Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Heavy Duty Split Ring Pliers

During my recent trip to the Solomon Sea, Papua New Guinea, I unfortunately discovered my split ring pliers would not provide a wide enough cap to attach the extremely thick gauge hooks.  Luckily, outfitter, Luke, had a pair of Owner pliers which allowed the hooks to be attached.  When I got back home, I found the Owner split ring pliers, GP40 or GP50, are difficult to purchase.  However, I was able to buy the hPa Big Game split ring pliers.  These pliers have the ability to open large, high strength split rings.  The gap created by the pliers is large enough to allow the think gauge hooks to pass thru.  So, next outing for monster GTs and doggies, make sure your split ring pliers work before you head out to the seas!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Papua New Guinea/ Rock Expeditions

Had the opportunity to fish with Luke Wyrsta of Rock Expeditions along with friends Neil Waddall of New Zealand and Peter Furber of South Africa.  We fished for over 8 days in the middle of February.  Our main base was Bushy/Mwanewa Island out in the Solomon Sea and later in the stay we motored about 4 hours further south to Panarairai.  The majority of destinations have never seen a lure before.  We targeted GT ( Giant Trevally) using x-large poppers and stickbaits.  The GT fishing was good with approximately 80 lbs being the largest. 
Numerous blue trevally, a few bigeye trevally, a few dogtooth tuna, lots of Bohar Snapper, lots of coral trout, Spanish Mackerel, 2 Napolean Wrasse, a few rainbow runners, a few barracuda, a footballer trout, lots of green jobfish, a few coronation trout/ cresent tail trout/ scarlet sea perch, rock cods and skipjack tuna and a shark was landed during the week.  Peter Furber landed the fish of his dreams, a beautiful Napoleon Wrasse weighing around 85 lbs.  Peter also had a huge doggie get devoured by a shark at the boat and another giant doggie which he fought over an hour before his line gave away. 
The Louisiade Archipelago holds thousands of reefs loaded with fish.  The trip is extremely remote and more or less camping out which was to my delight.  We stayed in a native hut on Bushy sleeping on mats in mosquito netting.  On Panarairai were put a tarp over some trees and slept on the mats.  No cold drinks here!
We drank room temperature bottled water, soda, and beer.  Meals consisted of fish, bananas, pineapples, rice, and ramen noodles. 
Sleeping " under the stars" was a huge determining factor when I booked this trip.  Luke does everything in his power to insure a safe trip.  He is the most passionate angler I have shared a boat with and his knowledge about GT is second to none!  This trip was a dream come true to me and cannot wait to head back next February!

Temple Forks Outfitters TFD Big Fish Spinning Rods

Before my recent trip to Papua New Guinea for Giant Trevally, I talked to friend and IGFA Hall of Fame member, Larry Dahlberg.  Larry made a phone call on my behalf to Jim Shulin of TFO.  Jim provided me with a few TFD Big Fish Spinning Rod blanks in models 86P3 and 86P2.  I then sent to blanks to Thorne Brothers in Minnesota to have master rod builder, Lonnie, build the rods to my specifications.  I took the P3 model to PNG as a tad stronger than the P2.  The rods turned out great.  Was trying to see if a big GT would break the rod.  I was able to handle GTs up to approximately 80 lbs on these blanks.

So in my opinion they can handle practically every fish which swims as the GT are extremely powerful and put a hurt on many rods!  As of today, TFO is not selling the spinning rod models, just the baitcasting rods.  However, am sure you can get in touch with either Larry on his website www.huntforbigfish.com or contact Jim Shulin at TFO about getting some blanks. You can then contact a master rod builder such as Lonnie at www.thornebrothers.com.   Next year I hope to put a 100 lbs GT on the end of these rods!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


As I have written in past posts, clients fishing in La Zona are no longer staying at Los Tres Sietes.  There is a new lodge which is a ranch style house.  It consists of 3 large bedrooms.  2 of the bedrooms have private baths while the 3rd has a separate bathroom in the room directly adjacent.
Each of the rooms have A/C and numerous electrical outlets to charge batteries.   In the main dining room there is a large table for meals.  There is a large refrigerator stocked with water, sodas, and beer.  There are rod hangers in the hallways, plus there is a large screen television.

Next door to the main building is a newly constructed foundation where meals are prepared.  There is a large dining table and stocked refrigerator in this building also.  There is no A/C, but large fans to keep the room cool.  So you have the option of having meals in this building or the main building.
Caretaker, Lucus, cleans the swimming pool daily which is a great way to cool down after a day of fishing.  There is a lighted deck on the main building so you can relax and have a few drinks while discussing your days fishing.  Laundry service is again provided.  Meals as always are delicious so expect to put on a few pounds during your stay.  Van transportation is provided from you arrival in Buenos Aires on Thursdays and return on Tuesdays in time for you flight home.  There are a few prime dates remaining in 2018 with popular dates in 2019 going fast!  Contact Giuliana Bradanini or myself for more information.  You will be guaranteed with the largest golden dorado on earth!

Monday, January 22, 2018

La Zona, Uruguay River, Golden Dorado January 5th to 8th

Had the opportunity for fish on the Uruguay River out of La Zona Lodge for golden dorado.  I have been fortunate to fish out of La Zona Lodge each year since the zone opened to fisherman.  The water was the lowest I have seen in all my years.  However, guides Elbio and Alejandro put the group of 4 onto 7 trophy dorado with the largest tipping the scales at 50 lbs.  The top lures were large Yo-Zuri Poppers, Shimano Orcas, and heavy duty spinnerbaits.
There are new accommodations at La Zona Lodge.  All in my group like the new Lodge over Los Tres Sietes where I stayed for numerous years.  Contrary to false rumors each bedroom has air conditioning.  There are 3 spacious bedrooms at the new lodge.  The large single rooms have private bath while the shared room has a bathroom directly next door.  There is a large living room complete with refrigerator, dinner table, and big screen television.  There is a large deck to enjoy a few beers after dinner along with a new well kept swimming pool. 
About 20 yards away is a new building where all meals are prepared.  There is a large dining room which is available to have you meals should you desire.  In all the trip as usual was fantastic.  Hector and Giuliana Bradanini are wonderful hosts and will do everything in their power to make your stay a trip of a lifetime.  The 2019 season is already start to book so make sure to act now to get prime dates for the best golden dorado fishery on earth!

Saturday, January 20, 2018


It is quite exciting to see a monster sized fish reach out of the water to smacking a popper.  On my recent trip to La Zona, the water was extremely low.  The key to getting the dorados attention was to cast poppers. 
We did not "pop" the poppers but reeled them in as fast as possible.  The best poppers were ones with large cupped mouths such as the Klures poppers and the Yo-Zuri Bull.  Kermett Adams of klures makes some of the best wooden poppers and choppers on the market.   A few dorado over 40lbs got fooled by this technique.
In a few weeks I will be off to Misima Island off of the coast of Papua New Guinea out in the Indian Ocean hoping to fool massive size Giant Trevally.  Odds are this will be quite a different retrieve as the lures will now not get reeled in with sonic speeds, but a steady popping retrieve will be used.  I have gather quite a collection on various sizes and types of poppers specifically for this trip.  One in particular has caught my attention.  Dave Killalea of Old Dog lures out of Australia makes huge poppers out of timber.  They are each handcrafted and can weigh up to 220 grams.  Other good looking poppers I plan on using are the Heru Cubera, the Sebile Splasher 165 gram, and the Halco Roosta Popper.  
So add a variety of lures to your arsenal.  You never know which will be the hot lure and hate to have your partner catching fish after fish and not have one to loan you!
Just hope my shoulders and arms can last casting these massive lures let alone when the big Giant Trevally or Dogtooth tuna gets hooked which is another issue in itself!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Gifts

Dragging super strong spinnerbaits over the boulders which lie in the Uruguay River in the section known as "La Zona" has been the key to landing huge golden dorado the past few years.  To my knowledge, there are no store bought spinnerbaits available which can stand up to the viscous strike and pulling power of huge golden dorado.  Friend, Sparky Bullock, has designed a spinnerbait just to remedy this issue.  Sparky has friends who own a machine shop which are able to work with the extra thick diameter wire which is needed.  His design is either a 1 1/2 oz or 2 oz leadhead attached to the wire.  An Owner hyper wire split ring is attached to the leadhead then a SPRO Heavy Swivel is attached.  The extra strong single hook can then either be attached to the swivel or to another split ring.  This enables the hook to rotate during the lure tossing leaps by the golden dorado.  This is a huge advantage over a fixed hook.  Joe has only been selling these spinnerbaits to a select few.  However, he has agreed to sell them to friends of mine.

The spinnerbaits come with choice of blades, blade colors, skirt colors, and leadhead color.  For La Zona I highly recommend extra large double willow blades with orange/black skirts either weight.  Just drag these spinnerbaits around the boulders during your drift and you might be rewarded with some huge golden dorado over 50 lbs as I was fortune to last year.  Musky, big pike, and other monster species should also be fooled by Sparky's spinnerbaits.  Contact Joe Bullock at joe@bullock.com and tell him you are a friend of mine!