EL ENCUENTRO GUIDES AND STAFF
Benjamín is the oldest of the three Beale brothers, born in the town of Esquel, Argentina and raised on the banks of the Rio Grande/Futaleufu. He started fly fishing at the ripe age of eight, and has been fishing passionately ever since. He is one of the most experienced guides, growing up exploring the area’s waters, and developing a keen ability to teach the art of fly fishing while sharing his knowledge of local history, flora and fauna. Benjamín and his wife, Carolina, have two young daughters.
Today, Benjamín is in charge of running the family business, El Encuentro Fly Fishing – welcoming repeat clients back to El Encuentro and looking for new clients, scouting new waters to add to El Encuentro's private water fishing program and nurturing time honored relationships with area landowners to offer his clients waters where few others, if any, can fish. Benjamín still loves to guide, and gets out as much as possible, always chasing the biggest fish for his clients!
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Ceci found herself always drawn to an outdoor life in the mountains. As soon as she could, she made a new home in Patagonia’s Lake District where she started working in the tourism industry. When she got a job managing a small fishing lodge, she knew she had found her life’s work. It didn’t hurt that she met her future husband there as well — Marce Widmann (EEFF’s head guide).
Ceci started working for El Encuentro shortly after moving to Trevelin. At EEFF, she works closely with Benjamin and is the first contact point for El Encuentro’s clients, managing all logistics so his/her trip can be the journey of a lifetime. She loves the way her work lets her connect with our clients, making new friends and getting a sense of their world/culture. Ceci and Marce have two young children, Benjamin and Guillermina, and a lively bunch of dogs.
Pablo Abaca (or “Pinky” as we fondly call him at El Encuentro ) was born in Cordoba, Argentina. Growing up in a family where he and his father enjoyed cooking, he started studying gastronomy and working for a chef when he was 18 years old.
Not knowing he would work as a chef for the rest of his life, Pinky now loves cooking professionally, and has truly found his passion working with El Encuentro’s big family and getting to reconnect with our returning guests over the years. He has been working at EEFF for eight seasons now, and each one brings new challenges and new recipes to showcase Argentine cuisine. In his free time, he loves playing the bass guitar, listening to music, enjoying his family and, of course, learning new recipes.
The winter months typically find him cooking with a friend in a Cordoba hotel and traveling when he gets the chance.
Marcelo was born in Cipolletti, in Rio Negro province. He started fly fishing at the age 12. After finishing secondary school he moved to Bariloche area, where he studied Aquaculture Technician. Because of his fly fishing passion he became a fly fishing guide 15 years ago and has been guiding ever since.
Looking for a peaceful place to live and work, he and his family decided to move to Trevelin town in 2015. Once established in the area, they met the Beales because of a common friendship, and soon after, Marcelo started working with El Encuentro as a full time guide. Marcelo's wife, Cecilia, is in charge of the El Encuentro Fly Fishing office, handling the bookings and keeping things organized.
Marcelo spends most of his free time scouting fishing locations, and otherwise exploring the outdoors with his wife and two young kids. He also ties his own flies and is a spey casting instructor.
Julián Gómez Villafañe
Julián was born and raised in Esquel, Patagonia, learned to fly fish with his dad at age 10, and has been refining his love of fishing ever since. Sharing many fishing adventures growing up with the Beale brothers, Julian eventually married their sister, Cecilia Beale and has been guiding with El Encuentro for many years. He and Cecilia have two young daughters and one son, who are already learning the joys of fishing!
In addition to fishing, Julian is an award-winning competitive mountain biker, skier and climber, having summited twice the mighty Aconcagua, highest peak in the western hemisphere. His breadth of experiences and love of the outdoors feed the enthusiasm he brings to guiding and the skill he shares with his clients.
Greg’s interests and education are as broad and colorful as the Patagonian landscape. He may have started fly fishing at age 13, but first became a lawyer in Buenos Aires before he remembered how much he loved to fish. He decided to change his lifestyle and move to Patagonia, settling in Esquel several years ago. He has been guiding with El Encuentro ever since.
In addition to guiding, Greg teaches entomology and fish ecology at the guiding school in Esquel. He is also a certified casting instructor and ties most of his own flies. Greg’s interests in biology fuel his concern about conservation and protection of ecological balances in Patagonia.
Alun has been guiding with El Encuentro since 1997 and is practically one of the family. Born and raised in Esquel, Alun started fly fishing with his Welsh grandfather who founded one of the first fishing clubs at Los Alerces National Park. Alun enjoys sharing his knowledge of flora, fauna, and the history of Patagonia. A day on the river with Alun will be filled of great fishing, many amazing stories and lots of laughs.
Alun has the patience of a great teacher. When not guiding, he teaches music in his guitar school in Esquel, were he and his wife have two sons. Alun is a great guitar player and passionate musician who loves to share Argentine music with his fishing clients.
Santiago was born in La Plata, a city close to Buenos Aires but really far away from any trout stream in Patagonia.
Happily, every summer he traveled with his family to Patagonia where, as even as a young fellow, he found his passion and love for trout and fly fishing.
In 2012, Santiago got his first job at a fishing lodge and started to walk the trail to become a fishing guide who loves and enjoys every day on the water with his clients. He is now proud to be a full time guide with El Encuentro Fly Fishing. Santiago lives in Trevelin, where together with his wife, Chelsea, and their little daughter. When not guiding, Santiago finds time to go camping and fishing with his wife or friends, tying flies or doing some handicrafts at home.
Born in Santiago de Chile in 1985, Roberto Forno moved to Patagonia at the age of 4. His love of fly fishing
has been passed down through his family, with his father giving him his first fishing lesson at age 12.
He was “hooked” from then on, and Roberto has created his life style around fly fishing when he can; teaching skiing and snowboarding when the fishing season closes.
Roberto has Engineering and Tourism degrees; he also worked as a ski and snowboard instructor in California for two winter seasons.
Having worked a freelance guide for several years in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia, Rob has found a good “home” with El Encuentro Fly Fishing since 2018. Rob and Verónica, his wife, and their daughter live near Los Alerces National Park.
Marcos was born in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. At the age of 5, he moved with his family to Buenos Aires where he completed his primary and secondary education. While working as an Agronomy technician in Buenos Aires, Marcos always dreamed of returning to Patagonia. He finally returned to Bariloche to study Aquaculture, and, in his free time, discovered fly fishing. In 2007, Marcos became a professional fly fishing guide in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the big beautiful national park near Bariloche. He has since dedicated his life to guiding and fly fishing.
Marcos has guided in many different places, for all kinds of fish, from Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego for Trout as well as various locations in Brazil for Peacock Bass and Arapaima. Besides fly fishing, Marcos also enjoys sports and photography. In his free time, his favorite hobby is building woodworking, especially building wooden boats.
Héctor was born and raised in Buenos Aires. As a child and young adult, he got to visit Patagonia frequently and learned to love deeply the Patagonia landscape and lifestyle.
He has a strong background in forestry, holding a PhD from Oregon State University. Making his home in Esquel since 1990, Hector has been teaching at the local Forestry School and conducting research at the Patagonian Forest Research Center... During the last decade, he has turned into an enthusiastic naturalist, focusing on Patagonian birds and wildlife, and expressing his passion through beautiful photography.
He is founding member of the Argentinian Association of Nature Photographers, and has won several prizes and exhibited his work at many places. His collection of pictures of the local flora and fauna grows every day.
Hector is a registered bird watching and nature photography field guide in Los Alerces National Park. He is also an active member of the local birding club, where he collaborates teaching several courses a year. Hector is very interested in local history and culture, with an emphasis on the rich Welsh heritage of the area as well as the history of the region’s legendary native people.
Alvaro Del Agua
Alvaro was born and raised in El Bolson, Rio Negro Province in Patagonia. He started fly fishing at the early age of 10 and has been fishing ever since. When he turned 17, he and his family moved to Esquel.
After finishing secondary school, he became a Ski Instructor, working La Hoya Ski Resort during the winter season.
He joined El Encuentro Fly Fishing team as a Guide Helper four seasons ago, working closely with and learning from our guides. Eager to keep learning more, he works very hard to improve his fishing skills.
Alvaro looks forward to becoming a professional fly fishing guide in the future!
Ezequiel was born and raised in Esquel, Chubut Province. He started fly fishing at the age of 15 when his uncle taught Ezequiel the fine skills of fly fishing and nurtured his growing passion for being on the river and casting a fly. While in elementary school, Ezequiel spent 2 years in Montana near Flathead Lake, where his mother worked as an entomologist at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.
Eze joined the El Encuentro Fly Fishing team as a Guide Helper a couple of seasons ago. He works hard to become a professional fishing guide. Having also studied cuisine, he loves to explore new places, by foot and skis. He also enjoys tennis and swimming. Eze lives in Trevelin.
Kevin was born in Esquel, Chubut Province, but at an early age, he and his family moved to Carmen de Patagones, along the Argentine Atlantic coast. There he acquired his love for the outdoors. Always longing to return to the mountains, he jumped at the opportunity to work with his distant relative, Benjamin Beale and El Encuentro Fly Fishing.
Kevin has worked as a guide helper for several seasons, refining his fly fishing and boating skills each year. This past season, he helped out guiding for several days.
In late March, Kevin returns to University where he is studying Agronomic Engineering. He often says "one lovely thing about working with EEFF is the opportunity to enjoy wonderful experiences while always learning".