It takes a lot to get me fired up about a fishing trip…
Well, actually, that’s a lie. I still feel like a little boy every time I go fishing. And after I finish writing this, I’m going fishing in the creek by my house, and I’m pretty fired up about that.
That said, there are indeed experiences that stand apart, and some of my favorite adventures, and maybe some of my best stories as a writer, involve fishing in the jungles of South America.
It started in 2008 with a dorado trip to Bolivia where I camped with the guys from Untamed Angling, before they built their lodges (the story was “In Search of the River Gods” in Field & Stream magazine). A few years later I joined a Costa expedition with Oliver White in Guyana, for a “Rumble in the Jungle” with arapaimas.
Suffice it to say that the jungle scene in South America is, right now to fishing, what I imagine the golden age of the Big Five safari was in Africa, 100 years ago. This is the era that will be remembered.
Jungle fishing puts you in some of the most pristine environments remaining on this planet. When I come home from these trips, I still hear the monkeys and birds when I close my eyes at night. I still smell the earth.
In many cases, the fishing is exactly what’s helping to keep these pristine landscapes intact. By fishing there, anglers are keeping indigenous communities in contact with their land and helping fend off unchecked development (timber, mining, agriculture, etc.).
Well, I’m going back for what my South American friends have told me is the “grand-daddy of them all” … a trip to Rio Marié in Brazil starting Oct. 26 for a week.
In June of 2014, a coalition of more than a dozen villages, indigenous native groups, organizations in the Rio Marié basin, and the government of Brazil entered into a historic agreement which created the very first, legally exclusive fly-fishing area in the entire Amazon Basin. Untamed Angling was awarded the 10-year license, and The Fly Shop is their representative and agent in the U.S. Now, these folks have everything professionally dialed.
The plan for this trip to the “Rio de Gigantes” (River of the Giants) is pretty simple… chase 25-pound (not a typo… 25-pound) peacock bass on a fly. I don’t know how familiar you are with peacock bass, but I believe comparing a largemouth bass to a peacock bass is like comparing Jerry Lewis to Ray Lewis. They have the same last name… the former immensely entertaining and respected around the world… but the latter is in a different realm as a powerful, world-class athlete.
The accommodations (custom mother ship) are apparently stunning, like the fishing. We’ll be working on stories and a book (hey… you might be a character in the narrative or a “fish model”). And I’m even told, that the Marié culture has been fishing with variations of “flies” for centuries… we’re going to check that story out. Maybe fly fishing didn’t start in Europe after all…
Anyway… we have a few spots left on the trip, and would love you to join. If ever you were considering a bucket-lister, this is a good one, and it benefits Trout Unlimited.
— Kirk Deeter