July 29, 2013
Time is flying. This is our last day at Tsimane’s Secure Lodge. Tomorrow we’ll relax in the morning then fly to the other Tsimane Lodge, Pluma Lodge, further downstream in this same river system. The good news is that the next lodge generally has the best fishing.
Today Skip and I fished Beat 1 with guide Sebastian. Our game plan was to catch some pacu on the fly. Beat 1 is the only Beat upstream of the lodge and as we headed there the river got small in a hurry. Small and clear to be exact with canopies of trees overhanging most of it. The further we went the prettier it got including a stunningly beautiful canyon.
Although this was a pacu hunt we definitely hit the opportune looking golden dorado spots. These locations looked much more like places I’d find huge New Zealand brown trout. The terrain is remarkably similar however you make that first cast and almost immediately you have five charging dorado. Most the dorado up here were 2-5lbs but I stuck this more than respectable fish on a black and red whistler. The fish was corralling bait in less than six inches of water. His strike was unreal followed by numerous jumps with the lush green jungle behind him.
The pacu fishing was tough. The best way to catch pacu is to fish the back slow sections of a run under the trees where fruits, leaves and seeds fall. This time of year is not the best for ripe seeds and fruits to fall, nonetheless you can still find pacu sunning and eating something on the surface if you go to the prime places. The bad news however, most of Sebastian’s “go to” pacu spots didn’t have the usual sight fishing opportunities today.
We got one good sight casting opportunity however. There were three pacus feeding on a leaf, much like grass carp. Skip shot a perfect cast to them with a grass fly concoction. The fly landed between all three fish but they refused. Meanwhile as I watched that scenario unfold, my fly was hanging off the side of the boat. When Skips fly went out of the zone on the pacus I cast mine only to hear one of our Tsimane boatmen shriek. There was a huge pacu was about to eat my dangling fly right next to the boat. No one saw him until I ripped up my fly to cast. My fly was airborne and a huge pacu was looking at me as if to say why did you take that from me? A true nightmare for a guy that wants to catch a pacu as much as I.
Sight fishing opportunities were far and few between so on the way back down river we cast blind to Sebastian’s favorite pacu water. On one of my cast a couple fish came out of the deep to follow my fly. They were pacus. For pacu you do short fast strips so I did just that and one ate my fly. I strip set hard, felt the tension and just as fast the fish was off. I groaned and cast again and this time one of the pacus followed but didn’t eat. That was it. Many more casts but the pacus were too smart.
Skip and I didn’t get our pacus today but it was a wonderful day regardless. The scenery on the upper river may in fact be one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever fished. The upper Secure River is truly beautiful. I should mention we saw an otter, a deer of some sort and plenty of jaguar tracks. That’s not to mention the incredible birds around every corner including some colorful toucans.
Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing