Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle

Information Page.

Fishing the Amazon.

I've mentioned before that my third son, Richard, lives in Brazil. Recently he went with Ana and the girls and the family of his friend Paul, on a visit to Brazil, for a stay on the Amazon. Needless to say Rich did a spot of fishing and here's his report:-

Hi Dad,

Here is a short account of my recent brief trip to the Amazon for your blog. We stayed at the Juma Jungle Lodge about 100km from Manaus on a tributary of the River Negro. The Lodge was on tall stilts, proof against the 14m fluctuations in river level. When I was there the river had fallen about 7m from its peak, though it was still impossible to say where the forest ended and the river began. Also, calling it a river is somewhat misleading because the flow is so slow that most areas resemble huge black lakes merging into lush rainforest.

The target fish where we were staying is certainly the Tucanaré, better known in English as the Peacock Bass. The bass can attain enormous sizes here (up to 15kg) and I was told that 20 pounders are relatively common or, at least, caught most years. In typical fashion He's his father's son!) I refused to pay for an expensive guided trip and forced my mate Paul to paddle me out at sunrise every morning in one of the Hotel’s wooden canoes. At this time of year the bass are tucked up under the trees and you therefore need to flick your lure in between the braches to stand any chance of enticing a ‘customer’. I was using the normal 30lb braid and 20lb wire trace, and had decided to go with a slow sinking, one-piece, white, angel’s kiss lure. I opted for a whippy little telescopic rod since most of the casting was short range flicks. On almost the first cast of my first attempt I hooked into a 5lb bass that leaped and shook like a sea trout. Great fun, and after a few photos it was carefully returned to the water. Three more bass followed in quick succession, though none were as big as the first fish.

After a blank the following morning, I was up early on my last day hoping for a big finale. We worked our way around the far bank of the river, with me casting into every likely gap in the undergrowth. Just as it got to full light I had a couple of knocks, but they didn’t stick. Paul glided the canoe close to a tempting mini-bay between two big trees and out went my lure. Immediately it was grabbed by something much bigger which screamed back towards our canoe. It then seemed to sense our presence and headed back towards to trees against a tight clutch. I applied as much side-strain as I could, but to no avail... it ploughed into the roots and stuck solid. Disaster! After 5 minutes vainly pulling I gave up and broke the line. An exciting, though extremely unsatisfying, end to my peacock bass fishing.

The other fish I was keen to catch was the fabled black piranha of the Amazon – a bigger relative of the red piranhas we caught in the Pantanal. I had my chance one lunchtime while the other guests enjoyed an outdoor barbecue. Attracted by splashing in among the trees, I worked a jointed rapala through the tree trunks where the boats were moored. I was getting bite after bite but couldn’t get the lure to stick in their Teflon-coated jaws. Finally I hooked one of about a 2lb which I (very) carefully unhooked with a long pair of forceps. The black piranha is maybe not the hardest fighting fish I've ever caught but it makes up for it by being one of the ugliest. It certainly put me off taking a dip.

So how about it? Do you fancy a trip to the Amazon next time you come to Brazil?

Cheers, Rich

He doesn't really have to ask - it sounds as though the fishing could be fantastic but if the river can go up and down 14 metres I suppose nothing can be guaranteed.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

Clearly not one of the original party but enjoying the trip.

Another spotty monster.'

A tucunare makes a fierce bid for freedom. Note the drowned forest and house on stilts.

Another spotty monster.'

Got one! Not the best picture but a decent tucunare.

Another spotty monster.'

Richard's black piranha.

Another spotty monster.'