Trips like these start to take their toll towards the end of the week. Everyone was dragging a bit and no one was on time for the scheduled 5 AM breakfast. We’ve been putting in long days and having some fun at night. And it’s the Amazon, it’s a harsh environment that wears you down.
This morning’s fishing took us downstream 30 minutes from Rewa Eco-Lodge. We exited the Rewa River and entered the Rupununi River and pulled off on river left. Then we hiked about 20 minutes into Sand Landing Lagoon.
I took the bow and we eased into the lagoon with Terry and Cane gently paddling. Matt Breuer was on board as well today and he and Tim can really reenact movies and tell some good jokes. It was hard to be quiet up front because I was cracking up. It was good to have the entertainment however because there weren’t any rolling arapaima on this huge lagoon.
On the far side there’s a narrow stream that connects this lagoon to another. Terry and Cane decided we’d cross Sand Landing Lagoon and bust our way through the creek and try the distant lagoon. Before we got to the creek Cane pointed out an arapaima roll under some overhanging trees.
I saw the left over disturbance and would’ve written it off as an arowana because I wasn’t looking that way. But you never doubt these local guides. It’s like me knowing the difference from a whitefish rise or a trout rise so I made my cast and stripped with confidence.
I prospected around underneath the trees dropping short sidearm casts. As I was making my last strip, with my super strong but oversized fly line to leader connection inches from my rod tip, an arapaima devoured my fly. Without thinking of the consequences I strip set three times taking my knot deep in the rod. The freshly hooked 6-foot long fish was only inches from my rod tip. The arapaima took off and by absolute miracle my large connecting knot went back out through the rod guides without taking a rod section with it. The fish was on!
(Jaclyn had me set up with a Go Pro for this fish so eventually I’ll post my first video clip. From what I saw on her computer it’s pretty sick!)
A 13 minute battle ensued then Terry went overboard and grabbed my arapaima. This fish measured 75” with a 35” girth and was much easier to handle than my monster two days ago. I’m stoked to say this time we got some amazing photos!
After the hero shots Lesley and Jaclyn jumped in and we got a tag inserted and a blood sample. All the time my fish was very relaxed. Once done with that I had the great pleasure of resuscitating the stunning creature and releasing him myself. I’m telling you, it was one of the most spectacular experiences of my entire life – UNBELIEVABLE!
The rest of the morning went slow. We ventured into the next lagoon but only saw one arapaima roll. Undoubtedly, my catch was very very lucky and I’ll give all the credit to Cane and Terry for putting me on the subtle arapaima roll.
Lunch time put even me in the hammock however rather than sleep, I started up what should be a killer arapaima piece I’m doing with the sharpies. This one is going on Lesley’s Pelican box. I’ve never done art on the gray box so we’ll see how she comes out.
Our afternoon session led to two more hooked but lost arapaima. We were in some tiny lagoons called Coconut Creek, all connected by three small creeks. They were so tight that in getting the boat through Tim, Matt and I had to walk. Tim hooked his arapaima right next to the boat and didn’t have enough room to strip set. I cast to some precarious arapaima bubbles and got jolted only to lose the fish seconds later. I never buried the hook. Tomorrow is our last day. That just sucks!