CASTING IN THE RIO MARIE
Rio Marié is unique in Brazil, with more than 500 miles of exclusive access to the only catch-and-release, "fly fishing only" river in a part of the world where rivers are often shared by half dozen fishing operations.
This river area is huge, encompassing nearly a vast amount of virgin waters, boasting a healthy population of giant Peacock Bass. For anglers, this translates into very real opportunities to consistently hook and release much larger-than-average Peacock Bass on the fly.
Few, other than local natives, had ever explored the spiderweb of tributaries or investigated the labyrinth of oxbow lagoons that nurses this incredible fishery. Those who risked it all the first season came home to tell fish stories about huge Peacock Bass that are hard to swallow. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what the Rio Marié has to offer, and already realize the Rio Marié is the ultimate trophy Peacock Bass fishery. Even the locals call it "Rio de Gigantes!"
During each fishing week, a serious angler is bound to hook into a good number of Temensis peacock bass whose average size is astounding at over 10 lbs, not to mention a significant amount of 20+pound trophies. Every day fly anglers are casting in the Rio Marie they are in the legitimate pursuit of the next world record Peacock.
And when anglers are happy with their double dgits of the day and want to go lighter, be prepared for dozens of 3 to 8 pound butterfly peacoks which are extremelly stroing and fun to catch with 7 weight rods and poppers.
In 2014, we quickly organized for the first exploratory season of five weeks with 8 fly anglers per session. Those 39 anglers helped us to explore and learn and fish nearly 800 kilometers (500 miles) of the Rio Marié. What was discovered was a veritable trophy peacock bass paradise.
The first week reports were mind-boggling: 24 fish over 10lbs / 19 fish over 13 / 6 over 18 / biggest of the week 22.5 pounds / IGFA 20 pound class tippet broken. Each succeeding fly fishing week was just like the first, with incredible numbers of monster peacocks recorded and released including several approaching world record dimensions. The tally of huge peacock bass landed during the inaugural season on the Rio Marie’ has quickly separated it from every other river on Earth.
THE PROOF OF A LEGEND
The results of several scientific studies made by biologists and Fishing Resources Government specialists of IBAMA (Environment Brazilian Institute), and our experience in the first season were remarkable. The average size of the Temensis peacock bass on the Rio Marie is over 10 pounds and the amount of fish recorded at over 15 pounds is shocking. And if that’s not good enough, there are more fish measuring over 20 pounds than anywhere else in the entire Amazon Negro Basin, or the world.
All official IBAMA studies have shown that the Rio Marié literally has double the population of big fish when compared to other, previously studied rivers such as Itapara(Tapera), Agua Boa, Xeruini, and others. Our inaugural season proved this with 40 fish landed over 20 lbs in 7 weeks. Way off the charts.
We don’t like numbers when we are speaking about fly fishing but this time we need to put the trophy caliber of the Rio Marie’ into perspective: During five weeks in 2014 our 39 guests landed and released 2133 butterfly peacock bass and 219 trophy Temensis peacock bass, 91 of which weighted 10 to 20 pounds, plus an unbelievable 24 fish between 20 to 25 pounds. Truly remarkable and off the charts. Also, if we count the 2 weeks of scouting before the first group of guests that arrived, the number of 20 pound fish landed and released jumps to 40 fish in 7 weeks!
A new way to approach Fly Fishing in Amazon
Guests are guided by one of the finest teams of English-speaking, fly-savvy fishing experts in all of Latin America and well trained local Indian guides who knows every inch of water and the big peacock bass secrets.
We consider our guide staff among the elite. A highly experienced and professional International guiding staff, partnered with local Indian guides trained by our team with their ancient knowledge, provide the best possible 2 man guide team per boat.
The anglers experience is also based in a new way to approach guided fly fishing in Amazon. Anglers are assisted and guided in each skiff by two guides team:
• Professional Fly Fishing Guide - English-speaking pro guide who offer anglers the possibility of practicing the finest and most sporting fly-fishing techniques. They are able to help you with every facet of fly fishing, including casting techniques and gear advisory, as well as being extremely knowledgeable about the river and the peacock bass.
• Local Indian Guide. The Indian Guides team of Marié are intimately knowledgeable with every single pool in the river and are amazing at spotting even the most minute motion or shadow or ripple from any peacock within casting distance. They really knows all Marié river system, the water levels predictions and the big peacock bass hidden home and secrets. They read nature signs and joining with their ancient legendary knowledge transmitted by generations of fishing in Marie waters, to provide the most intense experience in peacock bass fishing.
The native guides in combination the guide staff is sure to provide an amazing and unbelievable experience.
SUPERB FISHING MACHINES
The Rio Marie skiffs are real fishing machines, designed by Untamed Angling to be the finest fly-fishing boats in the jungle.
Marié skiffs are superb fishing machines, swift 21-foot fully equipped shallow draft skiffs, with big double casting decks, powered with 90hp 4 stroke outboard Yamaha motors to reach fishing places in less time.
Our guests fish from the extremely comfortable and smooth flat skiffs, custom designed and crafted for the Rio Marié. Each skiff is equipped with 2 large casting platforms, a push poling platform and an electric trolling motor with remote control, for silent moving inside the lagoons and along the river. 90HP four stroke Yamaha engines provide the power to move long distances quickly. GPS and VHF radios are on board to keep guides in communication and aware of each others position. IGFA certificated Chatillion scales are on board to keep everyone honest while certifying the next world record. Rubber mesh landing nets are also provided to guarantee the fishes safety and to immobilize trophies close to the skiff.
That’s the Untamed Angling commitment to the highest quality service and equipment pursuant to the international standards.
In this region of Amazonia, the fishing season normally runs from late September through December. This is the dry season for the upper Rio Negro Basin, the time when waters are at their lowest average levels which allows for fishing throughout the entire river system, including its numerous tributaries and lagoons.
The Rio Negro Basin fisheries are extremely dynamic, a product of each year’s hydrological cycles. However, since the Rio Marié is literally the headwaters of the entire system, combined with its geographical location and the immensity of its drainage, it is much more constant and predictable than other regional destinations.
The key to successful fishing in Amazonia is water levels. In general, the lower the water level, the better the fishing. When the water level is too high, the fish tend to scatter outinto the jungle to feed, where they render themselves totally inaccessible. When water levels are low, the fish are more concentrated and aggressive due to competition.
It's when the floodwaters have retreated from the jungle interior after the rainy season, when huge populations of peacocks concentrate on shallow sandbars, and the entrances to creeks and tributaries. It's at this time when the peacocks are most aggressive, slamming brightly colored streamers and savagely striking top water flies and poppers.
FLY FISHING GEAR
Rods: 7 to 10 weight single handed rods are the norm. It is best to have two rods rigged with different lines and/or flies in the boat. Please plan on bringing an extra backup rod. Powerful rods with a strong butt section are recommended. All of the saltwater series of the top rod brands are considered good choices. Your favorite Bonefish and Baby Tarpon rod will do it just great. We recommend rigging one 7 or 8 weight saltwater rod for smaller peacock’s with floating line and one #9 or #10 weight with intermediate (clear) sinking line.
Reels: As with rods, reels that have been designed for saltwater fly-fishing are the best choice. Peacocks will test your stripping fingers more than your reel, but in the event you can get them on the reel before they get into the wood, reels with strong smooth drags are recommended. Bring a trusted reel that you feel comfortable with. Weight of the reel is important also since you will be casting a lot. 30 pound backing is required.
Lines: Most of the fishing is done close to the surface of the water. Weight Forward lines designed specifically for the tropics and saltwater are what you want. Rio Outbound Tropical Short or comparable, ultra-aggressive, warm water fly lines hands down work the best. Our go to fly line for Peacocks was far and away the Rio Outbound Short clear intermediate tip line, the 30ft INT/15ft Clear . Full floating Outbound Shorts are excellent for effortlessly throwing giant wind resistant poppers. Do not bring cold water floating lines, as the hot weather makes these lines "soft and gummy". You will also want to bring a fast sinking sink tip for some specific spots, and higher water situations. For this we recommend a 24 foot 200 to 300 grain sink-tip fly line. We strongly suggest you bring at least one back up fly line. We saw many fly lines explode and be destroyed our first season by trolling motors and monster fish wrapping up anglers in the wood. Be prepared…
Leaders: Peacock Bass are not particularly leader shy, and the huge ones normally can explode a 40 pound shock tippet as if it were 5x tippet. Leaders should be heavy enough to turn over big wind resistant fly, so heavy-strong butt leaders are important. Spools of Fluorocarbon should include 60, 50, 40. Mono in 30, 20 pound breaking strengths can also be used in certain situations. Maxima, Mason or Fluorocarbon are good choices). Our go to leader was just a 6 foot stretch of 50lbs Fluoro. Record seekers should bring a wider variety of tippet strengths.
Flies: Fishing is mostly done using baitfish imitations. White, Yellow, Chartreuse and combinations of these colors are very effective. Good action and heavily dressed flies in lengths from 3 to 7 inches in barbless 2/0 to 4/0 (high quality hooks) are required. As for patterns, the most typical flies used are synthetic material streamers such as the Glimmer Minnow and the Sardina Cruiser. However many baitfish imitations have proved to be very successful, among them Puglisi Streamers in medium to very big sizes, Whistlers or Umpqua’s Tarpon’s Snake and Decievers and Half and Half’s. Big Foam Poppers and Divers as well as very big rubber leg dry flies like Chernobyl Ants are fun to fish and should be included. Flies are available for sale at the yacht for $7 each, but be sure to show up with a good selection as well. Fully packaged selections are available from The Fly Shop.
One of the truly absorbing things about the Indians of the Marié River is their local tradition of fly fishing for peacock bass. Indeed, what has been discovered about their approach to fly fishing for peacocks may cause historians of fly fishing to revise their theories about who really invented the sport and when. And it’s conceivable that some reassessment will be in order about the first practitioners of Tenkara fishing. Untamed Angling, it seems, has uncovered evidence that the Indians here have long used what they call Pinawaca flies made from dried strips of wood to attract and catch peacock bass.
They also use the colorful flower from a local tree and macaws feathers as a fly at times. Both flies bear a remarkable resemblance to modern flies, replete with thread wrapped around the shank of the hook to hold materials in place.
The fly that turned out to work best for me in my own fishing was roughly the same size and shape as a Pinawaca fly. The technique the Indians use is to position themselves on the front of a dugout canoe with a Pinawaca fly attached to a short, stout stick (in effect a Tenkara rod) by line made from wood bark. As the dugout is quietly paddled along, the Indian waves the fly back and forth through the water in front of him, occasionally slapping the water with the stick to arouse any nearby peacocks to strike. When a peacock strikes, the Indian points the stick straight at the fish and yanks backward. If this isn’t fly fishing, then what is it?