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There are very few times in life when you look back and amaze yourself while thinking, “I did that!” Fly fishing for golden dorado in Bolivia is definitely one of them.

I vividly remember taking a mental photo of fly fishing waist-deep in a curve on the Pluma River with my husband downstream and the perfect sapphire blue Andes Mountains upstream. I thought to myself, “I am fly fishing in the middle of the Bolivian jungle. This is what dreams are made of!”

Reflecting back, fly fishing in Bolivia will forever be these images for me:

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Admittedly, this was a physically demanding trip. The hiking over boulder fields to get into position for fishing was extremely difficult. Wading, I must disclose, was not that horrible. With proper training and conditioning, it was doable. If this was an easy fly fishing destination, everyone would be there.

Moreover, as a woman angler, I was actually embraced by both the native Tsimane boatmen and the guides from Patagonia. They truly respected me for my talent. I was an equal. One day, we had a new front boatman. I remarked to our guide that he looked about 15 years old. The guide stated, “He just turned 15 last week and was hand-selected by the chief of the tribe for this coveted job.” Within a few minutes on the river, I fully understood the chief’s decision. That young man was a bit shy around me, but he expertly commanded the river.

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Also, I believe, true character surfaces when the chips are down. One day on the trip, I was extremely sick and needed to stay back at camp. The staff checked on me hourly. A native girl about four years old made it her mission to cheer me up. Even though we could not communicate, due to the language barrier, the hours flew by. She was such a delight. The entire camp made sure I had everything necessary for me to be back on the water the following day.

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Yes, I have been flying fishing in the Amazon Region a few times. Bolivia, for golden dorado, was fantastic. However, this trip was more than just a fly fishing trip. It will forever be etched in my memory because of camaraderie, compassion, and the most amazing adventure ever where I can proudly say… I did that!

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As son of the Frontiers founders, Mike Fitzgerald, Jr. was brought up in the outdoor travel business. He has handled a number of sporting programs for Frontiers through the years. Today as President, Mike works closely with the Senior Management Team and the department heads and is quite involved with the Southern Hemisphere freshwater programs. Mike loves to travel with his fly rods, shotguns and cameras. He is passionate about trout, salmon and conservation. He sits on the boards of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

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