Tag Archive: Borges

Tierra del Fuego

Land of Fire

If you translate the caption of the picture of the picture to the left into Spanish you get… “Tierra del Fuego”.

If you know anything about fly fishing in Argentina, or if you don’t, you should start feeling a little fire start down in your belly right about now… but I’ll get back to this.

One of the great torturous things about fishing in Argentina is that there is more fishing to be done and more places to explore, than time to do it.

Like most fishermen, those that are addicts – and by that I mean someone who dreams about fishing when they sleep, always sees a break in the work schedule (even an hour or two) as a possible fishing opportunity, gets sweaty palms walking into a fly shop, or who’s heart starts to beat a little faster when catching a whiff of that aroma unique to tackle boxes; anyway, most fishing addicts have a list.

The list is made up of not just places to fish, but also species to fish for and even techniques and types of equipment,  and any number of things that are prioritized into the short, middle and long term foreseeable future. This list – which is basically a plan, is carried around with us so that when opportunity presents itself we’re ready to pounce – fills a space we carve out for life’s upcoming fishing experiences.

But sometimes, you can get stuck on one particular aspect of that list and forget about, or neglect other aspects. When that happens, you can lose the excitement of discovering something new and it might take an external push to get you to open your eyes and realize, “hey, that’s something new for my list!”

Sea Run Brown Trout

Sea-Run Brown

About two weeks ago, I got a call from a friend of mine at the Embassy asking me if I could help a couple of guys get some information on sea-run Brown trout in the Rio Irigoyen. “You bet!” I said and started working my network of blogs, bulletin boards, guides, lodges, friends (of course), fly fishermen and fly shops.

Since I haven’t been to Tierra del Fuego myself yet, it was a lot of fun discovering where to go, what to do and see, and also learning more about the sea-run Browns. Trout, sometimes called “salters”, which live in rivers that empty into the sea, may spend up to three months at sea in the spring, not straying more than a few kilometers from the river mouth. The fish return upstream to spawn in the late summer or autumn. This is not just a Brown Trout phenomenon, and even Brook Trout can exhibit this behavior. The reason everyone is crazy about Brown that go to sea is because of their growth capacity. If you’ve ever hooked a Brown, you know that it is probably the fiercest fighting trout species, and since it is one of the larger species of trout… well, you get the idea.

Santiago del Estero

Santiago del Estero

Around the same time that I got the call from Charlie at the Embassy, I also got together with my friend Jim for lunch. Now he’s the kind of guy that has done or knows something about just about everything. The one thing that he hasn’t done is to have gone fishing for Golden Dorado in the Argentine “Litoral” also known as Mesopotamia. So while we’re eating lunch Jim says that when he gets back from his next trip he wants to plan a trip with me to go after some Dorado. Now, I’m always up for Dorado (“tiger of the river”) since it is one of the greatest fishing freshwater fish around, but there is a problem… a big problem. Due to overfishing and a lack of preservation efforts in Mesopotamia (which is comprised of the provinces of Misiones, Entre Rios and Corrientes) there fewer and fewer Dorado and the catch sizes are smaller and smaller when you can find them. It’s really a shame.

However, this is good news for guides and lodges popping up to the west of the Mesopotamia in Santiago del Estero and Salta. The respective rivers in each province, Rio Dulce and Rio Juramento, still have Dorado’s in quantity and quality. (Are you on “q”?) Although conservation efforts are still not as good and enforcement not as tight as it probably should be, at least in these provinces there are mandatory catch-and-release policies.

So now Jim and I have another adventure on our “list”.

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce

Going back and doing research on these fish, fishing habitats and regions of this beautiful country (which I’ll share in upcoming articles), I suddenly got out of my rut – which I hadn’t realized I was in – and was humbled once again by the beauty and diversity of this planet. I hope you’ll considering adding these adventures to your list. You won’t be disappointed. Now excuse me while I get my gear in order so I can get ready to enjoy a few adventures on MY list.

As you know, I am a widely traveled man. This allows me to corroborate the claim that a trip is always more or less illusory.

That there is nothing new under the sun, it is all one and the same in the end.

But also, and paradoxically allows me to ensure there is no reason to stop looking for the exotic, the new.

Indeed, the world is endless.

J. L. Borges.


Argentina can be otherworldly...

Argentina can be otherworldly...

An inspiration for writing about fishing only began after completing a part of what makes me, me, in addition to the fisherman inside me. It’s like the moment you added the baking soda to your volcano science project, it didn’t erupt until the necessary ingredient was added. In my case, it was an unexpected assignment to work temporarily in Argentina that ended up becoming my home.

Argentina has a great number of places to fish and varieties of fish to keep you coming back for more year after year. It’s one of my favorite places to fish in South America. The terrain varies from North to South, East to West and although they have species you’ll find in other parts of the world (not to mention what you won’t find elsewhere), the Argentine fishing experience like no other.

You will find an endless number of books, blogs, sites and other sources of information about every outdoor adventure or sport one could imagine. So instead of trying to tell you something you don’t  know, or can’t otherwise find about Argentine outdoor adventures, I thought I’d try to give some something else to bring along with you if you should travel to the Republic: a frame of mind.

Argentina is often a strange combination of untouched wilderness combined with modern day comforts. But that is what characterizes Argentina for so many people. A country of “extremes”, it could never be explained as dull or ordinary.

It is an anomaly which can’t last forever.

Don’t try to figure it out. You’ll be frustrated trying to understand this country and its people if you compare it to everything else you already know or believe about how the world works. You can only start to understand if  you immerse yourself and relearn everything about relationships, politics, economics… and even mechanics, from scratch. It’s like learning a new language. Can you really say you understand a language unless you immerse yourself and eventually “think” in that language? If you want to understand Argentina and Argentinians, you have to “think Argentine”.

Sure. You can come as a tourist and enjoy the beef, wine, hospitality, eco-tourism, etc. You’ll go away very pleased, but you have to think Argentine to begin to understand it and truly enjoy some things that you would otherwise rarely find in a lifetime.

But, let this be a warning, if you are prepared to think Argentine, it may change your life in ways you didn’t expect and won’t ever be able to undo. It’s like Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole… You’ll think you’re now seeing the real world for the first time.

Living here, and initially thinking that maybe I could play a part in changing some things about this country, I realize that so far I’m the one that has been changed. It is sometimes bitter sweet, but I have no regrets because I believe that it’s all been for the better.

The wonders of this country, natual and cultural, are unique in the world. Reading history and Borges will only get you started. It’s ‘untamed nature’ is the one thing that runs true through everything. It’s the key to thinking Argentine and beginning to understand the people and culture.

I haven’t figured it out yet, and honestly, I think I’ve stopped trying. I’ve just given myself to it and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alive.

If you plan on taking a trip in your lifetime that you think will perhaps change your life; like seeing the Great Wall or the Eqyptian pyramids, consider spending time (not just a 10 day visit) in Argentina. Travel the provinces, take in the culture, see the popular sites, but also take your time to browse through the countryside. Incorporate things into your  routine like a daily siesta, marienda, the late afternoon café or tea house, all-day Sunday “fiaca” laying in bed reading and ordering out for facturas in the morning and empanadas in the afternoon. Buy yourself a pair of bombachas de campo and alpargatas shoes. Don’t rush to do anything and don’t plan too much. Just take life as it comes. Move from the extreme of the life you have lived, to the opposite extreme.

If eventually you find yourself drifting back and forth from one extreme to the other, you are finally beginning to think Argentine. It’s a country of extremes.

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