill covers and fins as sometimes these fish are so fresh as they are less than a couple of hours from the ocean.
All too quickly it was the last day of fishing where everyone managed to bank thirteen more Sea Trout, no monsters on the last day but with a third of them over 10lbs, there was certainly no complaints.
Tracey just before she released her trophy
On a few occasions throughout the week, the group during the afternoon rest period decided to fish sea pool which is the first pool on the river from the ocean, this saltwater pool is tidal so if the timings are correct during your week you can have some amazing fishing.
The main species to fish for and catch are Robalo, which to describe them they are very much like the Redfish you would fish for in Florida and boy do they fight just like them. The group had many happy sessions with some people catching as many as six each just in a couple of hours fishing. On one afternoon we caught the tide perfectly as it started to turn and come in. Diego informed us that we only had about 30 mins but to come and fish the outflow from the pool that flows through the pebble beach into the Atlantic Ocean. With the incoming tide all you can see in water no deeper than one metre is fish after fish passing you as they come into the river with the rising tide. The fish are a mixture of fresh Sea Trout and Robalo. We made a few casts and immediately on my second cast something hit my fly hard and took off at an alarming speed.
Some large Robalos caught at Worlds End Lodge
Firstly, all the fly line disappeared in a flash then yards and yards of backing disappeared as this fish decided to turn tail and return to the ocean. Then as quick as that it turns and runs back up the river which saw me reeling in like an idiot, to guess what? Just as before it changes its mind and turns yet again and decides to return back to the ocean. Laughing out loud I shouted to Diego that this was reminiscent of playing GT’S in the surf. After a good fight and one that was giving me arm ache we eventually landed the fish which was a huge Robalo, we never weighed it but estimated it as being between 14 to 16lbs judging by the feel of it and it’s the length. What a fish though, and an added bonus to the weeks fishing.
On another day myself and Andy snuck down to sea pool while everyone else was taking a siesta. We had not long been fishing when we saw Sea Trout roll in between us both. Shortly after Andy landed a nice 8lb fish with me only two casts afterwards landing another Sea Trout a similar size. Add to this a few Robalo thrown in for good measure you can see why it was hard to rest some days as the fishing down at the mouth of the river is so good.
The mouth of the river produces some great fish!
A round up of the week
In total, the group landed 58 Sea Trout, 47 of which were over 3lb. The number of Robalo was not recorded but more than enough to make everyone laugh. The largest fish of the week was just under 20LB closely followed by Philips fish 19.5lb. All in all it was an amazing week with lots of good size fish over the magical 10lb range.
It was all too quick that the end of the week arrived and it was sad to leave such a special place and an amazing group of people who work so hard to make the lodge and the fishing a top-notch destination. The love for Worlds End Lodge had been implanted in everyone’s hearts and everyone in the group had been touched by its beauty, and as everyone wishes to return for the following years you could say we are all now addicted to this incredible place.
The final evening in the social cabin with a group of happy anglers
Personally, I loved the trip, as many know I am lucky to fish many places around the world, but from time to time places do impress me so much that even tough old me gets a soft spot for them. So, what is so special about this place? Simple, it’s the magic of it all and how it all comes together. The Irigoyen River is an extremely interesting river to fish, however as anyone will tell you it’s not just all about the fishing. It is all about the complete package and a trip to Worlds End Lodge delivers that package right to your heart.
Sportquest Holidays is proud to be Worlds End Lodge exclusive European booking agent and it will come as no surprise that we will be returning for two weeks next season.
If you would like to join us on these or any of our other weeks please feel free to contact me personally as I am more than happy to talk to you all about it from my own personal experiences and share all the information about this unique destination or take a look at our dedicated tour page.
My contact details are:
Telephone: 01603 407596