As anglers, we all treasure special moments with special people that have left a mark in our lives… When fishing I was lucky enough to share the most remarkable times not only with outstanding anglers but also with admirable individuals. My uncle Miguel La Calle was one of them. He was one of the humblest, most generous and nature lover person I know.
I remember that, in the 80s, coming back from the hills, I stopped by my grandma’s house. Her sister Haidee had travelled to visit her and they were drinking mate. They asked me where I had been and I answered fly fishing trout in the hills. Grandma knew about my interest in fishing and she told her sister about this little bugs I made myself for fishing. Haidee smiled and said, “Let me see those bugs…”. I immediately opened my box of dry flies and showed everything to her. After seeing this she asked, “Did you know that your uncle Miguel also does what you do?”. Amazed at what she said, I took some flies from my box and sent them to Miguel. From that moment on, we became best fishing partners!
My uncle Miguel was the first person to show me Patagonia. He gave me some old latex waders he had and we camped by Collon Cura and Malleo River. It was like being in paradise! I remember my uncle looking at me staring into space and asking, “Do you like it?” I immediately knew I wanted to do this for a living.
Miguel was passionate about fly tying. One day, when we were fishing the Alumine River, Miguel showed me these dragonfly nymph flies that he had invented, tied with rhea feathers. “They are fantastic”, he said. We tried them and indeed we caught a pair of beautiful rainbow trout. That day, Miguel gave me some of these flies so that I could try them again during the season and he also left 4 rhea feathers that I preciously kept in my fly box.
2 years later, I was in BA teaching a fly fishing clinic when I opened my box to find the right elements for a deceiver and I found the 4 feathers that Miguel had given me. I decided to use them and when we tried that fly in the pool I could not believe its behavior. That rhea feather fly was moving like a living thing!
A season later, when spending a whole day looking for migratory brown trout in the Limay River, we could not catch any fish… Migratory brown trout are the kind of fish that know how to read and write haha… These fish are smart! However, the boat next to us was not as unlucky as we were and they were fishing with a white wooly dry fly, which really surprised me. That night, I decided to tie white flies with rhea feather wings and went to bed. On the following day, in 30 minutes I was out of these white deceivers! I could not believe my eyes when I saw these big migratory brown trout falling for the pallid flies. I was so excited that I decided to use the last rhea feathers that Miguel had given me to imitate the silverside: migratory brown trout prey. Diego’s Suri fly was born: white tummy and wings, gray loin, silver side line, epoxy head with adhesive eyes.
Today, Diego’s suri fly is the Queen of the flies! Responsible for big trophies and unforgettable memories and I thank my uncle Miguel for this 4 feathers legacy. My uncle Miguel is no longer with us but I hope my story serves as a tribute to those generous and humble people like my uncle that share their knowledge and passion selflessly.
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