Shaggy dog story

Trip Start Sep 2005
Trip End Sep 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, December 25, 2005

I'd been advised that the best time to fish the Rio Correntoso is early morning at about 5am. So with a lot of effort I got there for 7ish, and already there were 3 other fishermen hogging the podium. The podium was the only place you could fish from because of the water hieght. But fly-fishing being a gentlemans sport, we started a rotation system. This might also have been because one of the guys is a "fishing policeman" for want of a better translation. Basically his job is to go around fishing the good spots to make sure everything is ok. What a job. Our careers teacher never told us about that one in Saint Mary's. Needless to say this guy caught a fish. Then him and his mate took off and left me, a local guy and an alsation that had been pestering us. The only way to get the dog out of the way of your backcast was to throw a stone into the water. It seemed like I'd been elected to be the stone-thrower. We'd developed a bit of a rapport, the dog and I, when he was ready to chase another stone, and had given up looking for the last one, he'd drop a new one at my feet. I'd then thow it as far away and as deep as possible to keep him occupied for as long as possible so that I could get some fishing done.

At one stage I heard a yelp and a bit of a puzzled whimper, and when I turned round I could see my fly sticking out of his belly. He was a good natured fella and was standing wagging his tail waiting for me to throw the next stone. I hadn't touched a fish all morning and was getting bored, so I threw a stone out into the current to see what sort of a fight he'd put up. No chance. Just to help matters the other fisherman fecked off as soon as he realsied what had happened. I couldn't just cut the line, and I had to get the hook out soon, in case he decided to run off. I didn't fancy running down the road after him with my rod in hand in case it broke. So I coaxed him into a game of tug-the-stick. And I got my free hand round to where the hook was and gave it one good hard yank. Fortunately it came away with a big tuft of hair, and no skin. He must have been double-coated, as he didn't even seem to notice, he just kept wagging his tail and tugging the stick. He didn't have a collar so I couldn't check his name, but I hope it was Patch.

For the last 10 days I've been fishing and camping out in some really beautiful spots in the Argentine lake district. Living the existence of a 21st century Grizzly Adams, who drives a Corsa, and knows how to use the internet. But it was time for a change, so I headed to Bariloche for Christmas. It's really touristy place, catering for the wealthy porteņos (Buenos Aires people) and their spoilt teenage children. Still it's got a decent Irish bar, and I know a few people here.

The campsite was run by an Argentinian whose wife had Irish roots, her family name was Walsh. Walsh/Walls, when you're this far away thats close enough. It has hot water, showers, and even toilet roll (not for drying yourself). Even Grizzly treated himself to a bath and haircut at Christmas.

The camp site is within staggering distance of town, and seems fairly sociable. On the first night at about 3 in the morning, I was woken by dumb and dumber in the tent next to me trying out their crappy chat up lines "oh we only start to partee at 2 or 3....yeh we'll keep drinking now till 6 or 7, you come and join us" not what you want to hear if you've gone to bed early. It's the first time in about 2 months since I've had to use the ear plugs. Fortunately the girls weren't too impressed by their cheese, and they knocked it on the head early.

On christmas eve I had a few hours to kill so I headed out of town to some of the more remote lakes. I came across this river which was just thick with trout on one side of a bridge, so I started to get my gear together. Then as has started happening me all week, a load of Argentinians arrived. 3 car fulls of them. And they were scouting the river, and there were kids producing spinning rods. So not wanting to lose my spot I tried hurrying along abit. I got my first cast out before they spotted all the fish were over whereI was, but when I took my line back in I got stuck in a bush. So I cut this off and tied on a new fly. In my haste I might have stepped lightly on my rod but nothing serious. By the time I was ready again I had a little audience. When I cast my line half my rod fell into the water. Broken. That was my worst days fishing yet. It was Chistmas eve, and all the shops would be shut when I got back. Happy Christmas Kevy. So the only sensible thing to do was go back and party.

Back at the campsite I had a good choice of drinking partners. From the hardcore (steak breakfast and beer Belgian chappies) to the very soft (dumb and dumber as it turned out were all talk, they barely drank.) I decided to bury the hatchet and crack open a bottle of wine with my two amigos from next door. They were sound enough guys. At this stage I'd begun to suspect that they were travelling on a very tight budget. They never left the campsite, and did all their cooking on the camp-fire, which also doubled up as their tv/entertainment system. We had a bit of a chat and the guys ofered to split their dinner with me. It was rice. Nothing else, not even a dollop of ketchup to liven it up. So I passed on it. Saying that I never ate before a session. I met up with a swiss couple, Adrian and Dennis, for midnight and we retired to the local Irish pub for some Jamesons and imitation Guinness.

There's not a sight of turkey and ham anywhere here. On Christmas morning and Christmas Eve night, it sort of did feel like Christmas, but by about 2 in the afternoon it's over, and the shops even open up later on. Christmas eve night is the big occasion. Fireworks and parties till dawn. Though we only lasted until about 4.
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