The last weeks before departure were kind of busy as work took toll and several flies had to be tied. Still some flies where missing. Spare lines and fly tying stuff to be ordered. We all know that feeling - a mixture of anticipation and fear that something of importance will be missing in combination with time running out.
A new Thomas & Thomas Solar 8# 9’ and a #9 reel from Alfa Fishing Finland via WorldFly Angler were added to the bursting Patagonia tackle bag. For Dorado extra spare rods are always needed. These fighting machines will shred everything: flies, lines, rods and fingers.
One member of our group broke two rods in a single day and a third rod just days later. Handling fish before landing easily leads to high sticking or a smaller Dorado attached to the fly might be taken by a much larger (4 years ago that ended one of my rods). 8 and 9 weight are the appropriate gear for Dorado combined with rather aggressive tapered floating or intermediate tip WF lines (such as Rio Outbound Short Saltwater) and a sturdy reel with some 30lbs backing. Dorados do not make long runs, but just in case for a fish that might go down some rapids 100m of backing should be more than plenty. Leader is simple: level 40-60lbs mono of around two meters and 30-40cm of 30 or 40lbs (Rio) wire. Albright knot to connect wire and mono and perfection loop to attach the fly. Flies are 3/0 – 4/0 with high quality saltwater hooks (such as Owner Aki) that provide volume to push water. Black with red, orange, violet, yellow, chartreuse and some flash and dumbbell eyes. Add some very light deceiver style flies in natural colors for the upper reaches of the tributaries. Flies - as with all serious fly fishing - have to be barbless! Sturdy wading boots with felt sole and studs provide the best traction possible (against better knowledge I took only Simms Vibram – they will make you dance on the slippery boulders, do not take them without studs!). Add stripping gloves or stripping guides (add an extra pair as spare) to protect your fingers from line burns that will happen immediately.
Traveling to Bolivia was comfortable via MUC – GRU (in C) and GRU – VVI, only the not granted access to GRU Star Alliance Lounge was pain in the ass as I had hours of time to spent: Low level of service orientation and very stubborn ladies at the lounge access. But MUC – GRU will be history by October anyway due to the unpleasant situation of Brazilian economy, Lufthansa decided to skip that direct connection and only fly from Frankfurt. I hope that will change soon in terms of economy and flight schedule back to a more pleasing situation.
Besides that – aren’t we gifted with the German passport – no visa needed! The German passport will allow you to travel the most countries on that planet without a visa of all passports.
Friday night, our group of fly fishermen from around the globe meet for the first time in Santa Cruz. Daniel and his friend Carlos, Alexis and Hernan all four from Argentina, Chris from Eugene, Oregon – my room and fishing mate (and owner of The Caddis Fly Shop) – and finally me, the one with the longest distance traveled from Bavaria, Germany. Not many Europeans find that destination in remote Bolivia or even fish for Dorado at all. Which is surprising as Dorado fishing is a thrill of its own, plus that special location of Untamed in the Tsimane area of TIPNIS add up to one of the best freshwater fishing experiences.
As Chris did arrive around afternoon as well, we had some time left to go to the center of Santa Cruz and to have a walk around there. Church, piazza, … - nothing spectacular but worth to go there to see more of the country than just the hotel and the lodge. I knew it from my first visit back in 2012.
Dinner for the first evening was at the beloved Asian Garden restaurant, part of Los Tajibos Hotel in Santa Cruz (which we did not make use of this time), sitting outside on the water the menu is far less sophisticated then sitting inside. Food outside was basic but good (go inside!) and company even better. Four years ago I spend a couple of nice evenings at that location (inside) and enjoyed it very much with well-cooked fusion kind cuisine.
I was amazed by the Bolivian beer - HUARI is actually absolutely drinkable! And as usual in South America: VERY cold! Love that.