Valley of The Kings
Fly fishing for king salmon in Chile is an amazing experience I can whole-heartedly recommend to anyone that enjoys fishing in absolute pristine nature. In December Al Peake from Twin Peaks Fly Fishing and myself had the opportunity to fish the Rio Serrano in Southern Patagonia with Rafael González from Magallanes Fly Fishing. Valley of the Kings is our film about the Chinook salmon fishing we experienced in the breathtaking surroundings of the Torres Del Paine National Park with a great group of Chilean anglers and friends.
Although seasoned Patagonian anglers, Rafael had pre warned us to bring gear ready for savage encounters with some of Patagonia’s finest chrome kings. With this in mind, we armed ourselves with some heavyweight fly fishing setups. Al brought with him and fished predominantly with, the largest of our travel rods, the 15 ft 10# fast action Cross ST. He had that partnered to a Classic 1013 reel and one of our latest SDS #10 670g skagit heads, a SDS T18 fast sinking tip and the brilliant SDS 42lb core running line. We both used and fell in love with the 14ft 9# fast action Cross ST, an Opti Strike reel and again the SDS skagit #9 610 grain head connected to a LOOP shooter line for fishing the narrower sections of the river system.
Fishing primarily with the longer 14ft and 15ft rods and SDS skagit systems were certainly the weapons of choice for the bulk of our fishing time, but what pleasure to break out the 13ft6′ #9 Cross ST when conditions allowed. The slower action managed very well with the 580 grains of the #8/9 SDS head to turn over our big Intruder fly patterns. Hanging from my rod was my trusted Classic 811 and what a noise from this ‘classic’ reel when a 30lb king salmon is heading back to the South Atlantic!
There is one fact about fly fishing in Southern Patagonia and that is the wind will almost certainly blow with absolutely brutality in lattadudes in the lower 50’s. All set-ups performed extremely well in the harshest fishing conditions I personally encountered anywhere around the fly fishing world. The smooth casting stroke of the 13ft #9 Cross ST was was a pleasure to use, but both faster action ST rods with their excellent tip recovery and the SDS skagit system was truly unbelievable when waist-deep wading and super long casting was the order of the day.