Amazon 2011 Part 2 : Venche Uma, No Chika
We were working down the bank off the main channel on this particular drift as he directed me to cast into spots in and around submerged brush and fallen trees. "Close, close" he would say asking me to cast as close to the shore and structure as possible. Not an easy task with these choppers, and I'd often end up in the trees and brush instead of close. When that happened, I'd look at Chaquin and say, "like that"? He'd give me a sarcastic grin and say "in water". Then he'd grab my line and I'd watch as he shook and flicked the line with his masterful method of unwrapping and untangling the lures from each hangup - it was truly a site to behold.
Kistler Custom ZBone ZBLE-5H matched with an Abu MGX spooled with 50lb Sufix Performance Braid. 5lb peacock caught on a Rapala X-Rap Sub Walk.
Finally after half a day of giving each other a hard time, we drifted to a spot where the water calmed. It was a half moon shaped cove off the main river and reminded me of the California Delta. Chaquin explained to me there was a sand bar in the middle of that cove - he wanted me to cast past it and work my lure over it.
G.Loomis GL2 804CJWR matched with a Shimano Scorpion DC spooled with Sufix 832 - Caribe Lures jig.
After three pulls on that very first cast, my chopper launched into the air from a massive explosion. As soon as my bait hit the water again, it disappeared and my Megabass F6-69XRC loaded up almost doubling over into the water. It was a crazy paca - one of those that couldn't read, but certainly felt as though it was worthy of being labeled a venche. After a battle that took us forty or so yards downstream, we landed the 8lb paca and let it go. Phew!
Megabass F6-68X4 Cover Hacking matched with a Daiwa Z200HL spooled with 70lb Daiwa Samurai Braid - Caribe Lures jig.
Chaquin quietly motored the boat back up to the same spot, repositioned us, and motioned for me to try "again". Who was I to argue? I cast my lure out, almost to the identical point.. Vrooop! Vrooop! Vrooop!... Then, the river parted into a massive boil of green and orange. Some kind of river monster just missed my lure. Chaquin screamed at me... faster! Work work! BIG FISH! About ten more feet and the water beneath my lure opened up again! The swirl was massive! And still the fish missed my chopper! While the little ones on this day were illiterate, apparently this one was in need of a targeting scope!
But after four days of testing, it was time to have some fun ...
As I wound up my lure, Chaquin had another rod for me ready to cast. It was my jig stick... "jig jig" he said... Frantic, I grabbed the F6-68XRC Cover Hacking matched with a Daiwa T3 Ballistic and cast my red and yellow jig out to the same spot... rip rip rip rip rip... BUMP.. rip rip rip. The fish nudged the jig, but didn't take it! It was toying with us!
I wanted the real experience so I put away the experimental stuff.
Another cast.. rip rip rip rip.. BUMP! PULL! RELEASE! Are you serious? Chaquin grabbed my Kistler ZBone LE matched with an Abu MGX and a different colored KLures Peacock Ripper. "AGAIN" As the bait sailed through the air on my cast, I thought to myself, "there's no way that fish is still there".... Vrooop! Vrooop! Vrooop! KABOOSH!! The water beneath my lure flushed for a third time! The fish missed it again! I continued my cadence... Vrooop! Vrooop! KABOOSH!! This time my road loaded up! But just as I was about to swing the FISH LET GO!!!
Pulled out my favorite chopper stick on this trip and chopped away.
Apparently all that commotion was fish speak for "no venche for you!" because that was the last we witnessed of the massive creature lurking beneath the surface. This time, both Chaquin and myself were despondent. Unbelievable.
Conclusion: Enough cannot be said about the class of operation Steve Yatomi and Marlon Otero have going here. The crew is friendly and helpful and genuinely concerned for your well being, laundry service is provided daily, the food is delicious and authentic local cuisine, we were even served cocktails each night with Caipirinhas and Caipiroskas made fresh each day from local fruit not a pre-mix bottle, and oh yes, there's the fishing.
In the end? I didn't quite get there... Megabass F6-69XRC matched with a Daiwa Zillion Type R spooled with 55lb Daiwa Samurai Braid. 17lb
Peacock Bass on a KLures Peacock Ripper.
Hanna and Pete with a double the traditional way...
The bite this year was tough once again, but Steve managed a 16, Pete a 14, Hanna a 13, Ray a 12, and John, our resident fly fisherman, an 11. I managed a fifteen pounder and eventually, a seventeen pounder on this trip. The seventeen turned out to be big fish of the week, but naturally, what sticks with me are those two that got away.
Steve and Cal with a double the hard way...
Be forewarned, the confusion of being in the Southern Hemisphere, together with the mind games these fish can play on you, coupled with the brutality of the Amazon heat will mess you up, and if you're not careful, soon you'll swear that the sun rises in the north, that bald eagles are flying backwards, and that Ultra Man is flying out of the clouds.
If your idea of travelling to an exotic destination to chase after an even more exotic fish and in the process be visually assaulted, mentally abused, and physically destroyed, living in the Amazon jungle for a week chasing after peacock bass might be just the ticket for you. But be forewarned, the confusion of being in the Southern Hemisphere, together with the mind games these fish can play on you, coupled with the brutality of the Amazon heat will mess you up, and if you're not careful, soon you'll swear that the sun rises in the north, that bald eagles are flying backwards, and that Ultra Man is flying out of the clouds. Find that hard to believe? Try it.
Ready to book your trip to the Amazon? Contact Steve Yatomi