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Rio Marié – Rio de Gigantes – Giant Peacock Bass Deep in the Brazilian Jungle

(Text Florian Kaiser; Pics Florian Kaiser und Breno Ballesteros Rezende)

After an awesome week with my new friend Chris (The Cadis Fly Shop, Eugene) fishing for large Dorados at Tsimane in Bolivia and a couple of days cultural program at the marvelous INHOTIM Art Museum guided by a good friend, I was in the right mood to transfer to Manaus. Reception and transfer to the hotel – as usual with Untamed – went as it should be: reliable, quick and with no worries. Check in and shower at the hotel.

It was looking very forward to be back in serious fishing business with my good friend Breno! The week was supposed to be good and full of giggling and joking!

Just weeks before the trip, Breno told me that we would be accompanied during our week at Rio Marié by a group of seven Russians and the personal (!) Norwegian (!) photographer of one of them. I was looking forward to ask them about global politics (just kidding). Seven Russians?! WTF was our first thought? Let’s see what the week would bring. It could be funny with a lot of alcohol, hoping that the boat’s supply would never end. Because addicted without their toys are hard to take. I had that once on the Seychelles. But I stop here with any prejudice.

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Next morning we had the luck to be in the second smaller and later plane, so we could have slept longer, but I did not manage to adjust my iPhone to the appropriate time zone, thus I set the alarm clock to 5:30. So we had more than plenty of time to have breakfast and to prepare our gear. Breno, I must admit, was kind of irritated why this German did set the alarm clock so early, but took it professional with the unique humor of a good friend.

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What about Rio Marié, what makes it so special? In the first post about my ULTIMATE JUNGLE BLAST I mentioned the exceptional high quality of Giant Peacock Bass(GPB) fishing of this venue. Giant Peacock Bass live in several parts of South American Amazon and are one of the most regarded fish to catch in that area. Catching a “tenner”, thus a fish of 13lbs or more is an achievement, catching a fish beyond 20lbs might be the GPB of your lifetime, catching a +20lbs GPB on fly is over the top and having the real chance to catch more than one +20lbs GPB within one week is kind of beyond the charts. And exactly that is Rio Marié by Untamed. It is beyond the charts!

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I have to confess that I am not into GPB fishing at all and can only hardly imagine what it means to catch such a +20lbs “Temensis Rex” (their correct name is Cichla Temensis). It might be as exceptional as catching a 30lbs Huchen (aka Taimen) in Bavaria on the fly. But I am just guessing. For me the special appeal of Rio Marié at that point definitely was to add a good week fishing with Breno in an extraordinary setting and to add another week of fishing one of the best spots for one species on this planet after the first week at Tsimane. It is kind of spoiling yourself but considering setup cost and travel time from Europe it just makes sense to fish two or even three destinations of Untamed in one back to back trip. A brief spoiler here: the week ahead of us would become truly unique!

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Source of Rio Marié is in Colombia, flowing to the east it oxbows its way through the northwest Amazon jungle of Brazil, joining Rio Negro, a huge tributary of Amazon, after more than 500 miles. The whole system of Rio Marié and its tributaries are inside the Indigenous Territory of Medio Rio Negro. In the past this area was only “used” by native indigenous tribes for sustainable fishing. In 2014 the Brazilian government and the local native communities granted ten years of exclusive fly fishing access to Untamed Angling. Altogether this adds up to some 500miles of fly fishing including several tributaries, creeks, lagoons and old oxbows of the river. Combined with the careful and caring development, characteristic for Untamed Angling, this provides the best possible fundament for an exceptional fishing experience.

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As GPB are not uncommon in South America, you might ask what is so special about Rio Marié to produce such a high percentage and number of fish beyond that magical mark of +20lbs? There is not one answer to that question. Several facts might have an influence. The area is very remote and pretty much untouched by any fishing pressure by locals let alone fly fishing tourists. Thus there is no harvesting and fish can grow as long as they survive their predators. GPB in that area – might be kind of trout in NZ – follow survival of the fittest and a steep pyramid develops: low total numbers of GPB but the ones that are there develop a very high average weight.

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GPB occur in two distinct color stadiums: the Paca (bronze with white spots) and the Acu form more greenish, yellow with the thick black stripes. The Acu form is actually the spawning and post spawning color of the fish. GPBs built a nest on the river ground that is kind of a 1,5 meter diameter bowl. In that bowl they “breed” and protect their descendants. For spawning they can gain considerable weight. Fishing takes place in that post spawning time and some of the takes might be related to parents protecting their kids.

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To be continued…

 

CV/ Bio: Florian, fly fishing since twenty five years in the northern and southern hemisphere in fresh- and saltwater for many species. Enjoying outdoor sports, mountain biking, photography and good wine. Fly fishing is only one of his hobbies, but the one he kind of loves most. Florian is European Ambassador of Thomas & Thomas, Pro Staff of World Fly Angler (leading distributor of fly tackle and top line brands in Europe) and of Marlo Reels from Hamburg/ Germany.

For more from Florian Kaiser, click here.