Fly fishing for Wolf Fish
written for the GLOBAL FLY FISHER
September, Lake Salto Grande, Argentine, It has been a long and rough winter down here, usuallly we are used to fish in short sleeve shirts during this period, but this time we rather used our equipment equivalent to Patagonia and enjoyed hearty meals like homemade stews and tons of homemade cakes. Even the lake dwellers suffert from the crispy low water temperarures, fairly big numbers of dead fish either species where washed on shore this time and it seemt the entire population of Piranhas where whiped out. Since the strong cold wind settled and temperature raised, Carolina and me where in great expectation and exitement to get a shoot for the most astonishing predator of this waters.
equipment iguana prints
Neither seen nor a noisy hunter, his strategy to survive as well is exeptionell: he is capable to leave his enviroment and absorb oxigene through the air. His name is Hoplias malabaricus, and belong to the “telostei family” the bonefish, one of the oldest living species
on our planet earth, we call him Tararira or Tarucha. Its dark brown body is designed for short powerful atacks, muscular with blakish stripes and a long dorsal and huge pectoral fins. He almost is bullet proof, his bone plate armored head cant even be crushed by an golden Dorado and his six fangs and razorshape teeth complete this prehistoric predator.
The spring brings up the undeniable advantage to fish for the Tararira, he leaves the dark deapths of the lake to enter the shallow waters of the shoreline in order to charge his batterie. While watertemperature until november rather crispy, it hardly exeed 16° Cor 68° F, the shallows easily reaching up to 20°C. But, if you think to hook one of those Tarariras during spring circumctances is a walk in the park, concider this: lake Salto is an menmade reservoir, waterlevel rise and fall. Some of you readers might know our recent article for GFF and how moody the lake can be. And again we are talking about a waterlevel in between 34 mts./102 feet and 35 mts./105 feet, which means the shoreline is scattered with timber, driftwood and dense vegetation. But unless summertime, we are not drawning in any kind of waterhyacinths and related green, which simplify access and fly presentation.
Because the Tararira really is a shy one, he needs shelter, preferably in the most dense labyrinths of plants and driftwood, he doesent give up this behaviour during his “sunbathe” either. He must be arround somewhere due to the more comfortable temperature.
Now we are in the game ! Getting ready our tackle wasn´t that different, its comparable to the stalk for the other lake beauty´s : # 5 rods, floating line, WF or shootinghead and our homemade leaders with bite tippet and to complete this set up, fly´s tied on hooks between 0/1 – 2/0 mostly unweighted.
Carolina and me reached one of those lagoons well hidden behind Orange plantations. Julian who batlled arroud with a spinning rod twice as big as himself gave us permission to trespass his property. Aca, overthere, pointing his finger in direction of the huge fallen tree, there I lost my lure, algo re grande, something real big… doubtless, looking in those frighten eyes of our little friend, something must be out there…
Anyway, I entered the water first, not without spooked a bunch of Tarariras, which wasn´t avoidable to get in casting position and not to hook a orange tree … After casting half an hour from a hip deep position and zero Tararira, it was time to take over the digi cam and tape Carolinas approach to hook this Monster who ate Julian´s artificial …
»Did you try here ?«, she asked , »sure I am not a fool, tried everything, but nothing worked «… so far my respond … Whhii, Whhii, two false casts later and the unweighted fly landed on the green roof, working its way through the dense green and partly open water, nothing ! After scrambling another green obstacle and than finaly reaching open water, a dark shadow appear out of the dark, broke the surface and vanished into the brownish stained water, he missed the fly and I wondered: it must have been something which seduced this Tararira, which fairly was a good one, estimated in the 5Ibs range. And indeed, Carolina where working the fly much slower than I did, and even after the fly landed on the waterplants she gave it a rest, just enough to trigger attention to the Tararira which was lurking in his hiding. Nevertheless, I mentioned with a smile on my face, got the wholes scene in here, pointing to the camera, Pushing some knobs to activate the replay, but, holy crap, something went wrong during taping the vid, there where casting sequences and the next sequence showed just wiggly blue sky. Somehow I must have interrupted the taping process, shame over me, no retake, what a disappointment. And it shouldnt be the last time. Two more Tarariras missed my fly, but significantly smaller than Carolinas.
Approaching cautiousely, a school of juvenill Dorados swimming in tight circles, warming up in this thermal waters which pours into the lake. I stood there for a while and enjoyed this awakening of nature. I carried on walking and finally arrived the green covered inner part of the lagoon. I gave it a try to my recent developed design, a muddlerstyle green head, silver sparkling body, slightly weighted and with weedguard. Convidently I did cast my fly into the green. Soon after starting I had the first violent take, nothing huge, but its amazing to see how voracios the small ones atack the fly. Luckely I where able to wade and fish the entire stretch without the necessity to get out of the water because of any sudden hole and spooke away the Tarariras. Another cast, plop, the fly landed in a mixed zone of dense vegetation and free water, now weeks later while writing this lines, I honestly dont remember exactly what happend first, wether the schools of big Sabalos stampeed like escaped or this beast first broke through the green and felt back.
Immediately I raise my rod and hell, there where no slack in my line and jump after jump I came to the clue that this hook was well set.So I battled and taped the entire time. I mentaly prepared myself for the final schoot and release, but than, something horribly went wrong, while still more out of the water in stead under, I forgot to put down my rod tip and what remained is the certainty of a trophy Tararira which where in the 10 lbs class. And here it comes : not expecting such a fish I used a snap which simply where destroyed and well I mentioned my camera hazzle, but this time I taped it perfectly nice, but later one totaly lost overview while selecting and delete dozens of sequences, you know what comes, I accidentally deleted the video.
How to find him and the hot spots :
Because the Tararira is an invisible hunter you either train your ability to hear them or to search for the hidings. But, both ways are the key to an succesfull fishing day. When the Tararira is feeding in the surface you hear them sipping in the prey, its a unique noise best described as the last drop of water which pours your bathtube. But you better rely on both sences and watch out for any kind of dense vegetation, submerged timber and driftwood. As mentioned before, the best shoot you got is during springtime when the inshore water on the banks increased the temperature. The later the year the harder it gets to find them.
Which fly to use:
In general we use hook size in between 0/1 – 2/0 strong wire hook. Because the stalk for Tararira is almost exclusively done in areas with “some” vegetation, unless your patience is infinity the weedguard will save your day!!! There are situations we use unweighted fluffy flies but just in the early spring when we not faced with the djungle like green. When the plant grow reaches its peak time we going for slightly weighted paterns to get them a bit faster through the weeds.
It seemt we can disregard the choice of colour, exept the Tararira missed varios times the fly, than it might be a wise choice to change your fly, respecting colour and size. As well use your comon sense, bright sunny days might require a not to dark pattern and in the opposit way a darker colour for an overcast day but this really depands on your try. Also all kind of popper and gurgler work very well.
How to tie the flies
I like to use different tying materials, a mix of the classic bucktail and syhthetic fibers, allways add some glitter. After trying the most comon way to atach the weedguard which seemt is to tie in mono
and than secure it with meters of yarn and tones of glue, I decidet not to adoped this technic, I choosed the simple way to attach a plastic pearl make a hole with a hot needle and insert and secure a small piece of hardmono with any kind of superglue. Importend is the use of hardmono otherwise it wouldnt keep the slightly curved shape.
Slow, slow, slow ! The Tararira does not chase a prey he ambushs it by short increadibly fast sprints, therefore when the fly touches the water or landet above the weeds, be pacient and wait before you
Do it with short stripes out of your wrist, wether you using a streamer, or gurgler and popper – style pattern. A slow worked surface pattern doesent mean a quiet presentation ! Make it as noisy as possible ! You got to trigger attention and the deeper the Tararia hides the more noise should your fly generate.
The bite tippet and the take
You might wonder what they have in common, its the way the Tararira normaly ambush its prey, by literally sucking it in, which means the takes under the surface are sometimes comparable to hang on’s. Very often you think, shit just another piece of timber or more likely weed on the end of the line, until this plant moves away, to late, Tararira gone, most likely because your bite tipped was curled and you didn´d recognize the take… If the bite tippet is curled, change it for another straight 20lbs piece.
Still homemade, total length 2,50 mtr.
55 % but 0,70 1,375 mtr.
25 % 0,60 0,625 mtr.
20 % 0,50 0,50 mtr.
Bite tippet 20 lbs 0,20 mtr.
To connect the different monos for the leader, the slim beauty outrun the albrightknot.
The slim beauty you can easily made under rough conditions. To connect the tippet to the fly line we use the perfect loop, another sturdy knot, if you like, add a drop of superglue.
The bite tippet to leader is also done with a slim beauty.
And the final step will be the fly to bite tippet knot, which simply is a figure eight knot.
Well, the bigger the Tarariras the more explosive they are, the eellike skin makes it impossible to savely hold this fish to remove the hook or even to take a picture. Therefore we using a landing device
If you fishing for the same species and dont want to get the fish out of the water lip him vertically to remove the hook and dont crank his jaws, otherwise you damage the cartilage in its jaws. If you want to take a snapshoot allways use your hand and the device to distribute the weight of the fish.
Carolina & Heiko
Concordia is situated in the province of Entre Rios, Mesopotamia directly on the banks of the mighty Uruguay river. Its a busy town, foundet in 1831, and has lots of old architecture, like the first hotel “ Colon” directly on the ”Plaza 25 de Mayo”, or the Palace “Arrubarena” which today is one of the most important museums of the region. The Castillo “San Carlos”, or better it remains in the parque San Carlos, remembers the french Antoine de Saint – Exépery, best remembered as the writer of his novell “ The little Prince “ who various times was a guest of the family Fuchs during his time in Concordia. After lots of hystory, take a stroll on the recent completed promenade directly on the banks of the river Uruguay or relax in on of the two thermal springs Concordia offers. Also famoues for it carnival which is celebrated in its unique “ hot “ latin american way during february. And by the way, there is a pretty good Golden Dorado fishing in the river itself. You reach Concordia by taking one of the comfortable first class overnight buses or by plane.
Here some interesting links
More info :
This site consists entirely of copyrighted work and is published for personal use and enjoyment. Ask for permissio PRIOR to using any of the works, illustrations and photos.