March 9, 2010
This morning both Fred Truax and Granny were feeling a little kruk so they opted to sleep in and skip the morning fishing session. Rather than fish alone, David Truax and I fished together. David is a long time fishing guide and friend from Jackson, WY and we had never fished together. Our guide was Ben.
Ben saw that he had two men in his boat and figured we had the strength and ability to drag the boat somewhere special. We made a short run up the Xeriuni then pulled off to the side. Then we removed everything from the boat, screwed off the motor and hoisted the boat up a steep bank. Once up top the bank, Ben and a kid he’d brought along just for this event, laid logs across a machete trail so that the boat would roll along as we dragged and pushed it. They did this for over 200 yards through the jungle! Once the ground work log work was done, the four of us pulled and pushed the boat all the way to a gorgeous lagoon. There was no doubt we were going to hammer some fish. I gave David the front of the boat and I casted from the center spot. David’s a great caster and Ben maneuvered the boat well away from the banks in order to less likely spook fly chasing peacocks. I was launching a popper and quickly hung up some nice peacocks. From 7 am until 11 am, David and I caught over fifty peacocks! It was a phenomenal morning! Best of all, we caught several up to 9lbs. The only bad thing that happened was that I failed to hook what looked to be a peacock significantly over 10lbs. I literally watched this huge fish chase my fly, eat my fly and turn with it completely consumed in his mouth. You never want to use your rod when setting the hook on a peacock because there mouths are so hard. What I mean is a rod literally doesn’t have the power to drive a hook point into the flesh of a peacock’s mouth. So instead, you strip real hard until you drive the hook into the fish. Then once you hook him and he takes off, lift the rod and fight the fish. On this particular monster fish, I strip set and felt nothing, strip set again and nothing and striped again, and too my disbelief I never felt this fish. My fly completely disappeared inside his mouth yet somehow even strip setting like mad I never made contact! Crazy and very disappointing I might add. Funny thing is, minutes after, my fly grazed David’s back and sure enough it hooked the heck out of him. Luckily, David grit his teeth and Ben yanked it out without much trauma.
At 11 am, Ben and I walked back through the woods where we met guide Daka who brought Granny and Fred out to join in for the afternoon fishing. Fred hiked with Ben back to the boat in the lagoon to fish with David the rest of the day and I hopped in the boat with Granny and Daka and we went for a long run for an hour or so up the Xeriuni. Daka, one of the local guides, is tiny little man yet made of solid muscle. He took us to a deep section of river where we proceeded to spend the entire afternoon hammering on small peacocks, dogfish, picuda, jacunda, traita, and a new species for me, an oscar. Oh and how could I forget Granny hooked up to an angry 4ft long caiman while fishing the popper. Luckily he was just holding her fly so when we got him near the boat he just let it loose and growled.
At about 5 pm we packed it up and began the run back to camp. Along the way we ran into Paul and Amanda who were waving for us to pull over to them. There was a lot of excitement going on and I just knew Paul had caught something special. As we pulled up Paul had a grin from ear to ear as he lifted a gorgeous 29lb redtailed catfish from the water. Each day Paul was dedicating the last two hours to try and catch one of the many beautiful catfish of the Amazon. I’d joined him on one occasion only to be frustrated by the piranhas which usually eat up the bait before it even reaches bottom where you might catch a catfish. Sure enough, Paul was quick to say that just before the catfish ate, they were about to call it quits because the piranhas were so bad. Fortunately they decided to give it one more try, and along came the magnificent redtail cat.
After a bunch of pictures we released the beautiful fish back to his deep hole. Of course now it had been proven that a cat could be caught despite the nasty piranhas playing havoc with bait, so they tossed out the bait again. After a few more piranha incidents, Amanda got the bite we were hoping for. After a powerful battle she too landed a redtail cat. Amanda’s weighed in at 24lbs! Unfortunately, for safety reasons guides and clients are required to be back to camp by 6 pm so we left the hot catfish spot. But what a day it had been for everyone. The cats were top fish for Paul and Amanda. Granny and I felt lucky just to see such incredible fish. And more big news around camp was Gregg Friedman landed an 18lb peacock with Mo. 18lbs is a true giant!