Home | Features | Feature Articles | Fishing outside the UK | Rod & Rucksack - Bolivia

Rod & Rucksack - Bolivia

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Guy Elson and one of his golden dorado caught in the Amazonian jungles of Bolivia. Guy Elson and one of his golden dorado caught in the Amazonian jungles of Bolivia.

Bolivia's Big Gold Fish. Although the 4th episode in the series, this was the first location we filmed, and possibly the most challenging. The river we planned to fish was three days horse trek into a very remote cloud forest on the Bolivian, Argentinian and Brazilian borders.

It was beautiful and dangerous, plenty of jaguars, unstable cliff paths and a possibility of drug trafficers added to the sence of this adventure.

My aim was to catch the Amazonian golden dorado, a very ferocious predator that likes to maul any other pescatorial residents it encounters, especially a local breamlike fish known locally as a 'Salabo'.

teethDorado's teeth interlock to create a sissor bite rather than a sharp punture of a pike, which means wire trace and a finger count after handling these fish is essential.

The river we fished was crystal clear and I was able to sight cast to many of the fish. The horse trek on the way in was straight out of Indiana Jones. We saw one Indian who appeared and dissapeared quickly into the jungle. Fresh Jaguar prints were everywhere and some wildlife highlights included a huge harpy eagle (monkey hunter!), giant river otters, tarantulas and an ancient species of catfish with hard external plate armour.

The approach was simple. A good 8/9# nine ft rod with sinking line and a 9 ft furled leader with a knotable kevlar/wire bite leader. The flies were big streamers tied on sturdy salt water hooks. The colours were predominantly blacks, reds and yellows. 

The dorado were generally found near natural ambush points. The lee of boulders and near structure was usually productive, but deep turbulent fast moving water was also good. 

spinnerbaitBig spinnerbaits were deadly for the dorado. It was real 'heart in mouth' stuff to watch a dorado being drawn from cover and coaxed into a strike. Soft plastics would be amazing but the dorado's palate is very hard and only downward facing hooks will set home. 

The strikes were very positive and often followed by impressive aerial acrobatics. These are tough fish in a tough environment. The fights rarely lasted more then five minutes but were intense and worthy of such a fearsome predator.

I averaged about three to four fish a day but these fish seemed to be heavily effected by the lunar phase. They will happily hunt on well moonlight nights and this can be detrimental to fishing during the day. I caught dorado up to 15/20 lb but there are plenty in excess of 30 lb. Depending on the time of year there are plenty of other species available. Pacu inhabit these waters and several species of catfish including suburi and the mighty robal which can grow easily in excess of 100 lb!

Golden dorado

Tune in next week to see more adventures as Guy explores the outer fringes of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.


Tune in to the rest of the series on Quest!

Freeview - Channel 38

Sky - Channel 154 (+1 on 167)

Virgin - Channel 172 (+ 1 on 173)

Showing in the UK prime time at 09:00 on Thursday evenings from the 11th of April to 9th May 2013.

Episode 1: Canada – 11th April

Episode 2 Mongolia – 18th April

Episode 3 Panama – 25th April

Episode 4 Bolivia – 2nd May

Episode 5 Australia – 9th May

Rod and Rucksack Trailer from gassProductions on Vimeo.

Articles by the same author

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

Bolivia, golden dorado

Rate this article