Rio Grande, Argentina 2014

Posted by | Argentina

31 of December 2013-11of January 2014
9pm, Concorde Lounge, terminal 5, Heathrow, London; Splash Morrison and I are relaxing having been wined and dined courtesy of BAs finest, waiting for a call from our 2 fellow adventurers. We are about to board our 15 hour jaunt down to Buenos Aries. I have worked hard to persuade Alan to join me on this trip for some years, and now we are finally due for take off. Our companions have beaten the Scottish weather to escape South, and even though Nigel and Donny have been down to Tierra del Fuego a number of times, I think we are just as excited as Alan on his first trip. The reports from the river are encouraging, good water heights and a decent head of fish, with our guides having been at the lodge for some weeks, plotting the changes in the river and gently tutoring the new boys.

It is an undefinable magic that keeps us going back. Sure, they are without doubt the biggest sea trout in the world, but it is more than that. Tierra del Fuego is a special land, huge , never ending skies, weather that is dramatic in both its intensity and its capacity to change in an instant. Nature that still feels raw and untamed, a way of life that seems to date back many years, characterised by the gauchos and their dogs rounding up the thousands of sheep and cattle that roam the vast expanse of Estancia Maria Behety. 2 beautiful lodges with the finest food and wine, and delightful staff who make you so welcome. It is also a trip to meet our friends, the guides; it always seems to me an accurate reflection of a great lodge when you find that the bulk of the guides have been there for 10 years or even more; something must be right, and these guys are the best of the best.

After a comfortable journey, we arrive to find Buenos Aries sweltering in its hottest summer for years. We take the obligatory city tour and see protests on the streets in La Boca, with the natives restless due to the power cuts that the city is suffering. After 2 nights in a comfortable city centre hotel, several hours sampling cafe life on the streets, adjusting to the local Quilmes and a couple of gentle breaking in steaks, the team are assembled again under the leadership of the Big Viking. Apart from Alan, we are a seasoned crew, who have all sampled the thrill of the Rio Grande before. The 3am alarm call for the flight down to Rio Grande is a shock to the system; it’s rumoured that certain members of the party have not made their beds at all, but we are soon airborne and heading south. We are travelling on New Years Eve and the plane is only half full, giving us space to stretch and catch up on some sleep.

3 hours later, we are greeted by familiar faces, smiles and hugs and soon the gear is loaded into the trucks for the 45 minute road trip to the lodge. On arrival, bliss, single rooms; I don’t have to contend with Splash’s snoring or Nigel’s infernal machine humming away through the night. The girls are as pretty as ever and pleased to see us again, (I think?). We are soon settling down for our first lunch, having sampled the aperitifs and the bar, and the first straffes are already being handed out to the dim witted and unwary! The daily routine is simple; breakfast at 7, guides arrive at 8, and then a morning session, 2 rods per guide until 12, then back to the lodge for drinks, lunch and then siesta. After well earned rest, tea and cake at 5.30, guides arrive at 6 and then back to the river until dark. Yes, I know, its damned hard work but someone has to do it and we have been privileged enough to have had to do it for some years.

Once we had recovered from seeing in the New Year in the BarBQ hut, complete with wine, women, song and silly hats, it was down to the serious business of catching some fish. It turned out to be another great year; we averaged over 30 fish per rod, with Donny and Nigel managing over 40 each. Lars, our inestimable Swede, still managing to outcast us all with his legendary single-handed back casting. Looking back at my catch returns over the years, the average weight was pretty much as before at around 9lbs. Perhaps this year, there were not so many big fish successfully landed, but we felt that was partly due to the cold weather that we seemed to have to endure most evenings, which was unusual, as normally the fading of day is the magic hour when the pools come alive with crashing fish. Several fish over 20lbs were hooked but not landed, and I think with better weather, results might have been exceptional, even by the legendary standards of the Rio Grande.

It seemed incredible when it was suddenly all over and we were winging our way back over the South Atlantic towards home, but so many more happy memories successfully banked, which can never be taken away. This is, for sure, one of the legendary world wide destinations that everyone who can, should do, even if you can only do it once. You will not regret it!!

Compiled by Dr Philip Fairchild

Kanektok, Alaska 2013

Posted by | Alaska

Alaska is often called the Last Frontier and the Global Family, in conjunction with Alaska West offer you a real wilderness camp experience fly fishing for 5 different species of salmon in the renowned Kanektok River. You travel to the Last Frontier where there is very little visibility of mans footprint on the landscape to explore superlative fishing opportunities and catch as many fish as your heart could desire. Fish don’t run these rivers in their thousands but do in the hundreds of thousands; all within a short time frame in high summer. The global family of anglers meet in Anchorage and spend a day unwinding after the journey around the world to reach this destination. Many of the anglers will visit the fishing tackle emporia and take advantage of fantastic prices for leading brand names. Many of the quality items are less than half the price you would pay in Europe. A trip to Humpy’s bar is like a pilgrimage, paying homage to the importance the salmon has to the Alaskan economy and enjoying their great food and fine ales. Their branded Tee shirts are iconic and make great gifts to friends and family.

It’s virtually a hop, skip and jump from Anchorage to reach our destination where you travel to camp by jet boat and meet some of the most amazing guides in North America. You will have the opportunity to fly fish for Sockeye, Chum, early running Coho and every other year Pinks along with the juggernauts of the Pacific Ocean, the powerful King Salmon. Most anglers will catch more than enough fish to ensure they travel home with a grin as wide as the Atlantic Ocean they are crossing. Think of UK Rivers; fly fishing down a pool, where instead of a handful of fish in each pool-in Alaska there can be many hundreds if not thousands of fish, which do come freely to the fly. You and your guide will decide the night before what your target species of salmon will be the next day. You can even go fishing for trophy Rainbow Trout, as a change from salmon, where grow to a prodigious size.

You will have a hearty cooked breakfast and prepare your packed lunch before departing from camp with your fishing buddy and guide and travel to the pools your guide wants you to tackle. The wading is very straightforward and you can cover the pool s Speycasting with a double handed rod or double haul with a single handed rod. You will see fish, many fish, as you make your way down the pool covering the lies of your target species. The great thing about Alaska is that if one type of salmon is not responsive you can switch your attention to another species and hook up time and time again. The well known Sports Illustrated writer, the late Clive Gammon called Alaska the chocolate Factory, which is a suitable analogy describing the abundance and availability of salmon. What a great place for you to take a novice angler or to take friends to let them try fishing if they have hankered after it but never got around to it. There is equipment available in camp for novice anglers who have yet to find out how much fun salmon fishing can really be. Come and join us and live the dream.

So the week sees everyone of the Global Family getting good sport with the Kings, Chum, Rainbows, Dollies and some early Coho. First time overseas visitor David Reid gets a 40 lber on a single handed rod on his first day…he was to hook up with at least another 40 lber everyday during his week. Some were landed and some were lost. Yves, Magnus, Geir Magne all had some great moments and the go pro footage recorded by Magnus was spectacular and a welcome addition to the video we produced. Anita and Morten worked away steadily during their week and caught some great fish. The Old Condor Nick got his week of to a flying start with a trophy rainbow trout; he was to use his extensive wisdom and talent to keep his score ticking over during the week. Egil, as always, the supreme storyteller, was in great form and caught some great fish. The water was very low but I cherish the morning on church bell where Reid and myself landed 3 chinooks each with Reid landing a magnificent 45 lber that made his Hardy Perfect make the sweetest music. All in all a great fun week where everyone made good catches at times and got on tremendously well with our American guides and fellow anglers. Alaska is a whoop ass destination and didn’t disappoint.

Compiled by Ken Reid

Rio Grande, Argentina 2013

Posted by | Argentina

The time of year arrived again and it was time to point the nose of the aircraft due south, way down south to Tierra del Fuego. As usual we arrived in Buenos Aires on New Years eve, and the party we had in Puerto Madeiro is hosted exclusively for us and booked in advance. What a great way of starting a New Year for all the Global family.

When we arrived in Rio Grande on the 2nd of January we found the river much higher than the year before, but its clear, and that will help in the search of the big, silver Sea trout. After a fantastic lunch we are all ready for the first days outing of our 10 days in Rio Grande. The tackle set up this time was to be a sinking tip at level T14-17 and the intruder flies are doing well, even if some fish are still caught on smaller nymphs fished deep. The river is running faster than last year and some of the pools that weren’t productive last year are now working well; Ken had 7 in an evening session on Confluenza.

Laurence and Phil are soon cracking the code and catching big, nice fish. Phil with a 21 and 24 lber is again making his mark. Lars and Frede are starting strongly too, and Lars lands a nice 20lber on his single hand rod; this is not the last on the trip for him. Gerhard and Donny are starting more sedately than last year, but in the end both are doing very well and getting personal records with many nice fish landed.

Tam Black from Glasgow Angling Centre, as a first timer – is doing really quite well under Anita’s excellent coaching; they had a great time together. I can tell after watching all the smiles as i filmed them for the video we produced they both got a lot out of the trip. Ken and Nigel are full of enthusiasm as sergeants and did well as expected. Ken, together with Phil, are top rods for the trip with 31 fish each, Nigel is not far behind though. The two most dedicated anglers Nic and Stuart seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time almost every day, fish are caught above and below them, but dead slow at times on their beats, thats fishing Nic said, after being top rod last year with 51 fish… But they both ended up with some decent fish in the end.

We were all thinking about Per who had to stay home due to illness two days before daparture, but its only 11 months left till we head back. The food and service in the lodge was awesome this year, and the special barbeque at the Estancia was a great event. As is normal when we are away, we had fun! Many ”straffe ones” were bravely borne, and bottle after bottle of excellent Argentinian Malbec wine were enjoyed in the lodge. The guides are fantastic as always, the motivation they give us during the fishing days was supreme. Thanks to the hosts Alessandro and Filipe for having us, and to Lisa for hosting another fantastic trip.
Psst! The moment we all had watching the big Condor hanging 10 yards outside the window of the lodge will stay in our memory for ever…

Quinhagak, Alaska 2012

Posted by | Alaska

We arrived in Anchorage after a long flight from Europe, but the two days stopover was a wise thing to do. Visiting fantastic tackle shops and restaurants in the city of Anchorage was a nice way of kick starting the trip. New flies for a new type of fishing was important for all of us. The place was buzzing with excitement and anticipation

The flight from Anchorage to Bethel took 90 minutes and when we disembarked from the plane we headed across the tarmac to the smaller aeroplanes that were waiting for us. After a short 25 minute flight we arrived in Quinhagak. The guides were waiting with the bus where we left for the river, and after a 20 min boat ride up the river we arrived in the comfortable camp. We were allocated comfortable 2 bedded tents with wooden floors and and heater if required. Every day the tents were cleaned and the beds was made up whilst we fished. The camp serve some fantastic locally sourced food for breakfast and dinner; the lunch we make ourself and bring in a cooler on the boat.

The Kanektok River is made for flyfishing. The guides are provided with aluminium boats with water jet engines to transport us around safely and efficiently up and down the river system. The guides have extensive knowledge of the river and are very skilled flyfishers. They tell us what to use and how to present our flies to our quarry, whether Kings, Chum, Dolly and Rainbow Trout. These make up the bulk of the fish we catch, but some Pinks and Silver are also a possibility during the week. We had 400 hookups of Kings, with a 42lber, the biggest landed by the talented Yves. Chum salmon; there must have been way over 1000, even great sport on dryfly, biggest 16lbs. Some great sport for Rainbow with a dry mouse fly was something everyone had to try; awesome action. We will be back, year after year, what a great place, staff and camp, thanks all. Looking forward to amazing sport when we return.

Holbox, Mexico 2012

Posted by | Caribbean

The first group had a fantastic week, but it started windy with tough conditions on the flats. But the 2 last days gave us some trilling moments were Nic, Morten and me landed some big Tarpons between 120-130lbs. Anita and Peter had also great sport with Tarpons and Jack hitting the flies.

The seccond group got some tough conditions to cope with nearly all week. Paul and Phil was doing well chasing Groupers and Cudas, but for the rest of us we had a hard time on the flats. Nils got his first Tarpon ever and Gisle and me was hooking them but lost 10-15 to the boat. Morten and Atle had action too, but the wind was what keept us back every day. Great bunch tho, and most of the time we was fishing for Bones and Jacks wading the flats on the white sand.

River Dee, Scotland 2012

Posted by | Scotland

The groups arrived to a river that was falling after a spring with high, cold water. The first week we saw the nature around us changing and getting in to full spring all over Deeside. The salmon started running the river in big numbers, but the first week they did not stop in the pools.

The seccond week in the upper part of the river we found the pools full of fresh, nice springers. We was fishing high in the water with smaller flies catching fish after fish. The top rod was 10 fish from Rolf with the biggest of 20lbs. Thomas also had a great day visiting us for a few days, 4 fish he put in the book on the Wednesday. Glen Lui Hotel provided us with a fantastic setting and great food as always, we will be back in 2013.

Rio Grande, Argentina 2012

Posted by | Argentina

The group arrived with the morning flight from Buenos Aires and was as normaly welcommed by the guides from the lodge at the local airport. The 30 min drive to the lodge gave us some info regarding the condition in the river.

The first real number of fish had start entering the river a fortnight ago, but the water level was lower than normal for january, so the advice was nymphs in size 10-14, but the bigger flies when it got darker in the evening. Sinktips on a floating line was the best to use together with shorter double hand rods and single hand rods. The first evening showed us that this year there was bigger fish in the river then normal and Nigel landed his biggest ever on 24lbs.

During the first couple of days all had landed fish and during the stay the top rod came up in the fantastic catch of 50 fish. The weather was changing as normal during the 10 days, but only one afternoon with tough wind, but it gave in and ended up with a calm evening. Temp from 10-18 celcius gave us all kind of clothes-change, from jumper to t-shirt. The guides did a superb job and together with the staff and kitchen showed that EMB is one of the best lodges in the world, thanks all.

The rookies: Per and Donny picked up the fishing very fast and both ended up in personal record, times three. They also learned the thumb game due to the games harsh “straffeones”. Greath company and hope they will be back.

The regulars: Anita and Morten started off as normal. After one hour I was visiting them in the pool and Anita had landed two, and lost one. She was going on like that all week. Morten had the groups highest average with 15lbs, well done champ. Nigel and Shaun was as alway doing well, but I was watching Shaun losing 5 fish in a row, his nemesis this time…but still heg ot over 40 fish on the bank. Nigel was leading but got beaten the last evening for the biggest fish, nest done Nigel.

Lars and Sergey was goin on in their own way. Lars with only his toothpick and Sergey with all his scientific testing of flies, both landing many fish. Paul and Gerhard is the two nicest guest you can get, with a big smile on their face all the time, also when they was loosing fish, big fish, many times during the trip. Thanks boys.

Top rod: Nic had the fantastic achevement of landing 50(!) fish for the trip. He got half on a size 14 green nymph on his wee double handed 6 weight rod, super.

Biggest fish: Phil did it the last evening. At 9pm he landed a magnific fish on 32lbs, the biggest fish on all my 12 trips to Argentina, gratulation.

Thanks all for making this a superb trip, look forward to next year already.


Cayo Coco, Cuba 2011

Posted by | Cuba

The revenge of the fisherman’s, part two. After a tuff trip to the Island next door in February, we arrive to Cayo Coco and some record braking things will happen. The group from Norway is teamed up with two Glasgowers and a Dane. Paul and Phil had a trill during the whole week catching everything with gills and many of them were BIG. Paul told me that next year they will bring wire, thick wire, as a leader after been broken off so many times.

Morten and Atle was searching for Tarpon on deeper water, they was in contact many times and they were shaken and steered after seeing a school of more than 50 fish average 100lbs. They also both got their first Bonefish ever, well done. Henrik and Nic were doing the same as Peter and me, searching for Tarpon on the flats. Both Henrik and Nic hooked up and landed some big Tarpons, but were unlucky with the places the two best days when Peter and I had a ball.

Peter hooked up at least 15 fish one day, but landed only one. Broken leader and flies coming off was the name of the game, tuff and ruff fishing. I lost on the Thursday a fish up to 150 lbs after 1h20min, it took a 200m run and jumped 2 meter in the air, gone. The day after Peter and me had a double hook up and landed two Tarpons before the monster took the fly. A 4/0 black and red was attacked in the surface by a silver giant that took us to the limit before we manage to touch leader after 3h40min fight, look at the film.

Fantastic week at this paradise island and a superb stay at Melia All Inclusive Hotel. We will be back many times next year.


Rio Grande, Argentina 2011

Posted by | Argentina

15 fisherman’s arrives in the lodge of Maria Behety and find the river in peak condition. So far this season the run has been slow, but a week before the fish has started to show up in the pools. We have 50 km of water and a lot of pools to fish, but the first days we focus on the lower beats to meet the fish. The river is high, but clear, so we are using small tubes or rubber leg nymphs. Most of the guys have been with me before and know all the tricks in the book and one after one the big sea trout are landed the first days. Fish up to 20lbs and bigger see the net and even after a few days we know this will be a record fishing for the lodge. The British team with Phil, Nigel and Ken is doing very well catching fish even on dry flies. Sergey is the Russian fishing machine and together with Lars from Sweden having great time too.

The Vikings from Norway has 2 nice women in between them, nice in the lodge, but mean in the river. Anita and her daughter Charlie ending up with 24 and 25 fish and Charlies 22,5lbs is a split biggest fish of the week between Håvard and Phil. Gerhard, Arild, and me has been there before, but never seen so many fish in the river and we all have a great time. The two brothers young Herman and Claus joined up with their friend Alex is here for the first time, but still landing a good number of fish. The good fishing even made old Herman quiet for a vile, but it did not last for long. Old Herman, I will pay for that.

The food and service in the lodge is outstanding as always and the Argentinian wine is superb and holds the same high standard as the guides. We ended up with more than 600 sea trout for the 10 days, well done and we will be back next year, nearly all of us.

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