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Frustration Day - Bolivia Part II

Probably one of the hottest days I’ve experienced in my life when fly fishing. It was probably hotter than the worse days in Cuba. The water was really warm and during the day, really hot. Probably 39 C and the water temperature was close to 30 degrees.

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We split and I got to share the boat with Ian, a 78 year old person who has been fly fishing all over the world. He’s strong like an oak, his fly cast in very good and he’s very methodic when fly fishing. That day our team went out to the river with Gabriel.

Before going to the water, Gabriel checked our leaders. We all had 40 pound leaders with iron in the front, 40 pound iron line, we tied different flies, black and a little green. That day, Ian got a black and yellow one. We were all using rods number 8. I was using Sage number 8 and Ian was using a Thomas and Thomas. The first day for us was upstream, we took the boat upstream and went to the pools that were upstream in the river. The river at this time of the season, that is, the very last week of the season was very low. It hadn’t rained this last season and I was scared that if it started raining it would never stop. October is already the rainy season and if we had one of two days of rain, the river would change completely, we would have had a lot of water, dirty water, anything could happen. So it is important to know that the condition of the water is a very important element in fly fishing. And if we’re lucky and we get the good conditions, the fishing is going to be amazing. But if the water conditions are not good, because the water is too warm, too dirty, etc. we could suffer the days. 

By midday, Ian, Gabriel and I realized that it was going to be one of those days when fishing is complicated. Gabriel had made a big effort, changing flies and spots for us all the time. We fished moving water, close by to the lodge, some pools, nervous waters…We were trying different things but not seeing action, no bites, no following, nothing. And I was kind of starting to get discouraged. My first reaction was “I have to cast from every single angle around the good areas and see what happens”. I remember my most difficult days fly fishing for Dorados in the Parana river when there is no action at all but finally, you do not know how, but you get two fish.. so I thought maybe this would be the case and I knew we would be fishing 15 pounders, 20, 30 pounders. Anything could happen, and when you have those chances in front of your nose, you don’t wanna waste your time. Even when the worst scenario is there you want to continue trying to get fish.

I’d like to make a break here and talk about frustration. Fly fishing is also about it. Every person that fly fishes probably knows about it. Some days, some moments... There are times when you’re fly fishing and… it’s difficult to explain in words, but it is like a little animal eating your soul very slowly and making our hopes and desires die. It’s like fire burning and then suddenly rain extinguishes it. So that was the day for us. We tried everything. Jokes, being quiet, drinking some beers, but nope... It was not happening. When that happens to you in a place you’re fishing for the first time, the first thing that comes to your mind is..well.. if this is gonna be like this every single day…coming to this remote place, having days like this will be not good…specially if you are doing business or bringing friends to have a good time.

Great news, when we got back to the lodge, we learnt about Mark and Rell’s catches. And Scott had another fish too. So with those conditions our hopes got high. They probably had been to the right places and doing the right casts and also... luck. ‘Cause when you’re fly fishing you also need a little bit of luck. Remember what I said about luck, there’s gonna be another story about luck in this report. Now I can tell you I’m really convinced that Luck is very, VERY IMPORTANT when it comes to fishing. It’s not about skills, talent, work. 10/20% is luck and we all need it when we’re fishing.

So by 6 pm we were all at the lodge. We started taking off all our wet clothes. We had been in the water for a long time. Sometimes the water was knee high, sometimes just up to our ankles, sometimes waist high. There are two ways to fishing the Secure River, and I should have mentioned this before. So let me do an introduction to the Secure River. The Sécure River runs from Sécure Lodge to the Ushwea Village. The fishing here is carried out by fishing downstream and the means of transportation is with dugout canoes, poled or engine powered. The middle section of the Sécure River is shallow and open, similar to the rivers further down on the in plain regions. Its clear waters gradually become colored due to tributaries that sweep sediments from the high plateau. More and more logs and fallen trees are found in the typical stone structure of the Sécure River. The logs, sunken trees and subsurface structure are the perfect ambush points for a large numbers of dorados.

The beats in this sector are more accessible. The river features a large variety of fishing situations. There are long runs, “flats” with sandy riverbanks, and fords with ditches and deep pools. Dorados are undoubtedly the kings in this sector of the river; however, very large pacues can be caught in the deep pools, where food brought by the current gets jammed. Dorado (Salminus brasiliensis) , pacu (Myleus pacu), iatoranas, all of them are in this waters but the main attractive is in the Dorado.

This River is the main river for fishing in Agua Negra Lodge. There are three lodges in Tsimane, Pluma, which is closer to Oro Momo, just one hour by boat. The guys there fished the Pluma River and two other tributaries and some parts of the Secure River. Agua Negra, where we are staying is in the Secure River and Agua Negra river. Agua Negra is a small tributary. Further up North is the Asunta Lodge, located by the waters of the Asunta River closer to an indigenous town. Fishermen going to that place land in Asunta instead of in Oromomo.

Back to the story, we came back from the river, we took off our wet clothes and hang them to dry and you get the clothes for the next day ready.

So we can call Day 1 Pablo’s Frustration Day. After two days travelling we couldn’t get a Dorado the first day. And this is what fishing is about. This is what life is about, too. Isn’t it? You can’t always get what you want. That’s what this very famous Mick Jagger’s song says. If I were a famous song writer I would write something like... You should always try to get what you want and create that mindset…HAHAH So coming back to the story, if the day one was called Frustration DAY 2 should be called REDEMPTION and when MAGIC HAPPENS. 

To be continued...

Pablo Aguilo

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