Our guide, Daniel, turns the boat upriver leaving the dock behind and remarks that the water is high but it’s coming down. We stare in amazement as we take in just how high the water really is; t’s hard in some places to tell where the river ends and the Amazon jungle starts.
It’s week one and the season opener and we are hosting a group of 12 anglers on our annual trip for Frontiers to Aqua Boa, Brazil, in search of big peacock bass. Never have we encountered this much water but Daniel speaks up again with another comment about it coming down. We guess that’s good news. Actually it’s been high water everywhere we’ve been this year from Patagonia to Alaska to the Big Horn, even New Zealand was on the high side.
The water is off-color as we head into a jungle water trail in hopes of finding clearer water in one of the countless lagoons that parallel the river. The boat ahead of us stops and we realize that the trail is blocked by fallen trees.
There is nothing to do but cut our way through and hope for the best.
And hour later we find a lagoon and, as luck would have it, it’s fishable. The front boat is rigged and ready to go. Dr. Dan Gandy makes two quick casts and hooks up. It’s a big fish and Dan’s first peacock. It weighs 11 pounds and we’re off to a good start. My fishing partner is Will Andersen, a young angler from California, who quickly lands a nice butterfly and then two more spotted peacock bass.
What a great start, three casts later Will shouts as a 10 pound fish heads for the jungle. Minutes later he boats the fish and we take pictures and share smiles, our guide is as excited as we are. Then I show Will a different retrieve technique and I hook up. At first I think I’m hooked on a submerged log. Then the log starts to move slowly in direction of the jungle and then speeds up. I begin to doubt that I can turn this fish. The new nine weight Sage One is straining from tip to butt and luckily I turn the fish toward open water. Ten minutes later the Boca Grip says the peacock weighs 18 pounds. Wow, I wish Will had hooked this fish. More pictures and we carefully release our trophy and move on.
The balance of the day is nothing like the start. Things slow down and it seems to Will and I that hundreds of casts go unanswered. The afternoon gives up only one small fish so we head back to the lodge happy with our morning but wonder what’s in store for us and our group tomorrow.
When we meet up with the other boats at the dock, we hear stories of fish landed, fish lost, and opportunities lost. Despite the high water, everyone is pretty happy with the day. Dinner tonight is rice and beans with chicken and beef followed by a wonderful flan for dessert. I think we’re off to a good start.
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