Friday, November 18, 2016

Upstream in Paradise

The morning greeted us with hundred Macaws presenting their morning performance in the trees on the other side of the creek. We had kind of a warm breakfast, after we put on our wet fishing clothes we were prepared for new adventures! Off we went to explore the creek upstream. Upstream in paradise! 

Step by step the water became clearer and clearer. Fish were lying in the creek pretending they would be trout. Unbelievable. Magic. Some pools were inhabited by half a dozen or even more Dorados of 15-25lbs. Chances were good but it was not default to catch fish in every pool. We fished very fine small deceiver style flies around size 3/0 without any weight, casting left or right of the head of the fish, if he was in mood, he would turn and take the fly. Very slowly, sometimes, exactly like a trout in NZ. Sometims just smashing it with brute force.

One situation made a long lasting impression as it was kind of absurd. We reached a riffle and above us in the end of a gliding pool were around 5 to 10 very reasonably sized Dorados close to each other facing upstream on the edge of the pool, around 5-10 kg each. I did cast my fly in their direction and immediately all, literally all of them turned around and darted for my fly. As if their heads would bang against each other none of them reached and took my fly! Seeing that was marvelous. 

Sometimes the fish you do not catch are the most memorable. Six years ago I had this on a remote atoll in the Seychelles. We were fishing there for 12 days mainly for Bonefish. One of the last fish I spotted on the flat, I intentionally did not cast to but memorized that dark eye of the flat’s ghost in my visual memory for the rest of my time. That fish, not caught, not harmed, never forgotten.

Fish were abundant (we did not take pics of all caught, but it was not given to catch every fish). The place was magic. Still we only saw part of its potential, as our time was limited and the water still not perfectly clear. I could continue to write here about some trivial details such as the unspoiled nature (it was absolute pristine), the unbelievable Dorado population, the chance to see a Jaguar behind the next corner, the birds, the trees, but as words would not do it justice, I won’t. As words might not do justice, you have to experience it. The strange thing was, that I felt just as comfortable and "at home" as on my backyard river Loisach in the Bavarian Alps. The remote wildernes was just there. I loved it. We loved it.


With only less than an hour left to fish, Chris managed to catch and land the most magnificant Golden Dorado I saw to date. It was not the largest of that trip but it was the most beautiful Dorado. No marks, no scars, just pristine. It was sheer power and muscles. Nevertheless it was beyond 20lbs.

At around 1:30pm we had to turn around and start the long way downriver to the camp and further on to the lodge. Our way back was comfortably supported by the fascinating dugout canoes of the Tsimane. They are made of just one tree and carved to a wall thickness of something between one and two centimeters. Perfect boats for that location as the wood would easily glide over rocks or sunken trees compared to modern aluminum hulls. 

Floating downriver and wading the shallow sections took around four hours. Even here in that remote place the distance or around 25km we floated showed the difference in the jungle and its structure. The trees and the plants changed as the river reached more flat sections downriver. 

We reached the Lodge without any issues and had a nice last evening with cigars, whiskey and talking fish.


Next day, packing, boating down towards Oromomo, passing the junction of Secure and Pluma river and fly out towards Santa Cruz. There our team had a nice farewell dinner at a local restaurant with good filet, lots of salad and plenty of red. That way we ended our nice trip. 

Thank you to Daniel from Fly Fishing Caribe, Chris from The Caddis Fly Shop, Carlos (aka Grandpa), Hernan and Alexis and to Fernando and Carlos and their teams for friendship and the good time!

The highest appreciation and admiration for Fernando and Carlos and their guiding and camp teams for making all that possible!

That was Asunta and Aqua Negra Lodge at Tsimane by Untamed Angling in September 2016!

Fishing was far from easy but overall we all caught our share of fish. We lost a day due to flooding, but that should be expected by every seasoned fly fisher - perfect conditions are not granted. Company of the group, food, (part-time) friendship at the Lodges were outstanding. That is not given as there are some severe fools jumping around on some destinations. Tsimane is THE place to fish in pristine jungle combined with the best and most comfortable service for this crazy golden fish and king of the jungle rivers of Southern America: Golden Dorado. 

This ULTIMATE JUNGLE BLAST ist not yet over - the next stop over will be Rio Marié for Giant Peacock Bass in the Brasilian Amazone. Stay tuned! 

(Before that I might add some art/ cultural insights on that marvelous INHOTIM art and land art exhibition close to Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

Some notes for the memory and packing list: leader 40lbs level with 40lbs or 30lbs wire. Flies very small and light for the creek. Black, violet/ red/ yellow/ orange/ green for the main rivers. Size 4/0 fits all, just vary with the size of the fly. Smaller hooks only for the creek. Weighted with muddler head (could be substituted with modern string material) for the main rivers. Insect and fruit flies (wooden balls) for Pacu. Three to four rods 8 or 9 (the big Dorado was caught on 8# rod with WF-F 9 line and a Alfa Fishing reel from Finland) with warm water WF-F (creek and popper) and WF-I-tip (main river). A WF-S (300 grain or so) might be a good option to have on hand in case the river is high. Take at least one spare of everything. Do not forget stripping gloves or finger protection. Take wet wading gear that does not rub your skin between the legs, NZ-style tights, tight fitting boxers and shorts might be the best way to go wet wading. To avoid slipping around felt and studs would be the best option, or very soft soles. My two year old Simms Vaportread Vibram without studs where a nuisance and their quality is questionable as they are falling apart after just 35 days of fishing. There is a laundry service at the lodges, so do not take to much clothes. Take a real rain jacket and some warm top in case you hit a cold day. Take watertight backpacks such as the ones from Patagonia.

If you have any questions in terms of tackle, advice or booking, feel free to contact me.

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