Sleeping was hard last night. I felt like when I was a boy trying to sleep before the opening day of trout season. Yesterday on the Iriri River our fishing was so spectacular I was overly excited for today. I spent most of the night listening to frogs, night birds and howler monkeys while star gazing the moonless sky.
The sun finally rose. It was surprisingly cool again and I wore my Simms Montana Wool right till the minute we took off downstream in the boats. Then I went down to a t-shirt and celebrated that we were finally back on the water. I was extra excited because we were headed even further downstream then we went yesterday for a night of camping and to blow up our rafts we brought all the way down here.
Along the way we made a few stops. First, we ran into a common Amazonian animal I’ve never seen but always wanted to – the tapir. Lo and behold, we came around a corner and there were two crossing the Iriri like moose crossing the Henry’s Fork back home. It was an awesome sight I’ll not soon forget. They were too far for me to get a photo so you’ll need to click here to see them. Tapirs are very strange.
After the tapir sighting we continued downstream and stopped where Ben caught the payara yesterday. It took us a good two hours to get there. We figured if there’s one there must be more. We began quietly fishing the shallow rapid above the pool where he caught the payara with floating lines and big flies hoping to find one in feeding. We found a decent one but unfortunately he followed my fly nonchalantly to my feet then glided down the rapid and off the drop-off into the deep. The prehistoric fish came close enough I could see his massive razor sharp fangs.
Just seeing the payara got us going. We both took positions on islands where we could cast and reach the deep pool and started dredging. I switched to my 9-weight Winston Boron III and a 300 grain Scientific Angler Sonar. There was a family of peacocks living right where I was casting from. This handsome peacock grabbed my fly then as I fought him a massive trairão tried to eat him!
Now we had at least one payara in the deep hole. A school of peacocks waiting for me to toss out my fly again and somewhere in the rocks was a huge wolf fish. I was in a total spin as to which fish to try for. I went for the hungry trairão only to catch all the peacocks in the group because they are so aggressive. Then with all the splashing came one last visitor looking for a free meal. This caiman was a little too bold so Ben and I gave up on the payara hole and we moved on down river to blow up the rafts.
We only got in thirty minutes of fishing for the payara and by the time we got further downstream where we wanted to set up the rafts it was noon. The morning was literally gone due to all the travel from the main camp. By the time we got two rafts assembled it was nearly 1 PM so without lunch Marcelo, Ben and I boarded one raft and headed for some off the river lagoons where the boats we’ve been using can’t go.
Fishing was good from the raft. We definitely got into places we couldn’t reach with the boats. We caught a heap of peacock and a few bicudas. Then out of the blue I saw a huge wolf fish looking our way as if to almost be checking out our raft. It actually looked like he was about to attack. I launched a fly and for a fish that moves slow he certainly crunched it quick. For safety handling this species we used the Boga and this bad boy trairão weighed in at 15lbs.
We floated and fished our way downstream for an hour catching lots of nice peacocks before we came to a massive slow section of the Iriri. The area went on slow far out of sight and was more like a lake than a river. We decided too much time would be wasted rowing through it so we hooked the rafts to our motor boats and towed them. It’s a good thing we did because after twenty minutes of towing we never got past the lake-like section. It was already 6 PM by now so we found a fantastic beach and made camp. This camp will be an option for all Untamed Angling clients in the future.
Darkness comes on fast and soon the locals made a fire while Rodrigo pulled out some of the finest steaks you can imagine. He doctored them up beautifully and around 7 they went on the fire. Then a major mayfly hatch began. Don’t be surprised, I see mayflies and stoneflies all over the world. And this hatch got serious!
Most of us know many insects are attracted to light at night. Lets just say, there was a massive suicide run by about ten million mayflies straight into our fire. Soon our steaks and fish were completely coated with the blinded bugs. Only a fool would consider this too gross to eat. The mayfly coated the steaks almost like a breaded fish batter. They were crunchy and they were delectable!
We didn’t get in much fishing today but it was a great one nonetheless. Life is good in Kendjam. That is if you don’t get too close to the water at night to wash your hands! We had a visitor tonight looking for fresh peacock bass. Hold your breath for tomorrow. I’m not so sure rafting is a good idea!
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.