Tackle and Technique

When the water is stirred up by the wind or colored from rain, tubes and larger flies work very well. In turbid water conditions, we like bulky flies that “push” water. Tubes tied in the “Temple Dog” style on plastic and/or brass in all colors and sizes are good to have along. Conversely, as the water clears, smaller flies are much more effective. Traditional sea trout and salmon patterns are good and the locals also fish with a wide variety of trout patterns such as bitch creek nymphs, yuk bugs, egg-sucking leeches, wooly buggers and muddlers. Small nymphs are also used regularly when the trout won´t take anything else. Doubles are fine, but please leave the trebles at home. Most of the fishing requires you to strip the fly.

There are also pools where sea trout can be taken by simply swinging the fly as one would for Atlantic Salmon, but generally speaking, these fish don´t favor the same types of flies as salmon do. They lie in quieter seams and tails and the motion imparted by stripping the fly produces some fantastic “induced” takes. We like shooting heads because the maximum effective fishing distance with each cast is much greater than with that of a normal line. It´s nice to have a two-handed rod in heavy wind, but most of the fishing can be accomplished with a one-hander. It comes down to a matter of personal preference. WF line weights #6-8 Float or Clear Intermediate heads (a line built up like a shooting head) are the most popular depending upon the size of the fly.

Former Las Buitreras Camp Manager and Guide Stephan Dombaj about the gear:

In days where even old school carriers like Lufthansa or BA are charging the price of an economy class domestic flight for excess luggage, sport equipment or simply another piece of luggage, a smart pack list part of every trip. What do I really need? A damn good question, especially in the twisted head of a gear queer…

After 5 seasons of extensive lodge life, guiding and fishery management mostly in Argentina, I’ve seen all types of traveling anglers and I want to take the chance to introduce you to three mayor stereotypes. Each a character himself and worth a chat over a glass of wine or a neat cigar.

1. The “Livestock” 

– A safe method to assure that nothing’s left behind? Bring everything! If you have a tackle room, empty the shelfs right into your bags. From a guide’s point of view, I really enjoy these guys. You never know what you are going to get when you open this stereotype’s flybox. This creative chaos of 30 rods, 15 reels, a million flies, lines and leaders can be the very source of crazy techniques for picky chrome monsters. The fly box is grab bag of bonefish sliders, steelhead Intruders, Yug Bugs and some odd nymphs in between. Still there’s a fine line between being well prepared and just simply bringing everything…

2. The Camp Rod

– A well equipped lodge is taken for granted. Why bother? Bringing nothing but having everything right there is the minimalistic way of cutting weight and extensive preparation down to zero. Precious cargo space can be filled up with sophisticated tabacco products or/and equally expensive liquors to complete the whole fishing experience with some lads on the veranda. These guys fish the right stuff and the right flies because they will end up with stuff that either the camp manager or the guides have assembled. In other words, they will fish my equipment and put it through it’s paces. I enjoy every single bit of it, each scratch and scar tells a story… That’s why I bring my own stuff – trusted companions in countless battles. A philosophy and feeling that these guys will miss for sure. The meticulous preparation is part of the whole experience, part of the commitment…

3. The Angler 

– Most destination anglers are avid anglers with a limited amount of time, that’s why they are traveling to exotic places to get their dose of fishing within a week or two. Besides some sneak out session at a local stream, pond or lake, that’s about it for a whole season. They simply cannot spent 200 days fishing away from their job and family. For some die hard and extremely passionate anglers, a destination trip is nothing but an exclamation mark prior or after their already busy fish season! These guys are always well prepared. Two rods + a spare rod, two reels, an assortment of matching lines and flies that our angler believes in. Proven outfits that match our anglers style of fishing and casting… and of course the river situation.

If you consider yourself No.III, skip this part and enjoy the pictures. If 1 or 2 matches – maybe something in between, here my packlist for Rio Gallegos or Argentine Seatrout. A packlist with universal character.

Tools of trade:

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Outfit No.1 – Doublehanded

– Deep action fast recovery Speyrod 12ft. #7 (Sage Method 7126, Loop 7120 or Vision Cult Switch)

– Lightweight Classic Reel for the Sound an 8 weight SH reel is sufficient

– Coated 25lb Running line with an assortment of shootingheads between 10,4 and 11 meters (all 30grams – or 460 – 486grains)

The 12ft stick is short enough to cut the wind, yet sensitive enough to play big fish on tiny nymphs. A #7 has enough backbone to give a big fish some stick – stronger and stiffer rods will increase the number of fish being lost during the down and dirty tug’o war that these chrome fish know too well. I overweight my shootingheads deliberately by 2 to 4 grams (recommended target weight is 28grams) for two reasons: Wind, a little more weight makes it much easier to feel the D-Loop under windy conditions. Believe me when I say you’ll experience some wind down there and I am not talking about your costal seatrout breeze. I am talking about up to 100km/h gusts that will carry a jumping fish a couple meters downstream on it’s leap. The 2nd reason is my physical constitution. I am a 6,6ft. guy with an extremely short casting stroke, I prefer heavier and longer lines. The reason for a coated running line is first of all the friction in the guides that will force the head to turn the fly over and of course the small diameter arbor of the Classic Reel. A mono running line (also known as Slickshooter or Monoshooter) makes sense on larger arbor reels. The reason why I prefer Classic Reels on my Speyrods is pretty simple one: It’s a matter of balance and tracking. The heavier frame and centered weight will balance my 12ft. speyrod perfectly for my scandi casting style and reduce the swing weight. A balanced outfit that will keep track on the forward stroke. Pinpoint accuracy with no effort at all. Another big plus for those S-handle classic reels: They are noisy! The perfect tool to show your pool alliance angling companion that you are into fish without waving your hands like a mad man. Make this reel sing as often as you can, especially when you fish behind your allie and you’ll be a hated man at the end of your fishing day.

Fight-Little-Corner

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Outfit No. 2 – Singlehanded- A 9,6ft 7 weight (Loop Cross S1, Sage One, Scott Radian)

– Light weight large Arbor Reel (Waterworks Lamson etc.)

– Lines: RIO Outbound WF7I Intermediate Tip

– 25lb Slickshooter + Clear Intermediate Shooting Head (9 meters/ 19 grams) + other densities

The ultimate seatrout and salmon single handed weapon and yet again another combo with a personal touch. This combo is the perfect marriage of weight and performance. I prefer a single handed rod over a double handed stick under normal water conditions. I have more control over my fly and the drift plus I am far more accurate on a hot spot, specially when I am not seeking for a swung fly presentation. For very delicate situation, smaller pools and spooky fish, I prefer a full line. For bigger pools and a lot of wind, a 9 weight clear intermediate shooting head is my first choice.

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Additional Outfit/Spare Outfit: High Water & Heavy Duty Doublehanded

– Speyrod 8/9weight 12,6ft (Sage One 8126, Loop GASS 9126)

– Heavier Large Abor Reel to Balance the kit.

– A variety of lines and densities. Recommended Floater for Arg 11,2Meters and 33grams)

In case of high (high) water or a snap of one of my first two outfits (carbon after all), the 9 weight jumps in. Your backup rod should cover your every day requirements under normal conditions up to heavy flies and big water. As I am already well equipped for normal and low water with two rods, my 3rd outfit fills the open niche and is a wisely chosen addition to our gear list. Versatility is the keyword. As for Seatrout, it’s core competence is heavy duty flies on fast sinking shooting heads. Sink 1/3/5 and a size 2 Yug Bug early season – strip as fast as you can for a big chrome bucks. Although I am not a big fan of multi tip lines, it’s my emergency solution for a snap situation on the river. Back in the lodge I have a wallet with all types of floating, int. and sinking lines – various lengths and weights from Spey to Skagit

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This triforce of seatrout equipment works like clockwork – all you need and more without bringing too much. Stay tuned for my top five flies for South American Chrome.

Caution! This blog might cause fish fever and chrome disease! The only yet known remedy happens to be fishing – especially in Argentina. Contact your local tackle shop or the guys fromwww.solidadventures.com for further information. The magnificent piece of water that I call my home water is widely known as Las Buitreras, Solid Adventures private estate at the Rio Gallegos watershed! Heaven down on earth.