A valid passport is required to enter Brazil.
Beginning June 17, 2019, citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan are no longer required to have a Brazilian visa to enter the country.
You will fill out a “tourist card” while on the Miami/Manaus flight prior to landing in Brazil. Be sure TO KEEP your stamped copy of this tourist card after proceeding through customs—customs officials can hassle or even fine you if you do not have the receipt when exiting the country.
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Manaus was founded in 1669 by the Portuguese as a small, fishermens’ village. Its name is of Indian origin and its literal translation is “Mother of God.” Situated just three degrees below the equator and over 1000 miles inland, it is one of the busiest ports where cargo ships distribute their goods throughout the Amazon basin. With the discovery of rubber trees in the area in the 1850s, Manaus flourished for a period of about 20 years, from 1890-1910, and was known as the “Paris of the Jungle.” Today, Manaus is a duty-free zone and center for ecotourism in the Amazon.
Brazil’s hotels and shops readily accept U.S. dollars, so there is really no need to exchange money.
The deluxe floating safari camp accommodations feature spacious dining and lounge areas. Pairs of anglers sleep in 12’ x 21’ air-conditioned bungalows, each with porches, separate toilet and sink area, twin beds, tables, chairs, and lights. Guests enjoy evening cocktails while watching sunsets over the river’s white sand beaches and grassy river bars.
You will travel from the safari camp to nearby lagoons and river tributaries via 21-foot specially designed shallow-running aluminum boats equipped with outboards, trolling motors, and comfortable swivel seats. The guides are good boat handlers, very polite and understand fishing English. Bilingual cards will be sent to you prior to your departure to aid in communication.
Mid-day temperatures in the Amazon range from 85° to 95°. Generally there is intense sun during the day, so please be mindful of dehydration and overexposure to the sun. The camp manager will stock your boat’s cooler with your preference of drinks and water. Make sure to use sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and perhaps long sleeves/pants. At night the temperature drops to 65° to 75°.
Although you will be fishing in the dry season, there are occasional and sometimes frequent rain showers and thunder storms which can adversely affect water levels and your fishing success. You are in the rain forest. If it does rain and create higher water level conditions, this can affect the fishing and occasionally allow our competitors to encroach on our private/exclusive concessions.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
A breakfast buffet is typically served at 6:00 a.m. Pancakes, eggs, toast, fresh fruit, sausage, cereal and fresh coffee are all standard fare. Lunch is typically fixed (box-style) by each angler in the morning before fishing. We encourage everyone to stay on the river the entire day to maximize fishing results. Appetizers are usually on the table as soon as anglers return from the day’s fishing. Dinner is served around 7:00 p.m. The dinner service features steaks, chicken, fresh fish and many local specialties. The camp supplies soft drinks, local liquor, beer (limited for safety reasons to six per person during the fishing day) and wine with meals. The camp provides factory bottled water.
Brazil is the only Latin American country where Portuguese is spoken as the native language. Grammatically, Portuguese is quite similar to Spanish, but the spoken language/word pronunciation is very distinct. Most individuals fluent in Spanish can converse fairly well with a Brazilian native. The camp has a full-time bilingual host.
The rivers we fish have a high tannin concentration due to the forest’s leaf decay, and do not encourage the growth of insect eggs and larvae, but some bugs are occasionally encountered, mainly no-see-ums (gnats) which can be irritating, along with the occasional bee, mosquito or wasp. Be sure to travel with an EPI-Pen if you are allergic to stings.
We suggest you contact your doctor regarding inoculations recommended for travelers to the Amazon, or log on to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/travel. Doctors may suggest vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis and yellow fever, and a prophylactic course for malaria.
Brazil does not require travelers entering Brazil to present proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Also, antibiotics and antiseptic medicines such as Polysporin are always a good idea to avoid infections from cuts and scrapes.
For the guides and staff, we suggest a tip of $500. Half can be given to the guide and half to the camp host to be divided up among the staff. Tipping is done at the end of the trip—U.S. dollars accepted.
LIMITS ON BEER CONSUMPTION
For safety reasons, River Plate Outfitters allows six beers per angler, per fishing day. (This is in addition to evening beer, cocktails and wine.)
Peacock Bass is a generalized name for the large bass-like gamefish native to tropical South America. They are actually a subspecies of the family Cichlidae. Although there are countless color variations throughout their range, there are only three recognized species of peacock bass—two in Brazil. All species are commonly called tucunare in Brazil and Peru, while other Spanish speaking countries use the term pavon. The peacock tucanare (Cichla temensis), better known as azul or paca is the largest of the three species, with an average weight of six or seven pounds. Ten to fifteen pound fish are very common, and twenty+ pounders are hooked each week. This fish has a unmistakable mottled black patch directly behind its eye. Body coloration and markings vary greatly. Three vertical black bars are usually visible. Often, horizontal white spots are present.
The butterfly tucanare (Cichla ocellaris) is the smallest and most numerous species in the Amazon basin. This fish has three different color phases, but the butterfly primarily seen has three black, oscillated spots (about the size of a half dollar) running along its lateral line. There are many other jungle species that are no less impressive—both in beauty and fighting ability. Depending on location pacu, pirapitinga, jacunda, apapa, tambaqui, pirarucu, bicuda, picua, piranha, aruana and pescada can be taken.
CATCH AND RELEASE
To further ensure the survival of released peacock bass, we use rubberized mesh landing nets to protect the fish’s outer skin. Trophy peacock bass weighing 16 pounds or more will be weighed in the net in a horizontal position. Never weigh fish vertically as this puts strain and stretch on a fish used to the support of water pressure. Weighing fish vertically can cause spine and other injuries to the fish. The Boga Grip is still used to control the fish, but never hold the fish in an unsupported vertical position from the Boga Grip. Hold fish horizontally while photographing and then quickly return them to the water. Take time to fully revive the fish and release it in shallow water (one foot or so). A tired fish that is not fully revived is very vulnerable to predators such as dolphins and piranhas.
PEACOCK HABITS AND ANGLING HINTS
- Like largemouth bass, peacocks often prefer “structure” of some sort. Rocks, fallen logs, points and sand bars are hiding places for baitfish, so this is where the peacock will usually lurk. Of course, you should always heed the guide’s recommendations on where to cast.
- Peacocks usually roam about in small schools searching for baitfish, often bursting into a feeding frenzy. When this situation is encountered, get your lure or fly in front of the feeding fish as soon as possible. The sooner you can cast to them after they’ve been spotted, the better your chance of a hookup. Peacocks are greedy and highly competitive schooling fish. Always cast a free lure or fly right next to any hooked fish. Another peacock will almost always be close by (attracted by the commotion). If no strikes result, fish the surrounding area thoroughly.
- Novice peacock anglers tend to set the hook too fast when fishing topwater poppers or flies. Often peacocks will just slap at the lure to stun it, then come back around and firmly grab it on the second pass. It’s hard to remember at first, but don’t set the hook on the strike. If you can’t see the plug, popper or fly after about one second, drop your rod tip and set the hook with your stripping hand.
- If the fish doesn’t take the lure on the first strike, keep it moving. If you are patient, the fish will usually come up and hit the lure a second or third time. If he loses interest, quickly cast a diving (subsurface) lure or fly. This often elicits another strike.
- Never try and “horse” a big peacock, and don’t underestimate his power. If a big fish is headed for structure, apply side pressure to the rod trying to ‘steer’ the fish in another direction. If you crank your drag down too tight, they’ll almost always snap the line, or pull off. If a fish does make it into cover, don’t give up. Give a little slack and wait for the boat to spook the fish out of its hiding place—they’ll often untangle themselves. When a fish comes to the boat, never assume it’s ready to give up. Always keep a high rod tip and a loose drag to absorb last minute runs.
- Lure or fly color doesn’t seem as important as lure or fly shade. If it is bright out, use a light-colored fly. Dark shades are more productive in low light conditions.
SPINNING OR BAITCASTING TACKLE
We encourage you to bring your own tackle if you have it. If you do not have it or do not wish to bring it, the outfitter provides level-wind baitcasting rods, reels, line and lures.
If you bring your own gear, take medium-heavy to heavy largemouth bass tackle, with long-handled 6- to 7-foot rods and good-quality reels of at least 100 yards capacity with high-speed retrieve ratios. Use rods with a firm-action tip to allow for accurate casting of heavy lures. Bring at least two rods and two reels. For lines, we suggest “T &C Tufline” or “Power Pro” in 65 pound test or other brands of similar braided line. Steel leaders are not required while fishing for peacocks. Again, backup tackle is available at no cost to anglers, except in the case that you break the rod—then you will be charged $100 for a replacement—that fee is paid directly to the camp host.
NOTE: All fisheries now require the use of single hooks. This will result in lower fish mortality and aid in returning fish to the water more quickly. Lures with two treble hooks should be refitted with two lazer-sharp single hooks one gap size larger than the treble hooks. Meaning 2/0 treble hooks should be replaced with 3/0 single hooks.
SPINNING OR BAITCASTING LURES
We suggest these specific lures and jigs, but you may already have similar in your tackle box. As long as the size, color and action of the lure is similar, feel free to include lures you already own, but lures are available at no cost in camp.
- Borboleta Woodstock 16 (Double Propeller) – 6” – All colors
- Borboleta Jaraqui – 6.7” – All colors
- Borboleta Nitro 2.0 – 4” – All colors
- Borboleta Juana – 5 1/2” – All colors
Diving minnows and sub surface
- Borboleta Tan Tan – 4″ – All colors
- Borboleta Perversa – 4” – 3/4 oz. – All colors
- Borboleta Safada – 5” – 1.3 oz. – All colors
You should plan to bring a dozen jigs per angler – some jigs are available for purchase at camp.
Slevad brand or similar jigs in 1/2 oz., bucktail, all colors, with white or yellow underbelly. Flies such as listed below with 1/2 oz. worm weights also work well as jigs.
To purchase jigs, please contact Haggerty Lures – www.haggertylures.com – (610) 373-1368 or (484) 651-3107.
High-quality, specialty lures can be purchased from K Lures – http://www.klures.com/PeacockBassLures.html – Kermett Adams (559) 903-4553
For spinning and bait casting tackle and questions, contact:
J.W. Smith at (800) 211-4753 or email@example.com
FLY FISHING TACKLE
The aggressive jungle species are well suited to fly fishing. At least two 9- or 10-weight rods are recommended. Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Series II and Mangrove Series are good choices. Reels should have a smooth drag, hold at least 100 yards of backing, and be spooled with a weight-forward, bass-taper floating line or clear sink-tip line such as Teeny Flats Line/Clear Tip or Rio Tropical Outbound Short/Clear Tip. Bring a 200-300 grain fast sink-tip line for deeper water. Use
60 pound monofilament for leader/tippet material.
Flies—a mixture of 40-80 minnow pattern flies and 6-12 poppers
Rainey’s Bubblehead Poppers (topwater) – 2/0 to 4/0 – red, white, yellow, chartreuse, blue or combinations
Minnow, deceiver and Clouser patterns (underwater) – such as CF Baitfish, Clouser/Kreh’s Half & Half, Ehler’s Gator Done, Flashtail Whistler Big Fish Deceiver, etc. – 2/0 to 4/0 – chartreuse/white, blue/white, red/white, orange/white, yellow/white or combinations, all with flash
Flies can be ordered from Feather-Craft Fly Fishing (800) 659-1707 or http://www.feather-craft.com/peacock_bass_dorado_payara. Please order well in advance of your departure.
For aircraft safety purposes, please pack in medium-size soft duffel bags (no larger than 30 in. x 14 in. x 12 in., or similar). Roller boards with wheels add extra weight to your luggage and are not preferred. The weight in the charter plane must be distributed in the various compartments of the plane. There is a strictly enforced 35-pound weight restriction on luggage (including checked luggage, rods, reels, lures and any small carry-on). The camp has daily laundry service, so lots of clothes are not necessary.
- Tape measure
- Hook sharpener
- Small fishing pliers, pocket knife, clippers
- Reel lubricant
- Fly box
- Rod case
- Polarized sunglasses
- 60 pound leader material (fly-fishermen)
- Optional stripping finger sock (fly-fishermen)
- Adhesive tape to protect fingers
- Line cleaner
CLOTHING & PERSONAL ITEMS
- Passport and Xerox of photo page
- Airline tickets
- Personal medications
- 2 Long-sleeved tropical-weight shirts
- 2 Tropical-weight pants/shorts
- Light-weight socks
- Swimsuit or shorts
- Fishing Shoes/Water Shoes
- Casual travel clothes
- Fishing hat
- Quality light-weight raincoat
- Light-weight fishing gloves
- Chapstick with sunscreen
- Water resistant bug repellent with DEET
- Small flashlight
- Camera & batteries
- Waterproof pack or gear bag
- Cash for tipping
Daily laundry service is available at the camp.
Benadryl in a spray bottle comes in handy for the occasional insect bite or sting.
Get to the airport plenty early on your day of departure. You will have spent a lot of money on the trip, so start off on the right foot. Carry some bills in small denominations for tips, airport meters, snacks, etc.
And, as mentioned earlier, take a photocopy of the photo page of the passport, in case you lose the original. The copy will greatly facilitate the process of securing a new one.
Plan for rain. Always take a raincoat and always take it with you on each outing. It’s amazing how many wet anglers have a nice dry raincoat in their guestroom at the camp. If it doesn’t rain, they make an excellent outer shell for cool mornings. Pack sensibly. Use soft-sided luggage and take only as much clothing as you will need. Always take your passport, airline tickets, medications, camera equipment and valuables in a carry-on such as a backpack or small valise.
Bandannas protect your neck against the sun, and they work well as an emergency head cover if you misplace your hat and need to protect your head. Bring two pairs of sunglasses.