Archive for June, 2009
Submitted by Mark S.
May, 2009 – Bahia de Los Suenos (La Paz, Mexico)
Warm weather, cold beer and great fishing (or for our trip “catching”) – Those are 3 things that make a perfect vacation and our trip to the Bahia de los Suenos with James Shaughnessy was perfect. After a quick 2 hour flight from Los Angeles, we were met at the airport by the General Manager of our hotel who drove us to the resort. At the resort, they had our rooms ready and pre-stocked with the essentials (beer, water, and tequila) that we had pre-ordered with James a week prior. I knew at that point that James was going to be great as the beer and tequila were the exact brands we requested. On a side non-fishing note, the resort was amazing and our room was 50 yards from the ocean. The food and service were equivalent of the best hotels in the US.
We were picked up the first morning (Thursday) by our pangas on the beach in front of the hotel. We headed off to get some bait and start fishing. The panga captains were great. I have been to Mexico and had some bad experiences but not with James’s crew. They had a lot of respect for James and James showed a lot of respect for them. I think that was very important because they work hard for him. While I didn’t know it at the time, one of the keys to catching roosterfish (or other fish) on the fly is to have a lot of good live bait. James had relationships with the bait boats that allowed us to get bait easily and plentifully (at one point, we had the bait boat following us to the various fishing spots). On our first day, we caught roosterfish and jack crevalle throughout the day. After fishing the Bahamas last year for bonefish, I thought I would never go anywhere else but I have to admit, this was more fun and more challenging. At one point, James told the pangas to stop so we could catch dinner. We promptly landed a nice yellowtail which turned into sashimi and dinner (cooked by the hotel chef). To end the first day, James had us fish not more than 400 yards from our resort and the roosterfish were in abundance. The amazing thing about the attached roosterfish pictures is that the fish were caught within 400 yards of the bed I slept in. We got bigger fish but I thought that the access to fish was so incredible, we had to highlight it.
Day 2 (Friday) continued with more great fishing. I started the day with the jack crevalle in the picture that was 2 pounds from a world record. This day brought some tuna on the fly also. As the day progressed, Nico and I wanted more fishing. We inquired about this with James and he asked one of the panga captains if he wanted to work an afternoon/evening shift also. He said yes and even arranged to have the bait brought to us in front of the resort (about a 25 minute run in each direction). We fished and explored some new spots and really learned how to fly fish for roosterfish. James is a patient and great teacher who tweaked my poor casting form allowing me to catch more fish.
Day 3 (Saturday) was exciting because we started to see some new species of fish. Nico hooked (but lost) a nice dorado, snapper were around the boat so thick that the water was red, I landed a yellowfin tuna and I had a wahoo circling the panga. The real highlight was having a 200 lb blue marlin cruise around the boat for 2 minutes (just didn’t want my fly). All these fish are within 500 yards of shore and not more than an 8 minute panga ride form the resort.
James runs a first class operation, is fun to fish with and has an amazing attention to detail. He knows the waters well and has the best panga captains. From the cervesa delivered to our door each morning by the panga captains to the multitudes of fish we caught, I can’t think of a more perfect trip. I would recommend this trip for anyone from novices who get seasick (flat seas, never more than ½ mile from shore) to expert fly fisherman.
Submitted by Big Ku Lodge Managers, Katy and Brian
Opener at Big Ku has been incredible! What a complete difference from last year. It just goes to show that its fishing, you never know what you’re gonna get. The river is packed with chrome footballs!
Our weather has been just as incredible as the fishing. The first week was in the 70’s with blue-bird skies. Winds have been mostly mild, with an occasional gusty day. But count your blessings, because when it lays down, the bugs are biblical.
Typical cookie-cutter size fish is between 20 to 25 inches, with multiple shots at bigger fish. We have been enjoying watching the bows bust the smolt in the evening. Its an incredible experience to look across the river and see 5 to 10 fish break the surface at the same time!
Pike fishing is picking up. We were able to only go out for an hour, but within that time Katy and I landed 8 to 10 fish both on top-water and subsurface patterns. Fish are in the small to medium range, but big ones have been spotted.
We have seen more wildlife than last year at this time. Already we’ve seen 2 moose, 12 caribou, and 5 bears. By the looks of the footprints out back, wolves are in the neighborhood as well. Bald eagles frequently fly by the cabin with trout in their talons, the terns are enjoying the smolt as much as the rainbows, and several sandhill crane and swan couples have been spotted on the tundra. Our German Shorthair Pointer Blue, has already pointed several hundred ptarmigan across the landscape, looking forward to opener this August.
All in all, quite an amazing place to be in Alaska!
What a difference a season can make! Last year the opener in Alaska was harsh and cold with snow flurries. Spring came late and the snow, to some degree made it through the entire season. This year spring came early and strong with many outfitters proclaiming that by June 1 the y had a already had a longer and nicer summer than all of 2008!
Fly Water clients Simon and Nancy as well as Andy all fished the opener at Royal Wolf Lodge. They had exceptional weather (with daytime highs nearing 75 degrees) and fishing to match. American creek produced over 30 hot rainbows for Simon one day and Nancy who was still just learning had two 27 inch fish and a 28 inch fish among many other on her first day at Big Ku. Andy, a third year repeat for the opener at Royal Wolf crushed them everywhere.
Here is an excerpt form Simon and Nancy’s first ever trip to Alaska:
“Our time at Royal Wolf Lodge was absolutely fantastic. The setting was beautiful. The fishing was outstanding. But even more than that the “people” made the trip a “trip of a life time”. Nancy being a novice fisherman appreciated the patience, instruction, and great attitude of the guides. Not only did she catch lots of fish, she caught a 28 incher while learning the art of the “fly”. Linda and Chris are professionals. Every detail was taken care off and they made sure we were both happy and safe. Finally, the guests all were having a similar experience to ours and were happy, excited and just fun to be around! I guess that’s why they come back year after year — and now we will too!”
From Linda Branham (Owner of Royal Wolf Lodge)
Submitted by Jon P.
My father and I have been fly fishing together for the last 10 years, but had never tried saltwater fishing on a fly. To celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday, Fly Water booked us at Bair’s Lodge in South Andros, Bahamas for a four day trip. For a first time “bonefisherman”, we had tremendous success! Our first day we caught 10-14 fish each and also caught two great barracuda, one was over 20 lbs! Our second and third days were more challenging, battling the wind can be tough, but we still managed to catch 3-4 fish each on those days. Our last day was great. After a tough morning we ended up having a great afternoon and catching 7-8 fish back to back right after lunch.
I would highly recommend Bair’s Lodge. The couple running the lodge were fantastic and the accommodations were very nice. Be prepared, this is a fishing trip! No rest for the weary!
Thanks again, Rachel, for all your help in setting up our trip.
Report Submitted by Al K.
Chile was ‘as advertised’; Scenic, reasonably priced warm people and great fishing. Our standout guides, Juan Ramon and irrepressible “Piti” met us at the Balmaceda Airport after a three hour flight south from Santiago. Overcast, cool and windy weather met us too, causing concern as Patagonian Chile fishes best when it’s warm and sunny…and the grasshoppers are animated. ‘Not to worry’ we were assured.
A quick drive to the charming Hostal Belisario Jara in Coyhaique, an evening repast of Pisco Sours, empanadas, Asado Cordero (spit roasted lamb) and we rolled out the next morning, rods akimbo, heading for the Rio Emperor Guillermo, which we fished the first and last day of our six day trip.
Fishing in Chile necessitates a cultural interaction unknown in the States. Almost all of the rivers and lakes are fenced-in, part of tiny farms or expansive ‘estancias’. Knowing who owns what, how to get there and obtaining permission is part of the charming equation that makes the Chilean fishing milieu unique. Juan Ramon knew them all; the roads, the rivers, the people. A diminutive farmhouse, an effusive greeting, a hug, peck on the cheek, money changing hands, sometimes fresh eggs, and off we went four-wheeling over fresh cut pastures, adroitly avoiding the livestock, dogs nipping at the tires, parking at the river’s edge, not another soul in sight, just us and the Rio.
The Emperor Guillermo is partially spring fed and partially snow melt. And, unless it’s a cloudless day, waders are recommended. There was still some snow on the nearby peaks and, even though it was mid-summer, the river was gin clear, low (est. 300-400 cfs), gentle and chilly (est. low 50’s). Wading was comfortable.
We geared up about 9:30 am with 6 wt.s, floating line, 3 X tippets, and tied on large (#10) yellow hoppers with large (#10) leggy brown stoneflies droppers. My buddies also did well with large Chernobyl Ants, Fat Freddie’s with droppers of #12 beaded Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns. Ahh, ‘not to worry’! Both days, the action was non-stop, landing 30-40 each of 14”-21” Rainbows and Browns. Keep in mind, our days were overcast and chilly (est. 60 degrees). One can only wonder if it had been sunny and hot. As it was, best fishing days….ever!
At eight on day two, we loaded the SUV’s and headed north into the mountains and the Valle La Paloma. Dirt roads, always, clung to the mountainsides topped with majestic hanging seracs. At bottom twisted the glacier fed Rio La Paloma. After several miles of a kidney punching trac we passed through a gated fence into the ubiquitous farmhouse yard. More hugs, eggs, fees and the river was ours. The Linga tree forests crowding the banks were thick, the Spanish moss abundant. You kept expecting bear, elk, moose or the like to appear but here Chile disappoints. No large animals, excepting a small mule deer and a few puma. On the other hand, no snakes!
The weather continued overcast and cool and, despite several hours of diligent flogging, the Paloma held her own, limiting us to about a dozen Rainbows. Poor fishing didn’t ruin the day or our guides’ enthusiasm as, streamside, they built a fire, grilled pork chops accompanied with Juan’s wife’s incredible ‘chimichurra’ salsa, succotash from their garden, baked sopapillas and a local vino tinto. We were happy pups.
Juan recommended a day of lake fishing. Despite our misgivings about static fly-fishing from a boat, we relented and headed toward the Cerro Castillo and its cascading glaciers to a windswept lake in the foothills of the Andes. The weather was cloudy bright, about 65 degrees. Still using our #6 wts and tan and yellow hoppers we plied the shoreline for fat Browns. Not easy fishing, particularly on the windward shores, but exciting and rewarding. Casting into a 35 mph wind with two foot waves was a new experience. More than once we exited the boat to push off the rocky shoreline, finishing with about a dozen Browns each, averaging 18”.
Tired, we left at sundown, stopping at a country store (a friend of Juan’s, of course) featuring fresh baked empanadas and sopapillas.
Juan told us he had purchased a small “estancia” next to his father-in-law’s (Don Pedro) larger spread, through which ran the Rio Nireguao. We were all for the trip. This was true Patagonia; Rolling hills and broad plains. We motored for two hours across the Valle De La Luna, Argentina in the far distance, dirt roads and farm gates.
Using the same rods and fly patterns we worked the river with some success until about 3:00 pm.
Returning to the trucks, and assembled gauchos, the distinct aroma of barbeque (asado) was evident. Don Pedro, grinning with evident pride, had slaughtered a three month old lamb, skinned it and splayed and spread it on a “T” rack over a mound of glowing Linga coals. A true ‘Asado Cordero’. For two hours, accompanied by a great Chilean Petit Verdot, garden fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, and chimichurra salsa. Not to be outdone, Juan Ramon’s wife supplied a dessert of dulce de leche spread on fresh, sweet biscuits. We gorged. Fishing be damned, we were in Patagonia! Needless to say, we weren’t in great condition to fish the evening mayfly hatch.
This is a beguiling river, named after a British seaman, Admiral Simpson. Approximately 50 miles in length and originating in the Andes, it is perhaps Chile’s most famous fishery, featuring large transplanted McCloud River Rainbows, as well as Browns and Chinook and Atlantic Salmon. Mayflies, Caddis, Stoneflies and grasshoppers abound.
As our weather continued overcast and the water was chilly, most of our success was nymphing with large (#10) stoneflies and Pheasant Tails. All of us hooked into some very large Browns, which none of us landed. We satisfied ourselves with a good many 18” Rainbows and a smattering of Browns. We stayed far away from what appeared to be several 50 lb. Chinooks left over from the spring run from the Pacific. Damn, seems like we never left. Let’s go back!
June 1 to July 31 and from Sept 1 to Dec 15: 7 Night / 6 Day Package – 4 anglers – 3 pay full price, one comes free // 2 anglers receive 8 Nights / 7 Days of fishing for price of 7 Night / 6 Day Package.