Tackling The Amazon
Part 4: The
Bugs: When you think about the Amazon, you think mosquitoes which invariably leads thoughts of malaria and other exotic diseases born by insects. What is seldom communicated though is the Rio Negro has an average Ph of about 4.5
to 5.0, it is acidic water and far too acidic to support healthy populations of mosquitoes.
One of the many insects of unusual size. The Amazonian wasps make yellow jackets look like gnats.
That’s not to say there is not a healthy population of other bugs in the Amazon, but as long as you cover up, and are diligent about insect repellent, you’ll fare just fine. In fact, towards the end of the trip, we flat out stopped using our Ultra-Thon.
This dragonfly took a liking to JIP's pant leg.
Cameras: If you’re a photo buff, the Amazon can provide some excellent photo opportunities although it’s a little difficult concentrating on both photography and fishing at the same time. Cal was constantly distracted on this trip just taking in the scenery, admiring the foliage, searching for birds, even studying the cloud formations in the sky.
Birds flying amongst the tree line were a common sight.
Certainly you can get by with any instamatic camera and if you go this route, take the extra steps to ensure yours is waterproof. If you’re going digital SLR, do some research to see if yours is weather sealed or not. General rule of thumb, if the body was more than $1200, it probably is weather sealed. If it was over $2,000, it better be.
Freshwater Dolphins were a common sighting on our trip.
Weather sealing won’t guarantee against damage during the rain, but it will help guard against it when you need to pull that camera out for a shot. Whether your camera is weather sealed or not, we recommend storing it outside your air conditioned room each night to keep it from fogging up each morning.
The gang prepares for a tropical beachside barbeque.
Weather: The most common question asked of Steve, and our interpreter Tony, during this and all of their other trips is, “what’s the weather going to be like today?” They never have an answer because weather in the rainforest is, by definition, unpredictable. It can be pouring rain one moment, then, half an hour later, it can be unbearably hot. As an angler, you need to prepare for both and you do so by having a waterproof bag for your gear, a light shell you can throw on and take off depending upon conditions, clothes that dry fast when wet and that are not too bulky when it’s hot, waterproof socks and shoes.
Sport sandals like Tevas are a good idea but we still recommend some type of socks to protect your feet from the sun and insects. That’s probably the best combo to guard against sun and rain because once your shoes get wet (and regardless if they are waterproof or not, if it rains they will get wet because the water travels down your legs), it’s difficult to say whether they will have the time to dry out.
Our last Amazon Sunset.
Conclusion: It is said that a peacock bass fishing trip to the Amazon is a once in a lifetime experience. Ask anyone who has ever been and it’s likely they’ve gone more than once or at the very least are planning a return trip. You plan and you save and you covet that very first trip, but once it is complete, you desire nothing more than to return. The magic is almost indescribable and the entirety of the experience is nothing short of addictive. In fact, there are stories of individuals who have dropped everything (including their spouse and children) after being down there just once, and moving. The allure can be that strong.
We witnessed squadrons of macaws (birds that usually travel in just singles, pairs or triplets) numbering six and seven birds, flocks of parrots, countless herons and egrets, caiman crocodiles, Amazon river dolphins, turtles, otters, swimming pigs, fish varieties including tetras, gouramis, and cichlids, lizards, snakes, butterflies of all sizes and colors, insects of unusual size, the list goes on. As with most things in life, it’s not just about the ends, but everything that surrounds it combining to make an experience memorable. Peacock bass are an amazing game fish, but where they live and thrive, the Amazon Rainforest is beyond accolade. To overlook it as the host for this indescribable adventure would be an egregious error.
We'll be back!
Our thanks go out to Marlon, owner of the Tayacu and purveyor of a first class operation, to Steve Yatomi for hosting our introduction to the haunting, and incredible peacock bass, and to Jonah Li for facilitating our first and likely not our last adventure to the Amazon. Adeus
Amazônia, até a próxima vez.
Epilogue: Want to hear more about our trip? Well, stay tuned. To supplement our yet to be announced theme for 2011, we intend to bring you full reports on the tackle we used and abused enroute to judging whether or not they were worthy of the tag, Amazon Certified. In the
meantime, if you’re ready to book your trip of a lifetime, contact Steve Yatomi at
Travel Alliance. And for your tackle needs on that trip, talk to Jonah Li of
Hi's Tackle Box.