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Henry, kicking things off right with a 24 pounder!
Another fat hen, this one ate a tiny orange scud...

They call it Jurassic Lake, but it is the Barrancoso river that really makes this place so special.  Within 20 minutes of arrival, Hank had caught the biggest fish of his life 3 times in a row, the largest being a 24 pound hen.  The guides said it was the biggest fish caught in the river in nine years.  The final 100 yards of the river is one of the most amazing places on the planet, and was well worth waking up at 5:30AM everyday, (even though our hands were totally swollen, sliced by line cuts, teeth nicks, and throbbing in pain).  One morning, rather than fishing nymphs as we normally did we decided to try a couple of Mike Lawson’s salmonfly dries.  We caught 44 fish on them before breakfast that day, the largest pushing 17 pounds.  Each of them attacked the dry with authority and cartwheeled, tailed walked, and jumped as if they were chrome steelhead.  It was ridiculous.  After breakfast we went up the river and caught over 100 fish, all on dries, (many were under 10″) but all as beautiful as the next.  Last year our biggest fish were weighing in around 22 pounds.  This year our group caught 8 fish over 20, including a 23 pounder, two 24’s, and a 27.  Clearly the fish are getting bigger and bigger.  Julien Escalada (one of the head guides) has the current lake record, a 30 pound slab hen he caught this past December…  I wonder just how big these fish are going to get!?  We may have to go back soon to find out!

William Clark and James with a chromer from the "bay of pigs" Photo: Hank Bechard