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My First Fly Fishing Dorado Part I

Our Mixed Bag season was over but that doesn’t mean fun is over, too. You still have a few things to do after our ducks migrate to the south. Yes, as you know, our doves are all year round in Argentina and if the ducks have migrated that means winter is over and the fly fishing season is getting started!!

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Is mid September now and it was time for Nick Lowe to visit us. Nick is a friend of the house and this was his fourth time in Argentina with us: two times in Cordoba and the other two here in San Javier. It was because of our good relationship that I told Nick I was planning to go Fly Fishing with Fabian on that Saturday in the afternoon. And this is where this story is heading: A Fly Fishing afternoon in San Javier, searching for my first Golden Dorado!

Nick and I had lunch at the Lodge that Saturday and by 15hs we took separated roads. (I would go Fly Fishing while Nick would be with Federico and Francisco showing the doves who the boss was).

After a great lunch we both went to our rooms for a short nap. It was 13:45hs so that gave us at least a one-hour nap to rest. I couldn’t sleep for more than 5 minutes. I was very excited about what was coming up for the next few hours. I took my fishing stuff, did some arrangements with Federico and finally drove to the gas station (but not before I grabbed one of our coolers and put some beers and ice on it). Once in the gas station I bought a few snacks and two big coffees, one for me and the other for Fabian. 

I could see Fabian from my truck while I was getting there. He was outside already with his gear tying up his first fly to his rod. I got out from the truck, give Fabian his coffee and started setting up all my gear. We made a few jokes and 5 minutes later we finally walked down to the coast. Fabian’s house is like about 30 feet’s up since this river can get flooded very often. 

Once in the boat I started feeling the wind in my face. I just closed my eyes and tried to relax and let the amazing feeling of a great mixed bag season invade me and thought: Ok, It’s my turn now! I don’t care how this goes from now on. I’m going to enjoy this no matter what. 

I opened my eyes and…wow, I just needed this: water everywhere and the horizon visible going all the way around the globe with the wind in my face! It was a great start. 30 minutes later we finally got to our spot. 

-I’m gonna try to approach us to that pond over there, said Fabian. It’s been like ten years since I last saw the river this low. We might not get all the way down there with the boat. (The pond was part of the river, but because it was so low that it was cut out in some areas).  

Fabian took a long paddle stick from the boat and started pushing us to the coast. Of course with the engine all the way up out of the water.

-Man, this place looks wonderful. We even have a small beach with sand for us. Tell me you brought the girls and we are all set! 

-Haha, you wish I had Jota!

The place was kind of weird because where it should be only water, now we had a river crossing in the middle of a very small island, generated by the little water. It was a very small island where the river was coming from the north and before it reached the opposite coast, it was cut by a small pond.

We took our stuff from the boat and put them all together in the coast close to the boat.

-Are you sure you want to leave these here? I joked to Fabian. I guess our closer human being was at least at 12 miles from us. 

I finally set up my rod and gave Fabian my fly fishing box and asked him to pick up the winner one for me. He chose a Dorado long fly and after he tied up in my road we started walking to the pond.

-You see this pond here? Said Fabian. If we are lucky enough, we should catch Wolf fishes in this area and later, if you want to get a Dorado, we should try over that river to your right (this river that Fabian was pointing to me was connected to the pond but because it was not very deep the Dorados were not able to cross from one side to the other, there was no way they could get into that pond.).

To my surprise, this pond was full of fish!! But I mean, stupidly full of Wolf Fishes. 

Let see what Wikipedia has for us about our friends, the Wolf Fish (what we call Tararira here):

It is a species of wide distribution, appears in most of the basins of Central America and South South America. Their quality of natural predator and the violence with which attacks all types of baits is really spectacular. It can be fished both with natural baits and with artificial baits in spinning and flyfishing modes. The usual ports in lagoons range from 800 g to 5 kg. In the Paraná Delta, really large specimens are collected, especially during the night, where tarariras of 4 or even more kg of weight can be found, which display a truly amazing power.

Currently the tendency is to protect these formidable Warriors from the lagoons by sport fishing with artificial baits and hooks without burr, promoting their ecological role and the return.

It is of lake habits, preferring shallow water, warm, muddy and with abundant vegetation. Their diet includes fish, amphibians, insects, rodents, birds and any animal that falls into the water or swimming, produces enough vibrations to excite their predatory instinct. Given the low proportion of oxygen present in its habitat, due mainly to the stagnation of water and its temperature, this fish is adapted to breathe air when conditions impose it, which makes removing its dorsal fin out of the water, which rapidly takes reddish color, unmistakable gaseous exchange signal by diffusion.

In winter season, the tararira experiences a lethargy, passing the colds buried in the muddy bed or between the vegetation. This characteristic does not go unnoticed for those who are fond of fishing, as this predator is thin and voracious in mid-spring (when it comes out of its drowsiness), averaging the summer its weight increases but decreases its appetite, then in early autumn shows very heavy and extremely voracious, due to his instinctive need to prepare body reserves to hibernate again.

It didn’t take us long to start getting out our first trophies from the water. I think I got at least 15 wolf fishes with the same fly until it was all broken apart. It didnt have this long hair at the back anymore. It was just the eyes and a few hairs covering the hook. Why not I thought. It’s kind of a small fly now, but it should work. And it did. I used it for about 6 or 7 more fishes. Fabian was at my left. His cast was very nice, very smooth. The rod seems to be like an extension of his body. The presentation of the fly in the water was very smooth, too. I stopped fishing for a few minutes. I couldn’t stop watching him. I was hypnotized about the connection he had with his rod as well the fishes he was taking out from the water. Everything was in a perfect harmony! 

I started slightly moving to the right from the pond getting closer to the area the dorados were eating.

I finally changed the fly. It was time for the rat to do the work now. This pond was just a dream. And even though it was not very big. It had plenty of fish. It was the perfect place to practice the fly fishing cast. I had nothing more than sand in my back and the pond in my front. 

It was my time to experience that harmony too. Of course my casting wasn’t that smooth yet, I was still feeling it a little accelerated in the back through (the excitement was not helping me). Distance and presentation were good though. It is time to relax myself now, I thought. 

We fished for about another twenty minutes when Fabian, while he was releasing another fish, watched me and said:

Try not to hook with the rod Jota. It’s so much better if you only use your left hand. Like you are doing right know but without the rod. It’s not that powerful and you might break it.

That was one of the greatest tips they ever told me about how to hook a fish. And I was lucky that the first time I tried it worked perfectly well. So to my surprise I never used the rod again for hooking, just my left hand. 

We fished for about 90 minutes when we decided it was time for some snacks and a cold beer. We left our rods close to the pond and walked like about 120 yards where all of our stuff were. We sat down on the sand, opened the snacks and did a toast with our cold Santa Fe beers. I like this beer, it’s a kind of light beer but they taste good and we can not get them in Buenos Aires. They only sell them in Santa Fe province. 

Part II: http://pointerflyfishing.com/testimonials/83-My-First-Fly-Fishing-Dorado-Part-II

Jota

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