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Redemption - When Magic Happens - Bolivia Part III

Second day was superb. On this second day I went with Rell. It was a long time since we had been fishing together in Argentina. Or maybe it wasn’t such a long time but you know, time flies…It’s hard to keep track of it, it’s really unpredictable. I was full of energy and I was hoping to have a better day than the day before.

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It was a little bit windier during the day so it was less hot than the day before…but…not that much…and we went upstream again. Ian and Mark went downstream. And Scott went to Agua Negra. The fishing was much better. You know, when you start seeing action…when suddenly a fish touches your fly or tries to get it…that’s when you start thinking, OK, this is going to happen! Things were getting interesting. Our guide today was Cane. It was his first season and he had acquired a lot of experience in the last for months (remember I told you it was the last week of the season). We went further upstream. We started getting our flies and getting closer to the shore structure.

By midday, we had already fish in our boat. My first fish, my first nice dorado was a 22 pounder. Before getting to the logs structure, I had fly fished 30, 40 meters before that area and I was moving very slowly trying to cover all the water to the log structure. There were two logs, and in between them there was about a meter and a half wide of running water, like an open area. I was getting close to it thinking “There should be fish in this area” But some days, you know, the wind helps and I was able to do two casts in the same area. There was a difference of inches between one cast and the other one. I stripped the first one and nothing happened. I did a longer shot in the same direction, which ended up being probably half a meter further away, and the current made the fly go into the water and move as it should. Before I could realize that things were looking good, I felt this strong, powerful strike. And two seconds later there was a big dorado jumping at the end of the line. I was crazy, my adrenaline running and many thought crossing my mind in such short time. “I don’t want to screw it up!” was one of those thoughts. I don’t want to lose this Dorado. I did a good strike and I managed to have a tight line all the time, keeping my Dorado.

The issue was that the fight took like ten minutes. Finally, Cane was able to grab the fish and when I got it and I was able to get it out of the water for the picture…I can tell what the feeling is. Because it’s not about the fish. It’s about your skills in the water with the fish. Everything together. The size is not that important at the end of the trip… At the end of the story is good because it makes a difference in the trip. Of course is not the same to get a 6-8 pounder than to get a 20ish pounder. Smaller ones are easier to bring to the surface and have a picture taken. The big ones put up crazy fights and you’re trying to hold it so that it doesn’t run away. It’s important that people realize the percentage of fish that are lost. Either because the line was not too tight or because they manage to get free or they cut lines in the logs. There’s a 70% of fish that either run away, get unhooked or cut the line.

There I was shouting, screaming like crazy when I got the first fish. And I still had 5 days and a half ahead to enjoy. After I got the fish, the guide, and he did very good, he was focused in getting Rell and me to the best spots. I was always fishing behind him. Then I got another fish, 16 pound. And then by midday we stopped. Our guides helping were Royce and Zapallo. They learnt very quickly how to use a gopro camera and they were all the time filming and taking good photos of me. That same day I taught them how to use the Cannon D7 that I had with me. They had a very proactive attitude. They were very smart and willing to learn new things. Miguel had taught him how to cast and he was very good at it. His fly fishing casting was very small, so he ended up learning how to use the camera and took great pictures of us the seven days. So if you happen to go to Agua Negra, remember his name, Roycer, and tell him “Pablo says you’re the man!”

The afternoon would have a special gift for me. And I was not expecting to be so lucky.  I was truly, honestly surprised. We were fishing an area we call “The Walls”, there were walls of mud with fallen logs. Cane said, well I’m gonna fish this area with Rell, you fish the water running after. And I did it, I did it very quickly and by the time Rell was in the middle of the fly casting I started walking in and I saw another log, the water was shallow enough to walk, so I tried to approach it. I noticed the banks were further away than I thought. I started casting and after two or three casts something unexpected happened. I saw a dorado coming out of the water, half of his body out of the water. It was pretty amazing. So I put some lines over there. And he followed my line, he touched it, he felt it and he didn’t grab it, I was crazy. It couldn\\\\\\\'t be true. He didn’t grab it. I was mad, I was furious, I had lost it. I need to get this fish, I HOPE he is still here.

I did a couple of casts, a little bit in front of the logs…Behind some wood structure I saw something. I caught a glimpse, something like a tail I would say. Like a dorado tail moving and I was like 30 cm away from his nose. I did a couple of casts and in the second try I got a fly close to him, did two strips, the fish followed the line, moved the water but didn’t; even touch it. I couldn’t believe it. I saw the fish, I was there alone, and he didn’t gab it. But I was not frustrated, I was hyperactive. Adrenaline running all through my body. I cast again, the fly got in the right spot. And the fish, I guess, was tired of me. And this time the fly jumped and almost swallowed it completely. I was surprised when I saw the fish jumping out of the water. I heard the guides, who were 200 yards away from me. They were shouting. I still had not realized what I had in my hands. It was a nine line rod, Sage, with a Rio Dorado line, 40 pounds in the line, 40 pounds in the leader. And a beautiful black and green fly. 15 minutes later when I got the fish in my hands, and I tried to pull it out was when I realized how blessed I had been that day. I got the biggest fish of my life. It was a dorado I got completely on my own, the guides were further away, I saw the fish twice, it was a 30 pound fish, if we talked about kilos it was 40 kilos. It was an amazing, amazing fish and again the weight is not important but how it happened. For all my fellow fishermen, I hope you have the chance, at least once, to feel this. For a few minutes I had this feeling I simply cannot put down in words. People say, when your first kid is born, when your daughter gets married, you know, things like that, when you fall in love for the first time…I don’t know how to express in words what I felt. At that moment everything matched, all efforts we do in our jobs, all efforts we do to take care of our families, to be good with our friends, to make everybody happy around us…all those efforts are rewarded in those minutes when you experience something so connected with nature.

 

Then you think, OK what’s next? And it’s not about the fish, it’s about being fishing, so after that I just cooled down. Enjoyed it. I didn’t talk much about the fish, I talked more about the experience. Cane was very happy, he said it was the biggest fish he had seen that season. Then talking with the other guides they told me they had seen another fish which was bigger than that, anyway I thought ok, since I got all my luck here, what’s gonna be next? Will I have any luck left for the rest of the days?

Then I got another fish, I should describe this fish too. It was about 16 pounds and again it was a fish that followed my line. I got it on the second time. It was in an area of nervous waters and it came up from the bottom and got my line. It was something amazing. That day Rell, Mark, Ina and Scott got their fish so it was a great day. The temperature was still hot but there was some breeze which make it easier to go through the day.  At the end of the day, you are sitting there at the porch of the lodge, looking at the jungle, the river and you get that feeling of pleasantness. It feels so good to be doing what you like best, it feels so good to enjoy your passion. 

 

After those two great days, something unexpected happened… Stay tunned for the next report!

Pablo Aguilo

Pointer Outfitters


 

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