While tenkara is most commonly used for trout fishing in small rivers and creeks, since its incepsion, Zen has always enjoyed pushing the boundaries of the method. We feel that doing this helps us to design better rods as well as improve our understanding of the fixed line method and general fish management. We explore the globe seeking different species in a variety of environments. Some situations work better than others. But it is always a test of skill and tool.
Recently I received a wonderful video of my dear friend Maxie Fox, owner of Urban Dorado Anglers landing a beautiful Golden Dorado on our Zen Kyojin rod. He runs a fantastic and easily accessible operation out of Buenos Aires. I had the pleasure of fishing with him this past February while hosting a trip to Argentina. Our group was heading further south to fish at Las Pampas Lodge in Rio Pico. We gave guests the option of sightseeing the city or fishing for dorado for 2 days as a pit stop. Goldens had been on my bucket list for several years so I was pumped for the opportunity.
I had a personal goal of landing one on the Zen Kyojin but had been told my many that it would be impossible. While I wasn’t certain I could do it, I felt like there was a strong possibilty I could make it happen. Goldens have a reputation of being extremely aggressive, powerful fish. They strike very hard and go aerial like tarpon. They have teeth and a very boney mouth with a hard plate on the roof of it. Setting a hook on these fish was very challanging. Staying connected during the fight, even more so. There would be some pretty big hurdles to tackle to make this happen.
The cast requirements for this fish is not very far, maybe 25ft-35ft. However, accuracy is critical. They won’t travel far to make a hit. Once your fly is in the water you need to give it life and maake it swim. In one or two jigs, if there’s a fish there, you’re on and the party starts. The object is staying connected, following and controling the fish, not giving it the opportunity to run, and not letting it throw the hook or bite loose. That’s a lot to manage.
Unfortunately my luggage, with my rods, my tenkara rods, never made it on the plane. I had zero tenkara gear to fish with in February. Eventually my luggage arrived and was available for the second portion of the trip, but my opportunity for golden dorado on a Zen Kyojin rod had pasted.
I fished for and landed many golden dorado during those two days, but on conventional fly gear. I landed monsters and recognized through a first-hand account, just how tough these fish are. I hoped to go back and have another go at it.
In the meantime, I shipped a Kyojin rod and some lines to Maxie as a thank you. His operation is incredible. Urban Dorado Anglers provide spectacular service and their guiding is off the charts. He promised me he would give it a try. The season came to an end but I hadn’t heard from him.
Yesterday while working in our warehouse prepping holiday orders a message came through on my phone. It was from Maxie. His infectous smile filling my phone screen and the words “Look what I did today..” Then there is was, a picture of a golden dorado – hooked right in the snout, in the upper lip with a big juicy, meaty fly hanging there. I was speechless. “I have a video too.”
To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. “Landed two..the rod handled it perfectly.” This is what I live for. What makes my day. What makes me smile and what makes 18hr days all worth it. I knew it could be done! I knew the Kyojin could handle these fish. Although I didn’t land it myself, I was as proud as if I had.
Thank you Maxie for letting me live vicariously through you. For landing my bucket fish list, the golden dorado, on my rod, for me. I will be back to fish with you. Next time, the rod will be in my hands. Click here to watch the video.