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Golden Dorado (Salminus brasiliensis)

The Golden Dorado or Salminus brasiliensis is a species of trophy fish that is considered to be one of the hardest fish to catch pound for pound.  Also known as the River Tiger, they have the ability to leap out of the air with ease and have unmatched fighting power and stamina.  Anglers from all over the world come to places like Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil to seek out these tasty fish!  The warm waters of the Plate and Amazon systems are the best places to find these freshwater fish.  It is also the national fish of Argentina where it is illegal to catch one. 
Golden Dorado have a distinct golden coloration with large heads.   They can grow to about 3' (1M) in length and can weighed up to 70lbs!  They are vicious predators with powerful jaws and a mouth filled with sharp teeth.  They go by a few different names including Dourado, Dorado, Harritetra and Jaw Characin. 

These fish are carnivores that will often dine on Sabalo, but they will eat frogs, birds and even some mammals as well.  You can check out the Golden Dorado in the video below...

If you have any additional information including recipes and fishing tips for the Golden Dorado please leave us a comment.


Anonymous said...

Oh my!

In nostalgia, I started surfing the web about Dorados. I have fond memories of Uruguay, where I lived from 1975 to 1980. My father was a diplomat assigned to Uruguay. An avid fisherman, he used to take me to netherworlds to fish ever since I can remember. And it didn’t end when we arrived in Uruguay.

He and my brother, also an avid angler, learned of the powerful, golden fish through their respective channels early during our tenure in Urugay. I wasn’t with them for the couple of times, but they went to an obscure dam called Baygorria near Paso de los Toros right in the center of Urugay to experiment. First they tried bait. Then they tried lure. After a few trips, they brought back a fair sized fish, hooked with feathered lure. And hence started our technological breakthrough.

Over time, we figured out the perfect parameters to fish Dorados. 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour past sunrise. 1 hour before sunset to ½ hour after sunset. Outside of these hours, forget it. But more than that, we built the best gear for these powerful beasts. The feathered lure.

It took some time and effort to perfect the art of crafting our lures, but in the end, we made it a habit to make a batch of lures every spring (September down there). We would visit out local chicken butcher shop. We would ask for, and questioningly be handed, bails of bloody, putrid chicken feathers. We would take these home, carefully wash them in the bathtub, and dry. Out of the huge pile of feathers, we would pick only the most fluffy and white feathers to tie to our hook. Can’t remember exactly, but I think a couple of dozen (probably more) feathers fastened to the hook. Then clamped at the top with lead to secure the tie and to properly weight it – finding that perfect weight balance took some time by the way. The lure would be lead by at minimum a foot of wire – these fish have nasty teeth and jaw force.

Fishing Dorados is beautiful. The bite. The jump. The fight. Within the hours cited above, we would find our favorite place just below the dam, oppose side of the gates, and get working. Cast from the shore, about 20, 30 yards downstream from the dam structure. Cast directly across, into the rushing water. Float. Float. Bite! Jerk to set the hook. Then without exception comes the jump. Once very hard at first. Another jump may follow, but not always. But as you reel it in and it realizes it’s close to shore, another jump. Exhilaration. We never used nets or hooks to bring in the fish. The fish were too exhausted by the time they reach shore.

Once you have hooked a fish and there is fish blood on the lure, the lure is exponentially more effective. Don’t know why it was, but pre-applying other fish blood didn’t work. It had to be Dorado blood.

Another remarkable fact we discovered is that when you don’t hook on your cast, the lure floats downriver, and it eventually floats close to shore. Then, as you reel it back in along the shore, the lure awakens Dorados that have been resting/sleeping along the shore. This discovery was amazing it self. It of course occurred only during the first dozen casts or so, since by then you have awoken them all back into the current.

In any case we were extremely successful bring in these fish. I recall bringing 60 plus fish in one morning – none of them less than 20 inches. We would scale them, filet them, salt them, line them up in the icebox, and drive the 3 hours back to Montevideo. Beautiful white flesh. Pan fry until golden brown.

Anonymous said...

The locals didn’t know much about us for a while. Uruguayans aren’t early risers in the most part. But in the evenings we would sometimes fish alongside them. And they would get perplexed at our ability to hook these fish. They frustrate themselves silly trying to hook them with whatever gear they had prepared. Oftentimes we would give them one of our catches, and they thanked us as if they had won the lottery.

In any case, I now realize our experience was quite unique. I understand hooking one is a treat. And that in hindsight, we were culprits in bringing Dorado population down. I wonder if Dorados still swim around Baygorria.

Anyway, this log was a good way to reach back into my memory cells to bring out the fine times we had.

For what it’s worth.


Oh, and by the way, the reason we used at minimum one foot of wire to the lure was that we lost many lures not using wire. We originally thought we were using too light a line until we witnessed one Dorado that we had brought in bite and crack a rock. Our fingers never ventured close to that jaw after that discovery.

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