Agua Boa Amazon Lodge Fishing Report, Spring 2014

IMG_8918I just returned from a 5-week fly fishing adventure in the Amazon Rainforest, courtesy of Agua Boa Amazon Lodge and Sweetwater Travel Company.  This fishery has always been on my radar, but this was the first time that all the stars aligned for me to make the trip.  And what a trip it was!  A true kaleidoscope of experiences at one of the best fishing lodges in the world.  Here is a virtual sampler of the action from the Equator:

The launching point for the adventure is the capital of the state of Amazonas, Manaus.  Located at the confluence of two huge rivers, the Rio Negro and Rio Solimoes, Manaus is the nominal head of the Brazilian Amazon.  P3290123

Hopping a Cessna Caravan and flying north out of Manaus, the transition from city of 2 million to untracked jungle is rather abrupt.IMG_0248After about a 2-hour flight into one of the world’s last great wilderness regions, the first view of the Rio Agua Boa quickens the pulse.P3290099 Unlike typical Brazilian “black-water” rivers where blind-casting with big lures is the norm, here the fishing is 100% fly fishing, and sight-fishing opportunities abound for the legendary “Tucunare Asu,” known to the outside world as trophy peacock bass.

P3040079The lodge is very comfortable, located right on the river, and surprisingly devoid of mosquitoes.  The acidity of the river doesn’t support larval growth, and therefore, Malaria, while endemic to the region as a whole is not found here.  That isn’t to say that there are no insects here.  This is the jungle after all.  A little caution (and some DEET) around dawn and dusk helps prevent discomfort from the no-see-ums, as an unlucky angler, who chose to wear shorts on the first evening in camp, learned the hard way.Piums But no-see-ums aside, you never knew what creepy-crawly would emerge into the light at any given time.  Here are some of the cool bugs that showed up:


IMG_9040Then of course there are the birds.  This place is truly a birdwatcher’s paradise.  Even a rank amateur like me racked up nearly 50 new species for my life list. Toucans, macaws, storks, and some super weird stuff too.  Like this one, the hoatzin, which eats only leaves, has a predigestive fermentation chamber in it’s gut (like a cow) and thus smells like cow manure.  And they’re known to be social.DSC_1160Here are some more shots of just a few of the awesome birds:IMG_9438IMG_9474P1030427jacamar kingfisher macaws muscovy duck redbellied blackbird silverbeak tanager

And of course the jungle is replete with incredible critters of all stripes. . . and spots!

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ottersBut of course, what most draws anglers to the Agua Boa, when all is said and done, is the incredible fishing.  The Amazon Basin as a whole hosts more unique fish species than the Atlantic Ocean.  With 4 species of peacock bass, several species of piranha, dozens of species of catfish, plus arawana, giant arapaima, oscars, dogfish, traiera, stingrays of all sizes and colors. . . an angler’s mind is truly boggled by the diversity of fish.  One literally can’t so much as glance in the river without seeing fish of some sort.  IMGP0047

And one thing that truly sets this fishery apart, is the quality of the guide staff.  Hired from local villages, these guys are totally in their element on the water.  And yet, they are truly world-class professional fly fishing guides, skilled and versed in the game of big-game angling. Here is a sampling of the incredible fish and the guides and anglers who love them:

P1030447P3270023IMG_9228IMG_9223IMG_5549IMG_9025IMG_8944IMG_8998 - Version 2DSCN0511IMG_8960IMG_0333DSCN0496IMG_8770 P3030073P3030043SAM_0671P3160022P1020023

IMG_9420 - Version 2IMG_9219P1030375TrairaIMG_6763As you can see, the Agua Boa is a real “Walk on the Wild Side” for any angler looking for something beyond trout.

The lodge staff, the facilities, the fishing, and the Amazon Rainforest itself combine to make this one of the best fly fishing trips out there. IMG_9214IMG_9159 - Version 2IMG_9321I can’t wait to go back!

Special Thanks to Taff Price and Carlos Azevedo for use of photos and for spiritual guidance.