Camping 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.
Ben 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.
We 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.
Soon, 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.
We 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.
Ben 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!
I 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.
We 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!
The 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.