Pacu Session on Upper Parana River

Barrett Argentina, Dorado

Dorado is one of my favorite fishes to target, perhaps more so than any other freshwater species. It has all the hallmarks of a quality game-fish on the fly: aggressive takes, acrobatic fights, brilliant colors, and the potential to reach monstrous sizes.  Most fishermen travel to the Upper Parana for this very reason. But during the summer months there is another unheralded denizen of the deep that provides excellent sport for anglers in the know – the Pacu.

Oftentimes referred to as the permit of the Parana, the pacu probably won’t win any beauty contests. But like its saltwater cousin, it is challenging to fool, encounters are rare, and once on the line, they fight harder and run faster than any other fish found in freshwater. Pacu are omnivorous, though selective eaters. During the summer months they move out from the deep and take positions under the streamside foliage to catch falling seeds and fruit. When they are on the “seed hatch”, they abandon their typically wary inspection of potential meals and gobble up anything that is round, green and makes nice “bloop” sounds as it falls into the water. Enter our “fly” of choice: a green plastic ball pushed down the hook shank. While it may technically count as a fly and certainly isn’t the most elegant thing to cast, that didn’t seem to bother the Pacu. Every single fish we spotted inhaled the green ball without the slightest doubt. And if the fish was facing the wrong direction our a sloppy cast put the fly well out of sight, the loud sound of the splashing ball would immediately illicit an about-face, and the pacu would come looking. A blind amputee could have probably caught one.

Thanks to Peto for the awesome fishing, amazing food, and entertaining family evenings.