March 8, 2010
Today ranks as on of those “hard as you can fish” days. It was by no means a top ten, I think all those came when I frequented the flats during my youth, but today both Granny and I fished extremely hard. It was one of those days where you never stop casting the big stick, stripping hard, standing on a hard boat deck in bare feet, fighting big fish, dragging the boat through shallows all while dealing with scorching heat. It was all part of the program if you wanted to catch fish. It was so hot today that at one point around noon the deck got so sizzling so fast that I burned the bottoms of my feet while scrambling to find a flip flop. You literally could have fried an egg!
Granny and I fished with a different guide than yesterday. While most places give you the same guide all week, here at the Xeriuni River Camp, River Plate Outfitters rotates guides daily amongst their guests. The reason for this is that for every professional guide they hire they must hire a local Indian. This is part of their deal that gives them exclusive rights to fish this section of the Xeruini River which happens to belong to the Indians. It’s a really good deal for all. The Indians don’t net the river, but rather help protect it. I like it because the pro guides and the Indian guides each have something unique to offer both in their different personalities, but also their ideas on pursuing the fish of the Amazon. For instance the pros are all about hunting big peacocks. They don’t put you in places where you are likely to catch the odd species. The Indians however will fish for anything. They seem to also enjoy pointing out the wildlife while telling you much about their interesting way of life.
Today we had professional guide Mo. Mo is from Manaus but boy does he know the Xeriuni River. He is one of the top guides and frequently gets his clients into large peacocks. We motored up the shallow Xeriuni River about 45 min before dragging the boat into a lagoon. This was a large lagoon lined with fallen trees and quite deep in the center. It had big fish written all over it. Granny and I immediately started banging up the butterflies. There were plenty of fish here. Then, just when Granny expected another butterfly to charge her fly from under a sunken tree, out came the larger species of peacock, and like yesterday she got completely worked over. I was focused on my own cast but could hear the line whistling through her guides and the hiss as it cut the water surface. Before I could look her way, I had a fish slam me and break off due to a flaw in my butt section, likely caused by a passing piranha earlier in the day.
Those few seconds called for a complete check up of equipment. One thing unacceptable in a remote corner of the globe is equipment failure due to not keeping an eye on things. First I cut off Granny’s leader and redid the entire thing. This time the old fashion way, straight 40lb. It sounds ridiculously heavy but for these beasts its common practice and perhaps the best way to go unless you are specifically searching for an IGFA world record. On this trip we are not.
That proved a good way to go because we hooked and landed some very nice fish. We stayed in the lagoon all day because there was fleeing bait everywhere. When you could reach the havoc with your cast you always hooked a fish. Granny and I landed over 50 peacocks with several fish up to 7lbs. I lucked into a 9.5lb as well as an 8lb. Best of all, the 9.5lb was crashing bait in 2-feet deep water and I sight casted to him and watched him charge and eat the fly. It doesn’t get much better folks!
We also stumbled into a real treat today of a game fish, the aruana. If you haven’t seen or heard of this fish before, then you don’t watch the National Geographic Channel. Aruana have been the talent on TV many times because they are famous for leaping six feet out of the water to yank insects, birds and small mammals from overhanging trees above. They are seriously cool fish. This was my second experience with them. Last year I found a colony of them and finagled several on Chernobyl Ants.
Upon returning to camp, we found that once again everyone had a great day. Paul and Amanda caught several fish up to 14lbs! This is looking to be an easy trip to host. As I speak, our camp is surrounded by huge thunderstorms. There’s lightning flashing everywhere. We just came in from watching the distant light show while enjoying some ice cold beers and cigars. What a great place!