Giant Golden Dorado - Argentina November 2011
Fishing report November 2-8 La Zona Argentina:
This trip must be one of the most amazing I have done in South America!
With 5 guests and myself, we arrived at the International Ezeiza airport in Argentina on November 2nd and stayed in the beautiful city of Buenas Aires. Leaving the smaller airport of Jorge Newbury the following afternoon we arrived in Concordia and after a short van ride, we got to La Zona Lodge, our home for the next 4 days and 5 nights.
Each day started with a sumptuous breakfast followed by about 4-5 hours of intense fishing and then back to the lodge for a three-course lunch! After a short siesta at about 3.00pm, our mottly crew was led back to the river for an afternoon of more lure chucking until dark. A few pre-dinner drinks were followed by another three-course dinner and splendid wines! You will NOT lose weight here!
There is nowhere on earth that anglers can catch Golden Dorado of the sizes taken here. Records are constantly broken and as the El Salto Dam stops the upriver migration of these huge fish, they gorge on the constant supply of large baitfish available. They grow to immense proportions here and often when caught they will regurgitate baitfish and even fellow Dorado to over 10lbs!
This is an area which incorporates the water below the huge El Salto Dam (built and shared between Argentina and Uruguay) running across from border to border and down river for about 1km. Anglers cast lures and jigs/flies while the boats drift down with the current to the end of what is the protected reservation known as ‘The Zone’. The boat pilots then start up the engines and run up to the dam for another drift.
Over the next 4 days of this extreme fishing, even with two novice anglers, we all hooked and landed big fish to over 30lbs! Even with replacement split rings, 4X strong and extra sharp hooks, only one Dorado is normally landed for every four hooked. They often throw the hooks when jumping so acrobatically as they have such hard, bony mouths. We still made a respectable total of over 500 fish for two boats and six anglers with 26 over 30lbs.
The fish of 30lbs and over were as follows:
5 x 30, 1 x 31, 4 x 32, 1 x 34, 1 x 35, 3 x 36, 2 x 37, 2 x 38, 1 x 40, 2 x 41, 1 x 42, 1 x 46, 1 x 47 and 1 whopping big 49.5. The last two are also both new world length records!! That's an average of just over 5 fish over 30lbs per angler!!
The best producing baits were Rapala X Raps deep-divers, Rapala CD 18s, lead-in-head Rubber Shad jig baits (these got hammered and chewed up all too quickly), 2-3oz Bucktail jigs and large 2-3oz heavy-duty Spinnerbaits. The largest of 49.5lbs was caught on a 3oz Spinnerbait.
Due to heavy rain coming down the river from Brazil, the water levels were high and the water fast and furious most days, especially when all generating turbines were let loose in both countries! On Sundays, generally neither country generate electricity so the current is usually slower and levels much lower with plenty of rocks showing. Dorados loves rocks and abound stack up around them easily picking off baitfish. Our Sunday however still produced fast water which didn’t fair well for our long-awaited topwater lure action. While some fish were caught on poppers and walk-the-dog baits, deep-divers produced the best fish.
On the morning of November 8th, we all flew back from Concordia to Buenas Aires. I had business in Brazil so carried on from there while the others all flew home the same day. Most of the guys took from the 2nd - 9th November or 8 days off in total for their trip, with 4 Brits, one Lithuanian and an American.
This is such exciting sport, the fish here are always on the hunt, the guides are the best anywhere in Argentina and the lodge and food are excellent in every way. Anyone interested in knowing more about this fantastic fishery, please send me a PM.
Steve Townson - The Fish Finder



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