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Tackling The Amazon - JIP's Tackle Report (continued)

Combo #1: The Lucky Craft and Abu Revo Toro 50 HS was my heavy duty combo. The rod is big bait class rated heavy power with a fast action. Spooled with 65 pound Sufix performance braid this setup was good at tossing heavy baits such as the IMA Big Stick and Luhr Jensen Woodchopper.

Rod Lucky Craft LCMG 761XHF
Reel Abu Garcia Revo Toro 50 HS (6.4:1)

Sufix Performance Braid 65 lbs


I found this combo to be good but as I mentioned above it wore me down after half a day trying to rip the chopper. Instead what I think this combo was most effective for was topwater walk-the-dog style baits because these are less stressful on the arm and wrist than ripping woodchoppers.


Combo #1 was my heavy setup which worked well with topwater walk-the-dog type of lures or when I needed to make that distant cast to boiling fish


The rod fishes nicely, launching big lures far and beyond Ė afterall, thatís what itís designed for. It has good action when fighting big fish but provides good control when the fish decided to go its own route. The handle length is of a good length to provide proper balance when mounted with the Revo Toro.


The Revo Toro excelled in the Amazon for Peacock Bass


The Editorís Choice Award winning Revo Toro is a reel all three of us brought down to the Amazon. Itís a solid reel and highly reliable and it really shined in the Amazon when fishing for peacock bass. Itís powerful and the carbon matrix drag system provides a smooth drag pressure of 23 pounds. This is overkill for largemouth bass but definitely a benefit when battling peacock bass. Reels with a light drag of say 5-8 pounds will not stop a teen sized Peacock in the Amazon. The Abu Garcia Revo Toro excelled here with its overall performance.


Abu Garcia's Vendetta rod and Revo STX reel was my most used combo for tossing woodchoppers


Combo #2: This next combo was perhaps my favorite of the trip: the Abu Garcia Vendetta mated with the high-end Revo STX-HS (2010 model). The Vendetta is an excellent rod. Itís made with decent components, has good performance, but what I like best is its low price of $80 (sometimes lower). Should the unthinkable occur and your rods get damaged during the flight, itís much easier on the conscience travelling with a rod in this price point than the ones Cal brought down with him!


Rod Abu Garcia Vendetta VTC-69-6 (6í9Ē MH F)
Reel Abu Garcia Revo STX-HS (7.1:1)

Sufix Performance Braid 65 lbs


This medium-heavy, fast action rod handled fish without any issue. The rod was able to handle big, Luhr Jensen Woodchoppers and small, half ounce, Caribelure jigs with aplomb casting both accurately and with distance. I was able to land my largest fish of the trip, a 17 pounder, on this combo.


The Vendetta - Perfect length and action for intense topwater rippin'


Now the STX-HS, just like the Revo Toro HS, is wonderful. Itís strong and build solid. It performs great when tackling fish and again, the powerful 24 pound drag was a huge benefit at controlling the fish when they ran. Smooth and powerful is what you need in a drag system of any reel when fishing for these aggressive peacock bass.


Combo #3: The team canít leave home without bringing tackle to test on new waters. Even though I have already reviewed the St. Croix Legend Elite casting rod, I wanted to see how it handled on the aggressive fish of the Amazon. Needless to say, it excelled, providing good performance in casting, sensitivity, and control. I mainly tossed jigs with this combo and at times soft plastic hollow bellied swimbaits with a weighted, heavy gauge hook.


Rod St. Croix Legend Elite LEC70MHF (7' MH F)
Reel Quantum PT Smoke 150 (7.3:1)

Sufix Performance Braid 65 lbs


Now this was the first time I used the Quantum Smoke. The Smoke comes in multiple flavors but for this trip I chose the 150 size in high-speed. The deeper spool allows for a higher line capacity and the high 7.3:1 speed is a benefit when speed fishing for these hard hitting peacocks.


The St. Croix Legend Elite handled this beast beautifully


In summary, the overall performance was good but I found the drag pressure, even when completely buttoned down, was not able to stop even the five pound paca peacock. The pacas are the hardest fighters out of all the Peacock species. Quantumís website specifies the drag at 15 pounds for the Smoke 150 high speed reel, but back in our new lab I tested mine out at 9.75 pounds. Though the pressure wasnít enough to stop a fish dead, it was adequate to fish in the Amazon because the drag was silky smooth. Iím still working on a more thorough evaluation of this reel in our local waters enroute to a full blown solo review of the 100 and 150 size Quantum Smoke reels.


The new Quantum Smoke battled the aggressive Peacock Bass


Combo #4: Lewís just re-started producing high-end reels for the bass fishing market, and one of the results is their new Tournament Pro series. I made a last minute decision on bringing this combo on the trip because I didnít have time to run it through our RoD WRACK. The rod, though specified as a fast action, feels more like a moderate-fast to me but I said what the heck and brought it to see if it will survive a jungle trip like this, and if it did, even better for Lewís as they are trying to once again be the leaders of the bass fishing market.


Rod Lew's Tournament Pro
Reel Lew's Tournament Pro TP1H (6.4:1)

Sufix Performance Braid 65 lbs


Because of its softer action, I tried a few different types of lures with this rod. I tossed lures like the Sebile Magics Swimmer (sinking type), River2Sea WideGlide, Luhr Jensen Woodchooper, and various jigs and plastics. I found the action too soft to rip the Woodchooper but it did good with the Magic Swimmer, WideGlide, and the jig. I found it has good power when battling fish, but because of its soft tip, it bends over quite easily when the fish dive. Of course casting was good with this soft tip as the rod loads easily and launches lures far.


The Lew's Tournament Pro rod was best used for sub-water lures


The Lewís Tournament Pro reel was impressive. Itís smooth and specified with 10+1 bearings, it had no back-play in the handle at all. The handle knob was wide and smooth, very nice to grip onto for six days of continuous fishing. The Lewís reel has good power as well though mine was only a 6.4:1 ratio. There is a high speed version and I wish I had chosen that one for this trip as the faster retrieve is better for the Amazon fishing style. The drag on the Tournament Pro was absolutely smooth, but like the Quantum Smoke it lacked stopping power on the even when fully buttoned down against the double digit peacocks. Lewís website says the max drag is 14 pounds but I was able to produce 16.25 pounds in the lab.


Newly released and unknown until a few days before the trip, the new Lew's Tournament Pro reel worked wonders in the Amazon


Sunday Afternoons Shirts: November in South America means itís Summer but their Summers are different especially in the Amazon. Weather conditions arenít only hot and humid but the sun is extremely harsh or at times a thick thunderstorm can roll right in to make matters worse.


The Sunday Afternoons UPF shirts provided great comfort and protection again the harmful Summer UV rays


For this trip I brought the Sunday Afternoons Island Breeze and Sundial shirts. Both shirts have a UPF of 40+ and many features to keep you protected and cool. Both shirts provided great protection during the fishing adventure and the 40+ UPF rating will keep the UVA and UVB rays from harming your skin. Vents and material breathability is excellent. The material is soft and comfortable to wear in the hot and humid weather while fishing but also when drenched from the thunderstorms it would dry quickly.


The Convertible Hat provided good coverage but I had to modify it on the boat for maximum protection


Sunday Afternoons Convertible Hat: Head wear protection is also a must in the Amazon. You not only need to prevent the sun from beaming on your face from above but also from the reflections off the water. The Sunday Afternoons new Convertible Hat, UPF 50+, does a good job at protecting your face from the sun. The cap has a top vent to keep you cool and a wide brim for cover. The detachable veil can be snapped into place to provide neck and face protection and does what itís designed to do. The only thing I wish it had was another piece that would cover the front, protecting my nose and lips and more. In the jungle with limited resources you have to make out with what you have. I improvised and pierced a snap through the ends of the veil and connected them together to provide the protection I needed. The Convertible Hat did well but can be improved. A full review will be coming shortly.


The veil can come apart or put on when needed


Coolibar Sunblock Fishing Shirt: Coolibar has been producing sun protective clothing since 2001 and today all their apparel are rated UPF 50+, the highest rating you can have in clothes. So the Coolibar Sunblock Fishing Shirt was a must have for my trip to the Amazon. There was no way the harmful UV rays, even the harsh ones in Brazil, would penetrate the Sunblock fishing shirt. I received no sunburns or evening a darkening of my skin during the entire trip in South America.


Coolibar's Sunblock Fishing shirt has good features and coolness for hot and humid conditions


The material of the shirt compared to say Sunday Afternoonsí wasnít as soft to the touch and appeared to be less breathable, but still due to venting it provided coolness while fishing all day. The Sunblock shirt, when wet, also dries quickly especially if youíre running the boat. The fishing shirt has many features designed just for anglers such as a collar that you can unfold to provide neck protection or the Velcro pole tip holder just to name a few. Overall a good fishing shirt thatís UPF 50+ rated and useful features that any angler would welcome. Stay tuned for the complete review on this Coolibar fishing shirt.


Conclusion: Fly thousands of miles away, you wonít want to leave home with just mediocre tackle as this is mostly a once in a life time trip for many anglers. One must pick and choose the right tackle and apparel to bring to the Amazon, and if youíre missing something, youíre out of luck as you are in the middle of no where. My recommendations above should set you on the right path. Go with a quality reel with good power, high speed, and a strong but smooth drag. Rods can be medium-heavy and fast but nothing less than that. Quality in the rods is important but does not have to be extra high-end to accomplish what you need. And apparel, it must provide good protection or youíll come back lobster red and hurting. UPF rated, 40+ or 50+ is recommended. Plus a hat to cover up is almost a must have. There you have it, an overview of the tackle that I used during the TackleTour Amazon trip fishing for peacock bass with full reviews of some of these items coming shortly.













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