I made the cast right behind the fallen tree on the bank of the Parana river. As the guide told me, I watched the line tip while I was counting the 5 thrilling seconds of sunken drift before the next cast. Sudenly the line moved sideway. I came tight, striked and the reel buzzed loud. While my backing was burning I could picture in my head the size of that big Pacu. But when it emerged, its apperance wasn’t so familiar. Instead of the expected round brownish shape, there was a long and black spotted fish with the fruit fly way deep in his bucket mouth. The guide yelded and for the first time he saw a Pintado eat a fruit fly.
The “G” spot of the Parana river reminds me the Everglades for its many different fishing possibilities. The days before we cought several Dorados and Pirapitas on surface and midwater, mostly blind casting against structures. Pirapitas avarage size is smaller than dorados (2-4 lbs), but it’s really fun to watch them busting on the surface for big grasshopper imitations right when it hit the water. From December until Februrary Pacu fishing heats on, mainly with flies that mimics fallen fruits from the bank trees. After the fly sinks, for a 5 second window you feel like trout nymphing without indicator. Moreover, trophy Dorados are found around secret submerged rocks, better fished swinging flies in the steelhead style with two handed rods and heavy sinking lines. But the hot dish of the “G” spot is the dorado sight fishing in the sand flats, while they try to ambush the sabalos (a mullet size baitfish) like kamikasis. This situation is not so frequent and depends of sun light and fish mood, unique for bastard lucky guys. During calm low light mornings, in the same flats, many times we also found the Dorados rolling like Tarpon. But instead of air, they were catching dawn-dizzy baitfish and beautfully tied flies.
To experience all that a 7 – 10 wt rod is suitable, mostly with floating lines (with exception of the rock sheltered Dorados, when 300 – 500 gr lines are welcomed). Wire shock tippet should always scort the flies. A must have fly is the Andino deciever (muddler style streamers). Anotherthing to keep in mind is to avoid the winter time and most important, don’t expect to hook a Pintado with a fly!
By far Bolivia is the best Dorado destination, nevertheless it should be remembered that Argentina carries prestine Dorado waters, that offers fantastic fishing possibilities when matched to the right time of the year.