Why The F*** Not? (A Short Reflection on Doing the Opposite)

Swing the Fly’s Rick Kustich and I recently hosted a small group of fellow Swing the Fly-ers at the famed Las Buitreras lodge on Argentina’s Rio Gallegos for sea-run brown trout. 

We faced the full gamut of conditions during our week there but one particular moment in the trip stood out for me — where I learned something I had otherwise been overlooking in the moment. 

We had been anticipating a large push of water at our location due to heavy rains far upriver in the Andes Mountains. That push arrived suddenly on our second evening of fishing. While clarity remained OK, water levels were rising drastically and displacing large amounts of moss, weeds and debris that had been accumulating for months along the shoreline. 

In what I’d call a natural response to rising water, I went to a larger fly and heavier sinking line — attempting to get the fly in the fish’s face. The problem was the resulting weeds on the fly 9 out of 10 casts — which made success feel pretty unlikely. 

My normal response would be to sit on the bank, drink a beer, maybe smoke a cigar. But I’d just traveled halfway around the world to fish for a week. 

I was discussing the weed predicament with Las Buitreras head guide Lawson Jones, and he made an outstanding observation/tip that I had completely overlooked: The way to get past the weeds is to fish on the surface.

Not how you’d typically deal with rising water, but it sounded better than pulling weeds off the fly every cast. So I thought, why the f*** not? 

After swapping the full sinking head for a Bridge Tributary, I tied on a hitched Sunray Shadow. Weedless river tranquility ensued. My fly was in the game again, and right before dusk a fish happened to eat that Sunray on the surface.