Thinking of taking a golden dorado fly fishing trip? If you’re here, you already know about the mighty-jawed, rough-and-ready golden dorado. Every year, more anglers set their sights on this challenging and rewarding catch. Because of its habitat and temperament, this adventure requires some planning but the payoff is well worth it. Here are 5 quick tips that will make your getaway, and your catches, unforgettable.
1. Dorado in Argentina: Location, Location, Location…
The golden dorado lives in the fresh, warm water of northern Argentina, southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. If you live in North America, your golden dorado fly fishing trip requires a plane ride into Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fishing dorado in Argentina is breathtaking due to the lush rainforest, pristine waterfalls, and teeming rivers. For this experience, you definitely need to do your research.
2. Dorado Fly Fishing: Fly Colors and Patterns
You’ve seen the massive jaw on this behemoth. Your flies need to be as big and bold as the dorado itself. Use a dark pattern that makes a great silhouette and attracts this apex predator’s attention. Black/red, black/orange, and black/purple are the clear winners for most situations. Generally, 4-6 inches long should do the trick and a hook size of 2/0 to 3/0. Keep in mind that, like all fishing, dorado fly fishing isn’t always predictable. There are some situations where a lighter color will do the trick so don’t leave them all at home.
Do some extra research about the specific ecosystem and dorado size of your lodge in Argentina. If the fish are 10 lbs then give your arms a break by using an 8 weight, fast action. Go up to a 9, 10, or 11 weight if the golden dorado are closer to their 30 lbs maximum. You need something strong enough to cast large flies and handle a big golden dorado. But you also need a rod smooth enough to blind-cast into river structure if needed.
4. Reels & Lines
You might be sensing a theme but larger arbor reels are a necessity to retrieve your line faster. Because you’ll be fighting a spirited golden dorado, bring that high-quality drag system too. Your hands will thank you. Again, check your particular lodge, seasonal temperatures, and general climate but keep in mind that this is a tropical habitat. You’ll need aggressive front tapers to turn them over. To quickly and easily load your rod, think about overlining it. You’ll generally need a floating line but, depending on the river conditions, a sinking tip might come in handy.
5. Leader & Tippet
Bigger is better here too. Pack that 30-40 lb fluorocarbon or monofilament. You won’t turn the fly over or survive the strike if you go with less. Some people prefer mono and use the 5, 3, 1 leader formula for a total of 9 feet long. Those golden dorado teeth are no joke either so bring extra wire tippet material along too. One final, bonus tip: visit Argentina from September through April for the best golden dorado fly fishing. Because it lives in the southern hemisphere, the temperatures may be comparable to June and July in Florida. So say goodbye to your North American winter blues and hello to that beautiful big-jawed golden dorado. If you pick your lodge and pack your bags with that big jaw in mind, your golden dorado fly fishing trip will be an unforgettable experience.