Peacock Bass in Brazil
~My Encounter With Aliens!~
I can't remember when I started fishing.. Well actually I can..
My Mama's Daddy, AKA my Grandpa, had me help him catch some crickets, and we headed off to the canal between LaCoste and Lytle, that flows out of Medina Lake on its way to thousands of acres of corn, milo, cotton, and any other crop that would pay a buck..
At the time I was probably just as excited about catching the crickets as I was catching fish.. Till that first perch took my cork under..
I got hooked the same time that perch did.. And here some fifty five years later, I still got it as bad as ever..
My lifelong love affair with Falcon led me to live here in Zapata as a full time resident in 2008.. Just forty seven years after the first time I saw her.. And now a full fifty five years since the first time I climbed in that old aluminum Lone Star with my Dad..
Wish I could make that trip again..
My brother and I bought Falcon Lake Tackle in 2008, from Larry and Barbara Bridgeman. It was quite a change of lifestyle, as you can imagine, if you have ever been to Zapata.. Nothing happens here in a hurry.. And it won't tomorrow either..
But what I am trying to get to, is that running a tackle store, on what some consider the best bass lake in the nation, has allowed me to meet some of the finest people that ever walked the earth. And some of the most passionate..
Fishermen. Hunters. Outdoorsmen.. Nature lovers. Conservationists..
Birds of a feather..
And on occasion I author a blog that has brought me a little attention from fishermen, hunters,Texas Parks and Wildlife, TV stations, outdoor writers, radio shows, tackle manufacturers, and outfitters.
I have on occasion also raised the ire of said same group. But it is what it is.. I don't speak without thinking and often times I say things that go against the grain. Cause it needs to be said..
And when anybody gives me any shit about what I wrote, I tell em this: "I ain't throwing my paper in your yard.. If you don't like it; don't read it.."
Not that it happens very often anymore.. Like I said; Birds of a feather..
And one of the outfitters I have met is Ron Speed Jr, Owner of Ron Speed Jr's Adventures..
And if you are a fan of this site you know I have been on several trips down to Mexico with the Speed organization, and have never had a bad trip and certainly not bad service. Quite the opposite..
Recently I was invited by Ron to tag along on a Peacock Bass fishing trip to Brazil. And along the way I was prodded and provoked to go by my good friend, Ted Wayland. Who has more than a dozen trips to the Amazon with Speed under his belt.
Ted and I have fished together many times and it really was not too difficult for him to convince me to go along.. Although Ted and another group of fishermen would start their trip a week ahead of me, as they were going early to do some "research" on some water that had not really been fished in years.
Of course I had to commit to going months in advance, and I'll have to say it was a long anticipation period..
The Speed organization helped me get my Brazilian visa, which costs a couple of hundred bucks if you are interested. It is good for ten years.. Just in case I might want to go back.. (Wink, wink..)
In any case, I had my visa six weeks before D day, and I had plenty of time to collect other goodies that I might need on the trip.. More on that later..
There is pretty much just one airline serving Brazil to Manous, and wouldn't you know it, it is American.. I have less than good luck flying on their planes.. Well that's not really correct.. Once the son-of-a-bitch takes off it is fine..
Getting them off the ground is another thing.. But I tried to keep a positive mental attitude about it..
I flew out to Miami a day early, because I did not want to drive to San Antonio, to fight the crowds and long TSA bullshit. So I flew out of Laredo International. The best airport in the world.. Arrive one hour before wheels up.. No problem..
I flew through Dallas, (which makes me nervous) but the connection was long and I ended up in the United lounge for two hours swilling Bloody Mary's.. Plenty of time to make it to the gate and I'll be damned, but the next plane was ready and we made it on time to Miami..
Where I met my daughter who was working in Miami for a couple of days.. Sheer coincidence? I doubt it..
But she is in Miami all the time and she took me on a tour of South Beach and restaurants and bars and graffiti that some call art.. We stayed at the airport hotel and toured the city a bit more the next morning, before returning to the airport about one o'clock, in anticipation of a late afternoon flight.
We toured several bars and people watched and did a Margarita tour of the airport and ended up at my gate as she was going to fly out later..
Everything was going fine and we were trying to guess which other guys sitting around the gate were going fishing. So were they..
My daughter took off to her gate and I approached some of the fellows that were dressed the part, and we started talking about fishing.. Peacock Bass fishing.. I was the only newbie in the crowd..
It only took a minute or two to have the entire crew that was headed there assembled.. And before long they told us to get our ass on the plane.. And we did..
We were buckled in and I ordered a Bloody Mary for the first opportunity.. They were about to close the door when the PA made this sound.. One I had heard before..
"Ladies and Gentlemen we are just uploading a computer guidance sequence and as soon as it loads we'll be out of here.."
Well I didn't like the sound of that. The royalty in first class were on their second drink.. And I was getting parched..
About another fifteen minutes went by and the captain came on the squawk box again and said, "Folks we're having some difficulties getting the computer to accept the programming.. But hang in there with us. We've got a computer expert on his way here and we should have the problem fixed shortly."
About another thirty minutes went by and the captain came back on.. Shit.. He didn't have to say a thing.. I knew what was coming..
"Folks it looks like we're just not going to be able to get this thing working so we are going to ask you to de-plane.."
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that..
They told us to hang around the gate as they were going to try to find another plane.. Yeah...
So we went back to the bar near the gate and took it over.. The Margaritas started flowing and before long the bartendress said, "You can make it a double shot of tequila in there for just three dollars more.."
Hell.. Why didn't you say so..
A couple of hours went by and I bet everybody that would, twenty dollars that we were not going to fly..
Well I only lost twenty.. Most folks thought like I did..
I was shocked when they rolled a brand new 737 up to the gate.. And told us to get on..
Bout four hours late..
Anyway the flight was uneventful.. I couldn't sleep although I self medicated.. And five hours later we landed in Manous, Brazil, and I had half a hangover..
It was 2:15 am..
Of course there was only one customs agent working so we went single file through the line.. There were three planes that arrived, two just after us.. Lucky us.. And after about an hour we all got through and made it to the lobby, where Gustavo was to meet us and take us to our Hotel.. He did and we did and when I laid my head down on the pillow it was 3:35.. AM.. Hard on an old man like me.. Breakfast was at 7:00.. Bus leaves at 8:00..
I'm getting too old for this shit.. But welcome to the Bendele airport curse.. Rubbed it off on all my fellow fishermen..
We woke up in time to eat some bacon and eggs, and got on the bus for the four and a half hour ride to Itaparanga.. Sounds just like it's spelled.. Gateway to the Erucara river, and then on to the Uatuma (Wat-em-ah) and the Jatapu (Zhot-ta-pu).
If it sounds a little complicated.. It is.. But Itapiranga is the port, for lack of a better word, to where we were going.
There were a few folks that got off the boat to board the bus for its return to Manaus. Completing their six day fishing trip as we were about to begin ours. And there were seven veteran Peacock anglers that remained on the boat to fish with us in the coming week.. Among them was Ted, my fishing partner, roomie, and Peacock mentor..
I came to find that these "veterans" were hard core fishing machines, despite of their senior appearance (not too much) and I would guess most of their ages north of seventy, and some north of seventy five..
But they knew what they were there for, and how to do it. All of them had fished on the same trips in the past, and many of them several times.. Some many times..
I said they were hard-core..
We pulled up to the gas pump and in many ways I thought I was back in Mexico. The water was a bit low in the channel and the boat was a long way from the pump.. But just like the Mexicans these guys can improvise and they pumped the diesel into a barrel about halfway down the hill, and then siphoned it from the barrel into the boat fuel tank.. All five thousand gallons of it..
It's a big ass boat..
Across the creek life as usual was going on for the locals.. So don't bitch too much about the USA just yet.
And what they told us was to unpack, settle in, and make a drink.. Cause we were not going to fish today. We were heading for where the fish were.. And we did.. And as a matter of fact, the boat did not stop till 4:30 in the morning..
When we got up about five, dishes were clattering in the dining room, and a giant breakfast smorgasbord was set up, which would be repeated each and every day.. More food than a man should eat.. Or fourteen men should eat.. But we tried..
I have written before that pigs must be cheap in Argentina.. Well they must be free in Brazil because every morning there was a platter of fried bacon that would make a cardiologist shit his pants.. Not to mention a mountain of eggs and a ton of other items and breads and sweets.. If you started the day hungry, it was your fault..
I have to mention the coffee.. I like coffee.. Did you ever see a guys face when he took his first slug of moonshine.. That's probably about what my face looked like the first sip I took.. Every day I kept trying to tame it with more and more cream and sugar.. That stuff will stand a spoon.. Had to opt for the orange juice most days..
All right dammit I am about ready to talk fishin.
Every day you fish, you rotate guides. So most everybody gets to fish with everybody.. Unless you change partners somewhere.. Which did happen a bit..
So after all this time, we finally got in a boat.. Hot damn we were going fishing..
We had stopped somewhere in the Uatuma, but far from where we were headed.. And after the big boat dropped us off, they proceeded to head northeast, towards the Jatapu, our final destination.. When we finished our morning fishing, we chased down the big boat in the bass boats. We fished the direction we were headed as well.. This happened on several days early in the trip and the last day of the trip as well.. Of course heading the other way..
Our first stop we did not get off the main river channel, and we pulled up to a sand bar point that had brush on it tapering out into the water.. Looked a lot like a place I'd try for largemouth's..
I chunked across the point, and on about the second retrieve of my Woodchopper across the point, something extraterrestrial happened.. It looked like Moses parted the freakin Red Sea as about two tons of green monster sprang out of the water.. After it knocked my bait ten feet in the air and ten feet away..
I was in shock..
Ted threw right back in there and the same or another monster hit his bait and started hauling ass with it.. I was about to grab his belt loop before it pulled him in when his line broke.. Thank God.. I was afraid that if he went in this creature might have circled back and ate him..
We were standing there in disbelief, (or at least I was) and the guide said to throw my Rapala jerkbait right in there. I was trying to figure out what was going on, but I obeyed and threw it in the same spot that all the action had happened..
And wham! Holy shit it was on.. This fish hit my bait like a scud missile and was taking drag and I was saying something but I ain't sure what.. I figured I had a world record on but when we got him to the boat all that was left of him was a six pounder..
Holy shit.. And we want to catch twenties??
I made Ted take my picture although he said it was a dink.. It was my first..
I tell my wife that the picture I have of a girl in my dresser drawer is a long lost cousin..
Well things settled down and Ted caught another fish that was about a ten pounder as I watched in amazement as this fish pretty much kicked his ass.. At least for a few minutes.. But we did get him in the net.
These bastards, are badasses..
We made a few more casts before we decided to make a move, and as we sat down Ted said.. This ain't supposed to happen.. Don't get used to or expect this much action on all the stops..
My head was still spinning.. I have never seen top water strikes like this shit before.. And if you ain't been there, then you ain't either..
It was awesome..
We headed the same direction as the big boat of course, and got off the main river channel into some pockets that were giant lakes themselves. I cannot stress enough the enormity of the water system.. And this is at "low" water levels.
Every time you would round a bend, there was another lake in front of you.. And miles of shorelines studded with live trees, dead trees, huge stumps, and very leafy bushes on the points and islands. And that is why you want the water levels to be low, so you get the fish out of the jungle.
Water levels were dropping, and a lot of the brush was out of the water. You could clearly see water lines on the big trees twelve feet or more above the current water level. And looking at that, it was evident that if you were fishing when the water was up.. Well you might as well just whistle Dixie.. Cause you ain't getting to the fish..
I came to love spots that looked like this.. Points and trees with shallow cover behind em.. If you look close at the trees you can see some high water marks on them..
In any case, our second stop was on a long point that had a bunch of dead stumps, and not so much greenery. I was fishing the back of the boat, which I would do the first two days as Ted told me watch and learn, and he'd let me know when to put the gear down..
Which I did..
There is surely a learning curve when it comes to fishing the Woodchopper, or the Highroller as we were throwing. Both baits are fished he same, and they are both big three hooked fence posts with a Piper Cub prop on the back. I don't know what they weigh but it is a lot.. They are the Rosie Odonnel of topwaters..
And after you get your reel set right, you can chunk that son-of-a-bitch out of sight.. And I learned.. And I was throwing that sucker into pie plate spots forty yards from the boat..
Of course I was also throwing it into bushes, logs, stumps, snags, trees, and laydowns.. But sometimes it would hit the water..
And when it did, you would "Start to scrape and chop to get your pay," As Bachman Turner Overdrive said..
It is work.. The hardest work you will ever do to catch a fish.. And if your bait ain't making the right sound when you chop it, you might as well reel it in and have the guide tune your prop.. Of course the proper chop motion is also a learned skill.. Hard on wrists and hands and fingers..
Take your Advil before you go out.. Short and fast rips of the rod tip, while pointed at the water.. And make that propeller spin, boy..
Oh yeah.. And hold on to your ass..
Anyway, the first morning Ted caught four fish, and I caught three.. I didn't figure I did too bad. Our best fish was about a twelve pounder that Ted caught, and I caught one about ten.. But I learned a lot and I found out one thing..
These fish are some bad Motherfuckers..
We caught up with the boat and had lunch, and after all that food it was only prudent that we take a short nap.
And let me say that if you go hungry on this trip it's your own fault. There were always at least three main entrees to choose from, lunch or dinner, and more side dishes than you could sample.. Good groceries.. And lots of em.. Always a dessert.. Too much..
And here's another note, just as a precautionary warning.
There might be these little peppers on the table.. Two styles, three varieties.. The light green one that looks like a mini peter pepper is tolerable.. Almost good.. The red round one that we might equate to a chili pequin.. Take that pepper seriously..
And the yellow one that looks like the light green one.. Stay away from that fireball cause it made me cry for an hour.. And I like hot.. But this bastard should be illegal..
I was still in newbie mode, and I went up on the top deck to sightsee as we traveled on our way.. It's a whole nother country.. An a whole nother way of life..
This is the guides quarters on the trip..
Anyway we headed back out after lunch and I did not catch shit. Oh I had a couple of strikes that rocked the boat, but I did not land a fish. Ted front ended me all afternoon and he caught four, the biggest going about thirteen pounds..
More of that good looking water..
But there were some lessons learned, and I filed them away while I drowned my sorrows in about a dozen Kaiperenas, a Brazilian drink that has a little of everything in it, including some limes.. They shake this thing more than a James Bond Martini and pour it in a glass over ice..
Does wonders for sore wrists and elbows.. But it did take me a couple of days to get the dosage right.
Of course we had happy hour before dinner.. Every dinner.. That usually lasted a couple of hours..
And naturally a lot of war stories were told about the days events.. Overall we caught fish decently the first day, but the crew knew we were about to get to the good fishing waters.. We caught seventy one fish as a group on day one, with five over ten, two over fifteen, and two over twenty..
And I caught a lot of shit as the only rookie on the boat.. But it is possible that I passed out a little as well..
We were melding into a lean, mean, fishing machine.. Well kind of..
Day two dawned and the boat had moved a bit overnight, but we were still not quite where we wanted to be. We fished morning and evening and Ted and I boated ten fish overall. Nothing over ten pounds. It was a slow day for the entire boat as far as big fish went. Altough we caught one hundred twenty six fish, there were only four over fifteen pounds. If you can call that a slow big fish day.. Not really. But no twenties..
That night I was up on the top deck while we moved, and I will have to say that the stars are incredible down there.. Or should I say up there.. No pollution to speak of.. And no lights.. It is a star-watchers paradise.. The Milky Way looked... Milky..
Great place to have a cold drink, a good cigar, and lay on a chase lounge and try to figure out why they call it Scorpio..
Of course the bonding on the boat was taking hold.. And the bullshit runneth over.. Good times..
Day three dawned and it was beautiful.. Hot and Humid.. Like every day.. But you get used to it..
No you don't.. It is brutal..
But it didn't dampen my enthusiasm as I was going to the front of the boat.. Not that it matters that much.. Well some days it seems to.. Maybe just the luck of the cast.. Lots of fish were caught on second thru seventh casts to the same exact area.. You gotta piss them off..
Me moving to the front of the boat did not really improve our catch rate, as we caught only nine fish for the day. Ted had one that was about nine and a half pounds, but that was the best we could do. We had several other blow ups, which happens every day.. You certainly do not catch em all.. As I was about to find out on day four..
The boat caught one hundred forty fish overall, with ten over ten, and one over fifteen.. The numbers were good.. And we were just getting to where we wanted to be.. So I was told..
Day four rolled around, and I was going to fish with Ron. He forced me to fish the front, and coached me from the rear.. That didn't sound right.. Anyway..
We had landed in the Jatapu river, and water conditions were good, and getting better.. Levels were dropping about four or five inches a day, pulling them big bastards out of the bush..
And Ron and I had a big day.. In the morning we caught nineteen fish. A few schoolies mixed in, but I caught a thirteen and a half and Ron caught a sixteen! There were several other DD's mixed in as well, and we pretty much kicked their ass.. But seeing that sixteen pounder had me jacked up as it hit the bait like a hydrogen bomb.. What a rush. But hell even the eight pounders are incredible.. I have never seen a freshwater fish so fast..
The afternoon had thunderstorms rumbling around, and I almost put my rain gear on.. Almost.. But we stayed dry.
And our guide Harold, said he had a honey hole we were going to. But they would usually say that after you caught a few fish.. I asked why we didn't go to the honey holes all the time.. I guess we were looking for new ones..
In any case we got lucky as the river bent, and we fished where the rain wadn't.. And we pulled up on a wooded point with bushes as well, but it had a lot of dead trees on the outside edge, just off the main waterway.
Looked good to me.
We started back in the little gut that made the point, and on about my tenth cast this giant son-of-a-bitch hit my bait, knocking it ten feet in the air and ten feet away.. And about the time it hit the water, he hit it again, flying three feet out of the water..
Of course he did not get hooked up either time and Harold was having a conniption fit.. He didn't speak a lot of English, and my Portuguese is a water-downed Spanish.. But he kept saying.. " Twenty five pounder.. Twenty five pounder!!!"
Hell I didn't know.. All I knew was it was a big fucker and it scared the shit out of me.. Harold was still going on.. And on..
About five casts later, about twenty yards from where the last near miss occurred, it happened again.. Another giant blasted my bait, but did not hook up.. Harold was having convulsions and I was still in shock.. How can they miss all those giant trebble hooks? Didn't seem possible.. We finally caught a couple of dinky ten pounders in the same general area, and were working back to the point were the near miss happened.
Ron threw in-between two standing dead trees stumps, and the waters parted again.. This time Ron had him on and he fish was streaking towards open water.. And then he came off.. It all lasted about three seconds.. And we stood there looking at each other like what the hell do we have to do..
These three fish were all giants.. But who knows for sure.. This shit is what can cause a man to empty is bank account to go back..
We caught another ten pounder, and before too long it was time to head for the big boat..
That day the boat caught 136 fish, and there was an eighteen and a twenty five pounder caught.. Things were looking up, and we were in big fish water..
Charles Spivak caught the big fish of the trip.. A twenty five plus!!
On day five, Ted and I were back in the same boat, and we started fishing about four hundred yards from the big boat.. In a creek/lagoon/lake that was full of points and islands.. It looked good to me as I was no longer a virgin, and I had learned where to throw. And how to retrieve that two by four..
We hadn't fished ten minutes when I threw along an island about fifty yards away, paralleling the brush.. About the third chop this sucker came out of the brush, ate my bait, threw twenty gallons of water in the air, and went straight back into the brush..
We had Harold again and he was screaming something at me in Portuguese.. All I could do was keep pressure on him and wait it out as we trolled over there.. That fish was trying to tear down the jungle back in those bushes but when we got close it hauled ass out into open water..
It jumped about three feet out of the water and I could tell it was a good one.. Thirteen and a half pounds.. My biggest to date..
We started heading to another island and half way there there was a stand of dead trees out in the middle of nowhere.. I cast between the trees and Bam!
It is hard to tell what the hell you have at first.. But I thought it was a decent fish.. Of course it buried itself in the bottom of the trees and I could not get it out..
Harold stripped to the chonies and was in the water in a flash.. All we could see was the bottom of his feet about three feet down.. He came up for air and went back down.. About five seconds later my line took off for open water.. And I didn't think it was Harold swimming that fast..
Soon Harold came back up by the trees, and Mr. Peacock came out of the water like a Trident Missile..
I'd like to say this fish was a monster, but he only weighed a little over ten pounds.. But exciting times on the extraction..
We fished along and we caught some little fish, and then Ted caught a ten pounder. We had about an hour till lunch, and we moved to a big flat with a grove of standing live trees. There were some schoolers around and the porpoises were chasing in there with them.. We caught a few little ones and tried to keep the released fish away from the porpoises.. They will damn near eat em out of your hand.. And they are everywhere..
Ted caught this one out of that pack..
I chunked my bait back between some trees and started to retrieve it.. And once again a tidal wave erupted between the trees.. Harold was yelling at me again.. "No trees! No trees!"
What the hell do you mean, "No Trees!" I caught him in the middle of the freaking trees.. And I ain't driving this bus right now!
Anyway I got the fish past most of the trees, but could not keep him from going sideways on me and going around the last one. And then everything stopped..
I couldn't move him and Harold said he came off. I told him I didn't think so, because I never felt him release.. Anyway we headed toward the tree, with my line wrapped around it.. I kept pressure on the line and when we got about ten feet from the tree, I could see my line, and the fish just sitting there, ten feet from the tree with my bait in his mouth. He was just sitting there holding pressure on me as well..
I could tell it was a big motherfucker..
We skipped going to the tree and headed for the fish. Which really pissed him off and he took some drag, around the tree. I was getting a bit nervous about this time.. Like I said, he was a biggun and I was sure we'd loose him..
Harold made a swipe at him with the net when he wasn't looking, but hit him in the tail and that really pissed him off and he made another run.. But then turned back towards the boat, as I was trying to drag him around the tree.. As luck would have it, he swam right into the net, with my line still wrapped around the tree..
Hell Yeah! High fives all around and he stretched the scale to a bit over seventeen pounds.. Miracle to get him in the boat..
Ted said I could start drinking now, because my trip was made.. Seventeen pounders are not an everyday occurrence..
Thank you Lord!
We headed back to the boat for lunch, and I was talking shit about how I had caught a two tens, a thirteen, and a seventeen all the same morning.. Of course I came to find out that there had been a fourteen, a fifteen, and a nineteen caught that morning as well..
We had caught and boated fifteen fish! It was a good AM!
That afternoon I made Harold take me and Ted back to the point where Ron and I had been ambushed the day before.. It was not the direction Ted wanted to go.. But I told him to shut up and I'd tell him, when to put the gear down..
It was a bit of a drive over there, and we fished the hell out of that point.. None of the behemoths that had assaulted us the day before bit, but Ted caught a ten and I caught a six.. And then he browbeat me to heading back to the lagoon where we had caught the fish in the morning.. I wasn't too hard to convince..
We headed back that way, which had us going past the big boat, and Ted said to drop him off.. That it was fixin' to scotch..
I can't blame him.. He was eleven days into fishing.. I can't imagine doing if for that long.. Not without a couple days off and a bowl of Wheaties.. We only had an hour or two left to fish anyway..
So we dropped Ted off at the Mothership and headed for some backwater jungle full of trees, with not too many bushes, as the water had fallen out of most of the heavy brush.. Just what you're looking for..
I caught a ten pretty quick, but things got slow and it was a hot and still SOB back in there.. You couldn't have gotten any wetter standing in a shower..
I was about out of gas.. We were working through a stand of trees, and were coming to the end of it. I threw my bait, kind of a slider that tailed off and center-punched a big tree.
I was exhausted and I looked at Harold and said, "I'm about done.."
I clicked my reel and gave the bait a yank and all hell broke loose.. Harold started yelling, "Big fish! Big fish.."
Yeah, no shit Harold..
There was a giant deadfall tree that was pretty recent and it still had a lot of leaves and small limbs on it. And that fish was headed for it on a dead run.. Harold is yelling "No Bush.. No Bush!!"
I said , "Fuck Harold.. I really ain't driving this thing about right now..."
I could smell my thumb burning as I tried to stop the spool, but this fish was striping drag like Dannica strips gears.. And I had tightened the drag with channel locks..
I finally got him stopped just short of the tree, and it was kind of a standoff for a few seconds.. And then I started to gain a little ground on him.. It took a good minute to get him to the boat, as he made a couple more runs but fortunately he was hooked good and he never jumped..
When we got him in the net, I am not sure who was happier.. Me or Harold..
We hung him on the scale and it read 20.23 pounds!! I got a couple of pics and turned him loose.. I was a little jacked up.. And all that adrenaline made me forget the heat..
We fished a few more minutes but my heart wasn't in it, and we headed for the boat..
I got a twenty.. And Harold got a hundie.. Everybody was happy..
I was pretty easy to get along with that evening.. And I might have caught a buzzzzz.. I had had a hell of a day..
The last day on the water rolled around, and the big boat headed for home after it set us all off. We would chase it down at lunchtime..
We fished some main river points in the direction of home, and on about the third stop we pulled up on a sandbar on an island just off the main river channel. We had caught a couple of dinks on previous stops, but had done a lot of fishing and not a lot of catchin.. And Ted said he was through..
Well this point had a big bush on the tip of it, with some room between the next bush towards land. I let her fly into that opening, and chopped a couple of times and bingo.. A fat ten pounder walloped my bait and I got it to the boat in due time. Nice fish but I wasn't taking pics of or hardly even weighing fish any more, unless I thought they were tens..
Next cast I threw on the other side of the bush.. It barely got wet and another twelve pounder ate it.. Two fish in a row.. This shit is easy..
My third cast produced nothing.. But my forth caught me another ten plus fish. I looked at Ted and he picked up his rod..
It is not unusual to catch six or eight small fish when they are schooled up casing bait. But catching more than two or three big fish from the same area is a little rare.. It is not at all unusual to catch a pair..
In less than an hour we caught thirteen fish from this same point. The smallest fish being a six, but nine of the thirteen were over ten pounds. Two of them over thirteen.. You'd a thought we were on a school of white bass!
I caught nine of the thirteen.. It was awesome!!
Ted said.. "This shit just don't happen.." But I am glad it did..
The last afternoon I went out alone and caught a ten almost immediately, and the guide had to go scuba for it again.. These guys ain't afraid to get wet.
I had a couple of giant blowups but I could not hook em.. I think I caught one more small fish, and headed back to the big boat a little early.. It took us forty five minutes to catch the Mama Boat..
It was a bit of a party that night, and we stayed up all the way till 9:30.. Exchanging stories of the ones we caught, and the ones that got away..
The boat traveled till 4:30 in the morning, back to the dock at Itapiranga. And we got off it and on the bus back to Manaus about 7:30.. There was a new crew of fishermen getting on.. And they were heading lickety split back to where we just came from. I heard they really whacked um.. We knew the water was getting just right.. Timing is everything on these trips.. Low water equals lotsa fish..
But no complaints at all for me.. And all the Old Salts on the boat said that this was one of the best trips they had been on in a long time.. I think it was awesome.. But now I have something to measure it against..
We caught 882 fish as a group.. Fourteen anglers. Some weary ones in the mix..
There were two twenties.. One twenty one.. One twenty three.. And one twenty five.. Sixteen over fifteen.. And a shitload of over tens..
I wanted to talk about the tackle available on the boat.. At no cost to you.. They have a room full of rods, boxes of baits, and a million hooks and split rings.. The best bait in the world ain't worth a shit if the hooks and rings won't hold up.. This is a case where bigger is better..
We took some of our own baits, and our reels. But the boat will supply lures and rods, which really makes it easy on the traveling. I have hauled rods to several locations.. It sucks.. They have a huge assortment to choose from..
Tony and Tom tuning up some baits.. And beers..
And if you are lucky you will keep your bait long enough to have it look like this.. I'm getting it mounted..
We rode the bus back to town, and I slept most of the way.. We spent the day in Manaus, taking another nap in the Hotel..
Ron took us out to lunch at a Brazilian steak house, and it was pretty damn good.. Like we needed another all you can eat buffet..
Our flight out was at 11:00 PM.. And it was uneventful to Miami.. And most of us flew out of Miami to Dallas a couple of hours later.. Some of our buddies headed more northerly from there..
We got to Dallas pretty much on time.. The only hiccup was that a lady had some chest pains and for a bit I thought we were going to divert to New Orleans.. But some onboard medical professionals got her stable, and she seemed fine when they wheeled her off the plane in a wheelchair..
Some boys were final destination to Dallas.. Ted had to go to San Antonio, and of course I was flying back to Laredo..
And I know what you are thinking.. That Son Of Bitch is going to make it home with no problems on this trip..
Well... You'd be WRONG..
Oh I made it to the gate on time.. I even had time to eat lunch.. And I lounged around the gate for an hour waiting to board.. And we did.. It was all good..
Of course a sprinkle passed over Big D and they were only using one runway.. And we were in line to take off.. For an hour.. And I could see planes backed up like Hillary's colon..
And then came the inevitable announcement. "Well folks it looks like it will be about forty five minutes before we are number one for departure.. And we just don't have enough gas on board to get it done.. But don't worry.. We have a gate lined up and and a tanker to fill us up and we'll be out of here shortly.."
Of course you knew that was a lie.. We went back to the gate.. And waited.. And surprise, surprise, we got another announcement.. "Folks it looks like we are going to have to deplane you because another plane needs this gate.."
If only I had a dollar for every time I have heard that.. I hate American..
We got off the plane.. I went to the bar.. I started looking for a flight on United.. About an hour passed and they made a announcement that we should re-board.. We did.. And waited another forty five minutes for a gas truck..
They topped us off and we taxied for a while but we did finally put the gear up.. And I got home three plus hours late.. Long after Ted was taking a nap in his recliner..
Overall the trip was great.. The travel sucked.. Situation normal.. For me anyway.. You'll probably have better luck..
If you have the means, this is a trip you need to take.
Here is some food for thought..
This trip will take about ten days to complete..
It is expensive, but it is surely a bucket list trip.
It will be hot and humid.. You will sweat your ass off..
You will shit your britches when the first fish hits your bait..
You will see some country that is mostly untouched by man, and critters you won't see everyday for sure.
You will wonder with all that water, why they don't have a toilet in Brazil that works worth a damn..
And you will never work harder for the fish you catch.
But damn, when you catch one, all the above hindrances go out the window..
If you are going Peacock fishing in Brazil, why wouldn't you go on the biggest and safest boat on the river? With people who have been doing it longer than anybody else? With guides that have been doing it longer than anybody else?
Makes sense to me.. And it will to you..
Call Ron and check out the details. Or you can find him at RonSpeedAdventues.com
Or call me.. And I'll answer any questions you might have...
And I might beg you to let me go along..
Copyright James Bendele - Falcon Lake Tackle