Trepidation came from multiple fronts as this trip approached, new covid strains (needed a negative to get into Brazil) and dismal fishing reports from late Nov-December due to high water. But it had been in the planning way to long and we were all just crossing our fingers. In the back of my mind, I was just thinking we might get lucky, high water doesn’t last forever…. We had spoken to guides and one of Untamed Angling’s owners Rodrigo Selles at length, and he told us flat out that fishing the Rio Marie was good when the river was dropping, group manifestation ensued. Call it “Jungle Luck” “fish karma” “pay back” (we’d had a tough Golden Dorado trip in 2019) but we smashed them two weeks in a row!
Negative tests in hand we made the long journey from the west coast of the US to Manaus. A few flight disruptions and schedule changes later we boarded an aluminum skiff in San Garbiel Brazil for a 3.5 hour boat ride up the Rio Marie River to our home away from home for the next two weeks the “Untamed Amazon”
The purpose built “mothership” is a fantastic live aboard accommodation that hosts 12 anglers, staff and guides each week from Sept to January on the Rio Marie River. The boat has spacious state rooms, hot showers, great food, great air conditioning and operates with diesel generators and solar power.
Fishing reports from late December had total fish caught under 100 for 12 anglers and 6 days, our group of 12 went to nearly 900 fish. Four fish over 20lbs were landed tagged and released, week two was similar with a few less anglers but similar results. Fishing was phenomenal. At times you had to work but everyone caught nice fish throughout the two weeks.
The most unique aspect of this trip to me is the environment and solitude this fishing experience provides. As Untamed Angling states below, there is plenty of water and since they are the only operator it’s all available to the anglers aboard “Untamed Amazon”
The Rio Marie is entirely located inside a far-reaching Indigenous Territory and approximately 500 miles northwest from Manaus, which is our operation’s base point and the most important city in Brazilian Amazon.
The fishing operation utilizes an area of more than 2 million hectares. This untouched environment has more than 800 kilometers of rivers, more than 180 known creeks, 60 lakes, and three major tributaries. Plenty of water to keep us busy chasing fish that rarely will see humans and anglers.
Untamed Angling engages local communities, focuses on environment stewardship and works with local authorities to protect the incredible resources within the Amazon Basin. Currently Untamed has tagged over 3000 Peacock Bass on the RIO MARIE river and had over 65 recaptures. The study is ongoing but it’s going to fascinating to learn about the population of this river, the fish movement and success of the catch and release program and protections Untamed has brought to the region.
We utilized three basic tactics to wear our arms out on this trip. 8wt with a floating jungle line and a popper, 9 or 10wt with a clear intermediate jungle taper and a 9 or 10wt with a custom jungle fast sinker. Poppers were 2/0-8/0, streamers on the sinking lines varied from clousers to cruisers to ad hok creations post fishing with an array of craft fur, polar fiber brushes and Farrar fibers. We did really well with chartreuse and white and red and white but a wide range of olive, green, orange combos worked as well. The key to the streamers success was a sharp 3/0 hook, Ahrex 270 and TMC 600 SP hooks were absolutely a cut above the rest. Casting blind in creek mouths, and deep structured areas was common. Covering lagoon mouths, banks, islands and sight fishing beaches was a blast, all areas produced to some degree. These fish are incredibly strong regardless of size and 60lbs fluoro tippet is used exclusively. When a monster peacock goes for the sunken trees you must hold them, or you will lose the fish. You are casting all day, two anglers one front and one back of the spacious Untamed “aluminum flats” skiffs. It’s hot, the rods are 8-10wts, the flies are big, it can feel grueling in the 30 degree Celsius heat. You chug water all day and it’s still not enough. A large arbor reel is critical. When you have the Peacock of a lifetime on and the skiff is trying to get away from the bank gaining line is vital. Most of the time you just strip set and keep stripping, but when you do get to the reel you need it to be solid. Premium rods are vital, you are hucking big stuff all day and a light saltwater action worked best. Scott Sector, Loomis NRX + were favorites, Echo Glass and NRX+ Swimfly for poppers were stellar.
A couple of critical thing in terms of tackle; we broke, wore out, or abused to the point of failure 5 fly lines. When you go on this trip you need back up fly lines for the sinking models at minimum. Fishing into the trees with 60lbs straight leader means you stretch and pull your fly line all day long. You make a million casts and 5 million strips so you give your fly lines 5 years of work in a week. Bring additional fly lines! While we are on the topic of lines and stripping… protecting your hands from sun and line cuts is also critical, sun gloves plus stripping guards are critical.
While the main attraction are the monster peacocks in the Rio Marie River system there are other species. Wolf Fish, Piranha, Dog Fish, Jucunda, Payara, Catfish all are in the same zones targeted throughout the day and we caught them all. Varied jungle fish species, birds, and reptile species were all super cool. Toucan’s, Kingfishers, Green Parrots, Jungle Pigeons, Macaws, Woodpeckers and Turkeys were sighted. Crocodile Tegu’s, Cayman, Green Whiptails, and unidentifiable snakes included.
7am breakfast and 8am -5:30pm fishing was the daily program. Meals were excellent, chef Leandro Ettomi has been with Untamed for 7 years and the guy is simply amazing. Highlights included Arapaima curry stew, Butterfly peacock bass, and Tambaqui. All superb.
The entire Untamed staff was friendly and ready to help with anything you needed. Bartender/server Sousa was fantastic with keeping guests Caipirinha’s full during cocktail hour and the self-serve bar was always full.
I cannot recommend this trip enough, Rodrigo and his team at Untamed Angling have it dialed in. Guides were excellent. Each day we set out with an English-speaking guide and a native guide who knew every contour of the river. The fun thing about fishing for peacocks with an experienced boatman and guide is they always have you casting and fishing to likely zones. Each cast has the possibility of hooking a big peacock bass. You need to stay focused and ready each cast, all day. If you are lucky enough to arrive with low water you will get the chance to sight fish the beautiful “tanic red” sand beaches for the biggest peacock bass in the world!
We have dates available for RIO MARIE 2022-2023 season. To book this trip send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.