Almost two weeks have gone by since returning from Bolivia and my bug bites are finally disappearing! I some how managed to be the only one of the group that attracted bugs. Below you'll find some photos and highlights throughout our weeks stay at the Pluma Lodge for Golden Dorado, Pacu and Surubí. Thanks to my adventurous group for making this awesome trip possible: Wayne, Spencer, Poncho, David, Kevin and Sam. Also the guys at our travel company Fly Water Travel for all of our arrangements and help throughout this past year.
Waking up at 6:00 am to watch the sunrise paid off for Sam. Sam hooked and landed his first dorado with the aid of Spencer to remove the hook. Fishing these protected waters is all done with barbless hooks.
Everyday each pair of anglers headed off in different directions to fish different beats of river. The first day Sam and I spent the day fishing the from the lodge up the middle section of the Pluma River. Often we found ourselves out of the boat helping push the wooden boat through shallow rocky water and runs.
You'll just about jump out of the boat when you see one of these scurrying around the boat. This one went into hidding on the boat and would not come out, but soon found the edge of a machete.
My first dorado on the fly. My guide Lucas spotted a pair of dorado near the edge of the river just up from us. I made a cast just overtop of the fish and immediately stripped my solid black streamer to match the speed of the current. One nice hard strip set and the dorado was on, jumping and rolling like a steelhead in the deep water.
Going to remote destinations one can never take too many rods! Only two broken rods during our weeklong stay. I heard this rod brake at the butt section from across the river, the fish was still landed!
Day two was spent down river past the confluence on the larger Sécure River with our guide Agu. The Sécure River always has a color to it so you typically are fishing structure or fishing the runs. The dorado will sit in the head of the run, the fastest current in the run, and below the run waiting to ambush migrating sábalo. I ended the day 3 for 6 with fish taped up to 89 cm (35 in).
Back to the Sécure River on Day 3. My fishing partner came down with a stomach bug partway down the river and had to return to the lodge. So I switched boats and joined Kevin for the day with guide Franco. I enjoyed watching Kevin miss a few larger dorado that broke off. On our way back to the lodge we stopped the boat so Kevin could give this run a try again and this time he hooked up. Not sure who was more excited... Kevin or Franco!
When a larger dorado tries to eat your smaller dorado that you have on your line. Later in the week one of the guys in our group lost his dorado, fly and leader due to a larger dorado eating him.
One of the best days I had fishing. 6 for 11. Largest to hand was 90 cm and missed two monsters ( what guides call the big ones ) closer to the 100 cm mark which would be 25+ lbs. The largest fishing landed last season was 108 cm (42.5 in ). The guides know a fish is large soon as it breaches the water and the gill covers open showing the width of the head.
Itirizama River is one of the most scenic tributaries of the Pluma River. Very few people outside the Indian community have even seen this freestone river. The river is full of boulders, shallow runs, deep pools and riffle water typically gin-clear. Due to heavy rains the night before my turn to hike/fish the river made it very difficult to sight fish for the dorado in the muddy water. This tributary is home to very large resident dorado and a few from our group were lucky enough to land them before the rain came in from over the Andes.
Then the rain came! Fishing came to an end. All the tributaries were rising and off color so we just hung out all day at the lodge and watches movies.
A previus version of the lodge build further up the Pluma River that was washed out during the rainy season then within the last three years consumed by the jungle. The river is know to rise 30 feet during the rainy season.
Thanks to our Indigenous Bolivia Guides for working their asses off all week!