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Adventure in Marie river - Brazil

We were in the Rio Negro river, which is a tributary river from the Amazon river, so you can imagine how far we were. Just to put it in terms of flight hours, it was 4 hours flying from Manaus, in a small private plane.

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To go fishing for peacock bass was on my bucket list for 45 years. I started fly-fishing when I was 20, and I think I started a little too late. I am the older of 5 brothers, and I was lucky enough to have a good friend, from the northern part of the Argentina, called Felipe, who was the one that took me fishing for the first time to Patagonia when I was in my early 20s. I must confess, I got hooked pretty fast! Being in Patagonia for the first time in such a young age, blew my mind. 


Actually, I would love to be 20 again just to be back in Patagonia and feel as shook as I was in that moment.  After that trip, I started fly-fishing a lot. I went to Africa for tiger and Mongolia for Taimen, but then finally, I got to plan a trip for the peacock bass  with my friend Rell Tipton, and we planned to travel to a remote area in the west side of the jungle in Brazil, near Colombia and Venezuela.


We were in the Rio Negro river, which is a tributary river from the Amazon river, so you can imagine how far we were. Just to put it in terms of flight hours, it was 4 hours flying from Manaus, in a small private plane, a Cessna bimotor, which was pretty cool and comfortable. I had the pleasure to fly with one of the owners and managers of this amazing operation camp, his name is Rodrigo Salles, in the same flight we had the company of this young lady from east Canada, her name is Emily Rodgers, she was really excited to be in this jungle for fishing for the first time, as I recall she never stopped taking photos.


We were all excited, and even more when we finally we landed into the river with this hydroplane, we had seen photos of the Rio Marie boat but, to be honest, they don’t make justice, the boat is really beautiful, luxurious, splendid, with air conditioner in most of the areas, the living room and dining area, same with the rooms. You have a bedroom for every 2 people with a private bathroom and it makes the experience very comfortable. We were literally in the middle of nowhere in the jungle, the middle of nothing. I understand the logistics can be kind of complicated, but when we are talking about fly-fishing, you know it can happen, I mean, fishes are not by the corner.


I went from Argentina, specifically from Cordoba. And I had to fly from Cordoba connecting, believe it or not, thru Santiago, from Santiago to Sao Paulo, and finally Sao Paulo - Manaus, it was a little bit longer, than the original plan, but the airline canceled the flight straight from Cordoba to Sao Paulo, so I had to do it, and it totally worthed it. I made it to Manaus by noon, which was great because my friend Reel Tipton and I had the chance to have a nice lunch together, Reel came from Houston, he made his connection in Panama and he was waiting for me for lunch. We catched up, since we hadn’t seen each other after a year, when we were fishing in Bolivia. 


                                                                                                                                                                               You’ll spend the first night in Manaus when you get there, and they suggest you a very nice hotel near the shopping malls, and in the shopping malls area there are three or four restaurants that I would highly recommend you. The food in Manaus, is superb, any dish you request, that has fish, will be amazing! One specific thing that was astonishing was an appetizer made with ants, we went to this restaurant to get this famous appetizer, and it was a very cool experience. I would recommend you: Coco Bambu, Caxiri Manaus and Barollo, these are wonderful options to eat in Manaus.


The following morning they wake you up at 6:00am, you get your breakfast and by 7:00am they take you to a small airport, it’s a 20 minutes ride from the hotel, so there we split the group in two and went into two private planes that were taking us to Rio Marie.


So the first day is not a fishing day, you get to Marie river, and get in the boat by the afternoon, by the time you get there they are already waiting for you with a casual lunch and you will have time to relax, I got a few drinks and then I realized it was 7:00pm, time to get the speech from the guides and then go for diner and get to sleep.


The Rio Marie is a wide-open river, it doesn’t have many mosquitoes due to the ph of the water, the color of the water looks like something in between coffee and black coffee, you know, American coffee, it could be called “Americano River”, and the amazing thing that you never think about is that you don’t fish the river, because the peacock bass, especially the Big Peacock Bass, you’ll really have to find them around the structures of the river, they are normally in the ponds that are around the river, and the little creeks that comes in and out from the river, because they use those of places for resting and mating, it’s pretty amazing how they set their nests, it’s normally 2 fish around a log or around a rock, taking care of the nest, the female and the male put their eggs there and they protect they keep protecting their nests all the time.


We had the chance to find a nest that wasn’t too deep, one day by the afternoon when the water was calmed in this lagoons, even when the water is just around 1 meter deep, you can have some brightness because of the sun, and we had the chance to catch 2 peacock bass, they were attacking our flies, defending the nest, more than eating or feeding. It was pretty cool to see that, there are different types of peacock bass, in fact there are 15 acknowledged species of peacock bass, the most popular I remember were the butterfly peacock, the acu peacock and the Royal Peacock, some of them were small and pretty fast, especially when you hook them, careful! They can take your hook and run away like crazy.


Anyways, every morning after breakfast you could shop your food for the day and your plastic tupperware, and you get your olives, tomatoes, eggs, and you prepare your salami sandwich, with mayo or mustard whatever you like, and of course, they get you a cooler full of beers, cokes, and water with ice, they keep it cool for you all day long, you never get out of the boat when you are fishing, you got a guide per every two fishermen, very rarely you get to do fly-fishing from the banks, because most of the time you will be casting from the boat, that is very comfortable and they ride it very well in the river, like any boat you know, there can be some issues, but they take very good care of them. 


So, in these longs days you gotta be prepared for the rain, and you can have short unexpected rains, like we had, or you can have some crazy long lasting rains, for five or six hours that are going to make your raincoat feel like it’s not a raincoat any longer, and by the end of the day you’ll be dripping water everywhere, but the weather is warm so it’s pretty nice and you can make it, it’s not windy so you won’t feel like you are cold, but anyways I would suggest you to take with you a very good rain jacket, probably the best you can buy, very light if possible, and rain protection pants, keep them in your backpack. In my backpack I used to have with me my raincoat, rain-things, sunblock, my extra reels, I always had two extra rods, the flies, everything you think you could need, and you can have your backpack in your boat, with no problem, it is very comfortable.


I would also recommend long sleeve shirt, sunglasses, 2 or 3 extra sunglasses in case you miss them, different types for sunny days, for cloudy days. We were like 5 boats everyday in the river, in different directions, different spots, and our guide, Martin, who is from Argentina, knows this place very well, he has experience, around 15 years fly-fishing and being a guide,it was very nice to have him around, I would like to talk about the guides in the boats, they make the difference, they are all very good guys, we had the chance to know them all because they were swapping the guides everyday, and also we met the locals, from the community who help on the boat, amazing people. The guides, they are mostly from Argentina, Juan Pablo (JP), is an wonderful guide, he has been in Patagonia, fishing trouts, northern Argentina for Dorados and many times in Kamchatka, Russia. The other guide was from Entre Rios in Argentina, Martin, who was very experienced in Dorado Fishing that is very similar to peacock bass, he had a lot of passion for fly-fishing, he was very professional very technical, highly recommended as well, and then we had a mexican friend, that fly-fish every year in the palometa club, and he is more chilled and relaxed when he is guiding, his style is different from the rest of the guides but he can make the day amazing and beautiful as well, the other two guides were from Brazil, Augusto, very professional, probably not that much experienced as his pair, but he really focuses and tries to make your experience incredible.


The fishing week was amazing, almost everybody had the chance to catch one or two big Peacock Bass, 10 to 20 pounds big, my friend Reel had the record for the longest one, 19 centimeters long fish, it was not that big in terms of weight, but it was such an amazing fish to us, in my personal case I caught a very nice one in the waters with the “sinking line” very deep and moving very smoothly, I got this one in the nest, and after casting for like 15 times I got him angry and finally hooked him, he ran and I lost it, it was not a matter of tension, but it was probably because I didn’t set the hook properly, that was the reason why I couldn’t get the fish.


I have to say that after 6 full days fishing in Rio Marie you get pretty tired, I was already missing my family and I had to go back and focus on my businesses, we had a lot friends coming for hunting in Argentina, so we went back to Manaus another night, this time we  were able to do a city tour by the town, it was very nice to visit the Opera, I liked a lot the Mercado, is something you have to see, I would suggest you to go with a local person that tells you the stories about the place, and the other thing that is really cool to see is what they call the port, or the Marina, because the river is the main connection for the people over there to go from one town to another, and when you think that you will see a port or a marina, well, is not exactly like that, I suggest you to google it and get pictures about it, “port of Manaus” and you will see what I am talking about, a lot of boats, lot of people, walking here and there, not a big structure, the boats are tied one to the other, and the river goes up and down a lot, so that’s why they told me it’s very difficult to make the dock for all the boats, anyways it’s a very interesting thing to see. 


My connection back to Argentina was really nice, just one stop in Sao Paulo for a couple of hours, where I got my dinner and the following morning I was in Argentina, ready for going back to business and spend time with the family.

 

I hope you enjoyed this report, you should be the next one! Brazil’s jungle is waiting for you!

 

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Tierra del Fuego is considered as one of the great destinations for catching trout. This place has kept a certain degree of mysticism that is a magnet for any adventurer who craves a unique and unrepeatable experience. And although life does not abound on the terrestrial level, for some years now its waters keep an infinity of fish species, or large sizes and varieties, which have transformed this remote stage in an internationally recognized place for sports fishing and fishing with fly. #patagonia #flyfishinglife #fishing #trout #argentina #pointeroutfitters #explore #aroundtheworld #outside #outsiders

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