Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Amazon: Agua Boa Lodge 2016



Lining up on the runway at the lodge

Last Saturday, our annual adventure to the Amazon concluded and we all reluctantly began to make our way home. For this year's trip, our water conditions were far different than in past years and alas, far from perfect. Unfortunately, Brazil is in the middle of a drought due to El Nino and the Agua Boa River was as low as it has been in the last 20 years... certainly the lowest I have ever seen it! In addition to the low water, we also had unusually windy days.

Scott Sawtelle with a big 14 lb. peacock

Another 10+ lb tameness peacock

To avoid spooking cruising peacocks, the low, clear water required long accurate casts  and the winds made the achievement of those requisite long casts quite difficult. At times, I felt more like I was fishing for permit or bonefish in the ocean than for peacocks on a freshwater river in the Amazon. The fact that many of the best fish we caught were initially sighted on the backs of sting rays didn't do anything to dispel that illusion.




Unless you were right on the mark, the prized big boys... the 10+ lb. big peacocks, were easily spooked. Without a doubt, this was the toughest year we've ever had on the Agua Boa and yet, fish were caught, the sight fishing was very engaging and we all had a good time. Each day, we caught numerous smaller borboleta (butterfly) and paca (spotted) peacocks, but the bigger temensis peacocks were quite a bit tougher to catch. That being said, the majority of the fishermen in our group landed double digit fish, with big peacocks of 14, 15 and 16 lbs. being caught each day. In addition to these large peacock bass, we also caught red tail and surabim catfish, arowana, jacunda, bicuda, payara, oscars. piranha and pacu (on dry flies).

The day begins

The day ends
In between, John Riggs and Peter Greenleaf make a statement!
...and Peter Greenleaf and Doug Jeffries sum up another day.

When on the river, huge sandbars framed clear shallow sand flats laced with green bands of deeper water. We blind fished with sink or intermediate tips any structure and these deeper seams. We sight fished big peacocks in shallow lagos and poled the main river scanning the flats. Here, we threw floating and intermediate lines with lightly weighted or unweighted small streamers. After starting out with the traditional 4-5 inch flies, we either switched to smaller flies or trimmed existing flies to present a less intimidating profile and a quieter entry.

Anna Riggs with a solid fish 

Paca or spotted peacock



The low water also had an upside. We had many encounters with a wide variety of wildlife as most of  the animals were concentrated along the river corridors. Monkeys, agouti, tapir, otter, deer, dolphin and the ubiquitous caiman were commonly sighted. Many beautiful birds were ever-present making trips up and downriver a pleasure. We saw channel billed toucans, roseate spoonbills, jabiru storks, black collared hawk, cocoi heron, sun bitterns, macaws,  kingfishers, eagles, just to name a few.




Giant Amazonian otter



Black hawk

More photos and trip moments to follow:




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