I have just returned from my second trip fishing for freshwater dorado in northern Argentina. Several years had passed since my previous trip, which at the time I thought would have been a one off. Well finally the lure of outstanding Argentinian steaks washed down by copious quantities of robust Malbec wine, a near perfect climate with mostly hot and sunny days followed by cool evenings and, of course, the most amazing fishing had proved too much.
Our group of eight had flown direct with British Airways to Buenos Airways from London Heathrow, where we had spent two full days enjoying and relaxing in this wonderful city, before taking an overnight coach to San Isoro. It’s a ten hour trip, but the coaches are superb featuring airline business class style seating, food and drink served on board and, of course, toilet facilities. Arriving around six at a dusty roadside halt, we were met and transported the short distance to our base for the week Dorado Cuá Lodge; just in time for breakfast, followed by a full mornings fishing.
Located in Corrientes Province, gaucho country, right in the heart of the Iberian Wetlands, the area around the lodge consists of a vast complex of shallow lagoons, all of which are interconnected by a couple of small rivers along with countless miles of narrow, reed fringed channels. During my previous visit the water throughout the entire system had been crystal clear, but stepping aboard my boat that first morning I quickly noted it was heavily coloured, which I was told was the result of heavy rain the previous weeks. Thankfully this had not seriously affected the fishing.
This trip I had decided I would concentrate exclusively on fly fishing, and when I hooked and landed a modest dorado on my very first cast of the trip, any doubts that I might have had about not packing a spinning outfit were soon forgotten. Once again the fishing we experienced was excellent. On the second day I hooked a monster dorado, a fish of at least 12-14lb,possibly bigger, but the boats landing was more appropriate for securing a 2lb grayling on the Derbyshire Dove rather than a toothy South American predator weighing well into double figures. Three times Alfredo, my guide, had the leader secure in his hand, the big fish thrashing alongside the boat, until the inevitable happened and the fish spat the hook depriving me of the photo of a fish of a lifetime. The solid estimated 9lb+ fish I caught just an hour or two later was some consolation for that lost opportunity.
During the week everyone caught dorado, with most of the group catching very good fish in the region of 8-10lb, along with several other much bigger fish lost for various reasons that included straightened hooks and snapped lines. Aside from dorado, this trip we caught a lot of different species including both golden and black piranha, red tailed barracuda, a fish called a ‘boga’ that looks like a cross between a carp and and mullet, catfish, and several others I have yet to identify, but all of which had teeth.
The ideal outfit is a 9-10wt fly rod, which is necessary to cast the big flies you need, most of which feature heavy lead eyes. Not surprisingly in the coloured water dark flies worked best, especially those with lots of black and purple. For obvious reasons, a short wire leader is essential. Take plenty of flies, you’ll need them, most last no more than two or three strikes before they are stripped back to just the bare hook!
My trip was arranged by Anglers World Holidays, whom you can contact on Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: http://anglersworld.tv I am planning a return trip most likely in about two years time, by which time I should just about have finished digesting the huge amount of steak I consumed last week! Get in touch with me or Anglers World Holidays if you think you might be interested in joining us…