We are now back in Buenos Aires after perhaps the most incredible four days' freshwater fishing that I have ever experienced. Golden dorado are just such special fish, and their levels of aggression are simply staggering. Above is one of the guides, Diego Centurion, with a typical La Zona golden dorado, around 30lbs !! We had some far bigger fish as well, photos to come in due course. I took this fish on my absolute favourite surface popper, a Halco lure from Australia - I need to get some more though, for some really big fish managed to smash me to pieces and break the lures off.
I also saw golden dorado to 18lbs taken on the fly, but in truth the conditions were hard for fly fishing this week - great for lures, but hard for flies. The guys were using and abusing the Hardy Zane fly rods and reels to great effect, and the feedback from the guides who cast the rods a bit was seriously positive. La Zone is the top place in the world to nail huge golden dorado on the fly, so get yourself there as soon as you can - book a trip with the excellent Aardvark McLeod fly fishing travel company by clicking here.
Most of the dorado jump the moment they are hooked, and I mean really jump - the "smaller" fish especially are very acrobatic throughout the fight, while the monsters tend to jump less and instead head for structure. Hooks really need to be driven home hard, and even then you are going to lose a fair few fish as they throw them back with a degree of disdain. You can see my beloved red and white Halco popper in the jaws of this jumping fish above. Bear in mind that La Zona has thrown up golden dorado to 55lb on fly tackle, and 65lb on lure tackle - that is seriously mighty fresh water fishing.
I brought along a Greys Missionary 6 spinning rod, the 6 piece 40-100g model, and I have to say that it performed incredibly well through some serious abuse that the fish and I dished out on it. Being able to pack a spinning rod in my main bag and not having to carry an annoying rod tube around the world is bliss, and I can see this family of rods heading out with me on many trips to come. I landed dorado to 43lbs on this rod without any trouble, using 50lb Sufix Performance Braid and various surface and sub-surface lures as conditions dictated.
Check out the March 2008 edition of the Hardy & Greys online magazine, Fin and Fly - there are some nice photos of mine from the trip I did last year to Canada to fish for salmon. Click here to see the article.
There will be plenty more to come from this trip, but to sign off tonight, below is a photo of some early evening fishing for these quite magical fish. Deeply impressive fish, seriously great place and a first class set-up, indeed this has to be one of the world's great freshwater fishing destinations. Get yourself there before everybody else does - trips can be booked here.