Tim and I had the last day blues when we got up. In 48 hours we’ll be back in the states getting a reality check. This Guyana trip has been no less than exceptional!
The morning session took place on Makateli Lagoon for Tim and I and Jim. Alex hadn’t caught an arapaima yet so he was taken back to the Caiman Pond to increase his chances. Makateli is a large half-moon shaped lagoon with lots of hyacinth along its edges and a few of the huge Amazon Lily pads. Today I got that lily flower picture. This flower is larger than my Ross F1 #5 Reel!
In past years Makateli Lagoon has been phenomenal and we went in with high expectations. The journey started bad however. This is a lagoon where dugout canoes remain for fishing. When we got there one was completely sunk. Matt and Terry did a fast and furious job of splashing out the water with paddles. The speed in which they cleared it out was impressive.
Unfortunately there weren’t any arapaima around. We might have heard one breathe deep under the hyacinth but we weren’t sure. Even so, there was no way to cast there so that arapaima was safe from us. Matt made a wise decision to pack it up and hike out and start on our afternoon lagoon early.
We got to our afternoon lagoon, Mac Creek, early enough to get in some morning fishing. And man were there some arapaima. Mac is tiny, barely big enough for two boats, but the place was loaded with arapaima. I took the bow first and immediately hooked up. I got numerous good hook setting jabs but just as the arapaima hit my backing and went to jump he came loose. Bummer!
Tim took the next hour and may have had a tap or two but nothing serious. We’re surprised because there are a ton of rolling fish. By noon it was too hot to handle so we called it for a lunch break.
Lunch proved interesting. The food was fine and all, but when I took a swig of beer then leaned back and put my hands behind me, my right hand landed on a wasp. At least we’re pretty sure that’s what it was. In less than a second I got stung and the pain was instantly excruciating. I’m losing my vision up close and all I could see was a stinger about ¼ inch long pumping yellow pussy venom into the soft spot between my thumb and forefinger. Knowing Tim had pliers I stuck my throbbing hand in his face and begging I said, “Get the stinger!”
It took Tim three tries before he got ahold of the stinger. Undoubtedly the first two tries did nothing more than squeeze more venom in me. Within a minute I wasn’t just hurting in my hand but pain and numbness crept up to the elbow. Good news however, Dr. Lesley had a first aid kit with a venom sucker. She’d never used it before so we knew this would be interesting.
At that point I’d have tried anything. I was hurting and nervous about the numbing going up my arm. I get stung often at home but no wasp ever hurt like this. And we still weren’t sure what got me. So Lesley went to work and whether or not her sucking device worked, it was entertaining enough to get my mind off the sting.
I had three hours for the pain to subside before our last session of fishing. All I cared about was getting back out on Mac Creek and catching one more arapaima. I knocked back three Advil with more beer and luckily it was uphill from there. I even got Lesley’s Pelican case finished.
When fishing time came my hand was still swollen but it didn’t hurt in comparison to when I got stung. Regardless, Tim took the bow firsts and was quickly into rollers. The first couple fish he threw at followed leaving a bubble trail and we knew it was going to happen. Finally it did and Tim hooked and landed this 63”.
After that I took the bow. The first couple casts were uncomfortable but then an arapaima rolled in range. There was no more pain and I dropped my fly ahead of the moving fish. One strip and he was on. There was no slipping of the line just solid sets that felt as if I was hooking concrete. This bad boy was on and in the air and on his first jump he spit out a baby wolf fish. It’s hard to see but if you look close the wolf is flying through the air high above the splash.
Tim and I are getting pretty good at this and I muscled this one to the shallows in 8 minutes. Lesley and Jaclyn hopped in fast and got their work going. This fish was 73” and very uncooperative. He went crazy during measurements. He almost got away when Lesley implanted the tag. Then he got away when she tried for the blood sample. Maybe I landed this one a bit too fast.
These two awesome fish would be the last for Tim and I on this trip. But what a Grande finale – the boys from Victor end with a tremendous bang! I don’t think I’ve ever been so stoked on a trip in my life!
We had a big night under the full moon at the Rewa Eco-Lodge. We had a lot to celebrate from the week. I’ve finally met and caught what might be the most amazing fish on the planet. The arapaima has long been in my dreams and honestly, I never thought I’d catch one. Furthermore, I met some great new people this week with the same passion for Amazon and the unique wildlife and fish that live here.
Although this is the “Last Fishing Day” post, tomorrow I’ll post a few more photos from the trip. WHAT A TRIP THIS HAS BEEN!