As primarily trout anglers, fishing with trees overhead and trying to hit small pockets between currents makes us feel right at home. It is hard to imagine that beasts like Golden Dorados can live in such small water. With parts of the Sécure river more off-color than we wanted, we made a game-time decision to head up to the small tributary creek, the Ashahana. We were committed to the longer journey with the possibilities of huge fish in tight quarters around the corner.
Birch had yet to tango with the next size class up of Dorado, so he was on deck for the first shot at a bigger fish. I had Pacu on my mind after not seeing any on the last trip to Tsimane in 2018, so our guide Santi was keeping his eyes out for any Pacu shots for me. With the game plan set we headed up the small creek, ducking under downed trees and vines, crossing in waist deep water when off the boat. We paused to take in the jaguar, ocelot and puma tracks and continued sneaking slowly and stealthily with eyes in every riffle and pocket.
We got warmed up on some smaller schools of dorados in tail outs that eagerly ate mouse patterns off the surface, a sizeable yatorana that trickily pretended to be a Pacu for the first 5 seconds of the fight and we dodged a few freshwater stingrays while wading to the next spot. Just before lunch we pulled up to one of Santi’s favorite big fish pools. Birch and Santi got ready for the hunt while I hung back with our Tsimane guides so as not to have too much movement and unknowingly spook the fish. Within a minute of seeing them in position and watching Birch throw a first cast I heard the unmistakable huge splash of the opening jump of a big dorado. I leapt out of the boat to see the fight and watched in awe as the biggest dorado I had set eyes on in person jumped out of the water trying in vain to spit the hook that Birch had properly set into its boney mouth. Multiple other large fish came out from the depths to check in on the action and try to steal the fly but Birch fought the fish flawlessly and brought it to shore for us to witness up close.
Seeing a fish of that caliber made for an unforgettable day, even if those Pacu shots never quite showed up. Celebration ensued with cerveza Paceña surrounded by the natural confetti of jungle butterflies as we planned our next move to land the next jungle beast.
Stay tuned for part III on our recent trip to Tsimane Lodges in Bolivia. For information on this location email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or book directly: https://www.tsimanelodge.com/