Fishing With Larry

June 17, 2013

Andros Island Bonefish Club – Hosted Trip with Brad Staples, May 5-11, 2013

Filed under: Bahamas,Fishing South — Tags: , , — Brad @ 10:52 pm



In May of 2013, I boarded a plane in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and flew to Nassau in the Bahamas. I then took a
15 minute flight to Andros Island. I was met at the airport by a very nice man by the name of Doy Leadon. He was
my driver and guide for the 25 minute trip to the lodge. Doy is the brother of the founder of Andros Island Bonefish
Club, Rupert Leadon who passed away in 2012.


I landed my first bonefish in Belize in 1987. Since then I’ve been very fortunate to have fished many different
locations for the elusive species – Florida Keys, Christmas Island and Mexico. For years, I’ve wanted to fish The
Bahamas for the larger bones that reside here. I was not disappointed! There are many fishing lodges in The
Bahamas and it can be a tough decision where to go. I made inquiries to anglers that have fished in The Bahamas
and AIBC kept coming up as as the place to visit. I’m glad we did.


At the lodge, I had a very warm welcome from Rupert’s daughter, Juliette Newbold, her sister-in-law Tamica Leadon
(who is married to Juliette’s brother Shaun), and Marion, the lodge manager. Juliette and Shaun are co-owners of the
lodge. Andros Island Bonefish Club sits right on the water – which saves on daily travel time.


After fishing all day, my guests, Steve and Mario Masciola, the guides, other anglers, and myself, spent time in
the clubhouse overlooking the water. We’d discuss the day’s fishing while enjoying cool beverages.


Chris Leadon, my guide for three days, was very professional and fun to fish with. He’s pictured in front.


There are four buildings that have four rooms in each of them. They’re able to accommodate 16 anglers.


The rooms are generously-sized with two queen beds per room. There is hot water showers and air-conditioning,
if needed. There is also free daily laundry service.


The main lodge is very clean and comfortable. In the lounge area – there is satellite television and a well-stocked bar.
My cell phone had good reception and there was free Wi-Fi service available.


Petrona, their chef, creates excellent meals – fresh fish, chicken and other great dishes. She’s been with the lodge for many years.


The boats were 16’ flats-type skiffs, complete with poling platforms, 90-140 h.p. Yamaha outboard motors and a
spacious casting deck. They typically fish about 15 to 30 minutes or further from the lodge.


You can either wade the flats or fish from the boat.


Steve with a very nice bonefish.


Mario with a good bonefish, and taking the advice from his dermatologist.


One morning, both boats got into some nice tarpon during a good rainstorm. Like a lot of times when fishing for
tarpon, you’ll hook more than you’ll land, and that was how it went for us, as well.


There were a few ladyfish thrown in the mix of tarpon, bones and sharks.


During our week-long stay at Andros Island, the fish were very aggressive and really good size. I caught one about
7 pounds, and lost several that were even larger.


I very much enjoyed my time at Andros Island Bonefish Club. Everyone was really nice and the fishing was good.
This is a great destination with easy travel from the states. It is a family-run operation, and they work hard at making
sure that everyone is having a good time.

Please let us know if we can help you plan a trip to this world-class destination.

Brad Staples  1-800-205-3474 ext. 3

March 7, 2013

Hooked on Panama Hosted Trip January 12-19, 2013 – posted by Brad Staples

Filed under: Fishing South,Panama — Tags: , , , — Brad @ 3:02 pm


This is one of many sailfish that were hooked and landed by the ten anglers that I hosted a trip with in Panama.
We spent 5 nights with four days of fishing at Hooked on Panama Fishing Lodge. This a very nice lodge located
on the border of Costa Rica and Panama at the tip of Punta Burica.


The individual cabanas accommodate two people, and have hot water showers and air-conditioning, if needed.


November 30, 2012

Brazil – Agua Boa Amazon Lodge – November 3-17, 2012 posted by Guy Schoenborn

Filed under: Brazil,Fishing South — Tags: , , — Guy @ 3:20 pm

As my father, Larry Schoenborn, used to say ‘Agua Boa is definitely one of the very best fly fishing trips in the world.’  While hosting the past two weeks at Agua Boa, we had incredible fishing and we were treated extremely well by the guides and staff. We were greeted upon arrival at the airstrip by Carlos – the lodge manager, Charlie – the camp host, and a waitress with a glass of champagne for each of us. Each evening as you return from a day of fishing, you’re met at the dock with a Caprihinia (the national drink of Brazil) and a tray of hors d’oeurves.

Cheryl O'Neill with a nice peacock

Cheryl O’Neill and guide Pedro with a nice peacock bass.

My first group of anglers arrived with me at the lodge on November 3rd. After eating breakfast, getting our rods rigged, and a quick orientation meeting, Cheryl O’Neill and I had a great first day. The river was in excellent shape with good clarity. As long as the Agua Boa is not super muddy you should always have very good fishing. We probably caught over 100 peacocks – five that were between 7 and 9 pounds. On the third day, Mike Merritt and I got into a couple of small lagoons that were full of really nice butterfly peacocks from 3 to 6 pounds. We probably caught 50 in that size range. On the fifth day, I got to fish with my cousin Eric Schoenborn. It was the first time we had fished together in a dozen years. We did a good job of working together on getting doubles. When one of us had a fish on, the other would cast over or around the fish, and we’d end up with two on at once. This happened about half the time.
I landed a 13 pounder that Eric’s fish coaxed up for me. I flipped six feet of leader out of my rod tip into the gang of fish chasing the peacock that Eric had on. There was a massive explosion with the 13 pounder taking my fly within a few feet of the boat. Talk about adrenalin rush.  I returned the favor for Eric a little later when he hooked a 9 pounder. We caught many other doubles on smaller fish that day. We had days where two anglers in a boat were landing 200 or more fish in a day.
Tip:  When your fishing partner has a hook-up on a peacock, you should always try to cast over his or her line. Most of the time there will be one to ten other fish chasing the peacock that your partner has on; and every one of them is very aggressive and ready to eat whatever you get in front of them.


Mike Merritt with a jumbo butterfly peacock bass.

We caught many species during our stay:  arawana, trieta, jacunda, payara, dogfish, bicuda, pacu, oscar, matroshon, armored catfish, surabiem catfish, piranha, butterfly peacocks, azul peacocks, spotted peacocks (paca) and temensis peacocks (three bar). The spotted and temensis are actually the same fish. They go through different color phases throughout their life. They all run smaller than three pounds when they are in the spotted phase. Once they get larger, they can be spotted or three bar or a combination of both.


Rich Hood with a 17.5 pound peacock bass.

Phil Lighty and Rich Hood won the Large-Fish-Honors for the first week with each of them landing a 17.5 pounder. For week two,  Eric Pena won the Best of the Week award with an 18 pounder.

All the flies that Fishing with Larry supplied worked very well. Some of the guests did quite well on either a baby peacock or a mullet pattern as well.

We saw quite a few caiman  up to 13 feet in length, giant river otters, freshwater dolphins, peccary, monkeys, deer, freshwater stingrays, shorebirds, herons, ibis, cranes, storks, waterfowl, giant macaws, parrots and many other birds.


Ron Gager with a nice peacock.

I highly recommend this trip to anyone who would like to catch a peacock bass on a fly. It does not get any better than this. It is catch-and-release fishing.


This is the 13 pounder that Eric and I double teamed on.

Agua Boa Amazon Lodge was rated “one of the top ten fly fishing lodges in the world” by Forbeslife magazine in 2010.  I haven’t even gone into details about the comfortable lodge accommodations, the great meals.  It’s also a great place to bring the non-fishing spouse as there is a nice swimming pool and several activities available. They usually insist on coming again.

For more information, please contact:

Guy Schoenborn 1-800-205-3474 ext. 1   Email:

July 18, 2012

Solitude River Trips – Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River – July 1–6, 2012, posted by Guy Schoenborn


A beautiful scene on the Middle Fork.

What an incredible trip! My sister Sherri, and I went with 13 of our clients on a 100 mile float trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. We were with Solitude River Trips. Solitude also had five clients for a total of 19 guests.

There are 32 named, Class II, III and IV rapids on the 100 mile drift. For the first couple days, the guides can hardly take their eyes off the water because of all the rocks and fast current. The further we got down the river, the more volume there was and the pools get longer and deeper with fewer rocks.


Andy and Darlene Chaffey in Pistol Creek Rapid with guide Zeke.


Kevin Lynch and guide Justin in Rubber Rapids.


Guy running Rubber.

The river canyon changes throughout the trip from a narrow, steep forest of pines and firs, to more open, mostly treeless hillsides, and the the final 18 miles or so is the “Impassable Canyon.”  The Impassable Canyon is mostly steep, vertical granite walls that make it nearly impossible to climb out of the river canyon.

The group stopped at several places to check out Native American pictographs, and we also stopped at a couple hot springs to relax and soak.

The Middle fork is mostly a cutthroat fishery with a few rainbows and an occasional bull trout. Most of the fish are 8-16 inches. The best flies during our stay were #10 orange Stimulators, #10 red bodied PMX’s and Royal Wulff’s. Later in the season hoppers are the go-to-fly. Some of the guests were landing over 50 trout a day. Even the kids who had never fly-fished before, were landing 20 or more a day. This is a great trip for a novice to the expert level angler.


Jan Armstrong’s gorgeous Middle Fork Cutt.


Sherri with a nice Cutt.

The guides were expert boatsmen and they placed their anglers in position for a perfect presentation. The guides supplied top quality fly-outfits and all the flies as part of the package.


Andy and Darlene and guide Roger in his handcrafted wood drift boat.

The paddle raft and inflatable kayaks were a real hit with the non-angling guests.


Paddle rafters with guide Daniela.

I was extremely impressed with the organization of the guides and staff. They operated like a very well oiled machine. Everything ran smoothly and nothing was out of place. The meals were all prepared to perfection. We had New York steak, salmon, two inch thick pork chops, chicken and burritos as the main course and excellent desserts made in a Dutch oven.


Zeke preparing 2” thick pork chops.

salmon dinner

Delicious salmon dinner.

We had guests from 11 to 70 years of age. They all had a great time. This trip is a super, all round, outdoor experience with great whitewater, excellent fishing, hot springs, Native American artifacts, hiking, bird watching and a way to build long lasting relationships and memories.

As my Father used to say “this is probably the best trip in the lower 48.”  I would highly recommend Solitude River Trips to anyone .

Eric and Suzi Schoenborn will be hosting a trip here July 16-22, 2013.  I’ll also be returning with a hosted group the same week of  July in 2014.

Please call us for more information on this trip:   1-800-205-3474.  Or email me, Guy Schoenborn, at:  or Eric Schoenborn at:

July 17, 2012

Big Timber Lodge- Raspberry Island, Alaska – June 24th–30th, 2012 – By Mike Sadar

Filed under: Alaska,Fishing North — Tags: , , — Guy @ 12:09 pm

Kodiak Alaska


Mike and Frank Sadar with a couple nice eating size Halibut

This lodge is nestled in a sheltered portion of Raspberry Island, where incredible fishing grounds are literally at the front door of this lodge. These grounds contain Alaska’s most famous species of fish, the pacific salmon and pacific halibut. My father and I scheduled a trip, primarily to catch halibut and if luck would be in the cards, a salmon or two.

Raspberry Island is part of the Kodiak island archipelago, and we had never heard of this island before this trip. The island is not small, is roughly eight by three miles and contains the famous land predator, the Kodiak Grizzly, Sitka Blacktail Deer and even Roosevelt Elk. Around this island, one will also see their share of several species of whales, a huge diversity of birds and Sea Otters nearly as plentiful as mosquitos. The waters surrounding these islands are abundant with a diverse number of fish species, of which the primary target is the Alaskan Halibut and the King Salmon. Other species of salmon and bottomfish are always possible as well.

The Fishing

Halibut – All fishing is primarily in the salt this time of year. When fishing for Halibut, the prime depths were anywhere from 40 to 100 feet, with an average depth of less than 80 feet. Considering the tidal pull, the relatively shallow depths allowed us to use far less weight to stay on the bottom where these fish feed and thus allowed for the use of lighter gear, including trying my fly rod (more on this later). The fishing for Halibut, is driven by the tidal currents with the best and easiest fishing taking place on slack tides, which happens approximately twice per outing. When the tides start to flow, (for us this was either an hour before or after the slack tide), the curent is often too strong to maintain contact on the bottom and we were best served to spend this time fishing for other species, which was primarily king salmon. During this two to three hour window, we would land several Halibut and depending on the location, they would run anywhere from about 5 to 50 pounds. We did hook a few larger ones as well, but were just not fortunate enough to land them. The Halibut grounds were also frequented with Alaska Gray cod, and at times they would dominate the catch. It was not uncommon to catch two Cod or a Cod and a Halibut on the same line, with the Cod averaging between 5 and 10 pounds. The other species that was often caught was an Irish Lord, a scary looking creature that resembles Godzilla. Each fishing event for Halibut easily resulted in 20 to 40 catches for my father and myself.

As the end of the trip approached I mentioned how fun and different it would be if we could catch Halibut on a fly rod. We knew that fishing in deeper water was nearly impractical for casting, but we still decided to try to hook a fish to see how big of a Halibut we could land on a 9-weight rod. After some brainstorming we decided to force a fly to be on the bottom using a vary basic technique. First we tied on a short four foot 30-pound leader to a 300 grain sink tip line. We then attached the first two feet of line to a downrigger clip and lowered it to the bottom. The heavy sink tip would help keep the fly within a few inches of the bottom at all times. When a fish would strike, a long strip strike would set the hook into the Halibut and disconnect the line from the clip. The fly was then hooked into the fish with no drag from any weight. Once disconnected, the fight was purely with the Halibut and the tidal current. We found that the fly rod was excellent in fighting Halibut and we landed fish up to about 30-pounds and lost one that was very large near the surface when using this technique. This kind of approach required great teamwork with the captain and the angler and together we had great success. If I ever go fishing for Halibut again, I am confident I could land a fish far bigger than on conventional gears simply because once the fish is hooked, it is free from the traditional weights used in halibut fishing. While this technique is not valid for any IGFA compliance in regards to fly fishing, it was pure fish fighting fun!

King Salmon – Unfortunately the King Salmon fishing was very poor. In five days of fishing, we did not land a single king. We had two hard strikes, but neither was strong enough to confirm it was a king. This was very scary as these fish should have been in the area weeks ago. Back in Anchorage, nearly every stream was closed or was pending closed to king fishing due to very low returns. This is frightening as there is no known reason as to where these salmon are, and fear is that overfishing in saltwater may have literally decimated the stocks of salmon. If there was ever a question if the ocean could be overfished for kings, this may be the proof. Let’s hope that they are simply very late.

Other Salmon – we did not catch or hook any other salmon on this trip. Our captain/guide Lee Neal did take us over to one other stream to fish for reds and we did spot several small schools at the inlet of one small stream, but we did not get any bites. This was not surprising as reds are very difficult to catch when they enter the estuaries. We also did not spend much time fishing for other salmon as all of our focus was on either halibut or on trying to catch that elusive king.



One of many eagles that frequent the camp


Halibut Caught on a Fly Rod


Humpback Whale

The Lodging and Amenities

Big Timber lodge is newly constructed and offered us a very comfortable setting when not fishing. The main lodge is very open and overlooks the fishing grounds between Kodiak and Raspberry islands. All the meals are served in the main lodge and one can also enjoy relaxing, watching TV or connecting back home via internet services. Separate from the lodges are large cabins that serve as private sleeping quarters. The cabins typically hold two people and have separate showers and baths. There is plenty of room to rig gear and also to just sit back and relax.

All meals were made by Lee’s wife, Lucinda. They were excellent gourmet style meals and typically include dishes from the area. This includes various Halibut, Cod, and Salmon recipes. Breakfasts are also filling and can get one through the day of fishing even though lunch is provide while out fishing. We had nothing but good things to say about the meals.

Surrounding the lodge on three sides is the thick Kodiak forest which abounds with trails and artifacts from past cultures. One can hike and explore, but should always be aware that this is bear country and the Kodiak bears are the biggest in the world. We did not see any bears on our trip, which was disappointing, but there was plenty of sign. We also observed countless numbers of eagles and otters.

This trip also provided the unique opportunity to bring home some delicious fish. We caught plenty of Halibut and Cod, both which are delicious dishes. The airlines charge $20.00 per box to ship home as baggage, and we both took home two 50-pound boxes. Considering the local price of fresh caught Alaska Cod or Halibut, this is a great healthy benefit of this trip. So the next time a trip is on order to Alaska, Big Timber should be on your list if interests focus on the saltwater bounties of Alaska. It is a wonderful, comfortable lodge that is set in some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

July 13, 2012

Tarpon Town – Campeche, Mexico – June, 2012 – posted by Brad Staples

Filed under: Fishing South,Mexico — Tags: , , , — Brad @ 8:32 am


Brad Staples and Scott Ankenbrand with an average-size baby tarpon.


Baby tarpon are hard fighting and range in size from 5 to 30-pounds. There were plenty of them where we were fishing in Campeche, Mexico, mid-June of 2012.


Tarpon Town Anglers guide Juan and guest Joe Riter. This tarpon was caught in one of the many creeks and inlets that we fished.


Tarpon Town Anglers guide Fernando, and guest Scott with a nice tarpon.


We caught tarpon on red-and-yellow, and red-and-white Sea-ducers, black-and-purple death flies, and a few other fly patterns. They also ate poppers which proved to be fun action.


Joe with a nice-size tarpon.


Joe with another nice-size tarpon.


Scott with a good-looking tarpon.


We experienced very good fishing during our week-long stay. The weather was warm, sometimes hot and humid. We didn’t have rain when we were fishing, but at night there were some major rainstorms.


Campeche is located about six hours southwest of Cancun. You can fly direct to Campeche from the States or fly into Merida, which is about two hours from Campeche.
Tarpon Town Anglers can arrange to pick you up in Merida if the flights work out better for pricing and time. The city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some really old, well maintained buildings.
There are many beautifully designed churches. Some of the old fort walls that were built to protect the town/residents from pirates and other invaders are still standing.


photo (8)

Joe brought his wife, Priscilla, with him. Instead of fishing, she took in a Mayan Ruin tour and a city tour. She had  a great time exploring, shopping and relaxing at the hotel’s swimming pool.


We walked to local restaurants every night, and enjoyed delicious dinners. We spent time walking and looking at the city. We didn’t encounter any problems and we felt very safe.
Unfortunately,  the media has put a lot of fear in people about visiting our good neighbors to the south.


This photo was taken about 9:00 p.m. There is a ten-mile-long walking/biking path that follows the the bay at Campeche.  We saw a lot of joggers and bikers along the path.


We had breakfast each morning at the hotel. Packed lunches were in the boats. Dinners were at a different restaurant every night, and we had great meals every time. They were priced comparable to dinners in the States.


This baby tarpon fishing trip was really good. We all agreed that the outfitter (Raul) and the guides did a great job making sure that we were satisfied in every way possible.  This is a destination that I have heard about for many years and felt compelled to check out. I’m so glad I did. This will be a trip that we’ll plan to host each year. The fishing is good in October thru November, and from March into July. The late summer months are good as well, though there will be more of a chance of heavy rain showers. The winter months are okay, except there is more wind and a cold front can come south from the states and slow the fishing down for a few days.

If we can help answer any questions about this fishing trip, please give one of us a call at 1- 800-205-3474

You can reach me at the above number at extension 3, or my cell phone (503) 250-0558

July 1, 2012

Holbox Fly Fishing Lodge, Mexico – June, 2012 – posted by Brad Staples

Filed under: Fishing South,Mexico — Brad @ 10:31 pm


Holbox fishing guide and Brad Staples with an average-size baby tarpon.

I arrived in Cancun, Mexico, on June 8th, after taking a red-eye flight from Portland, Oregon. I should have been tired — but I knew there were tarpon waiting for me to throw some flies at them — I could sleep later. I was picked up at the airport in a newer shuttle van by a very nice local driver. The ride to Chiquila was about two hours.  From there I had about a twenty minute boat ride in a water taxi to Isle Holbox.


On the island, the mode of transportation is either by gas-powered golf carts, walking, bike or motorcycles. The taxi (above) was ready to take me to the oceanfront lodge where I would stay for a couple of nights. I’ve heard about Holbox Lodge for many years. I was on my way to host a tarpon fishing trip in Campeche for a week, so I thought I’d finally visit the lodge while I was in this part of Mexico. I’m so glad I did.


Holbox Fly Fishing Lodge has been serving anglers for the past seven years. They are able to accommodate up to ten guests. The air-conditioned rooms are very nice, very quiet, with queen beds, and private baths.


One of my favorite memories of my adventure to Holbox was meeting the lodge manager, Luciano Govi. He is a very gracious host and makes sure that everything is running smoothly for lodge guests. He suggested some very good restaurants where we enjoyed excellent dinners.  The meals were priced comparable to what you’d find in the States. In the morning, Luciano cooked a tasty breakfast, and he really knows his coffee. He’s studied coffee, growing, harvesting and roasting, and he apparently knows what it takes to make a good cup to help get your day started.


This was sunset on a Saturday night in front of the lodge. The beach is just steps from where I was staying.


The fishing can be very good for large tarpon that are over 100-pounds. They are migrating through this area in the late spring and through the summer months. Baby tarpon are available all year. During the winter months there are times when colder weather makes fishing challenging. Like most tarpon fishing destinations, the wind can blow hard and make fly casting tough. The fishing guides do the best they can to place the boat so that you’ll have the best shot to get your fly to a hungry fish.



I was using an eight weight fly rod with a floating line for the smaller tarpon. A twelve weight is best for for the larger fish with a 400 grain shooting head line to get down to where they are holding at. I only had one day to fish and it was very windy that day. We did not go out to the open water where the big fish had been caught in the past few days. I enjoyed my time casting over many baby tarpon (5 to 20lbs). I managed to hook about five and landed two for the day.
Overall, this would be a very good trip.  Good guides, nice lodging, awesome food and a great host who makes sure your fishing adventure lives up to your expectations.

Make sure this fishing trip is on your list.

Please contact one of us at:  1-800-205-3474   or you can reach me at   1-800-205-3474 ext.3

Cell phone (503) 250-0558

June 27, 2012

Ocean View Lodge, Alaska – Hosted Week, 2012 – posted by Eric Schoenborn



I don’t think it is enough to just say that Alaska is wild or rugged or remote. You have to see it and experience it to get it. The words used to explain the enormity or expanse of places you just can’t get to are just too many, but your eyes can see into it and you can certainly experience it. From either a boat or a plane, and always from afar, your eyes can penetrate and start to see the beauty and detail. The amount of details taken in by your eyes on a trip out to a smaller village would still fill a computer and yet the eyes see and the details remain. My recent visit to Kodiak Island and the village of Old Harbor is no less vivid now, after having returned, as when my eyes took it in and my heart found a new place to love.


The port at Old Harbor

This is a place where the marina is small, having less than a dozen sport fishing boats, and very few guide outfits for a fishing area that is immense. The opportunities for the ocean’s bounty are unmatched within short distances from Old Harbor’s docks and in the protected waters that surround the area of Old Harbor. Whale bones are still used for door stops and the Alutiiq culture and language is still being taught in schools. Archeologists have dated the presence of the Alutiiq people on the Island of Kodiak for nearly 8,000 years, and the heritage is alive in Old Harbor.


One of our fishing boats skippered by Capt C.J.

Our group consisted of eight clients or two full boats of four and me, the host. We arrived in Old Harbor on June 2nd late in the day with time to settle in, meet each other and view the surroundings. Ocean View Lodge sits on the bluff overlooking Sitkalidak Strait and several rooms have gorgeous views. The main gathering room is very comfortable with game mounts and a large place to relax and tell stories. Eagles graced the trees and shoreline around the lodge and occasionally passed right by your bedroom window. Dinner was served in a dining room buffet-style and each meal was exceptional.

Fishermen typically gathered for coffee in the morning between 5:30 and 6:00 and breakfast was served at 6:30 so we could be down at the docks and heading out for fishing by 7:00 a.m. A cooler with a lunch packed by the chef accompanied each group to the boat. The skippers, Carl and C.J., father and son, have been operating boats in this area both for sport and commercial fishing for their whole lives. Their boats were clean, comfortable, and ready to fish. Specifically designed for fishing this area, the boats were outfitted with downriggers, heaters, and plenty of fish storage. The extra fish storage was a must as this was a meat gathering trip, and their expertise was obvious at the fish cleaning station.

We plan our hosted weeks, years in advance, to try to put our clients into the peak fishing times for a certain area. The first part of June has historically been a week of giant King Salmon and plenty of them. This area of Kodiak has no major river systems that produce the fish of this fishery. The fish we are actually fishing for are fish that migrate or feed into this area on their way to their home rivers. They follow the baitfish that generally rear in the protected areas off the numerous islands, bays and waterways of the area. This draws birds, whales, sea otters, and fish to the area in abundance. Halibut and rockfish are always present and not a challenge to fill easy limits, if that was your only choice. Many days, we could troll through a tide change for a salmon or three, then, fill the boat with halibut and rockfish, before ending the day trolling for salmon.

On the first day, we were told that the King Salmon had been slow in showing up this year and the baitfish were just beginning to show. The water temp was 41 degrees and extremely cold for this time of year. Kodiak received record snowfall this past winter and the hillsides still showed white from winter. The usual abundance of Sitka Blacktail Deer was not seen as the intense winter killed record numbers. The bears were eating good as the snow melted and uncovered the cache of venison left behind by winter’s grip.


Kenny with a 55lb King!

Our two boats decided to go in opposite directions the first day. One group of five choosing to fish for halibut and bottom fish, while the other boat made a run for a salmon spot. Neither group was disappointed as the halibut boat loaded all the storage to overflowing with limits of rock fish, cod, and halibut. The second boat put in some time in the morning and landed three salmon rather quickly. The first two fish were both close to 20lbs but the third was a monster, weighing in at 55 lbs. This was the first salmon ever for thirteen year old Kenny Oostman and he played it like a pro. The rest of our day trolling for salmon, slowed, but still produced an occasional cod and several keeper halibut that took our herring and Brad’s Super Cut Plug on the troll, giving us a large box of fish as well. At this rate, we would need to charter a plane just to bring back fish.


A full box of choice halibut!

Day two started with all of us on the troll for salmon, after an hour of seeing a blank screen on the fish finder indicating the absence of bait and salmon, both boats picked their gear and headed for the halibut grounds. The waters off Old Harbor are some of the most productive I’ve seen for halibut. Many times, all of the fishermen would drop to the bottom and all simultaneously have fish coming to the surface. Halibut were caught in water depths from 35-260’. Those using a double rig, caught multiple doubles. Beautiful eating sized halibut from 15-35 lbs were the most common with an occasional fish in the 50’s to 60’s. The fun part is that it is in relatively shallow water and only 6-10 oz of lead is needed to get your gear solidly to the bottom. Halibut can be caught and released until you fill the boat limit with nicer sized halibut. After filling the storage boxes full with halibut and bottom fish, we were again on the hunt for big salmon. They eluded us the remainder of the day.


Tim with a dandy Halibut.


A fish box full of about 300 razor clams dug in about an hour!

Day three was a treat for me. During one of our dinner conversations, CJ spoke of a group that dug razor clams on one of their trips to Ocean View and made it an annual part of their visit. I asked a few more questions and found that a lone solitary beach has razor clams and rarely has visitors. Day three of our trip ended up being the lowest tide of the whole year and five of us were eager to give it a try. I grew up on the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon and our beaches were full of razor clams. I was no stranger to digging them having grown up hitting every major tide from five years of age on, while the rest of my group had never seen or heard of a razor clam. We pulled a small skiff with us and made our way into the beach after anchoring up the larger boat in a little deeper water. Once we hit the beach, I had the group follow me to learn the trick to digging after the only clam that can dig away from you almost faster than you can dig toward it. It wasn’t long before we had several buckets of the tasty clams and it was time to go fishing. We continued our day by searching for salmon and catching more halibut and cod. The other boat landed several enormous salmon including several in the mid 40’s and one at 55 lbs.


David with another giant King….this one at 55lbs.

On day four, I headed to a salmon stretch with the Oostman family. Three generations of Oostman fishermen and I readied our herring for the troll in a beautiful protected bay. Before we could get the gear in the water, two Killer Whales surfaced to our starboard side and proceeded to swim directly under the boat in full view. We watched in amazement as they moved off and out of our area. Young Kenny Oostman and I were going to draw for spots when he suggested that I go first since I hadn’t landed a salmon yet on this trip. We argued a minute when a rod went off next to where I was standing and a short while later, a 42 lb King hit the deck. Minutes later, Kenny had a fish and his generosity paid him dividends as his fish hit the scales at 48 lbs. A short time later, another beauty was scooped and strained the net as it was hauled aboard. We also boated numerous cod for the day and the day sightings included whales, otters, eagles, fox, bears and seals.


Host Eric Schoenborn with a 42lb White King.

On the way back into the harbor one of the days, we passed by a small island that had a dead whale washed up at low tide. Carl had mentioned that he was surprised that the bears hadn’t smelled it and swam to the island to feed. The next morning, we passed by so the others in our group could see and there were two bears on top of the whale carcass eating away. They spooked when we got close and we watched them climb into the distance. I took some great video shown in the YouTube video for this trip.


A brown bear dining on a beached whale.

The last day was a half day and with orders to come in by 1-2 PM depending on how many fish we needed to have processed so we could make our outgoing afternoon flight. Both boats made time for a salmon spot and rods were in the water before 7:45. The Oostman family continued their streak and boated three huge Kings. Young Kenny’s weighed in at massive 61 lbs., his third fish over 50 lbs. Our other group had one opportunity at a giant King that tripped the bait and followed it all the way to the surface within sight of the boat without taking it again. The run in was a great time to reflect on the beauty of this fishery and on our surroundings for our stay.


Three generations of the Oostman family and Kenny’s third fish over 50 lbs.  This one at 61!

Our transition back to the real world wasn’t easy as we said goodbye to Old Harbor, loaded up our boxes of ocean bounty and hopped aboard our short 25 minute flight back to Kodiak to be connected onward home. I brought home 100 lbs. of pure perfection in white King fillets, fresh halibut, cod, rockfish, and razor clams. Just be aware that if you ask me to share, I might give you something old from the bottom of the freezer because the vacuum packed bags of fish from Old Harbor and Ocean View Lodge are a taste of heaven.

Book early and join us for this annual trip with Fishing With Larry to Ocean View Lodge for your own boxes of fish after a week of giant Kings, crazy halibut, bottom fish and unlimited cod catches.

For specific questions, call one of our staff at 800-205-3474 or email me at

Good Fishin,

Eric Schoenborn

May 5, 2012

The La Zona Tailwater – Home of the world’s largest Golden Dorado – April 20-23, 2012 – posted by Mike Sadar

Filed under: Argentina,Fishing South — Tags: — Guy @ 9:01 am

Fig 1 44 pound Dorado

My first fish of the trip was this 44-pound behemoth!

La Zona is an area below Salto Grande Dam on the Uruguay River that forms the border between Northern Argentina and Uruguay. It was opened to restricted fishing eight years ago and has become known as the place to catch a world record class-sized golden dorado. Recent reports included some very big fish, but also very low water. Those anglers from the previous weeks were very experienced with this fishery and were using casting rods, where we would be fly-fishing. Whether that is an advantage or disadvantage will soon be realized.

Our experience in fishing for golden dorado in other parts of South America found that this is one of the greatest gamefish one can imagine to catch on a fly. The strikes are intense and leave bathtub-sized holes in the water. When the water is clear, one can often watch a dorado come after and take a well-placed fly. Though they often show aggression for flies, when water is low and clear, these fish can be cunning and spooky and often require a well-placed cast and the perfect retrieve.

As we land in the city of Concordia, we are energized by the prospect to fly-fish for one of the world’s premier gamefish at a place so special that only a few anglers per week can experience the best of the best of dorado fisheries. We hope that all those stories about La Zona and its recently great fishing can hold true for another week. I have a ton of work to do getting ready for tomorrow’s fishing and with no sleep the last 28-hours, but is essential that I pay attention to all the details as best as my tired mind will allow!

Our trip is divided into four days of fishing and each day is split into a morning and an afternoon session. In between we have lunch and a two to three hour siesta. The morning fishing begins at about 8:30 and lasts until 12:00 noon. The evening session begins at about 3:30 and lasts until dark, which is about 7:00 PM. The regulations of La Zona mandate these times and so I ready my focus and mind to fish hard and effectively. Thus, I need to make sure I have been properly prepared before I make my first cast.

Previous dorado experience tells me that I should have several rods ready to cast. The fish will take topwater flies and poppers as well as big streamers just under the surface of the water. However, if the water has deep holes and pockets, the bigger dorados can hold in these areas and this could require fishing with faster sinking flies and lines. In order to cover all my bases without much downtime, I rig three fly rods to be at my disposal if necessary:

Rod one is a 9-weight fast action rod with a Teeny T-200-sink tip line. The sink tip is 24-feet with a floating running line will allow the fly to sink between 12 and 18 inches under the water. To this rod, I tie on a large black and purple streamer that is approximately 10-inches long!

Rod two is a 9-weight fast action rod with a T-300-grain sink line. This is a t-300 style line with a 24-foot sink tip and the running line is floating to prevent snags. I only expect to use this rod if the current becomes too swift or if I come upon deeper holes and pockets that would warrant a deeper presentation. To this rod, I tie on a red and black streamer that again is about 10-inches long. If these dorados are similar to others, the black and red combination will be my go to pattern.

Rod three is an 8-weight fast action rod with a floating line. It has a shooting head that allows me to cast very large flies that are designed to float. To this I attach a titanic fly, which simulates a swimming mouse or frog.

For each of these rods, the tippet runs the same. I tie on 5-6 feet of 30-pound maxima line, stretched several times. I then use an Albright knot to attach a 12-inch piece of 30-pound knot-table wire line. Wire is mandatory with the dorado and that combination of this wire with a relatively short monofilament tippet makes turning over the big streamer flies fairly easy. The extra rods are also insurance in case I break a rod on a fish. Dorados are one of the hardest fighting fish in the world and are known to wreak havoc on fly-fishing equipment. Hopefully I will not have the experience of a broken rod, but better safe than sorry.

In general, all my streamer flies are designed to sink at the same rate at the line. I tie the flies with a sparse amount of Enrico Puglisi material, but do add weight with barbell eyes. I tie a bullet head to help push water, but use a minimum amount of bucktail so the fly does not become too buoyant. Thus, instead of tying a deer trimmed bullet head, I substitute with chenelle. This will wet with water and facilitate sinking. The color of the flies tend to be dominated with black as it will provide a defined profile in dark or turbid waters. I do add color to the interior of the flies and some sparkle flash to simulate scale detail to the flies.

Once my rods are rigged, I make sure my cameras are charged and in perfect working order. After all, the photos are what will make the memories of such a trip last forever. I make sure I have all my flies available along with stripping gloves, extra tippet materials and sunscreen. Now I am ready for the fishing tomorrow morning! I just need a few good hours of sleep!

Day 1 – The First Morning – After a good nights sleep we set out for Uruguay River at the base of Salto Grande Dam, or La Zona. The river is massive, more than a mile wide, but full of rapids, massive rocks and holes. Our guide Enzo suggested casting a 200-grain sinking line and the largest fly that I could cast. My purple and black streamer, tied on a 5/0 hook is ready to go and I start casting and mending line, to get a natural drift. It was still fairly low light and it is difficult to determine how deep the water is that I am fishing. At the end of the drift, I rapidly strip the fly back to the boat. It took about 15 to 20 casts before I had my first strike and I did make a great hook set into a fish I will remember for the rest of my life. The fish ran hard in the other direction, and then jumped. It was massive. The fish made several runs downriver and we chased it for nearly a mile before it was finally guided into the fish cradle. The massive fish exceeded 40-inches and topped the scales at 45-pounds. It was my biggest freshwater fish ever on a fly!

With a goal to catch a 35-pound dorado on a fly, this was nearly beyond my comprehension as to just how special this place may be! As far as I was concerned my trip was fulfilled a million times over. It took a mere forty minutes to cast, hook and land this beautiful trophy! However, I would soon find out it was far from over.

Over the rest of the day, I landed additional trophies that would have been a lifetime fish anywhere! They included a 23, 8, 16, 12, 8, 10, 31, 16, and 28 pounds! And that does not include the monsters I lost due to broken lines, broken leaders and simply missed strikes. In total, I probably missed twice the fish that I actually landed. And I was only half of the action as my boat partner also had great success! It is simply the most awesome day of fly-fishing I ever had.

Fig 2 31 pound Dorado

Fig 3 Diving Dorado

A few other photos of giant dorados from the first day of fishing at La Zona

My only problem, I have three more days of this. Fingers on both hands have severe line burns from the searing runs of these fish. I have caught golden dorados at several other places and never have I experienced fish with the strength and endurance of these La Zona fish. It is likely due to the extremely oxygenated water that comes from the dam, and the fish certainly make you earn every inch during the fight! With what happened today, it will be tough to find good sleep with the anticipation on what tomorrow will bring!

Day 2 – Unexpected Super Low Water

As fast as the action of day one proved to be, the next morning proved to be the opposite problem. With the severe drought in this region, the water was at historical low levels. Over the night, the river dropped so low that the boats could not be launched. We had to wait until after lunch when the dam started to generate hydroelectric power, which allows massive quantities of water to run through the turbines. Once we were able to launch, we headed back up to the base of the dam and started fishing.

Like the day before, we would drift flies and strip the fly when it neared the end of the drift. Fishing was a bit slower at times, but we seemed to have clusters of much faster action. Ray, my fishing partner caught his personal best fish on a fly today, as a 40-pound fish took his streamer up close to the dam. The fish took him more than 30-minutes to land and now we were two for two on forty pound golden dorados!

Throughout the afternoon, we fished different sections of the river including channels, current edges and small pockets of water. Dorado were found throughout. We had numerous strikes and misses as well, which was part of the fun of it all. I had my best luck with that 200-grain line, as it appears to sink just enough to be effective. I stayed with the black flies, with the purple and red highlights being consistently effective. Even with a slow day, I still managed several fish in the 20-30 pound range to go along with Ray’s monster 40-pound beast!

Fig 4 Ray's  40 pound dorado

Ray’s 40-pound Dorado

Day 3 – Simply Incredible!

The day started slow as it took some time to navigate through the massive boulders that were never visible before. Enzo the long-time guide at La Zona said he never seen the water so low. Carefully he maneuvered the boat up to the deep channels close to the dam where huge schools of dorado were everywhere in the slack water, constantly herding and attacking schools of baitfish. We simply cast into a pod of angry fish and two or three fast strips resulted in a hookup. We caught several fish in the 6-15 pound range before the turbines came on. One turbine raises the water level about 3 feet, which is a huge volume of water considering the dam on this river is 3000 meters long. The fish immediately migrated to the current, which contains higher oxygen levels. We continued to catch fish, but now were drifting with the current and working every pocket, eddy and any water that we suspected of holding fish.

Fishing was consistent, with strikes, misses, and some hookups. I had settled in with the black and red streamer, as it seems to produce well all day ling. As the sun broke through the clouds, fishing intensity increased with even faster action. We decided to make one last downstream drift before lunch and fishing continued to be incredible. I had just landed and released a 15-pound dorado when Enzo told me to keep casting as we were passing through a very good rock-infested riffle. After a half dozen fishless casts and stripping the fly as fast as I possibly could, a beast jumped on the fly. The hook was set several times and the dorado exploded out of the water, looking at least as big as our largest fish so far. The fish ran two hundred yards upstream in about ten seconds and we were forced to pursue the fish with the boat in order to gain line back on the reel. The fish make several more lunges and acrobatic jumps before settling on a last stand with a desire to hold under the boat. I went around the boat several times before he started to tire. With a few more tense moments of wearing the fish down, I was able to guide it into the cradle. It was immense!

Enzo lifted the giant dorado into the boat and immediately weighted it. It topped the scales at 51-pounds, a dream fish that was never expected. We measured it on an IGFA scale, and it read somewhere between 104 and 110 cm, several cm larger than the existing all tackle world record. We took the necessary photographs, a few quick ones of celebration and quickly put the fish back to grow even bigger. As the fish swam away, Enzo informed me that that was the biggest dorado from La Zona to be caught on a fly! Whether or not this becomes a world record, it is the memory of those tense knee-knocking moments that I will never forget. What a way to finish the morning!

Fig 5 Mike 50 pound dorado

My 51 pound dorado

The evening of day three produced many nice fish as well. We caught several, but my mind was still reeling from the beast from before lunch and I was now more focused on filming this incredible place. I got many shots of the explosive takes, jumps, and underwater video as the fish approached the boat. From this point forward it is all gravy! Tomorrow, we plan to focus on topwater flies to see if we can get some of these monsters to eat on the surface!

Fig 6 Releasing a 50 pound dorado

Release of 51 pound dorado

Day Four – the final stretch. In two and a half days of fishing, we can hardly imagine a better place to be on earth! With so many big fish caught, many big fish lost, and many big fish that we simply failed to connect on the strike, where else can one be so content, yet tense as the next strike might be a fish that exceeds 55 or even 60 pounds. There is no doubt that a dorado of this size does swim in these waters!

It is still low-light when we start casting, and once again I stick with my black and red streamer pattern that has been so productive this trip. I land a juvenile six-pound dorado and keep on casting. The next strike is solid and I stick the fly deep into another big dorado. The fish acts like the other big fish, long bull dogging runs and boils on the surface the size of a pickup truck. After ten minutes, the fish comes to the cradle and it is a 38-pound dorado. The fish has brilliantly orange-colored fins and is stunningly colored. Not only are these on of the top end gamefish in the world, but certainly one of the most beautiful.

Fig 7 a 38- pound dorado

My 38 pound dorado

We take a few photos and release the fish and then try a run on the far side of the dam but have no success. We decide to fish some narrow channels below some gigantic piles of rock with titanic flies, floating designs that act like a giant popper. The first cast yields a take of a 30-pound dorado, but I do not successfully stick the fish. I keep casting and persistence lands me several fish in the teens. As the day progresses, we continue to pick up fish on the surface, an exhilarating site to see a 20-35-pound fish come all the way out of the water to kill this irritable fly! We continue to produce fish to the last minute of the trip, with Ray finishing off the trip with a 33-pound monster. My god what a trip!


Looking back we did not catch the massive numbers of fish, but had we landed all the fish we hooked, we would have. Still, every half day saw between 8 and 12 fish landed per person with an average weight of nearly 16 pounds. Considering many of these fish were over thirty pounds, there may not be a better place on earth to catch a monster dorado on a fly! I have fished Tsimane three times and it is certainly one of the most incredible places on earth, when mixing the marvels and beauty of nature along with big dorados. But big at Tsimane is 25 to 30 pounds. La Zona is a step above this when size is the driving factor with the golden dorado.

Fig 9 Fly in Dorado

Fig 10 Fly Box

My fly arsenal

The dorados fighting ability is also incredibly strong at La Zona. Those fish do not give an inch during the entire battle and even with a 30-pound tippet, some fish popped this line like sewing thread. It is likely due to the water passing through the dam where it is a couple of degrees cooler and higher in oxygen content. Combined, they give these big fish a high level of endurance. A La Zona dorado is a thoroughbred marathoner!

As with all trips, we did some things right and some not so good. Here, we had the right flies and that was key to our success. While the natural baitfish are small, 4-6 inches in length, and have a black and white profile, I chose to go much bigger and brighter. I wanted my flies to stand out from the natural pack. I understood the waters of La Zona were higher in turbidity and a fly with a black profile will be more easily detected than a light colored fly. Throughout the trip, Black with some red or black with some purple worked. I also added some reflecting material such as red or black flashabou. I kept the flies streamlined so they could cast easily, but did make sure the head was a bullet shape to push water.

I also added weight to the flies to keep them sub-surface, even when stripping as fast as was possible. The flies were composed of EP fibers, using the entire length of the fiber in the fly. If the flies were too long to cast, they can easily be trimmed. Most importantly was the hooks. I used the new Eagle Claw Trokar hooks in size 5/0 to 7/0. They are extremely sharp, extremely heavy and strong. I never lost a fish to a broken or bent hook!

The other thing that worked well was focus and pre-trip preparation. With only four days of fishing available, chances could be limited and when that big fish bites, one needs to be on top of the strike. If one can survive that first blistering run, chances are good that the fish can be landed. It is just being able to deal with the all out mayhem when that monster first gets on the line and that is the ultimate challenge of these fish! We fished extremely hard during each session and never quit casting until the final fish was boated. When one travels this far and is able to cast a line to such an incredible species of fish, it would be crazy to waste time! For those who go, take time to prepare, practice casting before you embark and fish hard and with focus when you get there. La Zona proved to us several times over that the next strike can yield a life best fish on the fly!

To those who go, I wish you the best of luck and may you have many tight lines, blistering runs, and ultimately memories of a lifetime!

Fig 8 in the air

April 26, 2012

Uraima Falls Lodge Payara and Aymara Fishing – March 2-10, 2012, posted by Guy Schoenborn

Filed under: Fishing South,Venezuela — Tags: — Guy @ 1:59 pm

I fished seven days for payara and aymara at Uraima Falls Lodge in Venezuela. Uraima Falls has the current all-time I.G.F.A. world record 39lb-4 oz payara and most of the line class world records also.


Guy Schoenborn with 26 lb payara.

Jim Lampe, Ed Stein and I arrived at the lodge on March 3rd, after an hour flight from Caracas to Puerto Ordaz, a three hour drive to La Paragua and then a three hour boat ride from La Paragua to the lodge. We found that the river was about 8 feet higher than normal for this time of year and it was quite dirty also. I intended to spend most of my time fly-fishing, but I only fished with a fly for a couple hours during the trip due to water conditions. I tried a Teeny 400 grain sinktip and my line would boil on top of the water. The fish were not holding in the normal places where a fly would be effective. Most of the payara are caught in a mile long section of the Paragua River. There are two main river channels and both hold payara. The smaller channel has a small falls/major rapid. The larger channel has a major upper falls/huge rapid with a couple smaller falls/major rapids about a half mile below. Normally there are good numbers of fish throughout all the falls areas. We only found fish between the two falls on the main channel. This section of river is mostly very fast with some small pockets of slower water along the river bank.


Guy fighting payara below upper falls.

The first day the fishing was real tough. We didn’t land a fish before our break for lunch. We trolled the area below the lower falls before lunch and then moved up between the two falls for our late afternoon session. Ed Stein caught a 20 lb plus payara and a smaller one . Jim caught one and I landed a couple. Due to the poor conditions, Javier the lodge owner recommended we try fishing a clear water tributary about 1.5 hours hours upriver by boat on the second day. This area was a hotspot for aymara (wolf fish) and a few payara. I was casting from a rocky point while Jim and Ed trolled the deep hole below where I was fishing. Ed and Jim landed over a dozen aymara plus a couple smaller 4-6 lb payara. I landed four aymara while casting from the shore. The aymara ran 9-14 lbs and put up a real good fight. They are also excellent eating. We kept a few and had them for dinner the following night. Aymara don’t have quite as impressive a mouthful of teeth as the payara, but they are still quite formidable.

Wolf Fish (Anjumara)

Ed Stein with a nice aymara (wolf fish).

On the third day, the river had come up another foot or better and it was not safe to take the boats between the falls. We ended up walking into the area between the two falls for the morning. Jim landed one and lost another, Ed lost one, I had several chances and ended up landing the largest fish of the trip: a 26 lb bruiser. That afternoon the water started a steady drop and we were able to get the boats back into the areas that held the most fish. We each landed two or more during our evening outing. Each day got a little better through the end of the trip. The last day we landed 17 payara. We ended up with over 50 payara between the three of us for seven days of fishing. This was actually a very poor week. Many anglers have landed that many in a day or two.


Our boats were long, aluminum, dugout-style boats.

Most of the fish were caught on size 14 and 18 Magnum Rapala’s, deep diving X-Raps in size 20 and 30 and Giant Thundersticks. Every color I threw caught fish. Silver/black, silver/blue, firetiger, chartreuse, red/white and gold/red worked the best.

Payara are excellent fighters. Most jumped a couple times immediately after being hooked. I had three fish nearly spool my Ambassadeur 5500C filled with 150 yards of 50 lb braid. Ed had a payara break 80 lb braid on a wild dash where he couldn’t chase the fish. The payara’s strike is the most impressive of any freshwater fish that I have caught.  I had my drag set tighter than I have ever done and the payara would hit so hard and fast that they would be taking off drag before I could set the hook. Payara are one of the toughest fish to keep a hook in that I have experienced. You would hook one out of every three or four strikes and land about half of those or less.


Now that’s a mouthful of teeth.

Overall this was a really good fishing experience. I would recommend it to anyone with an adventuresome spirit that wants to catch one of the most unique and strongest freshwater fish on the planet.

Uraima Falls Lodge is not the place to bring your significant other unless she is very outdoorsy. The rooms are very spartan with two twin beds per room and two rooms per hut. Each hut shares a bathroom. The water in the bathroom and shower comes directly from the river and is not heated, but is comfortable after a long warm day on the river.

Please e-mail or call if you would like more information on this trip.


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