Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Jeff Rodenberg Goes to Costa Rica: Part Deux

Jeff in Cuba... that country will never be the same.
As much as I fear unleashing Jeff Rodenberg on the peaceful nation of Costa Rica, the dye is now cast. Boats are reserved, guides are secured and monies are transferred. In other words, it is too late. He and his daughter will arrive in Costa Rica soon. As such, I have notified the American Embassy in San Jose to be fully prepared for an international incident. So Costa Rica, if you let him in, you deal with consequences. As before, my comments are in red.

Hey team,

OK...departure is so close now I can taste it dudes! I can taste it!..... you may have noticed, I might be a tad overdue for a vacation...if not a prescription refill.... (You think!

... Most importantly tonight, I think we can all agree to add Peter to the family, because just like the rest of you (despite Scott’s likely-issued and wisely-experienced counsel), Peter also made the grievous mistake of contacting me now he is my friend too... (Be afraid Peter, very afraid)

After which, Scott threw him under the bus in his now I just can’t stomach the thought of leaving Peter out...As much as Peter might prefer same...

....but just to be clear, Peter, despite what the “Mueller Report” may have found in terms of indictable evidence, you might consider the possibility there was still collusion between the (former) president and your “friends” Clark and Hank in this matter...just sayin’...

But I digress (several times in fact), and have produced, tonight, the newest member of the family, “Petey the Parakeet”.... says “Petey”...right there on the popper....with magic marker...and his head duct-taped to his body...

“Pretty birrrddddd”... (somehow Jeff's reference to "Dumb and Dumber" seems very apropos.)

Did I mention I’m overdue for vacation? (yes, see above. God help Costa Rica, I think the only ones safe are the sailfish.)

Welcome to the family Peter!


P.S. Scott, my dear, dear friend....I’ll get back to your request for lid return tomorrow...through our respective attorneys... (Someone from the office sent Jeff some AD hats and stickers. When we found out we requested he send them back asap or agree in writing never to wear them in public... hey, bad press is bad press!)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Yet Another Great Trip to Brazil's Agua Boa River

Peter Widener and Cole Burnham just returned from Angling Destinations' second hosted trip this season to Brazil's Agua Boa River. They had a great trip and a great time! In addition to the great fishing they experienced, they also saw a black jaguar. For all of you Agua Boa alumni... YES!... a black jaguar! Many of us that have been to the Agua Boa before and have never seen a jaguar will be very jealous - including me!

Below is Peter's report:

Picture this, you are on your way to “The Amazon”! You're going to be in the middle of nowhere to chase peacock bass.  You’re not sure how to pronounce all the various types of species you'll encounter (even though you did take some Spanish in High school, you understand that Portuguese is not very close).  As your American Airline flight rockets over the Gulf of Mexico, the Agua Boa Lodge experience awaits you. 

Fly fishing and international travel and the opinions we all form from those experiences including the methods and tactics are all expressed differently by us all.  My personal take on the ABL experience was as highly rated as any fishing experience I’ve ever had. I like to rate my trips in a binary code fashion; either I would go back every year or “Ah, I'd go again, but not a have to” go back.  ABL is definitely the former, going every year would be terrific! I could not imagine it would ever feel like the same old trip (if I was lucky enough to go year after year).


Now on to the the dirty details of what we all read fish reports for….the gilled friends we catch and release, the animals we see, and the people we meet. The morning after arriving in Manaus, you depart in a private charter. a little after dawn. An hour and forty minutes later, you land at the lodge’s private runway. You are greeted with champagne while you stare at a giant circular swimming pool that begs you to jump in and hit the reset button on your bodie’s jet lagged joints!  While sipping your champagne, you walk into the dining room and enjoy a wonderful meal and prepare your lunch for the day.  While the crew and guides put your bags in the rooms, the hosts prep you for the fishing you’re about to dive into after breakfast.


Within the first few minutes you see birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and insects that are for the most part out of a Jurassic Park movie!  Grasshoppers the size of swallows, caiman the size of a VW bug (with the convertible top up) and macaw the size of a small eagle.  And you might even be lucky enough to spot a yellow spotted jaguar or even the very rare all black variation.  Our group was lucky enough to see both and capture some really great shots of these animals, but in particular the black jaguar held still long enough to snap some once-in-a-lifetime photos.


Dear God, I’m a page into this report and haven’t even touched on the incredible peacock bass and all the other amazing fish species the ABL experience has to offer.  We spent 6.5 days sight fishing for 10-18 lb. peacock bass. A bass in that size range has a mouth you could literally fit your fist into!  This is a fresh water sight fishing experience, similar to flats fishing on the Yucatan Peninsula for cruising bonefish.  Your guide WILL have the best eyes in the business. Just make sure his 11 o’clock is the same as yours and you’re all set!  The eats were like the proverbial toilet flushing on the the surface and the fights intense enough to make an 8wt. bend at the cork!  There truly isn’t one of the peacocks subspecies that I would say is unimpressive. They all have their own uniqueness and all are pound for pound as powerful as you can imagine or have heard about. They live up to their reputation in all aspects.


The other species pursued on the Agua Boa River consists of Payara (Vampire fish), Arawana, Bicuda, Wolf Fish, and many others!  However, the most sought after species would hands down be the legendary Araipaima also known as the Pirarucu.  This dinosaur of a fish is similar to a tarpon, but much more snotty like a permit in the sense that if they don’t want to eat your fly they just won’t. I felt they would give you the middle finger if they had one to give.  A few from our group caught them, and they earned them! Many hours were spent chasing arapaima and they succeeded. Congratulatuons to John Ritterbush, a Sheridan Wyomingite, and Dexter Levandoski of Patagonia's Fly Fishing Division for there arapaimas!.

Big fly = big fish sometimes applies and big fish = big smile usually applies, but Arapaima landed means a huge smile 100% of the time... (and maybe a few tears probably blamed on some SPF 45 leaking into your eyes from the last half hour's workout to trying to land this living dinosaur).

In summary, the Agua Boa experience encompasses incredible fishing, lots of laughs, airline beverages, jet lag, foreign architecture, and a whole plethora of cultural events one trip isn’t even close enough to cover.  I can’t say enough the quality of care from the lodge and its hosts to the quality of the guides and their professionalism.  Agua Boa Lodge is a one of a kind experience and should be on your GOTTA GO Bucket list.

I can’t wait to go back!
Peter Widener

Friday, March 22, 2019

Jeff Rodenberg Pokes his head Outta da' Hole

Mr. Jeff Rodenberg... the legend, the man!

Here at Angling Destinations we have some clients that are real characters. One of our most colorful is Jeff Rodenberg. Jeff has made numerous contributions to this blog and loves to give me a hard time. I usually deserve it. It pains me to say, but Jeff is an accomplished fly tier and an excellent angler. He is also one hell of a lot of fun to fish with! Jeff and I have fished together in many exotic locales over the years... Mongolia, Bahamas, Cubaand Kamchatka (AND THAT"S ANOTHER STORY... RIGHT JEFF!) just to name a few.

Whenever Jeff books a trip, we can count on some colorful e-mails (these arrive when he finally decides to send us the details on his flights/logistics for his trip). Below is the latest example. Jeff is going to Costa Rica with his daughter and when he decided to send us his Global Rescue info, he included the following. (MY COMMENTS ARE IN RED)

Okay guys,

I think this is about the last of the stuff I need to send you before the trip. Our Global Rescue info is attached (IT WAS NOT!). Let me know if you are missing anything. 

Ohhh…wait…I also wanted to show you some of the flies I made for the trip….in case you have any suggestions….

And I’ve decided to name my flies….not like pattern names, but just names to denote who they are, with different personalities….

I call this first one “Clarkyth”….(FOR CLARK SMYTH of ANGLING DESTINATIONS ) see….I wrote his name right on the popper head….with magic marker…..

You’ll notice it is the longest fly….kind of like Clark’s first ever email to me…..

Most of the time, the old guy that used to own AD (THAT WOULD BE ME SCOTT HEYWOOD) would send me an email after he got my money, and it would say something like “See you in Ulanbataar on the 26th”. I guess you guys in the biz call that a “comprehensive trip information packet” (JEFF IS STILL PISSED FOR THE COMMENTS I MADE LAST APRIL WHILE WE WERE PERMIT FISHING IN CUBA)


So once I figured out where Ulanbataar was, I could fly there on the 24th, you know….just in case there was a typo on the date or something in the packet….but that didn’t happen very often…..typos I mean….. (YADA, YADA, YADA)

I call the second fly “Hanky” (FOR HANK WELLES of ANGLING DESTINATIONS) ….I put that name right on the popper head too…..with magic marker…..

Its got lots of green on it….like bright green boogers….so….like a hanky would….

Not saying Hank gets lots of boogers….I wouldn’t know about that….

But if somebody does get a lot of boogers, a hanky is the most reliable way to catch them coming out of their nose. And I think this fly might be the most reliable of the bunch in terms of catching something, even if it’s a dorado. Most reliable…like Hank seems to be…. (GOOD LORD!)

And here is one I call "Mr. Heywood” (I KNEW THIS WOULD BE COMING). 
You can see the popper head has something different written on it… magic marker…..

I feel so honored!

Yeah…it’s not a really conventional sailfish fly, but if it doesn’t work for that, maybe it could catch a roosterfish or something…..Besides….I plan to soak it in some Atlas Mike’s Lunker Lotion (Tuna-flavor) you can buy on the internet (really….look it up….its on there…..)

It’s like when Scott told me to soak my permit flies in crab juice…so that should make them work more better…. (NEVER HAPPENED AND IT STILL WOULDN"T HAVE HELPED HIM IN CUBA! )

Oops - I guess Scott told me not to tell anyone about his permit fly secret….don’t let anyone know I was the one who spilled the beans….okay…?
Hey…I know….you guys have a flyshop too….do you have Lunker Lotion there? Then I wouldn’t need to buy it from the internet….

Oh wait…..what was I thinking? Lunker Lotion from a flyshop in Wyoming???? ….That would be funny…..I must be losing it…….

Anyway, here is the whole new AD family ready to go to to Costa Rica.


P.S. I know what you’re all thinking….”whose fly is going to be the one that gets Jeff his first sailfish?” (FAT CHANCE COMES TO MIND, IF YOU DO MANAGE TO FOOL A GENETICALLY CHALLENGED SAILFISH, I WANT PHOTOGRAPHIC VERIFICATION)…
Please!…no arguing or wagering…I want you all to stay friends with each other….
and it really doesn’t matter to me….I like all of you the same….

P.S.S. Hey…I also talked to another guy who said he was part of the new company…named Peter…Do you know Peter? Do I need to make a fly for him too? I don’t want him to feel left out…. (YES PLEASE, NAME IS PETER WIDENER)