It’s a cracker of a morning, the sun is just below the clouds low down on the eastern horizon, but it is lighting up the snow capped Andes far to the west. Maximo has just picked me up from the hostel and we are speeding west beside Lago Argentino to a favoured fishing spot. Maximo checks my shoe size and after a “wow” there is a hurried u-turn to get a larger pair of wading boots. We were soon out of town clipping along at around 140kph, hardly seeing another car on the road. Both guides (Sergio and Maximo) had Toyota HiLux’s with big cracks through the windscreens. I joked to Eileen later that a cracked windscreen is a badge of honour for fishing guides and that they probably hit the windscreen with a hammer as soon as they get the car!
Maximo only speaks a little English so our conversation is a little stilted. The sun peeked out above the distant clouds to light up a large stand of poplars in full autumn colours of gold and orange. The landscape reminded me of Central Otago; distant snowy mountains, barren hills and the big blue sky.
Forty minutes out
of El Calafate Maximo pulls the HiLux over. We kit up, Kunnan rod and sinking line with a lure. We walk across the estancia (farm) for 20 minutes to the lake. Fishing conditions were near perfect with nice sun and hardly a breath of wind. The favoured spot is a channel between the lake edge and an island. Maximo indicates to walk out and fish both east and west as it is deep water to each side. It was interesting as there was a slight flow to the water which as Maximo explained reverses direction about every 20 minutes (why and how I did not ascertain). I fished the water hard, progressively covering the water till I was butt deep. I then fanned my casts about.
Laying a cast virtually straight out I hooked into a small rainbow trout which was quickly netted by a competent Maximo. This is my first trout in the Americas so I got the camera out and passed it to Maximo. He got a shot of it just as it flipped out of my hands.
We fished a number of likely spots along the lake edge. All the fishing was done blind with
no real attempt being made to spot fish. Maximo varied his time between observing, giving guidance, changing my fly and fishing himself. He was fairly taciturn often just using gestures to communicate. We halted for lunch when the local land owner rode up on his horse with five dogs in tow. He stayed for a coffee.
After lunch a stiff breeze seemed to rise from nowhere. White caps formed on the lake and the temperature dropped noticeably. Wind blowing off the snow capped Andes has a bite.
Neither of us hooked another fish although Maximo reported a follow at one stage. At two o’clock I was happy enough to head back and get a little warmth back in my body. I had broken my duck and enjoyed fishing in another piece of paradise. On the way back we enjoyed seeing a few soaring Condors, massive birds with a 3 metre wing span. Now there is a difference to Central Otago.
Tot: 0.164s; Tpl: 0.011s; cc: 5; qc: 46; dbt: 0.0356s; 46; m:apollo w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 4;
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