BRAZIL FIELD REPORT: PART 1
“If you gave a kid a box of crayons and told him to draw a fish, the final product would look very much like a peacock bass.” This is how Yellow Dog’s Jim Klug describes this beautiful and unique jungle species whose raw fighting power, aggressive feeding behavior and wholly exotic nature makes it a mainstay on many an angling bucket list. And it is this fish, as well as the opportunity to be well off the grid in the jungle-y depths of the Amazon rainforest, that lures anglers from around the world to experience expeditionary fly fishing at its best with River Plate Outfitters in Brazil.
Selecting the right dates for a fly-fishing trip is a huge factor in the success of the trip. After all, who would want to spend time and money to visit a place knowing that the odds are already stacked against them due to poor conditions? Evidently, five talented anglers from across the country decided that a joining a Yellow Dog hosted trip to River Plate Outfitters in Brazil last week was going to happen—regardless of the fact that a massive drought has brought the mighty Amazon river system to its lowest levels ever recorded. Despite scheduling challenges in addition to the prospect of low water and spooky fish, for these intrepid anglers, the risk was most certainly worth the reward.
Over the course of six days, close to 1,000 fish — mostly peacock bass — were caught on six rods. At least 22 of these fish weighed in at over ten pounds, putting them well into the trophy category. One angler landed a monster peacock that tipped the scales at 19 pounds and several others brought in trophies in the 15-pound-plus category as well.
Yellow Dog trip hosts Jim Klug and John Hudgens remarked that the ability of the River Plate staff to adapt to the low-water conditions and put clients onto fish was extremely impressive. Many of the waters that the group had hoped to fish were rendered inaccessible by low flows, so they did a fair bit of boat dragging and even some upstream camping to ensure that anglers would still have ample opportunities to fish for the peacock bass for which they came. Anglers also landed arowana, piranha and several other exotic jungle species on the fly, which is a testament to the diversity of this fishery—even in less-than-ideal conditions. A fairly good rain event mid-week raised the river levels by four to six inches, though anglers did not observe any immediate changes in the fishing as a result. However, they reported a notable absence of mosquitoes (due to the high tannin content of the water) and only complained of the occasional sandflies in the evenings. For River Plate Outfitters to be able to provide excellent food and nice accommodations (not to mention great water pressure in the showers!) in such a remote location makes them a truly exceptional outfitter. The fishing, clearly, speaks for itself.
All in all, the trip was a great success. In addition, anglers were able to enjoy a great time in Manaus, Brazil on both ends of the trip. From the unique fish markets and expansive wharf district to the historical opera house and great local restaurants, we strongly encourage anglers to take time to explore the colorful and culturally distinctive city of Manaus on any trip to the Amazon. River Plate Outfitters did a fantastic job of facilitating logistics in Manaus and even offered the group a private house with a pool in which to pass the time before the flight back to the United States. Not one member of the group boarded that flight without giving one final, fleeting thought to the excitement of being deep in the jungle with a fiery peacock bass on the end of his line.
The moral of the story? Fortune favors the bold.
Stay tuned next week for more images from this trip!
Peacock bass caught your imagination?
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