La Zona Report, December 6th – 11th

La Zona

I talked with Skeet looking to travel somewhere different as we traveled to the Amazon the year before, I suggested La Zona in Argentina for monster Golden Dorado he talked with the guys and they agreed to visit La Zona. We would travel with the team of Skeet Reese – winner of the “Classic”, Chris Carpenter -2X World Series winner, Cy young winner and 3X All Star team, Future Hall of Famer Roy “Doc” Halladay- 2x Cy young, 8 time All Star team, Jason Iches, Chris’s brother in law. We arrived in Argentina on a bright and sunny day, the guys had a half day city tour and I met Rodrigo and Carlos OF La Zona for lunch. After a long flight and a long day we had dinner at Cabana Las Lilas at Puerto Madero one of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires and had some excellent beef and malbac the guys enjoyed their meal. We went back to the hotel to get good rest before flying to Concordia in the morning. Our flight was slightly delayed about a half an hour and we landed and Ramiro met us and we proceeded to Tres Sietes lodge, it had rained as the roads were all muddy we spend the afternoon prepping tackle. We had scheduled a capybara hunt but because of the rain we had to change venues to a location in Corrientes province and these were big elusive Capybara, Skeet and Jason both took one. For this special trip Skeet again had some special custom yellow Skeet rods made up for dorado fishing which proved to workout very nice. Before the trip I had emailed to my good friend Hector called in a favor and ask him to guide on this trip for us, our team of guides were Hector, Matias, Alejandro and Elvio during our stay. Our first day fishing was a good one with an overcast sky, very low water and the barometer dropping, fishing was very good today everyone caught golden dorado up to 40lb. Chris caught his first 30lb dorado as Jason caught a 28 lb. When you fish golden dorado you only land about 30 percent as soon as you hook them they are in the air. In testing my new camera I found to have caught many jumping fish with lures flying in the air.

Day two was a good one I was on the boat with Skeet and Chris. Today Skeet landed a 40+lb dorado and a 50+ lb this day. Chris had a nice day but no monster fish. Doc and Jason had a good day with 3 fish in the 30lb class. I have fished with a lot of anglers around the world and I must say that being on the water with Skeet was so much fun and informative. It was interesting coming back to the lodge and watching Roy and Chris workout and play catch critiquing each others pitch. Chris, Doc and Skeet are down to earth and very nice and respectful. Chris is always making an effort to communicate in Spanish as he was the ambassador for the trip taking the lead.

Day three was a slow day we opted to fish 8 straight hours from 8am it was a long slow day for dorado’s so we went boga fishing this was very productive. The guys wanted to coming in early for a workout. I was trying to explaining to them how good tomorrow is going to be, but after having a slow day and a hot one to boot they all seem to have long faces. It was a long day with little activity, but I was chucking inside because I knew what tomorrow was going to bring. The meals here are excellent some are complaining it’s too much and were all gaining weight. In the evening we all hung out in the front porch and Chris left and went to the back where Hector, Mataus, Fany and Tano were cooking up some surubi that Jason caught and sharing stories so Skeet, Jason and I went looking for Chris ended up joining them. It was a night to remember with meeting new friends and new experiences in Argentina. Doc being the dedicated dad he was he was watching his son play at his all star game on the internet.

Day four we awoke bright eye and sort of bushy tale after a long night. After breakfast we started at 8am and we all could see that the dam was flowing nicely, birds working in 3 or 4 groups around the dam. The morning session I was with Skeet and Doc we went to the center section of the river and it was conditions similar to class 3 rapids Skeet and Doc were fishing Lucky Craft prototype crankbaits with Skeet on his knees and Doc sitting on the ice chest, Skeet and Doc screaming and hooking fish, losing some, landing some. On the other boat Chris and Jason had an epic morning as they worked the rocks on the Argentinean side and caught a 52 lb dorado proved to be the biggest of the trip and lost an even bigger one they couldn’t stop before it ran around a rock, Chris also caught a 40+ today plus many in the 20lb class. Jason did well and held his own.
We came in for our lunch and talked about everyone’s morning experience and everyone was in awe, the fishing was excellent and it was like a light switch and it was turned on today. Everyone reloaded their tackle boxes. The afternoon session was Skeet and Chris and I. Jason and Doc in the other boat. This is the afternoon that I will always remember Skeet fishing the topwater in the late afternoon. You can see from afar a cold storm was coming in from the south and a big warm storm coming in from the north as the day went on the day grew ominous and the barometer was dropping, flashes of lighting coming closer the fish started to go on the bite. Jason landed a 45+ dorado and a couple in the high 30+ class Doc caught a 38lb dorado. They lost a big fish estimated in the 50lb class. It was fun watching Skeet cast as fast and as far as he could, each cast precision landing right on the spot then KABOOM Skeet would just scream did you see that, did you see that? We would have three four five fish follow his bait exploding he’d scream and empty his lungs. Being on the water with him seeing his intensity, enthusiasm, his talent and mechanics of casting was special for me. Nice watching Skeet enjoy one of the best topwater and crank bite that he had ever experienced. On the trip everyone spend a lot of time laughing with Skeet’s “One more cast” and you could hear Hector’s voice SkeeeeeT wait, oops too late. Now we just finished the last cast and were driving back to the lodge the two weather systems collided and all hell broke lose 40 mph wind, the sky just opened up and dumped sheets of rain and knock out the power for the night. We all left La Zona with a sense of fulfillment, big fish, sore muscles and we all gained weight. Certainly a trip I will always remember.

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Papua New Guinea – November, 2012

Papua New Guinea Nov 2012

This is a true adventure, a trip to one of the special locations in the world. We traveled to the Gulf Province a place that land has forgot. These fertile mangroves and the steep river system hold some of the biggest Barramundi and Niugini Bass in the world. This special place is the only location that I know that is sport fished only 7 weeks a year, Camp capacity is only 8 anglers. Sportsman Jason Yip doesn’t want to spoil his fishing in his backyard. What is really impressive is all the work Jason has put into making this operation all the way from two new lead men Angus and Moly, a new upper camp structure, safety minded, good guides, good boats, good meals, hot showers. This is a special sustainable fishery with Jason working with the people of the local communities; the local’s just love Jason they want to make him governor of their province. This location is a real gem, get here before everyone else does.


Our fishing conditions were poor to say the least, water clarity was less than 12” and the river was very cold, the river was blown out from all the rain. We depended on clear black river creeks feeding the Main River and lures with sound. We had rain almost everyday as the rainy season has come early this year. This is the second time with these similar conditions, but I came better prepared, so I thought. We have been field testing the Lexa 300 in Brazil for peacocks with success and now in PNG to see if she will hold up. 3 years ago I took a Daiwa SL20 but not enough drag for these fish, the new Daiwa Lexa 300 boasts 22lb of drag and has more than enough line capacity and fits in your hand and has cranking power. We landed big Niugini bass to 44lb and barramundi to 45lb with no problems. This is a small reel that does a great job and great price it retails for $199.00. Another fishing hardware we tested was the Tactical Angler’s clip 125# and 175# model with 100% success no failure and everyone on the trip was impressed it made changing lures a breeze, small simple and strong. The rod that I like to use was the Pete Mania 6’6’ 2 pc muskie rod from BPS @$129.00 it is near perfect light and strong, it first caught my eye on a trip to Egypt when veteran Angler Dr. Leonard Kouba hooked and landed a 230 pound nile perch on this rod since then I have used it twice in PNG and it is my rod of choice. Veteran angler John Finley has weeks of experience in the Amazon so he decided to join me, he was on fire on this trip landing a 44lb Niugini bass 2 pounds shy of the world record and a 30lb Niugini bass and several in the 20lb class. The 30 pounder came alive as John almost went on his knees when the reel popped off the reel seat. This was the meanest fish of the bunch that John had caught, the water temperature was very cold and the fish were not as active as normal. John also did very well on the barramundi with 42, 36, 32 and a few in the others in the 20lb class. George and Brad Malavolta caught a big grouper and had good success with the barramundi’s, one of the days Brad got smoked by a big Niugini bass. Gary Raphael doubled his personal best on his barramundi at 38lb. Gary also got smoked by a big Niugini bass in fish creek, as he was just handcuffed and pinned it broke off. Stefan Hansen of Australia broke his rod while fighting his Niugini bass and when he finally landed the big fish it weighted in at 35lbs we could hear him screaming in joy. The group caught numerous species like threadfin, mangrove jacks, finger mark snapper, catfish, cod, barracuda; small GT’s and baby tarpon. The barramundi ranged from 6 to 42lb and the Niugini bass 5 to 44 lb. we all came back with stories of the one that got away.
My story well I had him where I wanted him I was fishing a custom jig with a marlin hook on a swim bait with about10ft of line out, I hooked up my rod maxed out and reel lock down it was standoff for about a full 30 or 40 seconds then I almost fell backward having so much pressure then nothing, I started laughing when I had a glance at my hook as it was straighten, I showed Jason and his mouth dropped, it was a big big fish. I had my chance on this trip, this is my story. On the flight home I have a new design for a new custom jighead I think will be the answer. We had good fishing despite horrible conditions. Stay tuned for round 3. We are planning to return next year in Aug or Sept. hope you can join us we have a few spots open. Call for more information.

A wise old PNG Chinese man once said “Keep one foot forward and pay attention when fishing for Niugini bass unless you want to go swimming mate.”



Amazon Fishing Report September 2nd, 2012


We are on the new Headwater’s 3 operation with Peacock Bass Expeditions, the newest shallow draft vessel with lots of space, the rooms and bathrooms are a bit bigger, we have our same cook Grassa keeping everyone happy. We are fishing in an undisclosed location. No other operations in the area. The 3 river’s we are fishing have larger fish than last years location and the water is clearer and not so black so the fish are more colorful.  We started the week on fire and then we had a little full moon rain to slow the action a bit. Everyday a fish over 15lb’s has been landed have had good fishing this week for big fish up to 21lbs. The fish are eating the topwater Klures very nicely, jigs and rip baits also have been productive. Peter Robbins and Hanna Robbins first day caught 2 fish over 20lb along with 4 fish over 10 they have 22 fish over 10lbs. Linda Karabin a novice caught 14,16,16,18 on her fish two days fishing another 1st timer Amber Reese caught a nice 15lb peacock that ate a Klure right at the boat, the fish jumped in the air and came down and ate the Klure, her eyes and mouth were wide open then came the scream. Fishing should be getting better we are now as we are coming off the full moon. The peacocks that we have been catching are mostly pre spawn and mean. We have the same cook keeping us very happy. Stay tuned more next week.

If this river goes down 2 ft it’s going to go off.

Guys coming in bring lots of aleve or advil you will need it.

Here are the counts for this week :
21-1
20-1
19- 2
18-2
17-5
16-5
15-6
14-8
13-4
12-3
11-4
10- 3

434 under 10lb. for 7 anglers



Amazon Fishing Report – September 2nd, 2012

We are on the new Headwater’s 3 operation with Peacock Bass Expeditions, the newest shallow draft vessel with lots of space, the rooms and bathrooms are a bit bigger than Headwater’s 2, we have our same cook Grassa keeping everyone happy. We are fishing in an undisclosed location. No other operations in the area. The 3 river’s we are fishing have larger fish than last year’s location and the water is clearer and not so black so the fish are more colorful. :) We started the week on fire and then we had a little full moon rain to slow the action a bit. Everyday a fish over 15lb’s has been landed have had good fishing this week for big fish up to 21lbs. The fish are eating the topwater Klures very nicely, jigs and rip baits also have been productive. Peter Robbins and Hanna Robbins first day caught 2 fish over 20lb along with 4 fish over 10 they have 22 fish over 10lbs.


Linda Karabin a novice caught 14,16,16,18 on her fish two days fishing another 1st timer Amber Reese caught a nice 15lb peacock that ate a Klure right at the boat, the fish jumped in the air and came down and ate the Klure, her eyes and mouth were wide open then came the scream. Fishing should be getting better we are now as we are coming off the full moon. The peacocks that we have been catching are mostly pre spawn and mean. We have the same cook keeping us very happy. Stay tuned more next week.

Dr Mike pray for no rain and keep your fingers crossed conditions are near optimum now.

Guys coming in bring lots of aleve or advil you will need it.



Pacific Halibut from Alaska

Hey Steve – sending you some pictures of the 228# Pacific Halibut from Alaska. The previous record for this fish was 214#. I’ve been targeting this fish on and off for 10 years. This year, during the five days I was in Alaska, I also caught 3 other Halibut between 168# and 190#. It was a great week of fishing in Gustavus (Glacier Bay).

I caught the fish on the Boss Xtreme 600, loaded with about 750 or 800 yards of 25# test Green Platinum Izorline (pre tested to know where it would break), on a Calstar 700M rod.

Thank you getting us to such an ideal location to target big halibut for a line class record. It was beautiful as well as rich with potential.

Looking forward to our Amazon trip in 2014.

Keep on Fishing!
Kathy Rounds