As usual, a lot has happened here at Hemispheres since our last  (apparently annual) newsletter went out. You may have noticed that the first one was actually sent out well, over a year ago. We’ve been busy!

 

Luckily the busyness has almost exclusively involved fish.  And a fishy year it has been.    The first Mongolia Exploration was completed, our new Trout Bum New Zealand and Flats Bum Belize programs were developed and launched, and the most successful fishing season ever recorded at our Trout Bum Rio Pico headquarters in Argentine Patagonia just finished up with a bang on its 10th anniversary.  So check out the news and then shoot us back an email with your own; we’re always looking to hear from you!

 

               ~Justin Witt and the Hemispheres Unlimited Team

Tenth anniversary Trout Bum Rio Pico season closer

         This year we closed our tenth consecutive season of the most popular program in our catalog, the one that started it all after Justin’s long walk down in Patagonia. Since its beginning the Trout Bum Rio Pico has represented an entirely new approach to fly fishing

travel, and although a lot has changed since 2009 including the development of several similar Hemispheres Unlimited programs across the globe, this style of operation is still one of a kind! 

 

From its conception the idea was to provide access to what we see as the world’s greatest fishery for Rainbows, Browns, and Brook Trout at a price point even our fellow guides could afford.  What we didn’t see coming though was that this was far being from the only market that would respond.  By the second season we had bookings from clients Justin had previously guided in five star destinations elsewhere in the world, and by the third season there were doctors, lawyers, and corporate executives sitting right next to young vagabond guides at the dinner table almost every night. 

 

Turns out that it wasn’t so much the price point that mattered, it was the style of the program itself that was pulling these folks away from the lodges they had previously visited and putting them in the simple rooms at Vasco’s and Paulino’s.  More than the cocktails, bedding turndowns, and table clothed streamside lunches, everybody just wanted to fish!  And that’s where a schedule set by the clients themselves plus a willingness to walk, row, or four wheel drive those extra miles makes all the difference in the world.  Our guests don’t get told it’s time to head back to the lodge for cocktail hour, or what time breakfast will be served; and they darn sure don’t get told that the waterfall upstream is too far a walk to undertake.  All our clients seem to like this, and as such we have grown and grown each year.

 

Make no mistake; we still cater to our brethren taking a break from the oars and push-poles of their Driftboats and Skiffs around the world.  We are proud to offer a place at our table, on our waters, and in our rafts for guides and fishermen of any age or background that would not have the opportunity to see Patagonia and fish to these amazing fish if it weren’t for the affordability of what we offer.  These days we just sit them down right next to the other guys, and they all seem to get along just fine!    

 

Now it’s true, over the years both the lodging and the food have gotten a little more “cush”.  The guides no longer do any of the cooking, which is nice because they get to hang out and enjoy dinners with the guests and are also a lot less tired in the morning (not to mention it means we all get to enjoy the company of Karina), plus we’ve made a lot of improvements to the living spaces as well.  Back country trips are still an option though, and we are better equipped than ever to take those as far out into seldom accessed waters as any client wants to go.  And the best news is that none of this has changed the pricing; all of the options are still as affordable as they ever were. 

 

    

Plus the fishing has actually gotten better almost every year.  We have no way to explain this, but we’re certainly happy it is the case.  We’ve had quite a bit of low water on the lower sections of the drainages these past several years, and it has concerned us, but apparently it has not concerned the fish.  The spring creeks in the upper sections still hold the monsters they always did, and the multitudes of fish in the lower freestone-ish sections just seem to keep multiplying and eating more and more dry flies as they do.  Ten years ago we said a third of our lakes offered consistent fishing, another third were pretty reliable, and the last third were all or nothing 50/50 bets on any given day.  That last one is still as it was, but the middle one has continually edged its way into the first column, with many of what were “medium fish” lakes five years ago now having become “big fish lakes” with all season action. 

 

Then there’s that one lake…. And those of you who have been with us mid-season these last couple of years know which one I mean.  It used to be in column three, and we got skunked out there better than half the times we went.  It was worth it though because when it worked out the brook trout landed were the biggest anyone had ever seen, even the guys who’d been to Labrador.  Since last year though, even that lake has jumped right into column one, and as hard as it’s been to believe we’ve not been skunked out there a single time, and had many, many days whereupon putting the boat to sand at takeout clients and guides both had to look at each other with “did that really just happen” written all over there faces.  We still have trouble believing our own logs.  40+ Brook trout landed by one boat in a single day, and not one of them less than five pounds??? 

 

The idea from the beginning though was to keep the program small and personal, and that intention is still in place.  There are only so many folks we can put at the table at any one time while maintaining the level of personalized service we provide.  And the reality is, the calendar for the 2019/20 season already has almost as many spots filled on it as we had our entire last season.  If you’re thinking of coming down (or back down, as most of you have been here once do), then give us a call – soon!

Trout Bum Jurassic Program Launch and Hosted Trip Offer

As part of our continuing development of the Bum Programs catalog we are now dedicated to offering more and ore of around the world, we are proud to announce the first ever back door to one of the most famous and difficult to access fisheries in all of Patagonia – Jurassic Lake. 

 

Jurassic Lake has been in the news now  long enough for almost anyone who is plugged into fly fishing to know what it's all about.  Huge rainbows, lots of them a short walk from the super comfy lodge, and almost constant action.  What most people don't know though is that there is so much more to that operation's properties and waters than just the boca of the Barrancoso River.  And the Trout Bum Jurassic program is the first to combine time at the Classic Jurassic Lake Lodge with days on other awesome waters within the huge network of practically unexplored nearby drainages that are continuously being discovered all around it.  

 

But not everybody can afford (or is even looking for) a standard week in the lodge with its short walk to the mouth of the river.  The Trout Bum Jurassic program is instead a continuously expanding exploratory mission, with its base of operations at the lodge itself and plenty of fishing at the classic boca, but combined with access to the over 20 kilometers of the Rio Barrancoso that lie within the boundaries of the estancia, plus the Rio Capitan, Arroyo Moro and many other as yet unnamed spring creeks within the surrounding properties, a huge number of small and mostly unnamed lakes, plus the lake which is fast becoming known as the "new Jurassic", Lago Quiroga.  In other words, there is A LOT  left to explore, and the possibilities seem only to be expanding.  This year we’re offering a one time opportunity to join myself and Emiliano Luro on a hosted Trout Bum Jurassic Lake trip from February 29th to March 6th.  There are only six spots available for this one, and we expect them to go pretty quickly, so get on board now!  

 

 

Call me at 404-783-2114 or shoot an email over to jwitt@hemispheresunlimited.com – this is going to be awesome.  

New Flats Bum Belize Program Launch

Fly fishing for Permit in Belize

This one has been a long time coming.  I’ve been fishing Belize for many years and am still very much in love with our other program there, but the new Flats Bum at Cayo Frances is exactly what we had been looking for as an addition all that time.  And it took a long time.  Finding Jeff Speigel's Cayo Frances Farm & Fly camp on Ambergris Caye was like looking for a golden needle in a haystack of fool's gold straws.  There just aren't very many places in this world that our Bum market can go to chase Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit without having to be millionaires, trespassers, or both.  But while the front side of this island sports an airport with a cute community of golf cart paths winding through beachfront resorts and a myriad of busy tourist attractions, the backside is a whole other world.  Accessible only by boat and with almost no development, the leeward side of the island is pretty much mangroves, water, and well, fish.  Hence our interest in the back door.  The video pretty much says it all, so have a look and then give us a call to put something together. 

 

 

Full capacity is six rods but even if you want to come alone it doesn’t take much to convince one of us to come up and meet you for a hosted trip. 

New Trout Bum New Zealand Program Launch

Another one that has been waiting way, way too long.  New Zealand is a destination that I first visited all the way back in 2001, and as I drove the entire country from the North end of the North Island all the way down to Fiordlands on the South Island, I kept passing river after river after river and they all called my name in the wordless language every angler knows. 

 

Jeff Forsee Guide Service

New Zealand is on the bucket list of pretty much every fly fisherman who doesn’t happen to live in, well, New Zealand.  It’s a spot that often remains trapped on the list as opposed to getting checked off though, mostly because of the common misconception that only the super-rich can afford to go fish those waters.  Not so! Yes, helicopters are nice; but four wheel drive and hiking boots work just fine as well and as long as you are with someone who knows where to put them you can make the most of your time on the rivers of your South Island dreams. Jeff Forsee is that someone. 

 

Jeff is one of the few people we know who truly guides all year every year, crossing the equator and sometimes the prime meridian as well to stay with the seasons as the Earth tilts back and forth.  A permanent resident of the South Island and member of the New Zealand Professional Guides Association, Jeff currently divides his time between there and Mongolia, where he helps anglers chase Taimen with the same dedication and passion he uses to put anglers into the rainbows and brown trout of New Zealand.

 

 

Brown Trout on dry flies in New Zealand

Brown trout were first introduced into New Zealand waters via the importation of 800 fertilized ova from Tasmania in 1867.  Rainbows arrived in the early 1880’s, descendants of the same McCloud River Steelhead that Argentine Patagonia was stocked with around this same time.  Both species found a most excellent new home environment and soon became prolific, although the browns to a greater degree than the rainbows.  For a look at the history of this fishery along with spectacular views of its scenery and the fishing itself, the video above is well worth the time it takes to watch.  Once you do though, the deal will probably be sealed - you're coming down.  And here’s another one that it doesn’t take much convincing for us to come and meet you on – shoot me an email and let’s get some dates on the calendar!

India – some good news on the Saryu and some more in Arunachal

Many of you will remember last year when we received the sad news that the government in India had shut down all of our Mahseer programs with legislation that made catch and release fly fishing illegal.  At that time, obviously, we had to remove all of these programs from our catalog, and weep.  I am happy to report now though that the Saryu River Float Trip program has now reopened!  Politics in India are as inexplicable as they are everywhere else in the world these days, so I’ll not attempt go into the details of what allowed this to happen, but will instead simply stop weeping and get myself ready to go fishing.  I’ll be passing through India in a few months on program development explorations (see below) and would love to have anyone who is interested come along for a float trip down this amazing river.  As of now available dates are:

 

Sept 20th, 2019 to Sept 29th, 2019 - 4 rods
Oct 10th, 2019 to Oct 19th, 2019 - 4 rods
 
4th April, 2020 to 13th, April 2020 - 4 rods
14th April, 2020 to 23rd, April 2020 - 2 rods
14th May, 2020 to 23rd, May 2020 - 4 rods

 

Give me a call and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there! 

 

ARUNACHAL PRADESH ~ A WHOLE NEW WORLD

 

The other news from that part of the world is one that I am so excited about I can barely contain myself.  We are now conducting explorations for the development of a Mahseer program in the Northeastern most state of the country, Arunachal Pradesh.  This area is like nowhere else in India, culturally, ecologically, and in practically every other way we can imagine.  Two distinct species of Mahseer live in its watersheds, and preliminary scouting trips already made have shown amazing potential for this destination to be made into a truly once in a lifetime experience for our guests.  Stay tuned for news of what we find, and keep a slot open on your bucket list to meet us there.