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End of the World Fly Fishing – Iceland

blog-Aug-18-2016-1-icelandic-fly-fishermenAll my friends passionate about fishing (fishing bums) are similar whether from home or abroad.  Icelandic Fly Fishermen pals Ingo Helgason and Siggy Hedinn picked Granny and I up at our room in Reykjavik, Iceland at 8 AM.  First halt on the long drive to our upcoming fishing was the truck stop for a healthy breakfast of cokes, coffee and donut holes.  Here in Iceland they call donut holes “love balls”.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-2-ingo-and-siggy-icelandFrom break number one it was a four hour drive up to the north of Iceland.  The day was sunny and warm for Iceland.  The scenery starts slow out of Reykjavik but steadily becomes stunning.  Our second break was at this pull off that I remember well from last trip.  These are the first rugged mountains along the road and they look over a famous homestead in the foreground.  That’s Ingo on the left and Siggy right.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-3-flyfishing-in-icelandThis trip will entail Atlantic salmon fishing from three Icelandic Fly Fishermen venues, none of which I saw last trip.  The first of our visit is a “self-catering” lodge on the Hafralónsá River much like I experienced last trip on the Flekkudalsá River.  This means basic accommodation and we cook our own food.  We’ll spend three days here with both Ingo and Siggy.  From there it’s to the Hofsa River and last the Selá.  Buckle your seat belt for the next nine days of the blog!

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-4-granny-currier-flyfishing-in-icelandFor the third break we stopped in Akureyri and bought groceries and beer for the Hafralónsá.  Akureyri is a gorgeous little touristy sea town dead on the north coast of Iceland.  Ingo and I passed through here last trip.  Before continuing on we swung by the hotdog stand where they prepare the delicious holdovers in over 100 different ways – I remembered this joint well.

 

 

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-5-hafralonsa-riverIt was another hour to the Laxá Adaldal and the famous Nes Lodge where I fished much of last trip.  We crossed the river then went up to Húsavík and refueled the truck with gas and us with coffee.  Strong European coffee saves you when you’re fighting jetlag on a long drive.  From Húsavík onward became new territory in Iceland for me.  We drove mainly coastline and it was spectacular to say the least.  Though a good road, we saw no more than two cars in nearly two hours.  This place is truly the end of the world.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-6-hafralonsa-salmon-fishingWe arrived to the Laxahvammur Lodge on the Hafralónsá River around 6 PM.  The simple lodge overlooks a vast valley of river and open land.  All the salmon pools are numbered and we can see Pool 7 and the famous Pool 8 from our porch.  We unloaded our stuff and my fishing gear only made its way as far as the porch.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-7-granny-currier-salmon-fishing-in-icelandYou’d expect we “Curriers” to dive into our waders and set up the rods but as you get older sometimes just taking it all in is most enjoyable.  The four of us popped Einstöks and sucked in the view.  It doesn’t get dark here until around 11 PM so there was time.  Furthermore, the weather is so nice its almost unheard of up here.  We had to enjoy some late afternoon sunshine while we can.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-8-salmon-fishing-in-icelandAfter beers we wadered up and took the short jaunt down to Pool 8.  Though only a short walk, here in Iceland you drive as close to the pools as you can even if it means driving through the river.  Once at pools edge we rigged the rods and were soon joined by another Iceland friend, Gisli.  Ingo and I caught up with Gisli while Granny and Siggy went to work for a salmon.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-9-granny-currier-icelandGranny picked up a few nice landlocked salmon in Labrador last year so she’s had a taste at swinging flies but here in Iceland is a fantastic place to learn more.  Siggy is born and raised on salmon fishing and he stood by Granny’s side teaching her.  One thing I remember well from my last trip is that not only do we swing flies in Iceland but we also strip them depending on the pool.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-10-jeff-currier-salmon-fishing-icelandGranny and Siggy fished Pool 8 hard for a couple hours.  They made several passes with different flies but caught nothing.  As soon as the sun set the temperature dropped like an October night in Idaho.  Granny opted out and done for the night and Siggy invited me in.  Swinging flies for salmon or steelhead for that matter is by far my weakest skill in fly fishing.  I was like a sponge getting every tip I could from Siggy.  I listen well because in short time I was hooked up.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-11-jeff-currier-atlantic-salmonSalmon fishing has been tough in Iceland this year.  For me to hook up so quickly was no less than a miracle because even on a good year I’m lucky to hook up.  This fish was by no means a big boy but trust me, it’s a fight and the feisty grilse (small Atlantic salmon) put a smile on my face.  He ate a fly called the Metallica.

 

blog-Aug-18-2016-12-icelandic-fly-fishermenWe called it after the grilse.  Granny and I skipped jetlag but we’re not exactly on Icelandic time yet.  We’re tired.  Nonetheless, we sipped a few more Einstök then switched to fine red wine that Ingo imports as one of his other trades.  Then we devoured fine steaks before finally hitting the sack around midnight.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Return to the Salmon Waters of Iceland

blog-Aug-17-2016-1-jeff-currier-salmon-fishing-in-icelandAfter hours of delays leaving the USA yesterday Granny and I arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland this morning.  We’re here to Atlantic salmon fish with our friends of Icelandic Fly Fishermen.  You may remember I fished here in 2014 with my friend Ingo Helgason.  It was an epic trip where I caught one of the most memorable fish of my life.

 

blog-Aug-17-2016-2-reykjavic-harbor-icelandThis is Granny’s first trip to Iceland.  She does few cold water fishery trips because her job rarely allows her to leave during summer.  But this is Iceland and on this trip my friends invited her too – there was no way she was missing this.  Furthermore, last summer she went to Labrador and did extremely well swinging flies for landlocked salmon.  Atlantic salmon fishing just might be one of her sneaky forte’s!

 

blog-Aug-17-2016-3-iceland-fishnchipsAfter a scrumptious fish and chips lunch with Ingo and our other friend Siggy who is a guide and partner in Icelandic Fly Fishermen, Granny and I checked into a room in Reykjavik for the night and hit the town.  As you know from reading this blog, life of Currier leaves no time for jetlag!

 

blog-Aug-17-2016-4-granny-currier-in-IcelandThe weather today in Reykjavik was cool and drizzly with some scattered rains.  I showed Granny around the city and each time the rain got hard we ducked into a pub.  After a few tasty drafts Granny returned to the room.  I decided to get in a little saltwater fly fishing on the public docks.

 

 

 

blog-Aug-17-2016-5-flyfishing-for-pollackI rigged my 8-weight Jungle rod and my 300 grain and headed for the docks to loosen the shoulder.  For kicks I put on a traditional Atlantic salmon tube fly Ingo gave me last trip.  I hooked several fish and landed my first ever pollock (ufsi in Icelandic) on the fly.  As a kid growing up near Plum Island in Massachusetts I caught hundreds of BIG pollock off the beach on Hopkins Lures.  Those mighty schools of the 1960’s I’m sad to say are gone.

 

blog-Aug-17-2016-6-reykjavik-icelandGranny and I hit the town for a few hours again tonight and ended with some filling Thai food.  I speak for the both of us – we are flat out exhausted.  I just read over this blog and can’t remember writing the last paragraph.  That’s what 20,000 miles of travel in fifteen days will do to you.

 

We’ll drive north and east tomorrow with Ingo and Siggy to begin our salmon fishing escapade.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Riding the Wave to Iceland

blog-Aug-16-2016-1-icelandic-fly-fishermenThirty years ago I wondered if I’d ever catch a bonefish in Belize, a massive trout in New Zealand or a peacock bass in the Amazon.  I thought with the measly salary at the time my boundaries for fishing would be 250 miles from home.  And honestly, I was happy with that because my 250 mile radius included magnificent waters from Yellowstone to the Henry’s Fork.  But I still drooled over photos from exotic locations.

 

Let’s just say, dreams do come true and you don’t always have to buy them.  Set your goals, work hard and chances are they will happen.  My luck the last few years has been incredible and I’m going to keep riding the wave as long as I can.

 

blog-Aug-16-2016-2-jeff-currier-ingo-helguson-icelandI’m only hours from posting the last blog from Kendjam in Brazil and I’m about to sip a red wine, slip on the eye patch and put in the earplugs.  In eight hours I’ll be landing in Iceland to fish with my great friends from Icelandic Fly Fishermen to begin a ten day Atlantic salmon trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Remembrances from Flyfishing Kendjam Brazil

blog-Aug-6-2016-1-peacock-bass-fishing-kendjamI don’t like departing the comforts of Victor, Idaho during summer.  Fishing my own rivers, coffee on the back porch watching humming birds and listening to Cubs games on my XM are hard to leave.   But I travel anyhow and I never regret.  The past ten days fishing with Untamed Angling and Ben Furimsky in Kendjam Brazil was no less than phenomenal!

blog-Aug-6-2016-2-ben-furimsky-flyfishing-kendjamA special thanks to my friends Rodrigo Salles and Marcelo Perez of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to Contact me.  This is a trip that we at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures can book for you.

Here are some final photos from this incredible adventure.

blog-Aug-6-2016-3-jeff-currier-flyfishing-the-amazonReleasing one of hundreds of peacocks we caught this week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABauer Reel and a pacu with a roosterfish-like dorsal fin.

blog-Aug-6-2016-5-caimam-brazilHungry caiman on the Iriri River in Kendjam.

blog-Aug-6-2016-6-winston-rods-bauer-reelsGreat fish are landed because of great equipment!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe underestimated wolf fish better known in Brazil as the trairão.

blog-Aug-6-2016-9-ben-furimsky-payara-fishingBen Furimsky said he was catching a payara this trip and he did.

blog-Aug-6-2016-10-jeff-currier-flyfishing-peacock-bassAll the peacock bass you could dream of on the fly at Kendjam

blog-Aug-6-2016-11-flyfishing-matrincha -1Matrinxã also known as matrincha tail shot

blog-Aug-6-2016-12-wade-fishing-the-amazonGet in shape.  The more energy you put into Kendjam the more fish you catch!

blog-Aug-6-2016-13-amazon-turtlesAmazon turtle found crawling in the boat.  I’m sure he was lunch but I secretly released him. . . .

blog-Aug-6-2016-14-jeff-currier-pacu-fishingMy favorite fish of the trip – pacu borracha – on Chernobyl Ants.

blog-Aug-6-2016-15-bicuda-fishing-the-amazonFly fishing for bicuda is fun.  Gill plate close up looks like a golden dorado.

blog-Aug-6-2016-16-flyfising-kendjamCasting at sunset for payara on the Iriri River.

blog-Aug-6-2016-17-trairao-fishingDon’t overlook this character on your trip – wolf fish.

blog-Aug-6-2016-18-Jeff-Currier-Ben-Furimsky-amazonDouble trouble!

blog-Aug-6-2016-19-jeff-currier-kayapo-indiansA touch up on the way home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee you next time Kendjam!

Getting to these amazing places and catching unfathomable fish doesn’t happen without the greatest sponsors a fishing bum could have.  Thank you – Untamed AnglingYellow Dog Flyfishing AdventuresR.L. Winston Fly RodsBauer Fly ReelsSimmsScientific AnglersYetiCosta SunglassesKate’ Real Foods

Still missing a beer sponsor. . . . . . . . . . . .

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

 

The Final Day in Kendjam with Untamed Angling

blog-Aug-5-2016-1-flyfishing-the-iriri-riverWe switched up guides on the last day.  Ben and I went with Rafael Costa who is not only a fishing guide for Untamed Angling but also a fine photographer (click his name).  We went for a long run up river to a place that Rafael has never been to explore.  Untamed has set eyes on it and thought it looked like a good place to find payara.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-2-flyfishing-brazilIt was grueling because the water is low.  We were out of the boats ten times dragging the craft upstream over rocks.  The journey ended up being too long.  We never made a cast until 11:30 AM and had to leave at 3 PM.  Ben and I were chomping at the bit.  That being said, the drive was beautiful and we saw thousands of these incredibly gorgeous parrots we hadn’t seen one of all week.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-3-iriri-riverWhen we got to the place the Iriri River was deep and more like a lake.  There were more submerged trees that I’ve seen all week.  It turns out, about forty years ago a logging company made and attempt to build a bridge and cut the forest down.  Let’s just say the Kayapo Indians were having none of that and the loggers abandoned the area and the logs sank to bottom.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-4-jacunda-fishingBy the look of the place I had payara on my mind.  I grabbed my 9-weight with its 300 grain and cast and let the fly sink.  I landed this peculiar fish known around the Amazon as the jacundá.  We’ve caught a few of these throughout the week and this is a species unlike the jacundás I’ve caught before.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-5-flyfishing-for-matrinxaI’d soon land a matrinxã that would lead to chaos.  I was wading past my waste and as I reached to unhook the matrinxã a flash of payara teeth whizzed by attempting to take him off my hands.  I got the matrinxã off and made some short casts with my streamer to no avail.  But when I lengthened my cast and let it sink where I suspected the payara came from I hooked another three times the size.  Sadly, he shook the hook on his first tarpon-like jump.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-7-jeff-currier-costa-sunglasses

Photo by Rafael Costa

I was relentless for an hour after jumping the payara.  Where’s there’s one there had to be more.  I caught a few more matrinxã and dangled them without a look.  And I caught a few more jacundá and numerous beautiful peacock bass.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-8-bauer-fly-reels

Photo by Rafael Costa

The area was peacock bass heaven.  Ben and I caught at least a dozen each.  None were huge but we definitely got a few good ones.  Rafael played around with his underwater camera and got some cool shots that he generously shared with us.

 

blog-Aug-5-2016-9-flyfishing-kendjamAll good things must come to an end.  The trip back to camp was sad but at the same time I realize this has been a top trip.  Honestly, the fishing here in Kendjam is some of the best fly fishing I’ve ever experienced in my life.  It’s been a blast!

 

I’ll close the book on the Iriri River tomorrow with a few photos that didn’t make the blog and some final thoughts.

 

A special thanks to my friends Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Payara

blog-Aug-4-2016-1-kendjam-flyfishingI woke up to find that a paddle crushed my 6-weight Winston while traveling down river last night.  It seemed as though today wasn’t going to be a shining one but fortunately it was all uphill from there.  Ben and I left with our guide Augustin early, skipping breakfast in hopes to catch a payara on the fly.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-2-flyfishing-for-payara -1There’s only been one payara taken on the fly here in Kendjam and that came by Ben earlier in the week.  That’s enough to tell us they’re here and that it can be done.  We went to a section of the Iriri River where our Kayapo boatmen have seen the toothy fish on occasion.  The current was slow and deep, the opposite of where I’ve caught them before.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-3-winston-rods-bauer-reelsWhat little knowledge we have of these fierce looking fish allowed us to piece together a game plan to catch a few.  First and foremost, start early.  From there I kept the plan simple: grab my 9-weight Winston Boron III Plus Jungle rod, go deep with my Sonar 300 grain sinking line, a straight 25lb Flouro leader, 12” of 30lb wire and tie on a big heavy black and red fly I used for golden dorado in Bolivia.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-4-peacock-bass-fishing-KendjamBen and I launched long casts and let our flies sink.  My stripping method was three long fast strips followed by a dead stop for two seconds.  Then I repeated this all the way to the boat.  I’m not sure how Ben was striping but within our first few casts we each picked off a hefty peacock.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-5-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-payaraNo doubt big predator fish are attracted to stress signals from other fish.  Ben was unhooking one of his peacocks when I saw a silver flash down deep in the morning sun.  I couldn’t identify the fish but I made sure to get my fly in the area as soon as possible.  It was on the pause of my retrieve that I went tight and a payara missiled into the air.  Fish on!

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-6-fly-fishing-for-payara-jeff-currierPayara are an amazing game fish that love to jump.  They twist and shake their heads violently in the air.  You can hear your fly rattle against their teeth.  My payara didn’t disappoint.  Luckily, he stayed on and within four minutes I had him to the boat.  He was an awesome specimen topping off the Boga at 12lbs.

 

 

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-7-jeff-currier-payara-brazilThe payara is a fish you don’t like to release too soon.  It’s not that they don’t need to be put back but it’s the fact that you can’t stop staring at their remarkable appearance.  Piranhas were my fish of dreams as a kid but that’s only because I didn’t know about the payara.  The streamline shape of this fish, the color bands in his tail, the eye that sizes you up and teeth like that of a tiger leave you in absolute awe.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-8-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-bicudaOne payara would be all for Ben and I.  Once the sun got high around 9 AM it seemed our chances were over.  We were starving from skipping breakfast so we worked our way to camp for a short break.  The overhead sun lit a sand flat so well we could see across it for a mile.  Just for kicks we walked it hoping to spot a surubi catfish to cast a fly to.  That didn’t happen but we picked off a few more peacocks and I dueled with a massive bicuda that jumped ten times for me!

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-9-jeff-currier-in-brazil -1After a snack at camp we headed for a pacu rapid.  After the beating I took yesterday from the round hard to hook fish I needed redemption.  I promise you however, it wasn’t that easy.  I missed three more takes in a row altogether.  Then I hooked another two that I lost on the jump before finally landing a good pacu borracha.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-10-pacu-borracha-kendjam -1Although not the largest, this particular pacu was my hardest fighter.  Its strange that he was though because he came from above the rapids and was actually sitting in a calm back eddy near a rock.  That just goes to show there’s much to learn about this brilliant fishery.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-11-fly-fishing-for-peacocksIt pays to know to quit while you’re ahead.  I could have easily continued to pursue pacu but with my luck with them the last 24 hours I opted to play around.  First thing I did was land a nice 4lb peacock bass on my 5-weight Winston and a Chernobyl ant.  As if that wasn’t enough.  Next I added another Chernobyl and attempted two at a time.  All I had to do was hook one then let him tow the second fly through the water.  My plan worked but it was about an 8lb peacock that took my dropper and he broke my 25lb Flouro like it was floss.

 

blog-Aug-4-2016-12-fishing-for-piauI went the opposite way after the double peacock fiasco.  I kept on one Chernobyl Ant and dropped a nymph below it on 4X.  I see colorful looking small fish all the time and wondered if I could come up with one.  Dang if I didn’t catch one of the neatest looking fish of all.  This is a species of piau and may take some time to learn exactly which piau it is.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have only one more day of fishing before back to Idaho.  Ben has the payara bug so we aim to be on them again early tomorrow.  I know there’s plenty bigger than what I landed today.  We’ll cross our fingers.

 

A special thanks to my friends Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Another Exceptional Day Flyfishing in Kendjam Brazil

blog-Aug-3-2016-1-untamed-angling-kendjamToday was our last day of filming with Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for a possible segment for the International Fly Fishing Film Festival.  Ben and I are only a small part of the clip and we did our part catching pacu yesterday.  This morning we both hung back behind the guys while they finalized some footage of Marcelo catching wolf fish.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-2-Myloplus-schomburgkiiWe did the entire morning on foot working our way upstream.  This is the exact type of fishing I love to do best at home.  For Ben and I it was tough because we were behind Rodrigo and Marcelo and the film crew.  This made it nearly impossible to capitalize on the already spooked larger gamefish like peacocks and wolfs.  So for fun I sight nymphed some nifty little exotics like this disk pacu (Myloplus schomburgkii).

 

The aquarium like fishes were tougher to catch than expected and I got so engrossed while trying for a smaller cichlid species that I nearly ended my trip being careless as to where I set my foot.  While backing up to sit on a rock to change flies I stepped on a freshwater stingray.  All stingrays in the Amazon have poisonous barbs in their tails and if you get hit – the trip is over.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-3-amazon-stingrayThough unlikely to cause death, the pain from a stingray is described as the worst in the Amazon.  I felt the squish under my foot and knew right away.  Somehow I escaped without getting hit but I felt the tail graze my calf.  Luckily I was protected by my Simms wading shoes and a very high riding wading sock.  My heart skipped a few beats and I sat on that rock for a long time catching my breath.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-4-peacock-bass-of-kendjamEventually Ben and I caught up with the filming and they were finishing up.  This was the beginning of getting serious as they say.  The cameras went off and Ben and Marcelo worked up one side channel while Rodrigo and I fished together up through a rapid and proceeded to knock the heck out of some nice peacocks.  All the small peacocks in this area, though not a different species, had this gorgeous spot pattern and backs with vermiculation like on a brook trout.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-5-rodrigo-salles-untamedRodrigo and I also had a nice run in with matrinxã.  I’ve taken a few this week but this particular rapid had a school of nice ones that literally hit the fly when it hit the water.  These silvery omnivores are one of the great kept secrets on the fly of the Iriri River.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the top of the run in the tailout I got my surprise of the day.  This type of water is more like a steelhead run but of course I tossed my fly while walking up to more promising looking water.  I didn’t even make a strip and a huge peacock shot out from a boulder and devoured my fly.  This was the hardest fighting fish of the trip yet and he smoked me to mid river and touched my backing to the tip of my rod.  It was a grunt for the next few minutes but I landed this peacock of 11lbs – the largest of this species so far.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-7-ben-furimsky-with-wolf-fishFunny how things happen.  While the guys were shooting photos of my big peacock Rodrigo spotted the tail of a wolf fish sticking out of rock right where we were working.  Ben put the camera down and grabbed my Winston with the same fly I caught the peacock on and danced it down deep.  This trairão shot out like a lightning bolt and in a matter of five minutes and ten feet apart we landed two great fish!

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-8-peacock-bass-fishingAt lunch we put the final touches on the film with interviews.  Mine was short and I simply talked about the great fishing here in Kendjam.  This place really has blown my mind so far.  Once done we ate a favorite of mine – fresh peacock bass and a bicuda to try.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-9-flyfishing-for-pacuThere wasn’t much time left in the day.  Ben and I went to a pacu run to finish up with some Chernobyl’s.  I’ve been doing well with the pacu until late this afternoon.  I had about eight eat my fly and only landed one.  A pretty rough stretch that happens to the best of us.  I’ll get em tomorrow.

 

blog-Aug-3-2016-10-jeff-currier-fish-artIt got out that I’m an artist amongst the staff here at Kendjam.  I drew a payara on a dry bag, several fish on phones and the head of a wolf fish on Rodrigo’s fly box.  It’s another fun day in the books.  Tomorrow morning Ben and I are going out early with Augustin to try for some payara.

 

A special thanks to my friends Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Wolves in Kendjam

blog-Aug-2-2016-1-camping-in-the-amazonCamping in the Amazon may not sound so great to those that fear creepy crawlers like spiders and snakes, but the truth is, seeing either is rare.  Its so wild here down the Iriri River that critters prefer to stay far away from humans.  Therefore, camping last night was lovely and this morning was beautiful around camp with some coffee watching giant Amazon river otters terrorizing the fish.

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-2-flyfishing-the-amazonBen and I headed out early in our raft.  The Iriri is more like a lake in this particular area and we rowed our way up into a shallow bay.  The place didn’t look like much to be honest.  We cast poppers on 8-weights to the overhanging trees as we rowed along and didn’t move anything more than a tiny peacock bass.

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-3-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-wolf-fishWe stuck with the morning exploration and ended up far back in the deadest of dead water.  Although we’ve picked up a few wolf fish (trairão) in the faster water this week, dead water is their home.  Sure enough, we found them.

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-4-leaping-wolf-fish-trairaoSoon, every time we cast to submerged timber we hooked into a wolf fish.  They jump the second you drive your hook and because of their hard jagged tooth filled mouth they often spit the hook and send it flying.  The wolves live in packs and almost immediately another one finds the fly and grabs you again.  Back in the air goes the next wolf and eventually you hang on to one.

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-5-flyfshing-with-capybaraWe caused so much havoc back in the bay that the land animals came to the river’s edge to watch.  There were birds in the trees and this mammoth size capybara.  These are huge rodents and a favorite food for anacondas and jaguars.  I’ve even ate a few over the years in the Amazon and honestly once you get passed the rodent part they taste quite nice.

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-6-flyfishing-for-wolf-fishBen and I caught fifteen of theses angry looking fish and we caught some brutes.  These fish have hardly any tails on them yet somehow get the power to jump.  Their eyes are more snake like than a fish.  Often while your unhooking one another is swimming around you.  I was uneasy in the water with this 17lber because his clan was swimming within inches of my legs!

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-7-fish-bitesI didn’t get bit.  I was lucky.  Ben on the other hand hooked one of the wolfs down deep.  His pliers weren’t long enough to reach without going inside the fish’s mouth.  Unfortunately for Ben, the wolf chomped down and got his finger good.  Our raft was a bloody mess and I hope his finger doesn’t get infected.

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-8-turtle-eggs-for-breakfastWe rapped up are morning fishing session around noon and rowed back to camp.  Rodrigo and Marcelo had great fishing as well and filmed some wolf fish for the movie.  We packed up camp and prepared for the long journey back up river to our main camp.  The Kayapo’s had a surprise for us – they spent the morning digging up turtle eggs for brunch.  I like to try everything.  We ate them raw and I was surprised to find I liked their sweet taste.  Lucky for me I liked them because on a trip like this you need all the protein you can get!

 

blog-Aug-2-2016-9-ben-furimsky-pacu-fishingThe journey upstream to camp was long and hard.  It took us almost five hours.  To break it up, we stopped to film fly fishing for pacu with Chernobyl Ants.  In three days of fishing Ben and I have figured these awesome fish out.  They are hard to hook but we still caught plenty.  I got in the zone and worked upstream on my own and landed seven.  Ben worked with the film crew and they captured the hook ups, jumps and Ben smiling with a heap of his own.

 

A special thanks to my friends Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Long Trip Down the Iriri River

blog-Aug-1-2016-1-flyfishing-the-amazonSleeping was hard last night.  I felt like when I was a boy trying to sleep before the opening day of trout season.  Yesterday on the Iriri River our fishing was so spectacular I was overly excited for today.  I spent most of the night listening to frogs, night birds and howler monkeys while star gazing the moonless sky.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-2-jeff-currier-costa-sunglassesThe sun finally rose.  It was surprisingly cool again and I wore my Simms Montana Wool right till the minute we took off downstream in the boats.  Then I went down to a t-shirt and celebrated that we were finally back on the water.  I was extra excited because we were headed even further downstream then we went yesterday for a night of camping and to blow up our rafts we brought all the way down here.

 

Along the way we made a few stops.  First, we ran into a common Amazonian animal I’ve never seen but always wanted to – the tapir.  Lo and behold, we came around a corner and there were two crossing the Iriri like moose crossing the Henry’s Fork back home.  It was an awesome sight I’ll not soon forget.  They were too far for me to get a photo so you’ll need to click here to see them.  Tapirs are very strange.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-3-payara-fishingAfter the tapir sighting we continued downstream and stopped where Ben caught the payara yesterday.  It took us a good two hours to get there.  We figured if there’s one there must be more.  We began quietly fishing the shallow rapid above the pool where he caught the payara with floating lines and big flies hoping to find one in feeding.  We found a decent one but unfortunately he followed my fly nonchalantly to my feet then glided down the rapid and off the drop-off into the deep.  The prehistoric fish came close enough I could see his massive razor sharp fangs.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-4-iriri-river-peacock-bassJust seeing the payara got us going.  We both took positions on islands where we could cast and reach the deep pool and started dredging.  I switched to my 9-weight Winston Boron III and a 300 grain Scientific Angler Sonar.  There was a family of peacocks living right where I was casting from.  This handsome peacock grabbed my fly then as I fought him a massive trairão tried to eat him!

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-5-caiman-iriri-riverNow we had at least one payara in the deep hole.  A school of peacocks waiting for me to toss out my fly again and somewhere in the rocks was a huge wolf fish.  I was in a total spin as to which fish to try for.  I went for the hungry trairão only to catch all the peacocks in the group because they are so aggressive.  Then with all the splashing came one last visitor looking for a free meal.  This caiman was a little too bold so Ben and I gave up on the payara hole and we moved on down river to blow up the rafts.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-6-dave-scadden-raftWe only got in thirty minutes of fishing for the payara and by the time we got further downstream where we wanted to set up the rafts it was noon.  The morning was literally gone due to all the travel from the main camp.  By the time we got two rafts assembled it was nearly 1 PM so without lunch Marcelo, Ben and I boarded one raft and headed for some off the river lagoons where the boats we’ve been using can’t go.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-7-jeff-currier-flyfishing-wolf-fishFishing was good from the raft.  We definitely got into places we couldn’t reach with the boats.  We caught a heap of peacock and a few bicudas.  Then out of the blue I saw a huge wolf fish looking our way as if to almost be checking out our raft.  It actually looked like he was about to attack.  I launched a fly and for a fish that moves slow he certainly crunched it quick.  For safety handling this species we used the Boga and this bad boy trairão weighed in at 15lbs.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-8-ben-furimsky-flyfishing-peacock-bassWe floated and fished our way downstream for an hour catching lots of nice peacocks before we came to a massive slow section of the Iriri.  The area went on slow far out of sight and was more like a lake than a river.  We decided too much time would be wasted rowing through it so we hooked the rafts to our motor boats and towed them.  It’s a good thing we did because after twenty minutes of towing we never got past the lake-like section.  It was already 6 PM by now so we found a fantastic beach and made camp.  This camp will be an option for all Untamed Angling clients in the future.

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-9-mayfly-hatch-in-the-amazonDarkness comes on fast and soon the locals made a fire while Rodrigo pulled out some of the finest steaks you can imagine.  He doctored them up beautifully and around 7 they went on the fire.  Then a major mayfly hatch began.  Don’t be surprised, I see mayflies and stoneflies all over the world.  And this hatch got serious!

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-10-mayfly-covered-steaksMost of us know many insects are attracted to light at night.  Lets just say, there was a massive suicide run by about ten million mayflies straight into our fire.  Soon our steaks and fish were completely coated with the blinded bugs.  Only a fool would consider this too gross to eat.  The mayfly coated the steaks almost like a breaded fish batter.  They were crunchy and they were delectable!

 

blog-Aug-1-2016-11-amazon-caiman-kendjamWe didn’t get in much fishing today but it was a great one nonetheless.  Life is good in Kendjam.  That is if you don’t get too close to the water at night to wash your hands!  We had a visitor tonight looking for fresh peacock bass.  Hold your breath for tomorrow.  I’m not so sure rafting is a good idea!

 

A special thanks to my friends Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Let the Games Begin – Flyfishing in Kendjam Brazil

blog-July-31-2016-1-kendjam-flyfishing-campI was dang near shivering when heaps of jungle birds began to sing at 5:30 AM.  The night temps dropped to the low 70°’s and perhaps even upper 60°’s.  Not only is this place paradise from the scenic point of view but its the perfect climate here at the Untamed Angling Camp of Kendjam on the Iriri River in Brazil.  Hot in the day and cool at night.

 

blog-July-31-2016-2-untamed-angling-rodrigo-sallesAt 7:30 we left camp in two boats downstream for fishing and filming.  Ben and I were in one and Untamed Angling founders Rodrigo Salles and Marcelo Perez in the other with their film crew.  The idea this week is to make a segment for the 2017 International Fly Fishing Film Fest and also a piece so that Untamed can promote this incredible fishery here in Kendjam.

 

blog-July-31-2016-3-augustin-bastons-flyfishingEach fishing boat consists of a trained fly fishing guide and two Kayapo Indians to handle the boat.  They do this with a motor, paddles and handmade push poles.  Today our guide was Augustin Gacia Bastons.

 

 

 

blog-July-31-2016-4-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-pacuWhile many imagine the Amazon drainage to be nothing but monster rivers and muddy water, the Iriri river is small and crystal clear.  You can drift and fish from the boat or wade this beautiful river casting big streamers on an 8-weight rod for peacock bass and wolf fish (trairão).  Then, in a blink of an eye you can change it up and fish a 5- or 6-weight with dry flies just like on a trout stream back home but for pacu, matrinxã and other fun species.  This place is a dream for anglers like myself that like to mix up the day with different fish and unique challenges with the fly rod.

 

blog-July-31-2016-5-flyfishing-the-iriri-river-brazilTen minutes into our day Augustin suggested Ben and I make some casts as the boat drifted.  One side of the river was deep with overhanging branches.  Ben hit there with a large streamer for peacock bass and hoped for his dream fish, a payara.  I fished the shallow riffle water and floated over the drop-offs with a Chernobyl Ant.  My target fish was the pacu-borracha that hangs in the rapids and feeds on drifting algae and fruits.

 

blog-July-31-2016-6-flyfishing-for-pacu-borrachaIt didn’t take long.  While Ben attracted looks from peacocks I finagled a lucky cast and drift with a Chernobyl Ant just off a riffle onto a drop.  Up came a pacu.  My heart pounded as the round fish twisted and followed my fly for a few feet.  His eyes were wide and so focused on my fly he didn’t notice me watching high on the boat deck.  Once he decided it was food he lifted like a huge brown trout and sipped the fly.  One major difference however is that as he sips, you’re heavily distracted by his sparkling nut crushing molar-like teeth!

 

blog-July-31-2016-7-pacu-fishing-KendjamBecause of the teeth I was using a short piece of 20lb wire to the fly as a shock tippet.  My leader is one of the new Scientific Anglers Bass leaders with 18lb tippet.  18lb sounds heavy but if you ever wondered what it would be like to catch a 5lb bluegill – this is it.  Only the pacu-borracha also jumps.  I can’t tell you how stoked I was to catch this guy so quickly.  Check out the crazy long rays on his dorsal fin!

 

blog-July-31-2016-8-wolf-fishAs Augustin and I were photographing my pacu, Ben jumped from the boat and waded downstream with his streamer.  It didn’t take him long before he had a fish of his own.  This was a different fish.  It was large and snake like and made few jumps of his own.  Rather than peeling off line like my pacu this guy bullied Ben until he could grab him.  It wasn’t an easy grab because Ben had his first trairão and this fish too has a mouth full of teeth and extremely strong jaws.

 

blog-July-31-2016-9-jeff-currier-ben-furimsky-fishingIn a matter of fifteen minutes or so, Ben and I caught the pacu and the trairão along with several black piranhas (Piranha preta) each.  We got a strike almost every cast.  Then we got in the boat to catch up with the other guys.  Naturally we pumbled the water as we went.  I switched to my 8-weight Winston Jungle rod to try for peacocks and within minutes Ben and I were posing with this double trouble bunch.  The Iriri is teaming with fish.

 

blog-July-31-2016-10-jeff-currier-flyfishing-bicudaWe chased down Rodrigo and Marcelo and they were filming some trairão.  We stopped and watched a minute then I decided to rip a popper through a speedy tailout.  The area was less than two feet deep and with strong current I wasn’t expecting much.  But I’ve now learned, this is where the biggest of all the bicudas (Boulengerella cuvieri) live. When my popper splatted down a wake came charging and bicuda attacked my fly. These barracuda like fish scream line off your reel while jumping all the time.  With a bony mouth full of teeth, they are normally very hard to keep hooked.  I got lucky and the peculiar jungle fish made for nice photo.

 

blog-July-31-2016-11-jeff-currier-flyfishing-kendjamWe never saw Rodrigo or Marcelo and the film crew again until we tracked them down for lunch.  This is the Amazon so it’s scorching hot at midday and we relaxed in the shade and ate and sipped cokes.  Our lunch was delicious and consisted of a couple peacock bass and a piranha.  The second we finished we hit the water to see what other interesting fish I could catch.

 

 

 

blog-July-31-2016-12-flyfishing-for-piranhaThe fish were out in full force.  Though we caught a lot of things the black piranhas were aggressive.  Ben and I nailed several of them which is good and bad.  The good is they fight like mad and are so cool to look at when you hold him.  We’ve all known about piranhas since we were kids.  But the bad is they bite chunks from your flies whether you catch them or not.  It can get extremely expensive at times.  This big one actually came on a stonefly nymph while I was messing around drifting from the boat.  I use old flies from the past when the piranha bite is on.

 

blog-July-31-2016-13-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-piranhaWhat’s funny about this piranha is that while I was fighting him off one side of the boat, a big turtle was laying on the bottom of the river on the other.  I could see one of the locals eyeballing the sleeping turtle.  The Kayapo love eating them.  Despite the fact that I was fighting a big piranha he dove overboard to get his dinner.  Here we are both holding our prize.

 

blog-July-31-2016-14-snakes-of-the-amazonblog-July-31-2016-15-amazon-watersnakeWe’d seen a few electric eels throughout the day and while casting I thought I caught a glimpse of another but the colors were striking unlike the dull brown eels.  The creature lifted its head to breathe.  It was a substantial snake with an almost coral snake pattern on his body.  This snake was about 6- to 8-feet long – long enough it took me two photos to fit him all in.  Unfortunately, this is as close as I got just in case he was deadly.  If anyone can identify him, please let me know.

 

blog-July-31-2016-16-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-matrinxaThe nonstop action continued.  Ben and I reefed on about fifty peacocks.  I have no idea exactly how many but there were a bunch.  We also caught a few more pacus and many matrinxã (Brycon falcatus).  The matrinxã is a true omnivore and comes for a look almost every time your fly hits the water.  They hate wire so usually they don’t eat it.  But today they did and I caught the biggest one of my life while breaking my skin protection rules working on an Amazon tan.

 

blog-July-31-2016-17-ben-furimsky-payara-fishingThe Iriri River happens to have some decent payara in its system but none were caught on fly during last year’s four weeks of exploration.  I’m not sure what it is about the vampire fish but they simply don’t take flies well and I can say this based on experience in Venezuela back in 1996.  There were tons there, but in ten days I managed about five good ones in total.  Ironically, Bens goal on this trip was to catch a payara and this afternoon he did.  This is the first payara taken on fly at Kendjam.  I say it often on this blog – keep your fly in the water!

 

blog-July-31-2016-18-flyfiishing-in-iriri-river-with-jeff-currierAt the end of the day we settled on a braided section of the Iriri River.  There were riffles and runs and boulders and deep holes.  It was an adventurous fly fisher’s nirvana.  I’d caught more than I imagined at this point so I grabbed my 6-weight Boron Plus and went to work with a Chernobyl Ant to learn more about catching the pacu-borracha.  Honestly, other than the warm water racing against my skin, I could’ve easily been on the Madison River in Montana.

 

blog-July-31-2016-19-flyfishing-for-pacu-with-jeff-currierI caught a couple of unique pacu (Myloplus asterias) on Chernobyl’s years back in northern Brazil but they lived in slow water.  This fast water pacu-borracha fishing seemed strange – a big round fish living in a rapid?  But I fooled one this morning from the boat so I expected to find more.  Sure enough I got a pacu to rise to my fly at the head of almost every riffle.  While I lost a few I landed three more.  One was this beast which I never expected!

 

 

 

blog-July-31-2016-20-flyfishing-KendjamI don’t like to go overboard on the hero shots on the blog but today was no less than a remarkable day of angling.  Ben and I caught so many cool fish and so many big fish that if it weren’t for my photos I wouldn’t believe it.  Kendjam on the Iriri River is no less than some of the finest fly fishing on the planet.

 

blog-July-31-2016-21-fishing-with-kayapo-indiansIt was long trip back upstream back to camp but we didn’t notice.  It was beautiful.  There were so many colorful birds including three types of macaws.  Seeing these oversized parrots in the wild like we see robins on the lawn at home is something to behold.

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow.  We’re going even further into the wilds of the Iriri to blow up our Dave Scadden Rafts to camp further down the Iriri River.

 

A special thanks to my friends Rodrigo and Marcelo of Untamed Angling for making this incredible journey possible.  If you too would like to experience a similar trip to Kendjam feel free to contact me.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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