Full-Con­tact Fish­ing

The lure of ever-big­ger trout pulls an­glers south By Pe­ter Kamin­sky

Anglers Journal - - FIRST LIGHT -

You might say that my 30 years of fish­ing in Patag­o­nia have been one big pil­grim­age to the south in search of big­ger wa­ter and huge trout. To be sure, all of Patag­o­nia — from the Mon­tana-like land­scape of the north­ern rivers that Charles Ritz and Josž “Bebe” An­chorena made fa­mous to the harsh, wind-swept Pam­pas of Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego — is a fine place for a fish­er­man to find him or her­self, if you like less-pres­sured wa­ter; steak, steak and more steak; ro­bust red wine; and a sense of style that is half John Wayne and half Fred As­taire. Still, as Joe Brooks, the air­line pi­lot turned fly-fish­ing pi­o­neer, once ob­served, as an­glers move on in years, they will fi­nally con­fess that the goal is big­ger fish. Of course, you can go on telling your­self that av­er­age-size fish and lots of ac­tion on gen­tly flow­ing streams are down­right po­etic; that just be­ing out­side in pretty sur­round­ings and catch­ing a few is per­fectly zen. But in truth, cast­ing into the teeth of a roar­ing gale and con­nect­ing with 20 pounds of mus­cle-bound trout that takes you per­ilously far into your back­ing will jolt your soul and sim­plify your world­view un­til all that ex­ists is an arc­ing rod, the hiss­ing of line snaking through the guides, and the wake of a trout that cleaves the sur­face like a rip in the fab­ric of space and time. I sup­pose the bar­ren steppe of the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego doesn’t of­fer much by way of pretty In­sta­gram op­por­tu­ni­ties, but the brown trout that make their spawn­ing run up­river from the Antarc­tic Sea are the big­gest browns I have ever en­coun­tered. Like­wise, in Santa Cruz, the south­ern­most prov­ince on the Amer­i­can main­land, Lago Stro­bel — aka “Juras­sic Lake” — holds rain­bow trout as fat as su­per-size foot­balls and big as baby bluefin and catch­able on small flies in a lake that can, in a mat­ter of min­utes, go from the un­ruf­fled blue-green clar­ity of a bone­fish flat to a scene that calls to mind the wind-driven white­caps of a Nan­tucket nor’easter. Full-con­tact fly-fish­ing, ya know? Pe­ter Kamin­sky has fished Patag­o­nia for 30 years and wrote Seven Fires with renowned Patag­o­nian chef Fran­cis Mall­mann.

The quest for big trout draws guides and an­glers such as Austin Trayser to Patag­o­nia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.