Rod & Rucksack - 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'.
Dorado'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.
Big 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!
Tune in next week to see more adventures as Guy explores the outer fringes of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Articles by the same author
- Rod & Rucksack - Bolivia
- Rod & Rucksack - Panama
- Rod & Rucksack - Mongolia
- Rod & Rucksack - Canada
- Budget Costa Rica - a costcutters guide to adventure fishing