Pira Lodge - Suinda Lodge

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Posted by Trey Gurley on 2019-02-06 13:42:16 in reply to Golden Dorado - Pira Lodge - Ibera Wetlands, Agentina Trip posted by Dan Blanton on 2019-02-04 14:21:02


What a trip, huh? It was a pleasure meeting you and the rest of the group. This was my first trip to Argentina and chance to fish for Golden Dorado. I really didn’t know what to expect but everything surely would have exceeded any preconceived high expectation I could have set. Meredith posted a last minute opening for the trip in November and I jumped on it. In our brief initial phone call, she stated “Dorado are so much fun, they are beautiful and they jump.” I was sold. Given the run up to the trip was right during the holiday season, I had little time to prepare. I finished packing as I was walking out the door on the way to the airport.

The lodge, staff, guides and food were outstanding. Every day started with a beautiful sunrise and ended with even more spectacular sunset. The rides to and from the fishing locations were as much fun as catching the fish. Enjoying meals at the table with all of the fish tales being told was another added treat. The stories were constantly flowing with Bill and Dan sparring over their fishing careers, Shane and his expertise on all things technical, Colton and his Canadian experiences, Gerry, a world traveler/adventurer/inventor (dubbed mid-week “the world’s most interesting man”) sharing his experiencing throughout, Jay filling me in on his NC and east coast fishing times and Katie and Allen sharing their honeymoon, all the while Meredith acting as the nucleus. As you stated, everyone in the group was a joy to spend the week with. Thanks to Meredith for arranging it and Pira for providing the spot and atmosphere. Also, I wanted to mention James from London who left us too soon. He and Meredith had met at another Nervous Waters lodge to the south earlier in the month. James had recently retired from media and had been on a lengthy, well deserved fishing vacation but family was calling him home.

I caught my first Dorado within 5 minutes of fishing on the first day. Meredith was able to capture to some great action shots as I fought a fish that put a huge smile on my face which stayed with me for much of the week. These fish hit with solid, aggressive, most times violent strikes.

The second day, I fished with Gerry, and within 5 minutes of starting fishing that morning, I landed my largest fish of the trip, a 13 lber. Gerry was a treat to fish with as he was full of stories of his adventures around the world and a great fisherman to watch.

Fishing wise the rest of the week was filled with several Dorado in the 5-8 lb range and even more Piranha. I enjoyed these fish as they were strong on the take, a nice fight and their teeth were surely a spectacle once out of the water. Only problem, they would shred an $8 fly in seconds.

My toughest day of fishing involved a rough morning where we just couldn’t seem to find fish. Tito worked hard searching but everywhere we went no one was home. Finally, as we were about to break for lunch, Tito put me in a spot that we just knew had to hold a large dorado. There was a bottleneck creating great current holding several sabalo under a bank and more in a deep pool where the creek opened back. I cast right to where Tito asked and as I began to strip, the line was ripped out of my hand as a large hole opened where I last saw my fly. Without a good strip strike, these fish didn’t stay connected. I felt so bad for Tito as he had worked so hard for that one fish and I bombed it. I’m convinced that fish would have bested my 13 lber.

But then again I was fooled on the last day of fishing on my last cast. We had been throwing sinking lines in the river downstream of the lodge. Gerry and I had both picked up Piranha and Gerry had brought aboard a nice Dorado. It was very windy and I was worn out. The sun was setting but our guide Augustine wanted me to get one last dorado. We were set up a bend in the river and I was having to cast my Leviathan 300 directly into the wind across the river, let it swing, then strip once it met the bank. Again Augustine said “one more cast”. I did, let it swing, then boom, what I thought was the fish of the week. I turned to Gerry and Augustine and even told them this was the fish. Within seconds, my smallest fish of the week begins somersaulting out of the water. These fish, no matter the size, are strong and mean on the take.

At the end of the Pira week, I was fortunate enough to leave with Meredith and ride in a pickup 5 hours to the north to another Nervous Waters lodge that had just opened. Suinda Lodge is situated on the Parana River. Golden Dorado was also the game here, but the opportunity of Pacu, Pira Pita and Pacui exists there as well. Suinda was just as wonderful as Pira but with a different feel as it is situated on a bluff overlooking the river. The fishing on the Parana is very technical as you drift along banks with lots of structure and current. A well placed fly in front of a tree just off the bank or even just downstream would reward you with a nice dorado, pira pita or pacu. Most of the pira pita and pacu are caught on “fruit” flies, but I landed my share on the same large streamers we were using for the dorado.

The pacu are hard hitting fish and have very strong runs as they try to swim back into the structure. A couple of pacu were lost in the underwater brush after having exhibited an exciting topwater strike.

The funnest part of the Parana River fishing for me was one morning we happened to be passing the river flats. There were 5-6 dorado feeding on sabalo in around a foot of water. It looked like a bluefish feeding frenzy we see here on the NC coast when the large blues crash the surface chasing mullet up on the beach. There was chaotic feeding with large splashes and the backs of the dorado coming out of the water. Then all at once, the water would calm and the dorado tails would pop up as I assume the dorado were picking up the pieces from the bottom left from the melee. Dante, my guide that morning, ran the boat up on the shore on the back side of the island and we got out to stalk the dorado. It was very windy, so the ruffled water made it somewhat difficult to spot the dorado cruising the flats. But on a few occasions, I saw singles, doubles, and triples within range and was able to cast to the fish, each time getting them to turn and follow. One time I pulled the fly out of a dorado mouth as it was about to inhale the fly, rookie error. Dante spoke little English, me little Spanish, so we had a hard time communicating and I think I stripped when he said stop or went fast when he said slow or vise versa. Even without a hookup, this was a highlight.

As far as size, the Parana River produced larger fish than the marshland, at least during my stay. Several low 20’s were caught while Meredith and I were there, neither by me, and then once we left, some over 30.

Pira and Suinda are very different, but both excellent as far as amenities, service, guides and fishing goes. Highly recommended on all aspects.

Dan, hope to get out there and chase striper with you soon. But, you are welcome in NC any time for shad, striper and albacore. Hoping Jay will give me a ring when he is coming thru on one of his East Coast swings. I plan to visit Colton in BC late summer should things hold together.

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