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We Finally Made it for Dorados in Bolivia - Part 1

It has been an amazing week. I’m currently at Camino Real Hotel in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. After 7 days fly fishing in Tsimane for the amazing Dorados in the jungle.

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We organized a group to come fly fish in Bolivia with two Scottish friends, Mark and Ian, who had been fishing with us before in Cuba and Tanzania. Also Rell Tipton from Texas joined us, he had been fishing with us before in Argentina and Cuba, and also Scott from New Hampshire, with whom was the first time we fished together. 

To come to Fly fish in the middle of the jungle in Bolivia, first we organized a to meet in the city Santa Cruz de la Sierra, that is, one of the most important cities of the country. We all flew here on the 7th of October with the intention to depart for the jungle on the 8th. For myself coming from Argentina, it was not a long journey. One hour flight from Cordoba, my city,  to Buenos aires, plus two hours more to Bolivia. Considering stops and connections, it’s about half a day. But for our friends in Europe and America it was at least an eighteen hour trip. So we all finally met in the hotel, Camino Real. We had dinner together in a restaurant that the host and guide had suggested. We had an amazing time and we talked about stories that had happened during the year we hadn’t seen each other and we started dreaming about the adventures we would have in the next coming days. 

The next day we woke up at 7 am and we were ready to go to the jungle. After breakfast we had a thirty minute trip to the smallest airport in town from where all little planes fly out . We were expecting a two hour flight to the Jungle in the northern area, in a place called Oromomo.

We were a little bit over the weight limit with all our luggage and stuff but the Capitan said that with the good weather conditions we were going to be all right. The plane was smaller than my car so we were packed. And when I say packed, I mean, really packed, literally packed in that airplane. We departed at about 9 o clock, we took off and went to the jungle. I have to say that Santa Cruz de la Sierra is very windy, especially after midday. The flight was very good, we had some bumps. It was going to be way worse on the way back, but you’ll read about it when I get to that part of the story. The plane was shaken by the winds and the air pressure and we felt how small we were in the world. So after this two hours and a half where we enjoyed the view of the jungle and we appreciated its beauty, the destination was nothing else than forest and rivers and forest. We landed on this place that is like a small town with no more than 200 people, aboriginal people living by the side of the river. They speak their own language but also Spanish. It was really hot.

By the time we landed in Oromomo it was about 37 C so we were all sweaty and trying to hide in the shades. Cane, the manager of Agua Negra lodge was there waiting for us, with the local guides that would be working with us as our  fly fishing guides, assistants and the canoe drivers. We had this big canoes with small engines moving in the river. The lodge was about two hours away from the Oromomo town. So after we landed we got into this boats, no longer than 10 minutes and we started this beautiful jurney which was very impressive and amazing because a couple of hours ago we were in a hotel and now in  the jungle going fly fishing. We all got our sun glasses, sun block repellent,long sleeves. It was really hot. This was the final stretch of the journey to get to the lodge.

The boats were nice to be in and to move inside the rivers. In the way to the river we got some drinks and sandwiches. We stopped in the middle of the way and had like a picnic in the shade. We were all excited and wondering if we would make it there on time to fish in the afternoon. We would be arriving at 4 oclock at the lodge and they usually fish until 6 … However, Cane suggested that, given the fact that we had 7 days ahead of us to fish, we took it easy that day. We organized our rods, reels, lines, flies, hooks. Everything we needed to be ready for the next day. 

The weather was really hot. It was eating my brains. I expected it to be hot, but now I was thinking that I would have to drink at least 10 bottles of water a day if I wanted to keep active and feel good. Hidrating problems…everything looked amazing but I knew it would not be an easy to be there. The hot weather was very humid, and the water was also hotter than expected. Probably 28 C. We were wondering…Would the dorados be active in this weather? Would they be taking my our flies and ready to attack and put on a good fight? We would get the answer the next day.

At the lodge that afternoon we met the other two guides who would be with us that week. Cane, one of them, from Cordoba Argentina. He had experience fly fishing in Patagonia. Gabriel, who is from Pery and had experience fly fishing in the amazon area and who had three seasons already in Agua Negra River, and Miguel who is from Buenos Aires and who was in his third season in Tsimane. So we were in good hands for the fishing. We had some appetizers that night enjoying the view. We could feel the strength of the jungle, we had it in front of our eyes, and the river as well.

The lodge was very nice, it is made out of wood cut by the locals and it has a modern cabin style with three tents with a private bathroom. We shared some of the rooms and we had fans on the rooms. During the day the electricity didn’t work. Electricity was generated in the lodge by a generator, so it worked one hour and a half in the morning and then it was switched off until we returned from the water, at about 7 pm. So we were very comfortable. The rooms were small but nice and the view of the main area from the lodge was amazing, for a group of five people, in our own cabin, fishing, it was amazing. Besides the guides we had Gabriela, Leandro, the chef from Argentina, Claudia, who helped around. They were very, very good. All these guides who helped us move in the river were very important during the next days in the jungle. Let me name them here: Roycer, Jerson, Zapallo, Feliciano, and Victoriano.

At 10 pm that night we were all sleeping. It had been a very long day, a long flight and we were all ready for the next day, ready for the famous Dorado in the Bolivian Jungle. I have to tell you that I was very excited. I had been fly fishing for Dorado in several places in Argentina: Entre Rios, Corrientes, Santiago del Estero, Salta, etc. But this was my first time in one of the summits for Dorado Fly Fishing.

The things that you should know: the next seven days we would be having the feet completely wet. We were wearing lycra pants, with socks and wading boots and long sleeve shirts and gloves. You try to protect yourself as much as you can from the sun and the mosquitos. There aren’t many mosquitos, Honestly, but there are some mosquitos that carry an illness called Leishmaniasis.

It’s a complicated illness, not difficult to treat but of course nobody wanted to catch it so we were taking very good care of ourselves. Mosquito repellent was a must, sun block as well. Glasses, buff, neck protection was important, and a hat. It was very very hot in the mornings, so imagine wearing all these clothes. When you’re up in the hill getting dressed to go out fishing is like a martyrdom. You’re sweating and hot but keep layering clothes, one over the other. Then, when you get to the river, your entire body and your feet are wet. But, very important is to have a little breeze during the day. That helps.

STAY TUNNED FOR OUR NEXT REPORT OF THE FIRST DAY OF FISHING AND THE BIGGEST DORADO I HAVE EVER CAUGHT!

Pablo Aguilo

Pointer Outfitters

 

 

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