Where next? Take a look at some of our personal favourites.
We are fortunate to travel to some amazing destinations across the world. However, given a choice what would be our favourites? Where would we return to tomorrow? And where would we like to visit next and why? This week it’s Olly’s turn.
We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit some amazing fishing destinations across the world. This may be for personal aspirations, product knowledge or even to unearth the next gem. Regardless of what brought us there, many present several reasons to return and some really do become like an annual pilgrimage. It is difficult not to become attached to some places, be that because of the fishing alone or because of wider variables that make a journey or lodge memorable such as the guides, house staff, lodge or setting. Within the Aardvark McLeod team we all have our individual passions and areas of interest, which helps form the backbone of our experience that we assist venturing anglers with every day. To put this into perspective we thought you’d like to see what gets us all excited on an individual basis, where we have enjoyed visiting the most, where we would return to tomorrow and where we would like to visit next. In doing so we hope this will help guide you on your next journey on where to explore but also help you see where our individual strengths lie when you next make contact.
I have been fortunate to have spent the past decade guiding and fishing in some of the world’s more remote and special fisheries. It is testing to try and name just three favourites as each destination I have fished offers something distinctive and appeals to me in a slightly different way. The three destinations I have chosen combine stunning scenery, interesting fishing and the opportunity for exploration. These are the factors I value in a fishery and each spot I have chosen has them in handfuls and so remains very dear to me. Ask another angler and their opinion may be of contrast for it is possible they value different things.
The outer islands of the Seychelles are littered with some of the world’s best saltwater fisheries and flats. These remote atolls offer a playground for not only fisherman but lovers of wildlife and wild places. Cosmoledo is one of the most remote and stunning of all of the atolls. It is one of those unique areas that gives the impression that it has become trapped in time and has never been touched by mans hand.
When I first started guiding on Cosmoldo there was no lodge or structure, only an eighty-five-foot mothership called Lonestar. This was the only base for both the clients and guides and was the only civilization for miles around. Now there is lodge on Wizard Island and the operation is more comfortable than ever before.
I have been fortunate enough to have been witness to some of the most extraordinary on Cosmos flats. Sessions where groups of GTs have fall off the flats like bonefish do on Alphonse, or triggers tailing as far as the eye can see. For me it is not only the numbers of GTs that make Cosmo so impressive but also the variety of other species you can target. Those open minded and willing to spend time searching for species other than GTs will find just how diverse and surprising Cosmoledo can be.
Trout Fishing, New Zealand
Although I have never guided in New Zealand, I have spent three seasons exploring the rivers of both the North and South Island. Each time our winter starts to approach my thoughts my thoughts always turn towards heading back down south in search of gin clear water and large trout. I can think of no trout fishery quite like it. While there are numerous places to catch big trout very few offer the same opportunities that New Zealand does, being able to target large fish with small flies in crystal clear water. I have always had a love from both sight fishing and exploring.
I think I would be hard pressed to find a better playground than some of the rivers of the South Island. New Zealand is widely known to have stunning scenery, but until you have been to some of the wild and remote backcountry rivers it is hard to convey quite how beautiful it really is. Many times, I have dropped my rod paused and tried to pinch myself in a bid to check if this was all real.
The fishing is not always easy as the water is extremely clear, and the fish are large. With their size comes a certain amount of cunning and guile. I know though that the effort and hours of walking will be worth it, the juice is certainly worth the squeeze. To me one sight fished eight-pound brown is worth many two pound fish.
Golden Dorado, Argentina
The vivid colours and ferocious nature of golden dorado suggest that they are a fish that should have been born in salt, not fresh water. Golden yellow, acrobatic and strong they are the perfect game fish and one that is as exciting as any other to catch on a fly. They are without a doubt one of the most acrobatic fish I have ever targeted, for once hooked they seem to spend more time in the air than the water.
Between the Rio Parana and Pira Lodge in the million-hector marshland of Esteros del Iberá I spent several years guiding for this wonderful species. Both areas differ hugely from one another, one being a vast marshland and the other a huge river. However, they have several things in common. A lovely warm climate, an abundance of wildlife, amazing scenery and of course golden dorado. Until I have travelled to Northern Argentina I had never spent much time in tropical freshwater climates and I was amazed by the diversity of the wildlife, from countless bird species to caimen and capybara.
The areas we fished were ever changing could be completely different only a week later. This constantly shifting environment allowed for a never-ending window of exploration. Despite the exciting fishing some of my most treasured memories came from the driving the skiff home at the end of the day. The chorus of the night would start as the light dipped and we would be rewarded by the most extraordinary sunsets.
Where would I go back to?
There is not really a destination that I have visited that I wouldn’t want to return to, they have all left their impression. Any of these three I would jump back to in an instant, but should I only choose one it would without a doubt be New Zealand. Last season was a mouse year, and despite the poor weather many big fish were caught. Some of the the reports and photos that came in made me rather green with envy.
Where to next?
While I would dash back to most of the places I have fished in an instant it is always nice to tread new ground and discover new possibilities. Although I have fished for golden dorado in Northern Argentina, I would dearly love to explore Bolivia and Tsimane.
Cuba also holds a huge amount of appeal for I have a rather odd obsession with catching permit.
If you are interested in travelling to these or any other destination within our portfolio why not contact by email or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.