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click on photos for a larger viewNever been fished, nearly every fisherman i talked to in Chilean Patagonia spoke of streams that had never been fished.

And the concept didin't ever seem unusual to any of them. A man in Coyhaique asked me if I knew any Americans potentially interested in investing in a lodge operation. He wanted to offer spike camps to fish rivers that didin't even have names.

Two weeks after I had returned home from fishing in Chile's vast, sparsely populated region of Patagonia, I spoke on the phone with Jay Burgin, the American partner of Estancia del Zorro and Cinco Rios lodges near Coyhaique, where I had stayed.

"Just since you've been down here we've fond another spring creek," Burgin said. "It's never been fished that anybody knos. Not with a worm, a flay or dynamite caps. The guides went up into it and say there are 30-inch fish living there."

And, even though these are fishermen speaking, I belive it.

I Belive it because i fished at a tiny spring creek that winds through Burgin's Estancia del Zorro property, and heard stories of a legendary fish nicknamed "Tippet Cutter" that lived under a nearby bridge. I fished with 2X tippet -2X on a spring creek, mind you- in anticipation of the rodeo that would take place if I were to hook something like the 32-inch, 15-pounder that came out of the same creek a couple seasons ago.

But mainly I belive it because Rodrigo says it's so, and I've come to belive everything Rodrigo says.

click on photos for a larger view
'Just since you've been down here, we've found another spring creek'

I told Rodrigo I would kiss him, wich probably weighed on him a fair bit. He was the guide, after all -and had to make the gringo happy- but he's also a Latin guy, and so was probably bothered by the prospect. Who Knows what gringos are goin to insist on?

Two days prior, I was fishing on another spring creek and caught tons of decent fish, just pop, pop, pop one right after another -in my first five cast I'd caught three fish- but nothing particularly large. Today I wanted something... hefly.

I was trying to be reasonable. I'd heard over and over again rumors about the 10-, 12-, 15-pound browns lurking under the cutbanks.


"Rodrigo," I said, "how could a fish that big hide from me in this tiny little creeck?"

"Those dudes are hard to

catch. They are wild and intelligent," he replied. "That's why they are big."

Still, I wasn't one fo those hook-jawed savages. I just wanted to catch something that felt big. Twenty-three inches is all I wanted, and Rodrigo was going on about fish as big as my leg.

That's when I said it: "we catch a 23-inch fish and I'll give you a kiss." >>Next Page

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Estancia del Zorro®
c/o Five Rivers Lodge
Plaza 65, Mail Box 419
Coyhaique, Chile
Jay Burgin, Mary Jacques & Sebastian Galilea
56-67-244917 or 56-67-231210
Fax: 56-67-212502

© 2007
Photos by Brian O'Keefe, Sam Talarico, Ben Edmonson, Brent Taylor and Guests
Designed by Manuel Perez Astorga