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DORADO OBSESSION

Golden dorado rank very high on my list of favourite fish
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GOLDEN DORADO

Golden dorado rank very high on my list of favourite fish. They sure are up there along with trout fishing. Growing up in the center of Argentina but spending several months a year in northern Patagonia, I was born and raised a trout fisherman by my father. But also golden dorado fishing was always present in many trips to north east of Argentina.

So when Estancia Laguna Verde fishing guide Dario Arrieta suggested we should start a fishing operation for Golden Dorado my eyes shined with excitement just by the thought on how much fun that would be.

A good dorado fishing in the Paraná and Uruguay river systems (by far the two most important for targeting this amazing game fish in Argentina) depends on many factors and among the most important ones are water levels, migrations of bait fish, rains and fishing pressure.

So when Dario, my father and I discussed thoroughly the idea of a golden dorado fishing operation, we all knew that “the land based lodge set up” might have different issues that we thought were negative for a fishing operation.

And that´s how the idea of the Golden Dorado River Cruiser came to be. Why not having a big boat/mother ship that could be a comfortable “floating lodge”, able to provide anglers with first class lodging and service, while having the chance of moving along the different waters according to fishing conditions, migrations of bait fish, and at the same time having the chance of being in very remote areas  with no anglers around?

THE GOLDEN DORADO RIVER CRUISER

THE MOTHERSHIP

The boat is a very comfortable catamaran that is 22 meters long,  8 meters wide, with 3 decks/levels.

On the first or lower level there are 4 very comfortable double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, all provided with air conditioning and heating system, 24 hrs electricity, TV, and comfortable twin beds.

The second level has a beautiful living room, a dining room as well as a kitchen, outside there is a deck to relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the river.

The upper level has a very nice solarium, and a magnificent 360 degree view provided with comfortable recliners.

HOW TO GET THERE–THE PROGRAM

To reach the mothership anglers usually arrive in Buenos Aires where a representative of the Golden Dorado River Cruiser will pick them up  either at international or local airport, or at a hotel in Buenos Aires. From there a 2 and half hour drive will bring them to the private Marina where the program starts.

Upon arrival guests are welcomed by the staff and shown their rooms, right after that the reception will offer cocktails, drinks and appetizers. The captain gives an introductory talk describing the fishing conditions, the areas that guests are going to fish the next days, as well as checking different details regarding tackle, flies, etc. The mothership has a very wide supply of tackle to loan, as well as a small fly shop, with the most used things by anglers, plus personally tied dorado flies.

On the arrival day it is possible for anglers to take advantage of that first day by getting a good half day fishing, which is a good tune up session after a long trip. The usual schedule has breakfast every day at 8 am, with a good selection of coffee, tea, yoghurt, milk, cereals, toasts, fresh fruit and juice, as well as eggs cooked in whatever way the guest would like. After breakfast guests leave in pairs with their guide for the morning fishing session.

THE FISHING

Guests of  Golden Dorado River Cruiser Program fish in the huge Paraná river delta, also known as the Upper delta. This enormous area is the second biggest delta in south America after the Amazon, making it also one of the biggest in the world.

This unique river system has a very large and complex system of marshlands, lagoons, tributaries, creeks, islands, etc. which acts as a big filter making its waters much clearer than the ones of the main Paraná and Uruguay rivers.

This ecosystem enjoys probably the largest migrations of bait fish, tarpon and sardines, which are the main food source of golden dorado, as well as of other predatory fish like the Chafalote (Paraná river Payara fish), Palometa, Surubi (big catfish), Pira Pitá, Wulf Fish, Pacú and other excellent game fish, that make fishing very varied and entertaining.

FISHING TECHNIQUES AND TACKLE

The best fishing is usually from September to May, although the Golden Dorado River Cruiser Program runs all the year round and it is common to have a  very good fishing even during the winter months.

During these months anglers usually fish with floating lines and dry flies, poppers and mouse patterns for very aggressive strikes on the surface.

Dorado are extremely aggressive hunters. Chances are very good  if you put a good cast close to spots such as runs and riffle waters or at inlet and outlets of creeks and blowouts of lagoons; they will viciously attack your fly.

When looking for big fish, it is common to look for deeper waters, sometimes with sinking tip lines and black streamers, aiming for the biggest of fish.

Most common flies are a varied selection of deceivers, with dumbbell eyes of different weights. A dorado classic fly is the “Andino Deceiver”, created by the famous Argentinian fly tyer and designer Carlos Ingrassia, who created this pattern in the 80s and since then it influenced all the dorado fishing in Argentina.

Newer synthetic materials, such as Craft Fur, EP fibers and similar allow now to create very good profiles in fly patterns, which  cast very well and absorb minimum water.

It is also important to have a good selection of poppers, titanic flies, mouse patterns and pole dancers, if you want to have  some of the best freshwater fishing to be found anywhere. Watching a golden dorado come out of the water to  eat a fly, would  probably rank high on any anglers list.

I feel that this program, combining some of the best dorado fishing and other fantastic game fish, while enjoying the unique setting of a mothership lodging surrounded by nature at its best, makes for a very special trip for any kind of guest:   both for hardcore experienced anglers and  newcomers to the sport, as well as all  family members.

Luciano Alba

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