Tackling The Amazon - JIP's Tackle Report (continued)
#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
Lucky Craft LCMG
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.
Vendetta rod and Revo STX reel was my most used combo for tossing woodchoppers
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!
Garcia Vendetta VTC-69-6 (6í9Ē MH F)
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.
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.
St. Croix Legend Elite
LEC70MHF (7' MH F)
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.
Quantum Smoke battled the aggressive Peacock Bass
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.
Lew's Tournament Pro
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.
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.
and unknown until a few days before the trip, the new Lew's Tournament Pro reel
worked wonders in the Amazon
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.
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
Convertible Hat provided good coverage but I had to modify it on the boat for
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 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.
Sunblock Fishing shirt has good features and coolness for hot and humid
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.
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.