Meet repyourwater ambassador:
We asked Santi to sit down for a few minutes between guide trips to answer some questions about his love of fly fishing and the outdoors. Keep reading to learn more about him and his career as a professional fly fishing guide in Bolivia and Argentina.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where did you grow up, where do you live or anything else you would like to share.
I was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Northern Patagonia. While I fished conventionally for years, I first began fly fishing when I was 11 years old. When I was 20 I started guiding and have never looked back. I am still working with my first love, sight fishing for trout in the beginning of spring and late in the fall where I live. I also spend 3 months guiding and occasionally fishing in southern Patagonia , looking for the largest sea-run browns in the world between January and April. During the other 5 months, you can find me in the Bolivian jungle targeting massive Golden Dorado, pacu and yatorana.
How did you get introduced to the outdoors and how has it formed your life?
My whole life has always been focused around the outdoors. My parents loved to take my siblings and me camping, so since my childhood I have been surrounded by nature and wildlife. We used to go on vacation from our home in Buenos Aires, Argentina for one or two months to where I live now in Northern Patagonia. My first memories of fishing for trout were there in the Aluminé lake. For whatever reason I was the only one in my family who loved fishing and that passion became even stronger throughout the years until I decided that fishing would be my way of life.
What is it about fishing that you enjoy so much?
There are many reasons why I love fishing. I really enjoy both sharing time in the river with friends and also fishing by myself. Sometimes I want to be alone, when I can evaluate every aspect and behavior of one single fish and take that moment to a Zen level to finally get the prize, and others, just to enjoy and share moments with my loved ones, and catching fish becomes a secondary reason. As I mentioned before, outdoor activities have always been part of my life so the contact with nature is also a very important part of fishing: taking a look around, watching the mountains, forests and animals.
Is there a particular type of fishing that you prefer? It is euronymphing, right?
Without any doubt, dry fly fishing for any kind of species is my favorite style. I began fishing for trout with dries so it always carries a special feeling for me. I even have more recently been fishing for sea run browns and Golden dorado successfully with dries!! Euronymphing is not my favorite technique but I really know how effective it is, despite personally finding it boring, it’s a good tool especially while I’m guiding!
You guide in a very diverse set of fisheries. Do you have a favorite place to guide? What about a favorite place to fish?
Bolivia is definitely my place in the world. I never enjoy fishing more than when I am in the jungle, the whole experience there is amazing, something that everybody should try if they get the chance. If I had to choose only one place in the world to fly fish, I'd say the Secure river headwaters in Bolivia. The combo between two amazing fish, dorado and pacu, in crystal clear waters, sight fishing with little dry flies on my 6wt is an outstanding experience
You are not only an incredible angler, but also a very talented guide. What are some of the tips you give a trout angler for the first time? What is your number one tip for fishing for big golden dorado?
Trout are very fun to catch and the spectrum of techniques is almost endless, so the first advice is try to find the style, techniques and the waters you like to fish. It’s not the same to fish for big browns in a tailwater river with streamers, or skinny waters like on a spring creek with little size 18 dry flies looking for hungry rainbows with a soft 4 wt rod. Then, practice and take some lessons (professionals are there to help you), and get better and start having your own style and, the most important thing, fishing the waters you love. Golden dorado are not easy to understand at the beginning and there are tons of tips but the first one undoubtedly is DON’T LIFT UP THE ROD!! Trout set doesn’t work on these toothy critters with the head full of bones!
Who is a better angler or more fun to guide? Garrison or Corinne?
I really enjoy fishing with both. Corinne is a relaxed angler, she takes it easy and she always listens to what I tell her to do and her skills let me push her limits most of the time. Garrison is just a fishing machine. He is the one that pushes my limits, and makes me be a better guide every time we meet
With many threats facing the outdoors, be it global warming, loss of habitat, mineral extraction etc, What worries you the most?
In the last few years I have seen how most of the rivers around my home have been decreasing their water levels as the snow in the spring doesn’t last for too long. We are going through a critical point in global warming and it seems like it’s not going to change soon.
If you could fish with or guide any celebrity, alive or dead. Who would it be?
When I was young, my passion besides fishing was basketball, and one of my dreams was to meet Kobe Bryant. So why not to bring him back to life and go fishing together??
What is your favorite piece of RepYourWater gear?
Ever since I was a baby, I used to wear caps all the time until basically they became part of me. Still I wear them everywhere. So, how could I not fall in love with every new cap that RYW releases? I never have never enough.
check out some of Santi's favorite hats...
Want to get in touch with Santi for a trip or just see what he is up to? Check him out on Instagram @santidall