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El Dorado – the dreamed gold of Amazonia

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El Dorado – the dreamed gold of Amazonia
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We felt just like kings of the jungle discovering our El Dorado. Like Colombian explorers, not aware of what is going to happen the next day. Excitement, exhaustion, and desire to achieve the goal were what was waking us up every morning and pushing us forward. This was like insanity, absurd and obsession. We knew, though, that we were not crazy. They were in this deep forest and we had to find them at last. The legendary dorados from the tributary of Amazonia!

Searching for these fish in Bolivia turned out to be a very difficult task. I could bore the reader with names of the rivers, which we checked from the estuary up to the spring, counting on finding what we were looking for – in vain. After almost three months of exploration of the virgin jungle, at the end of physical and mental tether , we finally found the river full of alive gold – our dreamed DORADOS!

Rio El Dorado – as we called it – was the most beautiful, entirely unknown, with crystal clear water falling from mountains overgrown by rainforest, where calling of monkeys was interlaced with voices of parrots…Charm of this place brought us to our knees and no words could describe what we felt that time. Together with Indian guides from Tsimane tribe, we moved up the river, watching in disbelief enormous shoals of fish escaping from shallows into dark hollows of the bottom. Our mean of transport was a 10-meter long curiara, a boat carved out from trunk of wood.

Hypnosis- this is the right term to describe the state we were in, when observing the views around us. On the bank of the river, a jungle bursting with life, and under the water thousands of sabalo swimming beside the boat and enormous catfish waiting for them – some of them looking like sunk tree trunks. Sometimes we could see floating of valiant pacu, resembling gigantic piranhas in the way they looked.

But the most impressive were the dorados. Hunting shoal of these fish makes a show like we previously have seen only in natural science films. Like a band of wolves they beset their preys. It happened that a dozen of big, golden fish furiously stroke into shoal of sabalo which, in a panic escape and water splashes began to fly over its surface…A memorable show where life meets death. Seeing such a boiling, we were casting the lures in these places. Takes were almost immediate after crankbaits reached the water surface. Often a few fish were attacking the lure at once, tearing it off the mouth of the fastest one! The final of such contest often had pitiful results…Snapping dorados in crazy attack were cutting off our monolines and braids with their teeth sharp as nails – despite using long titanium leaders! All needed was braid in a line of predator’s attack and it was accidentally cut during these underwater orgies! Despite an enormous number of dorados in this river, it turned out to be a not-so-easy to catch fish, and even worse to be landed. This is an unusually dynamic and strong opponent, spending more time under than in the water, as soon as he feels a hook in his mouth. Such a warrior needs 100% concentration from the angler and acting in cold blood. Choosing the right set is very important – its strength and reliability. There are no compromises during faith with a dorado – only the best equipment can survive this barbarian test.

The lures that we used were mainly Salmo’s Sliders and Fatso. River’s nature allowed for jerking and in more rapid parts all we needed was keeping the lure in the stream in order to make it perform predator provocative movements.

Spinning is our favorite method, though we also tried flyfishing tackle. Every part of the set was under extreme test during fishing. Despite using strenghtened Owner’s split rings and trebles it happened, that after landing a bigger one, we had to change the terminal tackle. Often the fighting dorados were destroying our tackle, and the lures taken from their mouths sometimes looked like hit with a hammer. A dorado’s strength of jaws and sharpness of his teeth is the miracle of nature’s engineery, which created the complete predator

We were moving mainly by wading in warm water. We swam over deeper spots on a boat. In tributaries and shallower sections I tried 10 class single – handed flyfishing rod. My shortages in operating such equipment did not prevent dorados from taking. Catching such a fish on fly is very spectacular and gives huge kick of adrenaline. Sudden move of a line, then of the reel’s spool and the bang of a fish falling to the water. Then, a series of next jumps, one after another – without rhyme or reason, no logic. A complete insanity! Everything is happening in flash and truly out of control. Forces of physics are detrimental for the equipment, line cuts the water with swish and water splashes – and at the end of the set a meter fish is chewing indestructible hook that the fly wast tied on… Unfortunately, it turns out, that there is no indestructible thing that exists…Who doesn’t believe, should go Bolivian dorados fishing. From this competition, it was the fish that was usually untouched. Our mean result was pulling out a forth or a fifth one that was able to set on the hook, at all…

Charmed by nature and wonderful moments we had by our Rio El Dorado, after difficulties and adventures, we signed a contract with the local authorities and representatives of Tsimane Indians for building a fishing center for sport fishing in this fishery!

In the spring, after rainy season, we are setting out to Bolivia in order to begin building the center and prepare the place for the first guests visit. Pioneer group tour is going to be in May, already, under the patronage of Salmo company. Detailed information and enrolling is available on the site

www.salmo-adventures.com

When I think about everything that happened to us in Bolivia and what we couldn’t do there…I am still not sure if that wasn’t a dream, despite pinching my hand.

 

Grzegorz Borowski

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