Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Reports
Jan 18-25 & Jan 25- Feb 1, 2020
Weeks 3 & 4
January 18-25, 2020
Another fantastic week comes to an end! We were happy to welcome another great bunch of anglers in our realm giant sea trout, good wine, endless skies, and hearty cuisine, to battle the elements at the end of the world and chase dreams in the troubled waters of the Río Grande.
Cheyll and Peter, our old friends who have been coming here for over a decade; Jim and Robert, who we had the pleasure to already get to know here last year and truly embraced into our family. JR and Spain, two friends and very keen fishermen for their first time down here in Tierra del Fuego; and finally, Juanjo’s friend Eduardo from Argentina. An intimate group of “only” seven guests that gave us all a bit more space to roam freely around our beats, to rest some pools in between, and of course get to know everyone a bit better and refresh old friendships.
The water conditions were not easy, for the first time this season, the water dropped rapidly – approx. 4 inches along the week – and stayed crystal clear. Although we had reached a normal water level now (+/- 0cm), if the wind dropped, one had wade really carefully and cast as quietly as possible. Luckily, the fish that had entered the river with the big tide early last week and were filling up our beats now and you could feel that more fish were around. Even though the river conditions were not easy, for the first time this season we were getting the feeling of consistency. The fishing was far less patchy than in previous weeks, and the usual “hotspots” would start to produce more takes.
Due to some rather warm days and then chilly nights in between, the water temperature fluctuated between 10 and 16 °C. With these temperatures, the metabolism of the fish is working fast, and if aligned with the right weather conditions, they will be very active. Some of the fights that these fish were putting on (even the smaller ones) were unbelievable – acrobatic, strong and fast – and the overall quality of the fishing, outstanding. We even saw the backing a few times this week, which (considering the size of most pools here) is rather unusual. Cheryll hooked into an 8 lbs fish during one evening that made her Tibor reel scream like a banshee on a set drag and went straight into backing in one run.
The amount of 8-15 lbs fresh running fish that we saw, hooked, or caught leaves us very hopeful and they are amazing sport to hook into! More and more big fish were hooked and seen as well. The first day already showed us that, with Spain and JR landing two incredible fish in their first session on Río Menéndez, a 15 lbs and a stunning 17 lbs fish. Spain kept going with another great 17,5 lbs in the evening and also Cheryll got a head start into the week with a cracking 16,5 lbs fish amongst some others. Most of these high-teen fish were very fresh and fought like freight trains. While Sunday produced good-sized fish, Monday produced numbers – only six anglers hooked into a stunning number of 31 fish (!!) and everyone was able to land at least a couple that day. Cheryll managed to land an incredible 19 lbs fish, Robert was able to bring in a few double-digit fish, amongst them a cracking 15 pounder, and Eduardo was able to finish his evening with two amazing fish – a 14 lbs and a 16lbs. While Cheryll was in charge of the numbers this week, it seemed like Eduardo was picking out the big fish, just like the 19 lbs he landed on Tuesday morning, and then topped by an outstanding 20 lbs on Thursday night. This great specimen would remain the biggest of the week!
Spain and JR were taking care of consistency – they would come back from almost every session with at least one mid-teen fish, and just like they kick-started their trip on the Río Menéndez, they finished it off on two beautiful 16 lbs fish during their last evening session.
Just as we saw many great fish make it to the next, it was also a week of lost battles. Such as the fish that Jim hooked on Thursday, that – after some deep and heavy headshakes – took off downstream, went into backing, and finally snapped the line. While landing a fish is what we aim for, losing a giant is what makes great stories and fuel the urge to come back!
These fish were incredible this week – not easy to hook, but in such great condition – and I am very confident, that (if the river keeps this water level for just a bit longer) we will have some outstanding fishing ahead.
It always amazes me how fast the time flies by down here. It still feels like the season has barely started, but our third week is already in the books. I am not complaining though, time that goes by fast is usually time very worth its while – and if everyone else is having as much fun as I do, this season is going to go by in a heartbeat. Thanks for a great week, to be repeated next season!
Paulo Hoffmann – Kau Tapen Fishing Guide
January 25- February 1, 2020
Here we go again! Another amazing week was upon us and we could not be more excited. Promising water conditions together with a full group of very capable anglers, most of them here for their very first time: Brian and Kevin (UK), Keith and Laurence (UK), Claude (CAN) and Jon (USA), Teresa and Martin (ARG), as well as Marina Gibson and her mother Joanna (UK), together with Stephan (GER) who came by to take photos along the week. While only Martin, Teresa, and Stephan had been here in recent years, all group members had experience with 2-hand rods in one way or another.
What a great group, we had lots of interesting and bright conversations during the first “tapas night” that would promise a week full of fun ahead, no matter what the fishing might bring.
The water conditions looked great. Although the river had been dropping constantly during the previous week, it still had a comfortable water level that allowed us to swing every pool from top to bottom. The pools were filling up with fresh fish day-by-day and when conditions aligned, some exceptional fishing would await us. While some days were blessed with those perfect conditions, on some others the fishing was troubled by harsh winds with gusts up to 100 km/h out of all kinds of directions, making it hard to even stand on some occasions.
The very first session started rather slow for most. Strong winds did not make it easy to find a rhythm and get the casting sorted at first. However, that did not keep Kevin from getting a head-start, landing four beautiful fish in his first session, including a cracking 17 lbs chromer. But it wasn’t long until everyone else caught on in the evening and by the end of the day, everyone had already hooked fish. Jon and Claude, for instance, had a special double-up in the evening with two beautiful 16 lb fish. What an amazing start into the week.
It wasn’t until the next day, that the fishing really picked up. Monday was one of those moody days with a constant cloud-cover and a slight drizzle. There was only a little wind, but it was just enough to make casting a bit more forgiving. You simply could not design a day that felt “fishier” – and the fish seemed to agree. Close to 50 fish were hooked on that single day and some groups came back from their session reporting to have hooked into a dozen fish. Joanna doubled up with her daughter Marina, two stunning fish of 18 and 10 lbs respectively. Keith managed to bring in another immaculate 18 lbs fish, while Kevin would land a great fresh 16 pounder amongst four other fish. Jon experienced the Río Menéndez from its possibly best side, connecting to fish in virtually every pool, including another muscle-packed 16 lbs fish on his light single-hander. Stephan topped this day off with two (!) amazing 19 lb fish in their evening session. That day was special for everyone, fisherman and guides alike. Although an above-average percentage of fish was lost during battles, it surely was a day to remember and once again proof of how strongly weather and water conditions, with all their various factors, can affect the activity of those incredible fish.
From then on it was just easy riding for most. Everyone had already landed some good fish after only two days, which takes the pressure away, makes you fish more relaxed, and quite frankly allows you to enjoy the ride experience even more.
While Monday would remain the most prolific day of the week, we could not at all complain about the following days either. On some days the wind would make it incredibly tough to put the line where you wanted, and simply standing or walking demanded a lot of energy. But that’s part of this wonderful place and everyone should experience the unleashed force of Mother Nature down here at least once – it is a humbling experience and makes you realize you are “only” a very small part of nature and never in control. I personally love it!
During the next few days, great fish in the high-teens (weight) were landed every day, including a cracking 18 lbs for Teresa out of the Menéndez, another 18 lbs for Brian, and two beautiful 16 lbs for Laurence and Marina. The very last day, however – Friday’s morning session – left us all with an open jaw. Brian managed to hook, fight, and land an unbelievable fish of 26 lbs, that would be the biggest of the season so far and possibly hard to beat in the weeks to come. Hooking a fish like this is one thing, landing it a completely different game, especially in a little, stump-filled river such-as the Río Menéndez. Yes, that is correct, this incredibly fish was caught in our favorite tributary and is yet another testament to how lucky we are to be able to fish this amazing piece of water. Brian worked hard, grinding every day, hooking plenty of fish but also losing many. This fish was well deserved and especially hard- won! Well done, sir and congratulations to a fish of a lifetime
In the end, we could not have asked for a better week. While the fishing was great – and we can all agree that this is a great factor – it was simply incredibly fun to spend time with each angler out in the water. Around the bar and dinner table friendships were formed and fostered, along the river-banks emotions shared and memories made. I cannot wait to meet and hopefully fish with these great people again soon.
Thank you all for an outstanding week!
Paulo Hoffman. Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide