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Agua Boa Amazon Lodge 2013 02-02-2013

To see more photos from this year's trip to the Amazon, please go to Scott Heywood's blog FLY PAPER and see Agua Boa River 2013 Trip Report Click here to see Scott's blog

Sometimes you get a reminder that it may take a lot of effort to pull off a fishing trip. Sometimes to make it, you really gotta want it! When I awoke at home at 4:30 AM on January 31, it should have been just a simple drive to the airport and a quick flight to Denver. I would be in Miami by 3:00 PM, Meet my group, get some sleep and then take an early morning flight to Brazil... easy right? Instead, after scraping a thick layer of snow off my car, it was clear the predicted winter storm had arrived and all that was “simple” had disappeared from my formula. 

With 6-10 inches on the ground and a lot more on the way, the drive to the airport was ugly. What normally took 15 minutes took 40 and felt more like skiing than driving, The building winds, drifting snow and low visibility, didn’t look good for getting out. If I missed my flight out of Sheridan and couldn’t get to Miami by tonight, I’d miss the TAM flight to Manaus on Friday and would therefore miss the charter to from Manaus to Agua Boa Lodge early Saturday morning. I would spend the week at work instead of fishing in the Amazon Basin. The prospect was chilling, both literally and figuratively!

I’ll make a long story short: what should have been a 6:30 AM departure from Wyoming was delayed to 7:45 AM, then 9:00 AM, then 11:00 AM, ... all hope seemed lost. We reboarded the 18 seat twin prop four times and sat on the runway with no heat in 7 degree temps while the ground crew tried to de-ice the wings. Four times we de-boarded as the deicers couldn’t keep up with the snowfall. According to the pilot, we needed the ice to stay off for six minutes to complete taxi and takeoff. We couldn’t make four. 

On the fifth try we made it out of Sheridan through a small gap in the storm at 1:30 PM (which meant our fifth time through security. Previously, each time we deplaned after an unsuccessful deicing, we were sent back to the main terminal to get warm, then had to go back through TSA security (shoes off, laptop out, metal detector etc.) and sit in a small unheated waiting room.)   My office had changed my flights to Miami three times each time booking later and later flights as each postponement in Sheridan. What should have been a 3:00 PM arrival in Miami had turned into a true epic with the described false starts, but it also meant I barely made flight legs in Denver and Dallas and eventually arrived in Miami at 1:00 AM on the last possible flight of the day. 

After getting my luggage which had somehow managed to keep up with the close connections, I met my old friend Doug Jeffries at the airport hotel, showered, then it was off to TAM Airlines at 3:30 AM for the 4:40 AM boarding of the flight to Manaus. Some 5 hours later we arrived in Manaus. Whew, I had made it!  Now that is one hell of a travel day!

The question is... Was it worth it? Yes....... no make that hell yes!! 
The Agua Boa was in perfect shape. As we banked over the runway while preparing to land on the runway at the lodge, we could see exposed white sand bars which meant low water. The tannic stained waters of the Agua Boa River flowed over the bars showing light yellow in the shallows and dark olive at the dropoffs. These undulating white sand flats and olive green deeper channels alternated and made the river look like a giant serpent snaking through the rain forrest. Those of us who had been to the river before knew that these low water conditions insured ample sight casting opportunities. Not only that were the conditions right, but we also had a great group. Most of us had fished together before either in the Amazon, the Seychelles, Mexico or the Bahamas. We switched the partners around most days and fished 60 some miles of clear Agua Boa River water.

The fishing wasn’t always easy. The big peacocks were spooky in the skinny water, but we managed to catch lots of borboleta (butterfly) peacocks, paca peacocks (spotted) and enough big temensis peacocks of 10+ pounds to keep us happy. We caught numerous temensis (the fish we see in the photos labeled peacock bass) in the 12-17 pound range on big streamers especially chartreuse and white, but also green, yellow/red and shades of tan. We also caught many 1-2 pound temensis peacocks insuring the health of the river for many years to come. (A peacock bass is reputed to grow 2 pounds per year). Generally the best rig was a 5-6 foot 30 lb leader with a 40 lb. bite tippet. BUT, if you were committed to sight fishing the skinny flats, a longer leader (and a longer cast) combined with a smaller fly was necessary. In these shallow pale yellow flats that were scored with dark green dropoffs, It was like permit fishing... but in the Amazon Basin. It was great sport, but not easyThe arowana fishing was spectacular usually on small deceivers stripped slowly. A few 8-12 lb arowana were caught, but the majority were in the 4-8 lb. range. Anna Riggs and I found a flat on our last day that was home to hundreds of arowana from 2-14 lbs. Impressive indeed! We also caught payara (the vampire fish), jacunda, oscars, bicuda, pacu, piranha, matrichan and dogfish.

In addition to the spectacular bird life we have come to expect from previous trips, we saw giant Amazonian otters, agouti, howler, squirrel and capuchin monkeys, tapir, hundreds of caimen from one to one thousand pounds and boto freshwater dolphin (Scott Sawtelle and I saw a freshwater dolphin eat a 5 lb. spotted peacock I had just released. It was no contest... the dolphin moved like a cat in the water and easily caught the peacock via some of the most sophisticated sonar in the animal world).

Please see previous trip reports:
Lodge 2012:
Click here to see the 2012 lodge article
Lodge 2011:
Click here to see the 2011 lodge article
Lodge 2010:
Click here to see the 2010 lodge article
Houseboat 2009:
Click here to see the 2009 houseboat article
Lodge 2008:
Click here to see the 2008 lodge article
Lodge 2006:
Click here to see the 2006 lodge article

Thanks to Doug Jeffries, Peter Acosta, Jim Squirrel, Russ Dilley, Seaborn Jones, Doug Ellis, Scott Matthews, Scott Sawtelle and John Riggs and Anna Riggs for a wonderful trip!

And many thanks to the great crew at Agua Boa Lodge including guides Pedro, Irmao, Josue, Juraez, Cobaclo, Daniel, Samuel.  Thanks to Carlos and Charlie for making things run so well. We all had a great time and your efforts did not go unnoticed.

Written by Scott Heywood








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