The Golden Dorado

Posted on June 21, 2011

The Golden Dorado.  Like Hansel, Wayfarers and Taylor Swift, the species is “so hot right now”.  We went down to Esquina, Argentina back in January to find out what all this hype is about.  Here’s what we learned;

1)     Golden Dorado are very hungry and have lots of teeth.  They are ravenous feeders.  Upon seeing a frenzy of them feeding near the boat, our guide and buddy, Oscar Dono, advised, “don’t put your fingers in the water “.  He may have been joking but, after watching these fish swallow 10 inch baitfish whole and taking chomps out of each others tails, we happily complied.

2)     The act of fly fishing for Golden Dorado is similar to hard labor.  You cast HUGE flies on 4/0 and 5/0 hooks that contain the plumage of entire birds on sinking lines over and over and over again.  Then you strip, strip, strip, strip, strip until even your stripping guards are worn through.   Since stopping casting is not an option, there is zero shame in mixing in some rips with the baitcaster to keep your shoulder from falling off (see results above).

3)     The largest Golden Dorado on record weighed 69 pounds.  The largest one we caught weighed 12.  We can’t imagine struggling with one 5.75 times larger than this.

4)     Despite the hard work, there is always light at the end of the tunnel because you can only catch these suckers in places like Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay.  That means the post-fishing refueling session might be better than the fishing itself.  In Argentina, the menu says malbec, beef, sausage and more malbec.

5)     Golden D’s are delicious especially when roasted on a stick on an island in the middle of a giant delta where the Parana and Corrientes river converge (see results below).   In Esquina, anglers may only take one fish a day and it must be eaten on the delta islands.