Sunday, November 12, 2023



Popper fishing at La Zona can produce huge dorado exceeding 50 lbs.  The key to finding a great popper is it must have a shallow cup mouth and be lightweight yet heavy enough to make long casts. The shallow cup mouth allows the popper to be retrieved at very high speeds yet putting out enough splash to trigger strikes.  Long casts next to boulders are the best bet for hooking into a giant. In Argentina, Juan Vaccaneo, owner of the CANO company makes the best poppers for La Zona.  These cedar poppers come in grande  ( 16cm, 75gr) and medianos (12cm, 42gr).  The CANO poppers are the perfect size as casts can be make accurately and without wearing one out while reeling as fast as hell! In triggering dorado one does not "pop" as popper.   They come in multiple colors of which I have found makes no difference.

Here in the USA, Kermett Adams, of makes great wooden poppers.  Kermett can create the popper to your specifications.  
So, next visit to La Zona or other freshwater dorado destinations make sure to add CANO and Klure poppers to your tacklebox!  

***as of this writing, due to the high cost of cedar in Argentina, CANO poppers will not be produced out of wood, but will be created out of polyurethane.  Hopefully the wood costs decrease so these amazing poppers can once again be made.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2023


 Jurassic Lake Lodge is without a doubt the best trophy rainbow trout fishery on earth!  In Lago Strobel, aka Jurassic Lake, the rainbows gorge themselves on skuds and grow to enormous size.  There are no predators in the lake other than giant rainbows.  On September 23, I along with 10 friends, were picked up in El Calafate by a lodge van.  We drove to the end of the highway then drove the rest of the 6-hour drive by the guides 4 x 4 trucks.  Recent snow had made the road very slippery.  Guide, Brian, and the three other guides drove like we were on a paved highway. Along the way we drove through a few inches of snow and mud.  We motored through ice covered rivers but finally reached Jurassic Lake Lodge.  We observed numerous herds of guanaco and some rhea.  I have fished at Jurassic Lake Lodge numerous times.  The end of September and end of April/ beginning of May are the best times in my opinion.  In September, thousands of rainbows enter the Barrancoso river to spawn.  At the end of April/ beginning of May, the river does not nearly have the number of rainbows in September, but huge "chromers" can be caught outside the 

mouth of the Barrancoso.  After getting our beats assigned, we are told the Argentina Department of Fisheries no longer allows fishing in Rios in Patagonia during September.  This is added protection to spawning trout.  So, our beats which are about a 10-minute walk from the lodge were far right of the mouth, right of the mouth, left of the mouth, and the Bay of Pigs.  

I was teamed with Duffy and Glenn who never fished Jurassic before.  Duffy and I started casting Red bloody glow nose moonshine spoons, while Glenn fly fished.  The results were outstanding as action was non-stop.  Duffy landed a 21 lbs, Glenn also landed a 21 lbs trophy, and I landed a 21.6 lbs trophy.  The largest rainbow for the week was a trophy pushing the scales to 22 lbs.  The average size rainbow in my opinion was 12 to 13 lbs.  There has been lots of need snow in the area this spring.  The river mouth was extremely narrow during our stay.  This should increase during snowmelt and the fishing throughout the season should be outstanding.  

The winds are temperature were favorable during the week.  Jurassic Lake is known for high winds pushing up to 80 mph!  The trout just love the wind and can be seen close to shore in the waves.  Duffy and I switched over to fly fishing and had nonstop action. My white mop flies were the ticket to hundreds of big rainbows!  One does not have to be a master fly caster to constantly hook up.  The guides at Jurassic Lake Lodge are pros when fly fishing and can provide lessons to the novice fly caster like me!    The accommodations, meals, and guides could not be improved upon.  

For the week, my estimation for the group of 11 was we landed and released 3500+ rainbows with 5 exceeding the magical 20+ lbs mark.  The far-right beat was outstanding and should not be forgotten once the Barrancosco can be fished.  

I am heading back to Lago Stroble, Jurassic Lake Lodge beginning of May 2024 and mid-September 2024.  A few rods are still available so join us for the best rainbow trout fishery on earth.  You can contact me at or on facebook.  

Monday, October 30, 2023


 During my first week at La Zona Lodge, the water was high, but the fishing was outstanding. 

Numerous trophy dorado weighing up to 50 lbs were landed on the doradokiller spinnerbaits by  I advised 4 friends from the USA to come for week 2.  Since fishing is only allowed on Monday through Thursday, I went back to Buenos Aires on Friday and stayed at the Grand King Hotel.  The Grand King is located in the shopping center district near Florida Street.  Each day I walked down to Puerto Madero. 

Puerto Madero is located in the city on Rio de la Plata.  There are miles of boardwalk on each side of the Rio filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs.  The Argentina peso was extremely low during my stay so I could get a beer during Happy Hour for 0.75 cents and a ribeye steak for around $9USD.  On Sunday, my friend, Oscar, picked up my friend and I for the drive back to La Zona Lodge while the three others went back in a different taxi.  The drive to the lodge takes about 6 hours.  Once at the lodge we are greeted by Giuliana Brabanini and friend, Santiago, who previously worked as lodge chef, but now acts as manager.  Since I kept all my tackle in my hotel room which I stayed in the previous week I was all set to battle the dorado.  The others in the group had to unpack and set tackle up. On Monday, the first fishing day, I fished with Elbio. The spinnerbaits were red-hot last week, so we started with them.

The fishing was again good.  I landed a 46 and 44 lbs trophy.  The three friends in the other boat fished with guide Alejandro.  Since the water was rising, I advised them to use live marianas which are knifefish.  They are casted on a size 8/0 with a small egg sinker a few feet above the hook.  They are like candy to dorado!  The guys report great success and land a 50, 48, 46, 44, and 42 lbs trophies.  On day two the water levels again rose.  Since the others had great catches using marianas, my partner and I bought 3 dozen for the morning session.  I have never used live bait in all my years fishing La Zona, but the conditions were getting worse with the high water.  The dam Police would not allow us to fish into the turbines, so we had to cast starting roughly 40 yards away from the dam.  The fishing drastically decreased away from the turbines.  I however got lucky with a 48 lbs while other boat did not catch any decent size dorado.

  The police chased us off the water around 5pm saying the water exceeded 13 meters. The next day, Wednesday, the police said no problem fishing.  In the first 15 minutes the group of three landed tripleheaders twice.  My partner lands a giant 48 lbs while I hooked into one which felt huge but unfortunately tossed the hook.  So, some unknown reason the Police blew their whistle signing us to the Police Station stairs.  They said a strong storm with high winds was approaching so we had to stop fishing.  I argued with the policewoman, who I knew, but could not convince her to let us to continue.  I am convinced this would have been a red-letter day as over 10 dorado were landed in the very short time.  The session at La Zona Lodge is roughly 8am to noon, lunch, the back on the water around 3pm till dark.  Around 2pm the winds got very strong out the south which blows directly into the dam.  

Fishing was cancelled so we sat around repairing tackle and drinking beer.  Hector Bradanini, La Zona Lodge owner, call the dam police.  They gave us permission to fish on Thursday, but not into the turbines.  When we got to the boats, the water looked like chocolate milk.  The strong winds plus incoming water did us no favor.  I have fished in this coloration before here at La Zona and once on the Alaska Peninsula and caught practically nothing.  I put my lure into the water and could not see it. The visibility was terrible!  We made a few drifts away from the dam and caught nothing.  The guides decide to cast poppers or Super Shad Raps toward the rocks and bushes on the Argentina and Uruguay shorelines.  This produced lots of strikes by small dorado weighing under 30 lbs.  The big dorado would not be around as these "bambinos" could be eaten by the giants.  

That evening we took apart tackle and stored much of it at the hotel for future use.  In all the trip was good.  In roughly 2 days for clear water, we landed the following.

1 at 50

2 at 48

3 at 46

2 at 44

2 at 42

1 at 40

2 at 38

5 at 36

1 at 34

3 at 30

So, October can be a great month for giants exceeding 40 lbs.  The La Zona guides, Elbio and Alejandro, know where these giants are year-round.  They know the locations of huge boulders where the brutes sit getting out of the current waiting for the flow to push feed to them.  They are masters at boat handling in the rough waters near the dam.  The La Zona Lodge guides MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE in catching giants compared to small dorado.  The food and accommodations at La Zona Lodge are 5 stars.  We dined on steaks, chicken, pasta, pizza, ribs, and even dorado for the stay.  This was the first time I tasted golden dorado and it was delicious.  

As mentioned, La Zona Lodge, fills rapidly.  There is no place better to catch huge dorado in the world.  The top-notch guides will put you onto them.  There are a few openings through 2026 but filling quickly.  There is a special rate discount for October 2025 so get in quickly to experience a golden dorado experience of a lifetime!  

Sunday, October 29, 2023


 La Zona has been experiencing high water this fall.  My friends who fished in September left early as the levels rose over 13 meters so the Argentina dam Police deemed the fishing would be unsafe.  Since I was already in Argentina at Jurassic Lake Lodge, I still went with the intention of just visiting friends.  I called the group of 4 who were to fish with me and told them to reschedule.  When I arrived at La Zona Lodge, the water had dropped below 11 meters, so I was told no problem fishing.  

I have been to La Zona numerous times and am good friends with the owners, guides, and have numerous friends who live in Concordia.  Since I was alone, I asked Santiago if he would come fishing with me on day 1.  We were guided by Alejandro who is one of the best dorado guides in the world!  The morning produced lots of strikes on spinnerbaits, Super Shad Raps, CANO poppers, and deep diving Rapalas.  The dorado were not the giants over 40 lbs we were looking for, but the strikes were numerous.  In the afternoon, the giants came out.  Alejandro masterfully sthe turbine wall as far as we could.  We put 8-inch musky twister tails on the spinnerbait hooks.  The strikes were numerous, and we both landed some huge dorado.  

The bite continued the entire morning.  The spinnerbait skirts and tails were destroyed so lots of tackle repair was done at lunch.  In the afternoon, Alejandro motored us back toward the turbine walls.  The water is very wicked like a washing machine.  It is extremely different to prevent the boat from crashing into the dam walls.  The guides boat ability is one of the reasons why La Zona Lodge catches by far the majority of dorado exceeding 50+ lbs near the Salto Grande Dam.  Around 6pm the bite slows so Santiago and I toss CANO poppers toward the Uruguay shoreline.  It is strike after strike until we pull lines around 7pm.  Santiago catches two trophies which are his all-time largest dorado.
On Tuesday, I ask friend, Mariano Bradanini, to fish with me.  Today, we are fishing with Elbio, the other great dorado guide at La Zona Lodge.  We tell Elbio to motor us back to the turbines.  The giants are still there and feeding.  We again cast the doradokiller spinnerbaits and landed numerous trophies.  In the afternoon, Mariano asked me to take out his son which was not a problem. 

He out fished me 3 to 1 and had a great time.  On Wednesday, friend Mateo, would join me.  I have known Mateo since he was a in his low teens.  Now, he is taller than I am.  He once landed two dorado over 50lbs the same morning which were longer than he was!  Alejandro guided us again and the giants were still there.  I get a huge strike.  Alejandro motors the giant out to calmer water as it is impossible to reel once the dorado gets into the strong current.  So, we pull the dorado to where the boat is safe from slamming into the dam walls.  Alejandro gets very excited as he pulls the dorado into the boat.  It is over 1 meter, so he guessed the weight around 50 lbs.  Once weighing on a certified boga grip it was exactly 50 lbs!  A few mintues later, Mateo hooks into a giant.  Alejandro once again does a magnificent job of motoring the boat out to calm water.  The beast is finally landed and pushes the boga grip to 48 lbs.

We slammed the giants the rest of the morning.  In the afternoon, strong winds from the south came up blowing directly into the dam.  The police pulled us over and said the river is unsafe so we could not fish.  The next morning, I take out friend Jorge.  Elbio's turn is back up to guide us.  The fishing is again tremendous.  I land another 48 and numerous over 40 lbs.  Jorge also has great action.  

This was perhaps the best trip in my life for giant dorado at La Zona Lodge.  I felt guilty that I told my friends to reschedule.  For the 4 days of fishing, the boat landed 25 dorado over 30 lbs (I only record 30+ lbs dorado).  The results are as follows:

1 at 50

2 at 48

2 at 46

3 at 44

2 at 42

4 at 40

1 at 38

1 at 36

As you can see, the La Zona Lodge guides know where the big dorado are year around.  Much demand has returned since the Argentina and Uruguay governments permit fishing next to the dam again.  Plus, the doradokiller spinnerbaits and CANO poppers were the key in tempting the giants.  La Zona Lodge has some limited opens through 2026.  They have a special discounted rate for October 2025 where giants can be caught with decent water conditions.  The dorado spawn around Novoember so pack the pounds on in October as evident by giant girths.  So, I have another week to fish.  I call my freinds in the USA to come on the trip as the fishing is outstanding and for now the water levels are fishable.  Stay tuned for week 2 results!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Bull Redfish. Venice, LA August 7-10


Had the opportunity to fish with my brother and a good friend in Venice, LA for bull redfish during August 7 through 10.  We were guided by Captain Keith Kennedy of Born To Fish Charters.  We have fished with Capt. Keith numerous times, and he knows where the fish are.  Keith provides everything from accommodations to tackle.  My brother, Bill, and I flew out of Chicago to New Orleans where we met up with friend Gary Clark.  We rented a car for the 1.5 hour drive to Venice.  The weather was extremely hot to say the least!  The winds were down, and little rain was in the forecast.  Upon arriving Keith prepared a delicious Cajun crawdad meal.  Keith is a fantastic cook!  Throughout our stay we fished mostly plastics behind Blabber Mouth popping corks.  
Throughout the week the bite was off.  A couple of reds were caught each day.  Billy and I tied for the largest bull of the trip pushing the scale to 28 lbs.  One day we ran into a huge school of sharks which were fun to battle but always wound up cutting our braid.  Other guided boats were also experiencing poor results.  I do not know why the bite was off as August always produced high number of catches in the past.  Maybe El Nino is causing issues?  If you looking to get into big bull reds for a great price, give Keith a shout as am sure the bite will pick up very soon!  

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Rio Casiquiare System..Giant Peacock Bass


Rumors are abound that the Rio Casiquiare system in Venezuela which includes the Rio Pasiba and Rio Pasimoni, will soon open for sport fishing.  This system was popular in the 1990s and was known to produce giant peacocks surpassing the magical 20 lbs.  The Casiquiare is a tributary of the Orinoco flowing southward to the Rio Negro.  It forms a canal between the Orinoco and Amazon river systems.  Unfortunately, I was not able to go with a bunch of friends who were some of lucky anglers to wet a line there.  These rivers have not seen a lure for decades!  So, hopefully the rumors are true.  Contact for more information on this amazing peacock bass destination.  

Monday, July 3, 2023


 On June 16 I set out from Milwaukee to Panama City on American Airlines for a 7-day fishing trip with Panafishing Lodge.  After flight cancellations and delays, I finally flew on United Airlines out of Houston to Panama City on June 17.  Once I arrived, I found out that my rodcase holding all my fishing equipment was lost.  Luckily, Dereck Platt, new owner of Panafishing, had equipment for rent.  This was my second trip with Panafishing.  My previous trip was fantastic with many giant roosterfish exceeding 50 lbs with 1 enormous rooster pushing toward the 90lbs mark per guide Javier.  

The reports on Panama fishing in general were poor as El Nino was having a great influence on water temperatures. My three friends who came with were first timers to Panama and never caught a roosterfish previously.

Guide Javier motored us inshore near wave breaking rocks.  Friend, Etan had the first hook-up and landed a decent cubera snapper estimated at 30 lbs.  Cubera snappers are exceptionally strong and dive straight to the bottom to rocks.  

Roostefish simply would not attack.  We saw numerous roosters follow our poppers to the boat and turn around.  Etan landed a few small roosterfish.  We both were constantly getting attacked by nuisance needlefish which caused some line issues.  We all landed numerous mackerel,   bigeye jacks, rainbow runners, and small yellowfin tuna throughout the trip.  All of us hooked into big cuberas which were too much to handle.  The day before leaving my rodcase finally showed up.  Amazing that the airlines could misplace a 6ft long black rodcase!  I decided to give slow pitch jigging a try.  I bought the equipment for Papua New Guinea but could not understand how this light equipment could handle large fish.  We used a small 80 gram jig in about 50 foot of water when a rod pulling strike took place.  The slow pitch jigging rod was bent to the water and the drag on the reel was screaming.  After about 10 minutes we saw a black and white stripped figure coming to the surface, finally a decent rooster weighing about 35lbs.  

3 anglers from France were having good success trolling and jigging offshore.  The last day after lunch we decided to give it a try.  Etan spotted tuna breaking the surface, so it was a strike cast after cast for about forty five minutes.  About 10 minutes into the bite, Etan saw a huge mahi mahi streak toward my small Yo-Zuri popper.  It struck so hard that the rod nearly jerked out of my arms.  After a few jumps my largest mahi mahi to date was landed about 45 lbs.  Javier tossed it into the cooler which was already full of yellowfin tuna.

About 45 minutes into the frenzy, the bite slowed somewhat.  However, I noticed a few tuna breaking the water behind the boat.  I made a long cast with the popper and had a huge strike.  This fish was much stronger than the others.  After many drag pulling runs, we saw a decent yellowfin coming to the surface.  Javier gaffed the brute and somehow tossed him into the cooler.  The yellowfin was estimated at 55 lbs.  

For the afternoon, Etan and I landed about 35 yellowfin.  Our friends landed a few yellowfin and wahoo trolling while the French anglers hooked into a few marlin and sailfish which broke off.  

The best lure of the trip was without a doubt the     4 3/4 inch Yo-Zuri magnum popper in silver and black.  

The trip was a success especially given the difficult fishing conditions we were handed.  The giant roosters evade us but the yellowfin and mahi mahi were fun to land on light tackle. 

Panafishing Lodge is a small lodge run by Dereck Platt and his family.  There are 4 bedrooms and 4 boats of which 3 are used and the other is kept as a backup.  We did not see other fishermen other than a few locals.  Pedasi is about a 5-hour drive from Panama City where Dereck arranges the transportation.  We stayed at The Executive Hotel in Panama City.  The meals at the lodge were great.  Mostly freshly caught fish is on the menu along with sushi from tuna or wahoo!  Delicious!  

So, if a big roosterfish in a quiet family-oriented lodge is on your to do list, consider looking at Panafishing in Pedasi, Panama.