ARGENTINA: Cast & Blast In Entre Rios Argentina

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Mexico, Central & South America' started by mdwest, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    Bottom line up front - Argentinas Best Hunting (http://www.argentinasbesthunting.com/) is an EXCELLENT option if you are looking for a high volume dove hunt or some incredible South American fishing.

    Located about an hours drive from the town of Parana in the Entre Rios province of Argentina, the Estancia Cortaderas lodge provides a true 5 star experience. Rooms are large and extremely comfortable, meals are excellent (I had the absolute best empanadas I have ever eaten in my life there, and the steaks were without question on par with the finest I have had in top quality US steakhouses). The property the lodge is situated on is simply stunning, resting on the banks of the Parana river, the views from the back patio and from the rooms are beautiful.

    When people think dove hunting in Argentina, most immediately think Cordoba. I would encourage you guys to consider Entre Rios the next time you look at Argentina though. There is certainly NO SHORTAGE of birds. We literally saw hundreds of thousands of birds daily. At times the sky would blacken with them there were so many. The benefit to Entre Rios though is that there are only a few outfitters (as opposed to the 60+ licensed outfitters in Cordoba) so there is no crowding in the fields, and the birds arent really pressured at all. If youre into fishing, the other HUGE advantage specific to ABH is that where you launch your boat is literally just a few hundred meters from the lodge. My understanding that most outfitters in Cordoba that offer fishing require a 1-2 1/2 hour drive to get to quality fishing waters. The ABH lodge is less than a 2 minute drive, and you begin fishing immediately (there are some great spots right there on the banks near the lodge).

    The staff at ABH are VERY good at what they do, and everyone is extremely professional and courteous. Our bird boys spoke good English (my Spanish is horrible), our guide "Omar" did a great job putting us on both fish and birds every day and was a true joy to spend time with. He is incredibly passionate about both hunting and fishing, and has traveled to Africa and all over Central and South America hunting and fishing his entire life. Paul, the lodge manager, and Ariel, the owner were both on the property while we were there and were wonderful to be around. Both are pleasant and made sure our every need was catered to.

    We got this hunt through a DSC auction at last years convention. Many people have talked in the past about how hunters are sometimes treated a bit differently on auction hunts (outfitters arent big fans of the auctions, havent made money, etc and may not spend as much time/energy assisting you as they would if you were a "normal" customer).. this absolutely was not the case with ABH.. They went above and beyond at every opportunity and made sure we had a great time..

    My wife and I flew into Buenos Aires a day early and spent some time wandering around San Telmo and attended the San Telmo market while we were there. If you are in BA on a Sunday (the only day the market is open) this is a DONT MISS event. The market spans several city blocks. There are all sorts of street vendors selling curios and trinkets, wonderful restaurants line the entire length of the market, and there is all sorts of "street" entertainment ranging from tango dancers to musicians, to mimes on every block.. It was a great time..

    On Sunday night we ate at La Brigada (http://www.parrillalabrigada.com.ar/). This is another DONT MISS event. Make reservations in advance though, LB is an extremely popular Parrilla (steak house) that fills up quickly. The steaks are wonderful. LB's schtick is to come out and cut your steak for you with a spoon to demonstrate how tender they are. WONDERFUL meal at a really good price (I think my meal was $28.. for one of the top 10 steaks I have ever eaten in my life...)..

    Early Monday morning we flew to Parana and were met at the airport by Omar (guide). It was about a 1 hour drive to the lodge and we had a great time getting to know Omar. He chatted continuously about how great the birds were this time of year, how much he loved hunting with his young son when he wasnt at work with ABH, etc. We couldnt have asked for a more pleasant and friendly person to hunt and fish with all week.

    After we got to the lodge we spent a couple of hours cleaning up and getting settled in. We had a great lunch (those empanadas I was talking about above) and some incredible stuffed pork tenderloin, and then headed out to the field for an afternoon dove hunt.

    We were blown away by the volume of birds we saw!

    Both my wife and I struggled the first day. We were both tired from the travel, and honestly it just took some time to adjust to what was going on around us. Hunting dove in Texas isnt really all that "challenging" where we hunt. Every few minutes 3-4 birds will fly across the field.. you just pick one out, shoot, go pick up your bird, and then wait a few more minutes until a few more fly close by.. What we experienced in Argentina was NOT the same thing..

    At any given moment there would literally be at least 20-30 birds within 30 meters of our shooting position (with THOUSANDS in the sky flying around ). Just figuring out which one to put the bead on as they all flew past at lightning speed was difficult. That said, we had an INCREDIBLE time.. We hunted for a few hours, blew through a ton of shells between us, and then headed back to the lodge.

    Shotguns provided were benelli 20 guage montefreltos.. they were PERFECT for the task at hand. Low recoil, super reliable, lightweight, and fast pointing. ABH also has beretta over and unders (28 guage) and a few other shotgun options available if youre not a fan of benelli.

    Shells provided were Activ 20 gauge #7 shot. Active has a factory just 20 minutes up the road from ABH that we saw from the road when traveling to the lodge.

    On Tuesday we did a full day of dove hunting, spending about 3 hours in the field in the morning, and then another 3 hours in the field in the afternoon. Omar makes a point to change the location of the hunt every time you go to the field. We never hunted the same place twice, but never traveled more than 30 minutes to get to any hunting location. I thought this was great. It gave us completely new/different experiences every outing. We hunted over wheat fields, over a canyon that was in the flyway between the doves roost and where they feed, on the edge of timber, etc..etc.. each location was a new view, and a different twist on things and kept the hunt interesting.

    Day 2 we did a little better and brought our hit percentages up to about 50%. We were better rested and were starting to figure out what we had been doing wrong on Day 1. The bird boys also did a great job coaching us and would let us know if we were shooting behind, above, below, etc.. the birds and tried to provide hints on how to better connect.

    Day 3 was a "split" day. We spent the morning fishing, and the afternoon back in the dove fields. For our first fishing outing we crossed the parana river and went to a marshy area that had several small islands in it. Golden Dorado like swift water, so we would anchor the boat around bends where we could cast into small pockets of swift water but the boat would remain pretty stable and in calmer water. We had a great day, and caught 6 smaller dorado (5lbs and smaller), 1 large dorado (about 8lbs), a HUGE piranha (about 4lbs.. I had no idea there were species of piranha that got that big!), and what I was told was a HUGE yellow catfish (probably weighed 2lbs.. but we were told that particular species normally only gets to about 1 - 1 1/2 lbs).. We also saw a 20ft+ anaconda sunning on the banks of the river.. that was a cool experience..

    In the afternoon it was back to the dove fields.. hit percentages continued to climb and got into the low 60's..

    I managed to sunburn myself pretty good on Day 3.. TOTALLY my fault.. I kept taking my hat off thinking "its not that hot out here".. and didnt wear any sunblock.. I paid for that mistake the rest of the trip.. BE ADVISED.. NOVEMBER IS SUMMER IN ARGENTINA.. DONT BE STUPID LIKE MDWEST.. WEAR SUNBLOCK!.. Paul (camp manager) hooked me up with some SPF 50 for the rest of the trip though and I didnt take my cap off again until we got back to the US... the Sunburn didnt slow us down at all.. we continued to have a great time..

    Day 4 was another "split day".. this time we fished in the main channel though.. the water was SWIFT and ROUGH.. but that just made for excitement.. Omar knows how to handle the boat and knows how to put you on this fish.. We pulled in a few more smaller dorado, and Rhonda managed to catch another large one (about 9lbs) before we finished for the morning.. We then hit the fields for dove again in the afternoon and had the best hunt of the trip on day 4 with hit percentages getting into the high 60's.

    Day 5 was a short hunt in the morning, and then it was time to head back to the airport. Our "cast and blast" was done. We frankly were exhausted. Huge, wonderful meals all week, bottles of excellent argentinian red wine each evening, and entire days in the sun during the Argentinian summer wore us out (in the best of ways)..

    Meals each day were a mix of game meats/fish and other table fare. We ate one of the large dorado for dinner one night and also had dove, pigeon, and parakeet (I shot a couple of big keets at the end of Day 3 for us to try) as appetizers every day, and then usually had exquisite main courses of steak, pork loin, etc. at lunch and dinner every meal (I think I packed on an additional 5lbs in the 5 days we were there).

    After leaving ABH, we spent 1 more day in Buenos Aires. We caught a Tango Show and dinner (the place was recommended to us by Paul, the camp manager.. he went out of his way to arrange a car service and reservations for us while we were still at the lodge), and then spent the next morning just walking around the Puerto Madero district in BA..

    End Sum: this was a GREAT trip. We couldnt have asked for anything to have gone any better or to have had better hosts or better hunting or fishing. We will certainly go back to Argentina again in the future, and will certainly go back to ABH if/when we are looking for dove, dorado, or ducks (ABH also has access to some extremely good ducks and pigeons).

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  2. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    pics

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    cpr0312 and Ridgewalker like this.

  3. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Sounds like you guys had a great time. Your report will no doubt generate some future business for the outfitter.
     

  4. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    md.............that is an excellent report. You obviously were pleased with the trip. I enjoy dorado fishing, and the lovely lady is holding a nice one..........great photos. We are considering an Argentina trip for the coming year, and I will certainly contact your outfitter..... ............................FWB
     

  5. Mike B

    Mike B AH Enthusiast

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    Man, that sounds awesome! Great trip and report!
     

  6. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I'd say that you had a great trip. Be fun to do a cast and blast trip. Something to consider for the future. Thanks for the report and pics.
    Bruce
     

  7. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats and thanks for sharing!
     

  8. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
     

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