The perfect layover
Last month we hosted our 2nd trip to the southern hemisphere for a week of trout fishing in the scenic Patagonia region of Argentina. Last year's trip was pretty spectacular and this one was no exception!
Our group of eight set out from the states mid February and our first stop to catch fish was right in the heart of Buenos Aires. BA, as locals refer to it, is one of the largest cities in the world. This massive metropolitan center is not only home to millions of humans, but to numerous fish species in the nearby river delta. Our friends at Urban Dorado Anglers have dialed in this unique fishing environment and we were excited to be able to join them after a long stretch of travel before we headed south to Las Pampas Lodge for the rest of our trout fishing adventure.
The river delta straddling the border of Argentina and Uruguay is comprised of two rivers, the Uruguay and the Rio Parana, which combine to create a maze of channels home to golden dorado, vampire fish, and wolf fish. The main prize for our group was to hopefully hook, and land, a golden dorado.
While the fishing was particularly difficult for the one day we were on the water, a couple anglers were fortunate to catch vampire fish. A rather toothy critter that puts on a show of aggression with numerous jumps and makes for some fun photos.
Late in the afternoon my angling partner and friend Aaron was lucky to finally break the ice with a nice golden dorado after hours of casting and 8wt and a large Andino deceiver. A spectacular fight and many high fives ensued after the long day of fishing.
As we motored back to the marina, conditions on the river were more favorable with an outgoing current due to the tide change in the nearby South Atlantic Ocean. While we were technically fishing a delta, the river was strongly influenced by ocean tides and when the tide was outgoing, the river speed picked up and levels dropped. This change triggers the baitfish to move and the dorado to go on the hunt.
With just a few moments of good daylight left, Oggy Fox, one of the Urban Dorado proprietors and our guide for the day, insisted we hit a stretch of bank that we had fished in the morning hours. With the shift in river speed the odds of finding a dorado were in our favor.
Aaron was graciously passed me his fly rod and said he was tapping out for the day after already landing his dorado. I obliged and went to work casting fast and repetitively to the rocky bank. A handful of strips, then back in tight with the fly. After a countless number of cast we were nearing the end, and quite frankly my arm had enough so I was happy with how the day went. I knew dorado were particularly hard to hook so I didn't have any expectations going into it.
As we were wrapping up the final casts, the line was quickly ripped through my fingers after just a few strips. A large golden had crushed the deceiver near the bank and Oggy yelled repeatedly to set, SET! SET! SET! I did my best to control the dorado and after an intense battle and MANY attempts of driving the hook into the dorado's boney mouth, the fish, with a little luck, made it into the net. The fly popped out instantly as it had never even penetrated very deep into the armo-like mouth.
I had heard my brother Mike's stories from his past trip to Bolivia of how hard the golden dorado were to hook and land, he wasn't kidding! I was truly grateful for the buzzer beater and hopefully will have another opportunity in the future when the world gets back to more of a normal travel schedule after the pandemic that has since become.
Stay Tuned for Patagonia Adventures Part Two - Las Pampas Lodge