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Kill and reproduce are the only two modes of behavior exhibited by Dorado and these violent predators can multi-task, since they’re often in the kill and the spawning mode simultaneously
LOCAL SPORTSMEN in the northern provinces of Argentina, southern Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay have been rabid Dorado anglers for generations. Now, after dis- covery of a few isolated fly fisherman-friendly, clear jungle rivers and marsh- lands where sight fishing is the rule rather than the exception, the quarry is enjoying a burst of even greater popularity.
Dorado techniques are simple, whether you’re structure fishing in the Corrientes or Parana River, blind-casting in the Ibera Marsh, or casting to fish you can see in the often- clear rivers of Bolivia.
The violent strike of a dorado is an assault by a deadly weapon, and the burly torpedoes have been known to rip a rod right out of an angler’s hands. Strikes like that quickly make one forget the price
of admission attached to these exotic angling
Large streamers are the most productive flies, par- ticularly in fast current or swift, shallow stream chan- nels. These macho Latin- American dorados usually lie in wait, ready to ambush baitfish and will take flies on top of the water, in the film, or below the surface. Watching a giant, bright gold fish longer than your leg smack a surface popper or race across the surface to pounce on a streamer swinging in the film is a heart-stopping thrill worth the long trip south.
The fly rod of choice to deliver these flies is a pow- erful 8 or 9 weight, fitted with a top-notch reel that’s loaded with either a float- ing line or a intermediate sink tip.
The first Dorado of the season begin their upstream migrations in April or May depending on the intensity of the rainy season. By May and June huge schools of baitfish are colliding with predator dorado on the Secure and Pluma Rivers, where the Tsimane lodges are located.
It is an exciting time; the Dorado are very hungry and aggressive. Hunting scenes with big schools of Dorado attacking Sabalo are very common.
In the provinces of northern Argentina, on the Corrientes, in the Pirayu marshlands and in the rivers near Salta the peak of the Dorado and forage fish migration occurs in September, October and all of the month of November.
Some fine dorado fishing coincides with trout fish- ing in the Patagonia provinces and always over-
laps with super Peacock Bass angling in neigh-
boring Brazil.
In the most remote jun-
gle environs, Dorado cohabit with another mar- velous gamefish, Pacu (Pirapitinga), a spectacular fighting near-vegetarian that would challenge a Permit for sheer strength and stamina.
Recently effective flies been developed for Pacu. It’s a situation much like happened three decades ago, when Permit first emerged as a new addition to the sportfish list for fly fishermen.
Another exotic freshwa- ter species that has joined the new jungle anglers’ bucket list is the agile and acrobatic Arapaima, the largest scaled fish found in freshwater (up to 9 feet long and weighing as much as 400 pounds. When hooked with a fly these huge, prehistoric monsters will leap completely and repeatedly out of the water.
Val Atkinson photos
By July, the fish are well into the river systems. They can be spooky at times, and at other times hunt sabalo with reckless abandon, announcing their location carelessly.
Rainforest weather is unpredictable. Mornings and evenings can be cool, the afternoons hot and humid, and it can rain any- time. Anglers have to be prepared for any kind of weather.

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