Hello, Damien.. Nice to have you on Spineri. I see that you are fishing addict like us. You have caught a large number of different species on fly and made some great photos in the process. We are especially interested in one of your pursuits and that is Golden Dorado. It looks like something in between brown trout and largemouth bass to me. How would you describe it, or with which more familiar fish would you compare it with when we are talking about fishing it?
Golden Dorado is a pretty unique fish. It have the same behavior, aggressivity of a trevally and it can live in pocket of waters like a trout. Sometimes it’s surprising to have such a big fish in such small waters.
Have you tried lure fishing, or you are fly fishing only? Is it possible to fish for golden dorado with lures, or is it fly only?
Yes, I’m lure fishing from time to time with my friends. Love the infinite possibility of animation. It’s impossible to have the same thing with a fly. It’s easier to fish for Dorado with lures than flies. You can cast farther and cover a lot more water in less time.
What would be the best advice to give someone who decides to go in Bolivia to fish for Golden Dorado?
If you are a hard core fisherman who fishes all day long, take care of your feet. I use one pair of thin socks, one pair of trekking socks and one pair of neoprene socks. The worst thing that can happen is to have some sand in contact with your feet. On the ninth day of my trip, I couldn’t walk anymore, no more skin on some part of my feet…
If you are a regular fisherman, the best advice is to bring some light clothes because of the heat and humidity. And to train to do big strikes because the mouth of a golden dorado is full of bone.
Most of people think that remote locations like that don´t ask a lot of knowledge. I wouldn´t agree with them. Have you ever experienced day without a bite? How important good guide is?
Bolivian forest can be dangerous if you are not with a guide. A lot of things try to bite you. I have been bitten by an ants, bees, wasps, ticks, leeches and spiders…… I don’t know if I spent a day without a bite, after some days, you get used to them!
You have to be careful of ant24 (the pain stays for 24h), tarantulas, some beetles and snakes. So you have to check before putting your ass on the floor! The pollen of some white flowers can make you crazy for the rest of your life.
Videos show dorado puts up a great fight, with lots of jumps and sudden runs.. What kind of equipment do you recommend, or use?
In my opinion, Dorados do a vertical fight. They jump a lot but they don’t pull very hard. It’s still a fantastic visual fight. I used 8 and 9 weight ultra fast fly fishing rod. In fact, i think that you have to use a rod strong enough to cast big lures/flies. About the reel, you have to be very careful with the sand on those rivers. It’s like flour that goes everywhere!
How to recognize a good dorado fly? You have some favourites, i suppose..
On those rivers, the bigger, the better. I prefer thick black flies because i think it’s easier for the fish to see it in brown water.
There are many amazing photos of Dorado and you, both on FB and your web. There are also many beautiful trout there, together with some sea monsters.. Is there some fish, or some fight that you´ll never forget?
Definitely! My first GT, their power is so awesome, you can not imagine before living it.
A big trout in a deep wild New Zealand valley where I had to swim in that cold water in the evening.
My biggest Koï carp, I had to swim too because I hooked it on a 5 wt, and I couldn´t do anything to stop that monster for a couple of minutes. I had to dive to pass the rod under a root in 2m of water. My fly boxes popped out of my pockets and my cap too!
And the last but not the least, a big surubi in a Bolivian river while it was raining. That fight was epic too. I had to swim (again!!). This fish is rare and it has incredible power.
What would be your favourite ´target´ and why?
I don’t have a favourite target. Every fish have his specificity, and that’s why it’s so interesting to chase them all! But if I have to choose only one, it would be carp. You can pursue them everywhere in the world. And their behaviour is different in each waters.
You have some beautiful photographies on your web. Would you say that for you a good photo is equally valuable as a good fish?
Photography allows me to share those great moments I have on the water. When I see one of my pictures, it reminds me at those feelings, sensation I had in that particular moment. But if you ask me if I prefer to fish or take a picture when I’m alone, I can tell you that story that happend to me on a flat of Western Australia. I had 2 tailing wrasses in front of me. One of the tail was blue and the other brown (male and female). It could of been fantastic pictures. But I prefered to have a try with my fly. It was a difficult choice because all of the fish I have tried earlier that morning didn’t notice my fly.
But my perseverance was rewarded by that fantastic catch : a Redblotched Wrasse. A pretty new fish in the fly fishing world. Finally, I can’t resist to a tailing fish!
What camera do you use for your photography and your favorit lens?
Most of my pictures have been taken with a Nikon D700. I bought a D800 just 6 months ago. I use 3 lenses : 20mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 and a 180mm 2.8. Sometimes I use a 105mm macro lens of a friend.
Who is your favorite photographer and why?
I don’t have a specific favorite photographer. A lot of photographers in the fishing world do a great job. I get my inspiration everywhere, even in fashion and landscape photography.
Damien, big thanks for letting us into your world of great fishes and beautiful photography. We will continue to follow your work and we hope that our roads will cross some time in our life. Croatia has beautiful trout waters and if you have a wish to come here, we will be more than happy to take you fishing.
More from Damien on his web site: http://www.dbflyfishing.com/