Looking for gold in La Zona

We have been traveling in the Rio Uruguay river in Argentina for a few days and successfully searched and found various exotic fish such as Pacu, Piranha and Traira with the help of small Rapala lures and spinners from Blue Fox. Now, the focus will be on big fish and our preparations are ongoing. 

I have replaced the treble hooks of my big lures like the Super Shadow Rap®, Super Shad Rap® and X-Rap® Magnum Xplode® with 4/0 or 5/0 single hooks of the VMC model 7266TI . Tomorrow we head out… 

The conversion to the robust VMC 7266TI has been completed.

The day is finally here, and the time has come – after focusing on smaller fish, we head out to “La Zona” before sunrise to find bigger catches.

Approaching "La Zona"

The zone ("La Zona") is located directly below the Salto Grande dam on the Argentine-Uruguayan border. It is known for the largest Dorados in the world. Only 2 boats from a single fishing lodge have access to this area. This is also ensured with regular police checks because fishing from the shore is not allowed.

La Zona early in the morning - there they swim, the golden big fish.

Due to the currently low water level, we chose to use the 13cm long X-Rap® Magnum Xplode®, which I prepared in advance with VMC 7266TI single hooks.

Popper with a loud run on the water surface should bring the big fish.

The first cast was made in the middle of the rapids, right below the dam. The local anglers advised me not to lead the popper with classic strokes and classic popping, but by cranking it as quickly as possible. Over here, fishing really is a sport and it’s very exhausting - perfect.

The first attacks of the large Dorados came within half an hour, but they often missed the lure by jumping past it or only gently nudging the lure. We did the drifting - driving to the dam and let the boat drift along the hot spots - a few times, so we could get more bites.

We were now slowly approaching the rapids. I make a long cast and quickly cranked the Xplode and I immediately noticed a big surge behind the bait. Suddenly, a violent bite came, and an unbearable fight to escape begun. The line was being pulled below the surface of the water and we got a glimpse of the fish - what an animal! The boats operator quickly brought us near the fish so that we could quickly pump it out of the strong current and the hanging structure.

He doesn't give up and keeps jumping.

The Dorado slowly takes the line again, but the fight is near its ending.

Right on the boat - now it won't be long ...

Tired and ready to land!

The fish was finally tired after a spectacular fight. Together with my colleague, we landed the great catch. Its measures were 91cm and over 10kg. Us anglers travel thousands of kilometers just for these kinds of fish!

The long-awaited Grand Dorado is in my hands - an incredible feeling.

Probably the greatest Dorado of my life disappears below the surface.

The winner was the new version of the Rapala X-Rap® Magnum Xplode® with a size of 13cm and a weight of 62g in the color Convict Decor (CON) - converted to VMC 7266TI inline single hooks. What a fantastic lure!

Wounded but successful: Rapala X-Rap® Magnum Xplode®.

Even though there were not many fish, I got to fulfill my dream of hooking one of the biggest Dorados and it was even caught on camera! A great ending to a long journey with incredible memories.


Article originally published here.