FISHERMEN AT THE END OF THE WORLD
True passion draws you out of your comfort zone, and connects you with new people in unfamiliar places. Tres Amigos Outfitters is a world-class fly fish guide service operating in the southern part of Argentina. This might be a bucket list dream for many of us, but for the three amigos, it's business as usual.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and where you're from.
My name is Juan Manuel and I’m a partner in Tres Amigos, an outfitter located in south Patagonia, based in Río Gallegos city. We are three good friends that share the same passion for fly fishing and decided to take it to the next level. Now we scout, develop and operate different lodges for ourselves and partner companies.
We feel very lucky not only with the way we understand each other but the process of getting the best of each part of the work, we’re very much like-minded and complement very well--egos aside--focused on our goals.
How and why did you get into fly fishing?
It was easy to become a fisherman in this part of the world when we were kids, getting it from family and friends in our case. There is so much water--and big fish--not far from where we live. It's still nowadays one of the favorite outdoor activities for locals.
We began when we were kids like most, first with a spinning rod, then with a fly rod.
What is it about fly fishing specifically that you enjoy?
Fly fishing is the perfect excuse to get in touch with nature, to have quality time with your kids, friends, clients. No technology (only for photos). We are lucky to still not have cellphone signal in most of our fisheries, so no messages or phones ringing. Something harder and harder to find these days. I’d say fly fishing is our favorite way of meditation.
What makes Patagonia such an amazing fishing destination?
Patagonia still has very remote and low pressure fisheries. Big fish, pristine nature and solitude. You also have a number of different species in a very close distance range. Chinook salmon, steelhead, sea-run brown trout, brooks, browns, rainbows and more…
Also, the beauty of the Patagonian steppe, the “estancias” (ranches) and their traditions. I should definitely mention the amazing sunsets, asados and Malbec, and a lot more...Patagonia has that magic, that wilderness that makes it special.
What kinds of fish can clients expect to catch if they take a trip with you?
We own three programs: Los Plateados, where we target Steelhead in the Santa Cruz River; Glacier King, where we fish for big chinook salmon located at the heart of Glaciers National Park; and finally big brook and brown trout mainly on dry flies in Estancia Río Pelke.
The demands on a truck have to be brutal in Patagonia, how do you prepare for the inevitable?
First of all, for us the truck can’t be other than a Toyota Hilux. In our 20 years experience there hasn’t been anything else that survived such harsh terrain, driving on volcanic terrain, lots of dust, wading, plus the strong winds Patagonia is famous for...Simply trucks that make you feel secure when you get into the wild and far from civilization.
Our trucks usually need some improvements as stronger iron bumpers that increase the attack angle, good tires for mud and asphalt, and of course religiously followed maintenance. As safety equipment, all vehicles must have VHF radio and sat phones. We try not to leave anything to chance...we even designed and built our own rod holders for these conditions.
Now we’ve upgraded our trucks by installing the DECKED Drawer System and couldn’t be any happier with the results after a season of use and abuse.
How has the DECKED Drawer System changed how you organize your fishing trips?
The DECKED Drawer System has provided us a way to keep our everyday fishing items (rod tubes, waders and boots, backpacks, etc) in order and safe. Now carrying all that is not an issue any more, and clients have really appreciated it.
What’s the best advice you can give someone looking to get into fly fishing?
I’d encourage everyone who’s willing to try it into doing it, and even if it looks complex and difficult at the beginning, after the first step it all simplifies. Ask your local fly shop for advice on what you need and where to go. Before you realize, you’ll have some new friends to share your adventures with. After all, it’s not only about the fish you catch, it's about everything around it.
If someone wants to come fish with you, when is the best time?
From early November till the end of April we offer a wide range of programs, species and lodges that will adapt to any angler skill levels and needs in order to show them the best and most unique of south Patagonia.