Besides bonefish, there are a bunch of other cool critters that call South Andros home.
Don’t worry – none of our guests has ever gotten bitten by a crab, or a frog, or a spider, …or a butterfly.
Alaska | The Bahamas | Chile
Southern Chile showcases Mother Nature at her finest, and sometimes her most bizarre. In the course of a fishing trip at Chile West, we find a multitude of insect life on the river.
Aquatic insects such as stoneflies, caddisflies, damselflies, dragonflies, craneflies, mayflies and midges make up the majority here. Then you add the terrestrials. We’ve got beetles, bees, flies, butterflies, moths, spiders and grasshoppers, just to name a few.
Some of the insects we come across are unlike anything you have ever seen in your life! There are bugs with horns, pinchers, vivid psychedelic colors, super long antennae and grappling hook-like legs. We’ve got everything from something that looks like a crab/spider hybrid with grasshopper legs, to giant orange bumble bees. Is there some mad scientist out there, cross-breeding anything and everything?
You might get the impression that an angler needs to wear full body armor to keep from getting bitten. On the contrary, there are few biting insects and the peskiest of all, the mosquito, we rarely see.
No bug dope necessary!
Like it or not, when you leave the cities and travel to pristine remote fisheries, you’re likely to encounter some bugs. Whether it’s mosquitoes in Alaska, ‘no-see-ums’ in the Bahamas or horseflies in BC, little flying critters can be a pain in the behind.
We’ve tried every bug spray under the sun, and our favorite by far is Ultrathon spray.
Ultrathon contains a fairly moderate amount of DEET (19%), but it seems to be just as effective as the 100% rub-on versions that make your skin hot (which can’t be good). The spray format is critical, since it allows you to apply the stuff without getting it on the palms of your hands. If you’ve ever handled a fly line with DEET on your hands, you know that DEET and fly lines are a bad combination, and the DEET wins every time.
Next time you’re headed on a fishing trip, try some Ultrathon spray. You’ll like it.
That’s a big meal for a trout. Maybe it makes sense that they go nuts when they think they see one…
One of the best parts about fishing in Southern Chile is the incredible insect life. There’s huge variety in the bugs…and there are some huge bugs.
At Chile West, our favorite may be the Cantaria beetle, or ‘flying deer’. It’s at first glance a nasty looking bug with fierce pinchers, horns and claws. With a body size ranging from a small to jumbo olive plus legs twice in length, this is not the kind of critter you would want to find crawling up your sleeve!
Contrary to its appearance, this slow moving, cumbersome flying beetle is harmless. At close inspection, under all its pinchers, horns and claws, you find an intricate insect, beautifully colored in iridescent purple to maroon, resembling something like a cross between a Triceratops, a June bug and a crab with grappling hooks for feet.
Depending on climate conditions, the Cantaria makes its appearance as early as December and continuing into March. Its favorite habitat is the Coihue (coy-way) tree. In March the male species flies from tree to tree searching out the female. The female Cantaria is a smaller in size and she has short pinchers, resembling a pair of tin snips.
During the mating period you can find tree trunks crawling with hundreds of beetles, the males all fighting like bulls in a corral. The ratio of male to female may be 5 to 1. This is quite a sight to see. At first you don’t notice anything and then suddenly you notice the tree bark moving and the light hits them and lights up the whole show!
These large beetles are a great source of food for Browns and Rainbows. As these beetles aren’t the most graceful at flying, the often miss their mark and land in the river providing an easy meal as they are literally helpless once in the water.
The trout take the beetle with reckless abandon, often times literally body-slamming the beetle in an effort to smash its hard shell with pokety/stabbity legs and pinchers. These fish have learned that it’s normal to get poked in the mouth when eating Cantarias, so don’t worry if you ‘stuck’ that fish but he came unbuttoned– get that fly back out there and you’ll probably get a second chance!