I am a true believer of fishing karma. There are some days on the water where some fish eat and you come away with the feeling that you actually know something about this sport. Then there are the other days. The days when nothing comes together as planned, rods brake, shuttles are missed and you think about giving up these silly fly rods, boats and everything attached to it. Finally, there are the days when the stars and cosmic fishing universe align, along with whatever else is out there, and those are the angling days we are constantly searching for in our pursuits and adventures. Everything happens correctly, nothing goes wrong, and we are lucky to be at the right place at the right time.
I had enjoyed an absolutely wonderful week at Agua Boa Amazon Lodge, deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. I had landed some monster peacock bass. 19lbs, 15lbs and 14lbs were all marks hit along with a total of 12 different species on the fly rod including piranhas, payaras, jacundas, oscars, arowanas, and many others. We casted to cruising peacocks while the elusive grey and pink freshwater dolphins of the amazon frolicked nearby. We ate lunch and enjoyed a mid-day siesta in hammocks hanging from the trees next to a group of the huge and very vocal amazon river otters. We spooked blue and yellow Macaws while on early morning journeys up and downriver. We watched the elusive tapir silently come down to the river bank and grab a drink while on watch for caimans and jaguars. I finally sat my fly rod down as I saw spider monkeys jump from tree to tree looking for nuts, berries, and any other snacks. "Rex" the monster caiman that calls the boat dock area home, was always "happy" to greet us every morning and evening. The amazon rainforest lined the river banks and enticed you to explore her unique flora and fauna. To say there is an abundance of wildlife in the Agua Boa region is an understatement.
Photo: Boro holding a Jacunda fish
My last day was spent bushwhacking into a remote lagoon with guide "Irmao." My boat partner for the day had hooked and landed some fish earlier, and we had noticed over the week that peacocks are very curious by nature. When one is hooked many follow their buddy, or a solo goliath waits underneath with hopes of an easy meal. I stood ready, popper in hand, for the assault when the first fish is hooked. Irmao gestures to cast between two low hanging trees. My boat partner hooks up and my popper goes flying. "Glug, glug, glug, boom!" My popper is inhaled by a small 2 lb butterfly. "Ka-boom again !!!!" I look back at Irmao, "Peacock muto grande,” he exclaims! While mimicking with his hands as an ad hoc puppet show, I had now understood a large peacock had inhaled the small peacock and now my popper was lodged in the side of the big peacock’s mouth. I knew it couldn't last, recalling my experiences as a young boy with largemouth bass eating bream on my cane pole, but it all came to fruition when the monster peacock was weighed on the boga grip. "One - five," exclaimed Irmao.
Photo: a beautiful Arowana
I had seen the raw amazon power that could be produced in about 10 seconds; something I had never seen or experienced in any of my angling journeys and travels. While I am the first to admit I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time when that fish ate my popper, the motive of the destructive monsters goes unmatched. The rods were immediately placed in storage position for the ride home, the high fives sent around the boat in all directions and a couple celebratory ice cold SKOL Brazilian beers were pulled from the cooler and readied for consumption.
As I reflected on the day while cruising back to the lodge, I thought to myself, "That was the wildest, craziest and most impressive event of fish eating, popper destruction and fly attacking mayhem that you will probably ever see in your life!" I couldn't get my head around it! What just happened? It all came clear, I had just experienced one of the days we all dream about, Amazon style!
I turned back to Irmao and gave him another high five. I took my remanding tippet, leaders some leftover flies, popper heads, spare pliers and an extra buff and threw it in his small kit bag. He poked me on the shoulder and extended his open hand. "Muto Obrigado," he expressed which translates to “many /much thanks” in Portuguese. It was the least could do for the guide that showed me the true side and colors of the Amazonian peacock bass.
We returned to the lodge and were greeted by the camp host, Charlie. "So, how was your day," he asked. I smirk and softly reply, "Epic." "You fish the popper today," Charlie replies, pointing to the mangled and beat up fly dangling on one of my rods. "All day,"I expressed, "all day."
- Mike Dawkins is Chief Operating Officer of WorldCast Anglers in Victor, Idaho and a Bluebird ambassador.