We had seen that trout many days before (that one).
It was Easter and a group of fly fishermen formed by Mr.
Anchorena, Pepe García, Rubén Pelletieri and myself, found
ourselves looking for trout from the road overlooking the
"log zone" – Boca of the Chimehuín. We were staring at a
beautiful female brown placed comfortably behind the big
rock on which the log rests in the middle of the river. We
all agreed that its weight could reach 10 kg.
Mr. Anchorena (also called "el Bebe") didn´t seem to be
satisfied, and while he kept on "searching," he mentioned
that he was sure that there was a much bigger one that he
had seen a few days before and that it had to be there. I
remember him saying "It must be hiding in the shade, that's
why we don't see it, but maybe it will show up." The fact of
looking at the huge trout placed just 1.5 m deep was such a
pleasure, that it was no effort at all to stay there all the
time it took.
That's what we were doing when we saw, with great satisfaction,
a huge male brown came out from the place that Mr. Anchorena
had pointed out, it turned around very slowly and placed itself
side by side with the female. It was so big that we saw the enormous
tail and head at the front and the female behind. Nobody hesitated
about its weight, which might have ranged between 14 and 15 k.
After a few seconds this huge trout made its way downstream about
40 m to the "Marcoveski" pool (also known as Marcovequio), there
it stayed for a while and started moving upstream very slowly,
approaching a 5 k trout that was lying undisturbed, about 2 m deep.
It was coming nearer in such a slow motion that it seemed to be
hardly moving at all. However, when it was about 1 m behind the
smaller trout, this one moved forward, while the big one took its
place as if it was its own. I think I remember that it stayed there
for a just a while and then it moved forward and we thought that
the intention was to bother the other. Strangely enough, it passed
by the big female brown without even stopping and disappeared behind
the rock looking for shelter in the shade, the exact place where
it had come out from.
This beautiful and unforgettable scene took maybe less than a minute
but this taught me at least a great lesson; I do regret having missed
so many chances when I was younger of enjoying myself and learning
instead of having only time for "fishing."
Let´s go on with the story. That Friday afternoon I didn´t fish because
my mind was set on both trout. While I was driving back to Junin de
los Andes, my head was going through the cöordinates of the river bank
and I struggled to remember how the currents moved on the water
surface. I wondered: what fly should I use, what line is the right
one, where should I cast if I want the fly to pass slightly over
the rock? Another question that worried me and that I didn´t solve
until I was in the river was the diameter and the brand of the tippet
that would be more suitable to use. Of this I was sure: these trout
where there to be caught, and I could do it.
In Junin de los Andes, at the "Turca René's" Hotel, sitting by the
old fireplace (it's a pity that it had been modified by the so called
"progress," old Nallib used to cook his own meat without a care in
the world for the tourists that crowded the restaurant!), I checked
my gear, I prepared a WF-8-F/S- Wet Head, Fast II.
I tied a 1, 5 m leader, without the tippet, which I left for the
last moment until I decided upon the right one to use. The rod
was not a problem, because in that place the only thing that
mattered to me was the wind, even though it was the typical strong
west wind (the east wind, called "Puelche", doesn´t bother me at
all), I could use the roll cast and to make ends meet what could be
better than the "River Master"?
The choice of the fly was the least thing I was worried about,
I wouldn't have chosen a different one, I just made a few changes.
I went to bed early.
We left the hotel with Manolo Enríquez before sunrise. We are very
close friends Manolo and I, our friendship is based on our mutual
respect through many fishing trips. We arrived at the Boca and we
started to get things ready. A few minutes later Roberto and Anibal
Sacconi showed up.
The most natural reason to get there early is to fish the lake and
as we got there first I imagined that the moment would come when
Roberto woud say: "Chiche, come on, it´s daybreak". While I was
preparing my rod I thought: how will I manage to make Roberto and
Anibal go to the lake without feeling "pushed" to do so, so I could
cast to try to catch the trout in the log pool? Manolo had decided
to fish the Deep Pool (also called the "Fool´s Pool). I stretched
the line between to bushes to clean the floating section with a
line dressing. For a while I reflected on the fly I was about to
use, the chosen one at the hotel after it had been "made up" and
the hook sharpened.
I finally took the line and the moment had come to decide upon
the tippet. In the lake I would have chosen Maxima 0.30 mm, but
I discovered that this leader was out of the standard length
because many spool´s lenght could measure up to 0.36 mm. I made
up my mind for a Dai-Riki 0.28 mm (0x). I tied on the Chimehuín
fly #2 (Boyadel), that Pepe Delgado had tied for me, because I
like them with few materials (slightly dressed, Pepe would say).
At that moment, Roberto approaches me and says, "Chiche, come on,
it´s daybreak, we will follow you, the season will soon be over."
"Yes" – I answered,- "you are right, but do you know what?; it's
a little windy and I don´t want to go to the lake today, we are
going to fish here with Manolo.
"Are you serious, Chiche?, I´ll take what you say for granted"
" Go," I answered and I added a sincerely "wish you luck!" I guess
that Roberto believed that what I was saying wasn´t hiding any
hidden intention, that it was a good action. But Roberto, no,
there was a mean interest. Many times since that day I thought
about that, do you believe me if I say I´m sorry?
I made my way to the river about three meters downstream from
the stone called "El Tranvía", and I started to cast. I remember
that I was about to cast for the third time when I realized that
I was becoming nervous and that I was far from the position where
the trout I was interested in were supposed to be located. I had
moved in a hurry several meters downstream. Holding the line with
my hand, I moved backwards and walked to the initial position. I
started fishing again, but trying shorter casts that were directed
to my right, I´d say that the fly landed about ten meters upstream
of the place where the brown trout was supposed to be located.
I mended the line just a few seconds after the fly touched the water,
when I suddenly saw a tremendous rise and I felt a strong bite. I had
a lump in my throut. I immediately realized that it was one of the big
ones. From that moment on, I just can say that trout like this one only
are to be caught if we are very lucky, it passed by the log zone so many
times, through the rocks of Marcoveski, went upstream and passed by the
other side of 'el Tranvía', well, the only thing I did was stretch out
myself as much as I could (not much indeed) holding the rod up as high
as possible to keep the trout over the rocks.
I can still remember the impression and satisfaction that I
experienced when moving upstream I saw its tail and the distance
between the leader, What a trout!
That way, I don´t know how long it took but it let itself be taken
to our Picnic place.
I never thought about releasing it and my few remorses vanished when
Dr. Alejandro del Valle, a biologist, after observing it mentioned
that it was about 13 years old and that it must have been two years
since it spawned for the last time. He also said that if her ovaries
had been complete it would have weighed more than 11 kg. Anyway,
the trout was tired (maybe about to die) that she let herself be
brought easily. I don´t think I would have been able to revive her.
I left the trout and went for Manolo who was fishing the Deep pool.
I recall that when I asked him if he had a scale he didn´t say anything,
he just stayed there looking at me, put the rod on the ground, and
with his arms around me he asked: "You caught it?"
When Manolo and I struggled to get a camera, our friends from Neuquén
Juan Aubone and "Nono" Kubli arrived, they took one of the pictures
we have. At that moment Roberto ad Anibal Sacconi arrived from the
lake, and of course they joined our happiness. Fortunately, Roberto
also had a camera. ~ Luis "Chiche" Aracena
A special thanks from Alejandro Martello, to Luis "Chiche" Aracena
(the fisherman in the story and author) for the story and the permission
to use it on FAOL and to friend Silvia Bergamasco, who translated the article.
For more on fishing South America visit Ale's
More South American Fly Fishing:
Peacock Bass in Brazil (Brasil)
Dorados in Argentina
Argentine Patagonia - Introduction
Argentine Patagonia - Part 2
Argentine Patagonia - Part 3
Argentine Patagonia - Part 4
Argentine Patagonia - Part 5
Argentine Patagonia - Part 6
A True Chilean Adventure
Futaleufu, Chile, Part 1
Futaleufu, Chile, Part 2