After a 10 hour flight from Houston and one night in Buenos Aires we caught an early morning flight to a small airport near the city of Corrientes, Argentina. There we were greeted by our guide Ricardo Pinto or just Pinti (pen-ta) as he is known. We could tell that fun was just ahead as we loaded our luggage into Pinti’s Jeep that had his boat in tow. We drove for an hour and a half to a beautiful Spanish style working ranch called Atalaya. There we were graciously greeted by the ranch owners, Marco Moncada Sr., Marco Jr. and Raquel. As soon as we got our gear unpacked a wonderful lunch was ready. We then headed out with Pinti to fish until sunset.
The Moncada family and their staff saw to it that every aspect of our stay with them was comfortable and enjoyable. The rooms were clean and spacious and the food was abundant and delicious. The living and dining rooms were filled with artifacts and pictures of Argentine history and the amazing adventures of Marco Moncada Sr..
Our daily schedule was simple. Each morning we awoke early to a delicious breakfast and then headed off with Pinti to fish until lunch time. After an incredible lunch we took a siesta and rested in our cool room for an hour or so during the peak heat of the day. We then returned to the river and fished until sunset. Each evening after a long day fishing we enjoyed a nice hot shower before joining everyone in the dining area for a glass or two of local wine before dinner. Every meal was a special treat. After dinner we talked, laughed and enjoyed each others company.
Penti knows this river system very well and choose different locations each session for us to fish. There are many islands on this stretch of the Parana River that separates Argentina from Paraguay. The river was higher than normal due to the excessive rain waters flowing down from Brazil, The fishing was slow, but, the ever changing scenery and abundant wildlife filled in the slow times. We did catch fish, but, we really had to work for them.
George quickly dialed into catching Dorado. He boated several ranging from 7 to 20lb. I managed to hook up several Dorado but failed to get even one into the boat. My knack was for catching the elusive Pacu. I managed to catch one that weighed in at 14 kilos (30.8lbs). Our guide Pinti said it was one of the largest Pacu he has ever seen caught. It was large enough to get mentioned in the local newspaper and prayed for over dinner.
We were the only non-locals fishing this entire stretch of the Parana River. The few locals fishing this area were bottom fishing for huge Surubi catfish as seen in pictures below.
We really enjoyed this portion of the trip fishing the Parana River. As the pictures below show the shore line vegetation was constantly changing and offering a continuous flow of great spots to cast in to. Wildlife abound along the river. There were several species of birds and monkeys that I have never seen before and in one picture below there is what looked like a large family unit of 10 or more Capybara crossing the river in front of us.
The beauty of this area along with the abundant wildlife and the wonderful people is what will bring us back to fish here again