Gear & Tackle
Recommended Fishing Equipment
Dorado fishing requires casting large flies in high temperatures. If you think your casting abilities are not up to it or want to take a break during the day, we suggest you bring a casting or spinning rod. Double-hauling is an easily learnt technique which will pay dividends when you’re fishing for dorado and elsewhere.
It’s important to remember that your streamer fly must be stripped from the moment it touches the surface of the water. Fast-stripping of the fly is the key to more fish in the boat but it can be tiring after a long day, another reason to bring your casting rods. Rods: We recommend bringing 2 different single-handed set of rods to approach the different species.
An 9-ft. 8-wt rod to approach dorado with reels carrying tropical floating lines (Bnoefish – Tarpon or RedFish Tapers all work well). We mostly fish floating lines for dorado; although under certain water level conditions we could use a sinking line (250 to 350 grain) to fish some of the rocks that hold big fish. An 9-ft. 6 or even 7 weight rod is suggested for Pira Pitá dry fly fishing.
Floating tropical lines are a must to cast smaller flies under this warm weather condition.
A quality reel is important. And a strong, smooth drag is a must, as many fish will take long, fast runs. Reels (and spare spools) should have capacity for the fly line and 100 yards of 20-pound backing.
Pack weight-forward tropical floating fly-lines (redfish, tarpon, and bonefish tapers all work). These lines are used to fish streamers and top-water flies. Also consider “over-lining” your rods. For example, we often use a 9-weight floating line on an 8-weight rod, which has dual benefits: 1) It makes it easier to load the rod with less line and 2) the heavier line makes casting larger flies easier.
Additionally, we recommend bringing a fast-sinking line such as a RIO Leviathan (or similar), which has a 26-foot, 300- to 350-grain sinking tip. Intermediate tip lines are good options, too, including RIO’s General Purpose Tropical F/I.
Note: DO NOT bring conventional cold-water floating lines. Our tropical weather makes them soft and gummy and therefore difficult to cast.
Freshwater Dorado are not particularly leader shy. WhilFreshwater Dorado are not particularly leader shy. While reasonable stealth should be exercised, the leaders should be heavy enough to turn over big wind resistant flies, so heavy-strong butts are important. Spools of mono should include 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 lbs, test weights, for tippets. For floating lines you should have 8 to 9 foot long tapered leaders (Knotted or Knotless, depending on your personal preference).
For sinking lines 4-6 feet of 20-30 lb. mono should work well. Maxima Ultragreen Mono is a good option for leader material. The most important thing to consider in a Dorado leader is the shock, or bite tippet.
These fish have very sharp teeth that will cut even the strongest mono. We recommend using a 26 to 40 lb. wire section at the end of your leader. American Fishing Wire and Malin BOA wire are both good options. Bring plenty 26 to 40 lb test steel leader for your stay.
AFW (American Fishing wire) Surflon Micro Supreme 7×7 Stainless Leader wire in camo brown is a favorite among our guides. 26 and 40lb test for Dorado; and 13lb test for Pirá Pitá.
The Lodge provides a wide selection of fly patterns as well as a modest supply of backup tackle at very competitive prices. This notwithstanding, we recommend you bring a good supply of your own flies to get you through your stay.
Wet Flies: Big Saltwater Streamers are usually the norm.
Colors: Black, Black and Chartreuse/Red/Yellow, Red/Black, Purple and Black with plenty of flashabou. Deceivers traditionally work very well. Other well-known patterns such as: Lefty’s Half and Half, Whistlers, CockRoaches and Clouser Minnows are excellent choices as well. Poppers & Divers in similar color patterns have proven very effective in certain conditions. All flies should have a generous quantity of flat, wide holographic flashabou. Weed guards, though not a must, have proven to be quite useful. Size: from 1/0 to 3/0 (mostly 2-0 and 3-0)
Large Bombers, frogs, soft foam poppers, pencil poppers, deer hair poppers, Chernobyl ants and large bass or pike bugs. Bring a selection of different colors as shade is often more important than style. Size: 1/0 to 2/0. For Pacú and Pirá Pita, we recommend fruit imitation flies. Keep your hooks razor sharp. Alto Paraná Lodge strongly encourages the use of barbless hooks.
Spinning and Casting Equipment
An 8-foot 6-inch, two-handed medium- to heavy-action rod for 8- to 20-lb line will let you cast the 1/4 to 1 1/2 oz lures we normally use here. A 6-foot single-handed rod is also good to have to fish pockets and smaller waters. Take 2- or 3-piece rods for ease of transport.
Open-face spinning reels are the easiest to use but, in experienced hands, bait casters are the easiest to use accurately and they give you the best chance to place your lure where you want it.
Bait casters should feature a high-speed retrieval ratio, as lures are normally worked very rapidly.
Whichever style is your favorite, it will need to be loaded with 25-30 pound multiﬁlament line.
Steel leaders are a must. Dorado have sharp teeth and a 5 to 10 inch, 30-45 lb test (Sampo) steel leader is needed.
Of course, the list available is never-ending. Don’t be afraid to take your own and experiment. There is a good possibility that a lure you bring will change our way of fishing forever.
Below is a sampling of those we have tried that have worked:
Spoons, all colors; 1/4 to 2 oz silver and gold are very effective.
Rapala Gliding Rap 12
Rapala Super Shad Rap 14
Rapala C Rap 8-10 & 12 Rat-L-Trap, 1/4-3/4 oz
Rapala Husky Jerk, 3/4 oz
Rapala Jointed Minnow (very effective)
Rapala Original Floating, 3/4 oz
Rapala Rattlin Rap, 3/8 oz
Daredevil Spoons, 2 oz
Mepps Spinners, 1/2 oz
Slugg-O Plastic Baits § 1/4 to 3/4 oz Jigs with varied plastic bodies
Any topwater prop bait
Dorado Fly Patterns
In most cases, golden dorado prefer dark fly patterns that produce great silhouettes in tannin-colored waters.
But there are situations when carrying a mixture of brighter colors can be effective. So don’t be afraid to experiment across the color spectrum.
All flies should be tied on stout 2/0 to 4/0 hooks. Streamers can be tied from 4 to 6 inches long, or longer. However, it’s important that they’re light enough to cast. For the real big stuff, we recommend hydrophobic materials that shed water and therefore cast farther and easier than a watersoaked piece of bunny strip.
In order to make your flies more durable, add glue or epoxy throughout the tying process.