Yesterday I forgot to mention a couple things that I normally do when entering a new country. When I got off the plane in Santa Cruz, Bolivia I was shocked at how cool it was. The temperature was in the low 40°s and last nights cold temp was 39°. Indeed its technically winter here in the Southern Hemisphere but word on the street is that this is the coldest anyone can remember. Fortunately the cold front will break today and despite the cold night yesterdays high was near 70°.
Though there are disagreements between the US government and the Bolivian government, the folks here are warm and friendly. Not thinking about it I ventured out on a walk yesterday in an old pair of well embroidered “Team USA Fly Fishing” shorts. No one treated me poorly and in fact all were welcoming and enjoyed engaging conversation. I wish my Spanish was better.
I’m flying into camp in an hour. Today is not scheduled as a proper fishing day but perhaps I can play around the lodge pool. The rest of July 26 to come.
The flight into Tsimane Lodge was marvelous. There wasn’t an ounce of wind and there were clear blue skies as far as you could see. This meant we could see peaks of the Andes to the west and the Bolivian Amazon to the east. The flight from Santa Cruz took exactly two hours.
We landed on a narrow grass strip to an audience of locals. They don’t see much from the outside world so when the plane lands it’s always a big deal. The river was next to the landing strip so we unloaded our gear from the plane right to long dug out boats and made a short run to the lodge.
This group is hardcore so when we arrived at the lodge rods started going together fast while the “welcome drinks” evaporated. I’m a man of tons of gear but Skip takes the crown on this trip. Most impressive are the stacks of fly boxes he has, every one of them absolutely chalk full of dorado flies. Before you knew it most of us were trying to land the first dorado from the camp pool.
Like any lodge in the world, the camp pool gets hit hard and despite many casts from us only a couple dorado flashes were seen. After lunch Tom and I went on a jungle walk upstream for four hours only to catch one tiny dorado. The truth is that none of the good water is near camp so there’s nothing to worry about, we’ll get to the good water from the boats starting tomorrow.
Actually, there is a little concern. When the plane dropped us off it retrieved last week’s guests. They suffered through some heavy rains and the cold front that is presently on its way out. Their fishing was terrible. I think today’s slow fishing around camp can still be attributed to the cold. However, the forecast continues to look in our favor with warming and no rain so hopefully every day will get better.
This place is absolutely beautiful. The jungle is thick and the terrain is made up of rolling hills and incredible rocky crops. The lodge is elegant. The task of putting it this far in the jungle had to of been a feat. I’m so glad I’m getting this opportunity to be here.
I’m rooming with Skip as we are the two guys that don’t snore. If it’s true than I luck out because evidently there are some pro snorers in the group. Skip and I will fish together the first three days starting with beat 2 tomorrow. Beat 2 is supposed to be the best of this lodge. Speaking of which, we fish here at Lodge 1 for three days they we will fly to another for another three days. I’m the only guy that hasn’t been here before so I’ll just kick back and enjoy!
Tomorrow the games begin!
Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing