Tackling The Amazon
Part 4: The
Terminal Tackle: Snap swivels can help with line twist if you have one you feel you can trust. We ran into some issues with regular snaps facilitating fouled baits during a cast, so in the end, we stopped using them and just tied direct. The trick here is if you’re catching them, retie often because peacocks and everything else in the water have sharp teeth. They will fray your line, so be mindful of this and retie.
We recommend changing hooks on any and all of your treble baited baits. Both Gamakatsu and Owner offer 3x and 4x hooks. Zander fished mostly Gamakatsu and Cal fished mostly Owner. You can swap hooks in a size appropriate for your bait, we recommend this otherwise, as default, 1/0 is a good general size. Zander did have a fish straighten out the stock hooks on one of his Lucky Craft Pointer 128s.
Split rings are another item to upgrade. Good wood choppers have some insane split rings connecting their hooks to the bait. Follow suit with any of your favorite baits and you should be fine. Owner Hyperwire Split Rings are what we recommend. Regular split rings bend out like paper clips against these fish.
Baits: As with any other species you pursue the emphasis is on fishing. We’ve heard that if you hit it right, peacocks can get in such a frenzy that they’ll hit anything you can throw in the water and move fast enough. That was NOT the bite that we experienced and as a result, we paid for it with our lure choices.
With that 40lb total weight limit on luggage, you can’t afford to get cute on a trip like this. Bring what’s proven, stock up on what works, then bring one or two little experimental baits if you like. For us that meant wood choppers in varying colors and half ounce jigs in red and yellow, red and white, and a recommendation from Marzo, one of our guides, of green and white.
Mid water walking baits like Rapala’s Glidin’ Rap, Sebile’s Stick Shad, or Yo-Zuri’s Sashimi Slider will work well here. Jerkbaits like Yo-Zuri’s Crystal Minnow, Lucky Craft’s Pointer 128, Megabass Vision 110 are all good choices, but remember to swap out the stock hooks and with many triple hooked baits, you only need to use two.
A second favorite topwater style bait, aside from the choppers, are walking baits that can be worked quickly in an abbreviated side to side motion. The Zara Spook is a classic, but we had success with pencil popper style baits like the Ima Big Stick and Paycheck’s The One as well as the Megabass X-Pod. Evergreen International’s Amazon walking bait is an excellent choice for size, castability, and ease of walking. The new five inch injected Lunker Punker is a bait we’d bring on our next trip.
As far as colors are concerned, everything from a typical white baitfish to bright colored offerings are recommended and as with standard fishing practices, you have to figure out what the fish want when you’re there. Some say color matters, others say it doesn’t, plan accordingly depending on which rule generally applies to you.
Clothing: On our trip, laundry service was provided daily so we didn’t need to bring an extensive of change of clothes. Trouble is, if it rains, they cannot dry your clothes, so while it’s nice to think you can get by with just one change of clothes, we’d recommend two in your bags and one on your person at minimum. The rule here though is no cotton. Bring synthetic materials that will dry fast and really, clothes that are UPF rated.
Shirt and pants by REI, UnderArmour, and Columbia were just about all everyone on the boat were wearing and in addition, we recommend gloves and headwear product by Buff. Applying sunblock is fine, but nothing beats covering up, and if you do so with UPF rated clothing that dries fast should it rain (and it will), you can spend more time concentrating on fishing rather than applying sunblock and drying out your clothes.
Sunset or sunrise? you decide...
Supplements: Let us say, you don’t know hot until you’re smack dab in the middle of the Rio Negro beneath that relentless Amazon sun working a wood chopper as hard and as fast as you are physically able. Bring powdered supplements like Gatorade and Emergen-C and be diligent about taking them. There’s really nothing more we can say about that.
This little fellow was outside the dining room to greet us every morning.