Hardcore Angling: Stalking The Golden Dorado in South America

You could pop to the Canaries for a bit of winter sun, but that's not nearly as much fun as hunting for a golden fish that is absolutely mental...
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You could pop to the Canaries for a bit of winter sun, but that's not nearly as much fun as hunting for a golden fish that is absolutely mental...

That Goldfish is going to ruin it for the Koi Carp...

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Here's what to do if you don't have to work in February. Fly to Buenos Aires and stay overnight. Don't worry. There's lots to do.

Take a 90-minute internal flight to the middle of nowhere. Then a 90-minute truck ride to a red painted ranch.

Then sweat.

Leave the ranch at 7.30 every morning and return at 12. Eat, then sleep till 3.30. Then off you go again from 4 till 8 when it gets dark. Eat more food and tell exaggerated stories to fellow fishermen. Repeat this for 5 days.

Then come home via Buenos Aires (where there's still a lot to do).

Argentina is one of the few places on the planet where you can catch Golden Dorado which look a bit like salmon, but are gold and completely potty. The rivers are miles wide and the temperature and humidity miles more than you'd like them to be.

Each day a dashing Gaucho guide will take you (by boat) out on the raging river. You will cast your fly at least 6 times a minute as he tells you where to position it. Next to a sunken log. In a gap by a sunken bush. He knows where they are.

Sometimes the water violently explodes as the fly lands and the Dorado snaps at it with his terrifying teeth. Other times you keep casting and sod all happens.

You don't strike if the fish takes your fly. You pull the hook into his mouth real hard. Then you pull it again. Hard. Until it sets. Then you lift the rod and all hell lets loose.

By nighttime you've had enough and all you can do is sleep. That said, it's all absolute adventure and a long, long way from comforts of Soho House and the buzz of Brick Lane.

Hooking a Golden Dorado is like having a fight with young offender who's had one too many Stellas. Mental at first, but you hope he'll calm down at some point.

Like the young offender, Golden Dorado leap all over the place as they scream and shout trying to get away. Solid muscle and a mouth full of razors.

And they bite.

There'll be two of you in Gaucho's boat. A pair of ambitious anglers and a river full of unrealised potential.

For those who think fishing is dull, a walk in the park. Think again. It's bloody hard work. And frustrating. And wildly exciting. All at the same time.

Spending all day casting against the snag ridden banks of Paraguay in the hope of hooking a predator can take its toll.

By nighttime you've had enough and all you can do is sleep. That said, it's all absolute adventure and a long, long way from comforts of Soho House and the buzz of Brick Lane.

In September I'll be marching through a jungle in Bolivia, guided by Indians who used to run a cocaine plantation. This time the rivers are narrow and unfished. There's bugs that will kill and giant Golden Dorado that will pull your arms off.

And why not?

Jon went with the aptly named Jon Fisher who runs Urban Angler, the only fly fishing tackle shop on Manhattan. He is the Godfather of Flyfishing and is acknowledged worldwide as an expert.His company organizes trips all ovet the planet, from the Maldives to Montauk. His website is www.urbanangler.com


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