Archive for May, 2011

Photo: Bicuda

May 26, 2011

A little Bicuda caught in the Amazon:

Bicuda

Bicuda

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Tackle-Box.net

May 25, 2011

Let our tackle wizard outfit your trip on Tackle-Box.net, our proprietary online tackle shop.

Tackle-Box.net is proud to be the international angler’s source for specialized fishing tackle. Use our online, electronic tackle store to select and purchase the right gear for your fishing trip in any of three easy ways:

Tackle Wizard
We’ve used the experience of dozens of international fishing professionals to assemble the deadliest and most effective tackle for catching fish worldwide – by species, location and water type. Simply answer the “Tackle Wizard’s” questions and let him automatically assemble the ideal outfit of rods, reels, lures and accessories tailor-made for your trip. Customize it, if you wish (by adding or subtracting individual items), to fit your personal preferences.

Tackle Browser
Take a relaxed tour through our inventory and create your own customized tackle packages or just review the products and their detailed descriptions. It’s a perfect way to do some “window shopping” or simply learn more about the gear used for a particular trip.

Tackle Searcher
Looking for a unique or hard-to-find item? Use our search engine to quickly scan our database and add a special item to your existing tackle collection or change and upgrade tackle for a new trip. You can even design your own customized packages. Search for specific items, select them, and then add them to your shopping cart. Click on items to see a description and specifications.

To get started, please visit Tackle-Box.net.

Peacock Bass

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It Started With A Snail! – A Giant Amazon Catfish Story

May 24, 2011

Ever wonder what a day of fishing for giant Amazon catfish is like? Find out in this story by Anthony Williams – check out the whole thing below or click here.

It Started with a Snail! – A Giant Amazon Catfish Story

by Anthony Williams

Catfish

6 a.m. on the Travessao River: Brazil’s Amazon Basin.

We loaded our rods and cool box onto our 18 ft aluminum fishing boat as our guide, Chico, checked the 40 HP outboard and made sure all was in readiness for our day’s fishing.

A noisy pair of Macaws flew over the river, howler monkeys added to the dawn chorus and a tiny humming bird addressed the flower covered tree over our dining area.

We were staying in a tented camp on an island. Dropped in by Float Plane 1.5 hours from Manaus, capital of the Amazon region, we were remote with a capital R! We were even 5 hours by boat from the nearest Indian village, so we saw not a soul all day, apart from the other 6 fishermen in camp.

‘Where’s the bait?’ my fishing partner, Jeff Wilcox from the USA asked. I said that I was sure Chico had a plan. These guys live in the Jungle and it’s their supermarket. They don’t go ‘shopping’ without their cash card!

We set off into the current, through some fast flowing rocky channels and into an open area bounded by rocks and pools. Chico nosed the boat into some calm water behind the rocks and got out of the boat. We watched as he hunted around and then got on his knees and prised some sort of fresh water snail off the rocks under the water line. He cracked them open with the handle of his machete and produced a thin, whip-like stick, a 4ft length of mono and a small hook, to which he attached his prize.

Rather than start fishing he thrashed the water with the tip of his ‘rod’ to attract fish and then dangled his snail bait. A couple of minutes later he pulled a 4 inch fish that I didn’t recognize onto the rocks. Jeff and I jumped out, found some snails and joined in. Half an hour later Chico had 10 fish of 4 different species on the rocks and we set off back into the swirling waters. Jeff and I had caught 1 fish between us!

We found a nice pool and drifted slowly with 6 ft 6 inch Loomis Bass rods, multiplier reels and 80lbs braid, the business end being a 10/0 circle hook and a chunk of fish on the end. A 10 inch wire trace and a sinker rounded off the set up. We dropped the leads onto the bottom and drifted and soon encountered Piranha. Not the little hand sized jobbies, but big 5 to 7lbs Black Piranha. Great fun on light tackle. We must have caught 50 or so before we got ‘bored’ and decided to try for some bigger fish. We kept a couple as bait and put the rest back to annoy us another day.

Redtail Catfish

Redtail Catfish

We had already had some success with the Amazon’s 1,200 plus species of Catfish. Notably the very striking and solidly built Red Tailed Catfish. On much heavier rods we had caught them from 10 to 70lbs and what a fight! These Amazon fish are solid, not the floppy, slimy European jobs. In addition to the resident species of Peacock Bass, acrobatic Saber- toothed Payara, Corvina, Bicuda, Piranhas and so on, we caught many other catfish species.

Jeff was buggering around with his bait. Mine was chewed up by Piranhas and the steel trace and clip a bit mangled by their powerful jaws, but I dropped it to the bottom while I waited. A gentle run started and I said to Jeff ‘Here we go…’ the run didn’t stop though and got faster. I pointed the rod at the fish and clicked into gear. Nothing happened – the run just went on but with enormous power.

Chico knew what was up and started the engine seconds before my braid ran out and off we went, me winding hard to keep in contact with the fish. I wish I hadn’t! Something very powerful and totally unstoppable went mad when I really put pressure on. He hadn’t really known he was hooked before.

Big 100 yds plus runs developed and with a fully bent rod I could make no impact on him at all. This was pretty much how it went for the first hour. When directly over him there was absolutely no give in him at all. Jeff reckoned there was no difference in him than when I hooked him and was starting to suggest I might have to cut the line as we would never be able to land anything this powerful on such light tackle.

‘No. Let’s just try and see what we have first’, I said. I just wanted to see the fish and then decide.

Still I couldn’t make any impression on him. I remembered my Dad telling me once, when Salmon fishing in Scotland, that to just hold a fish invited disaster. ‘Get sideways onto him and keep pulling his head round’ he advised. I asked Chico to STAY AWAY from the fish. I didn’t want to be any closer than 30 yards and at an angle. Once on position I lowered the rod to one side and pulled hard but very slowly. Slowly he came round, but he didn’t like it and shot off on another big run.

We caught up with him again and did the same. By this time it was hot, I was being passed bottles of water and lit fags, had water poured over my head and was soaked in sweat. But it worked and the fish responded like a puppy on a lead. Albeit a pretty huge puppy! Smaller runs of 30 to 50 yards came and by some miracle, with the braid under enormous pressure, it never touched a rock or snag.

Soon he was close to the boat and we saw a huge swirl deep under the surface. I gave him an extra strong head pull and then lifted.

‘Bloody Hell !’ from me and a ‘WOW’ from Jeff. The biggest freshwater fish I had ever seen broke the surface. It was a Giant Piraiba catfish. The world record, recorded by IGFA was broken on this river in 2007 and weighed in at 295lbs of solid muscle.

Right. Now I was really fired up! Plan B was now to try and land him. Small problem was that there were no beaches, just steep banks rocky outcrops and jungle…What to do??

Two of our chums from camp hove round the corner in their boat. I waved them to come over. ‘Have a look at this baby’ I shouted. They came over but kept their distance as he was still doing 20 to 30 yard runs. I pulled him gently up so he showed on the surface and they could get a look. Retired surgeon Joel Adler (Doc Joel) had been in on the earlier year’s world record catch and he just said that we should try and get a rope round him so we could drag him onto some rocks and measure him.

Well. By now I was getting blasé and the Cat was doing pretty much as I wanted. I hauled him close to the boat and Chico undid our mooring rope and on a pass he tried to get the rope round the Cat’s huge tail.

Well, that went well ! He shot off like a fresh fish, soaking us in water. I tried to pull him round and the rod responded unhelpfully by snapping 2 thirds of the way up! Now I had a problem!!

I retrieved the top section, everything was still connected and I could still bring him close enough to try and get the rope on him. Problem was, he simply didn’t like that! I called to Joel and his guide carefully brought his boat over. Joel had a big game rod and a massive 15/0 hook on 200lbs steel wire. We lifted the fish’s head and literally hooked him in the mouth to guard against another run. He was docile though with his head out of the water and Chico managed to slip the boat’s rope over his head and secure him !

High 5’s all round as this was a mainly American group. I was the token Pom.

We gingerly towed him to a group of rocks and Chico and I jumped out and pulled him on to the biggest rock. He was huge! Joel kindly said that he had seen the previous world record landed and this guy was bigger. Very kind of him, but we’ll never know. I was focused on releasing him safely and wasn’t going to take a chance by trying to weigh him. After taking some pictures we slid him off the rock and he swam away strongly.

2 hours and 10 minutes it took from start to finish . The most exciting fish I had ever caught and by far and away the best fight. It was like a game of chess in a way….

Good old G. Loomis will replace my rod for free and I will return to the Amazon in search of the other 1,195 species of catfish I didn’t catch !! This river has 8 world records of different fish in 4 years. They are being broken year on year and we have only fished a tiny part of it. Watch this space !

It started with a snail !!

Tony Williams travelled to Brazil and the Amazon with Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling. He joined the Rio Travessao exotic species variety trip operated in the northern Amazon highlands.

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Fish of the Week – Piranha

May 23, 2011
Pacu

This Brazilian Pacu took a "bread fly" (spun deer hair, cut and trimmed to look a piece of floating bread) in moving water, just like a trout sipping a dry fly.

Our “Fish of the Week” is Piranha … yes, the same one you hear about in fantasy horror scenarios and made famous by movies such as Piranha. Don’t run for land just yet, though – these creatures, like many portrayed in Hollywood and science fiction, aren’t nearly as fearsome as they seem; in fact, they’re rather fascinating to study and observe.

Piranha are members of the subfamily Serrasalminae, within which are also included Pacu. They are distinguished by their very different teeth. Throughout the Amazon, the name pacu has been given to a range of flattened, rounded fish from primarily the genera of Mylossoma, Myleus and Metynnis. Pacu, like their larger cousins tambaqui and pirapitinga, favor a vegetarian lifestyle; however, that doesn’t mean they can’t be convinced to join in on a little sportfishing activity from time to time.

Several species can be pursued with light tackle and will put up an impressive fight. Ultralight spinning rods that can deliver a kernel of corn or a wadded piece of bread can divert these little guys from their typical afternoon snack. Fly casters should use 2/0 Clousser Minnows and especially fruit-colored Glo Bugs dead-drifted in trout/salmon fashion.

Piranha

Piranha

There are at least 20 species of piranha (Serrasalmus sp.) swimming the rivers of the Amazon basin. Some grow larger than 8 pounds and can make for excellent light tackle action, especially on smaller spinning/casting rods or a 5-6 weight fly rod. Examination of piranha stomach contents show that their typical diet consists of about 1/2 fish while the other half includes fruit, seeds and bottom detritus. Piranhas are not picky eaters and will hit literally anything resembling a baitfish, such as a small Rat-L-Trap tipped with meat. If you’re not fishing for them, however, they can be quite a nuisance, as they have a habit of destroying your lures or that custom-tied $8 streamer the second it hits the water. Definitely use a wire leader to minimize damage to your line and be careful when removing the hook from their snapping jaws. While we are strictly a catch and release operation, these little guys do taste very good pan-fried.

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Almost Happy Hour!

May 20, 2011

Getting closer to that Friday happy hour … here’s how we celebrate 5:00 in the Amazon!

Happy Hour

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Peacock Bass Fishing Trip Finder

May 19, 2011

Make your dream of fishing for peacock bass a reality – we have many fishing trips available, including several openings in September and October. We promise it’ll be the fishing trip of a lifetime – and it’s affordable, too!

For more information on available trips, please visit our Trip Finder. Here, you can search for trips by accommodation (Blackwater Explorer Yacht, Floating Bungalow Camps, Elegant Rustic Lodge, Safari Style Camping, Exploratory Trips), by species (Bicuda, Catfish, Dorado, Payara, Peacock Bass, Pirapitinga, Tarpon, Trairao) and by calendar (all 12 months of the year).

Blackwater Explorer

Enjoying happy hour after a long day of fishing on the Blackwater Explorer, the beautiful air-conditioned vessel on which we often fish.

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Photo: Black Piranha

May 18, 2011

Piranha

Large black piranha abound on the Jatapo. This 7.25 pound specimen caught by Russell Jensen of New York broke the world record.

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Part Five of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “What Peacock Bass Fishing Gear Do You Really Need To Land Monster Peacock?”

May 17, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass Fishing Source about peacock bass gear in part five of an exclusive interview. Read all about it below or click here.

What Peacock Bass Fishing Gear Do You Really Need To Land Monster Peacock?

The Peacock Bass fishing gear you need may surprise you according Paul Reiss of Acute Angling. The first thought may be to grab the biggest, heaviest tackle one can find in order to take on these beast of the Amazon. But before you head out and lay down your hard earned cash in search of your trophy see what it is you really need.

In this segment of our interview with Paul he explains the type of gear that gets results.

Peacock BassB-F-S: What kind of bass fishing tackle would you recommend in going after Amazon Peacock?

Paul Reiss: The tackle should always, always, always be geared to the lures being used. A pet peeve of mine is that first-time peacock bass anglers are often saddled with overly heavy peacock bass fishing gear because they went to a tackle shop to be outfitted.

Sure, the monster peacock is an amazingly powerful and violent fish, but rod and reel selections should be made based on the peacock bass lures you’ll be using, not the mis-perceptions of tackle salesmen who have never fished for peacocks. Heavy tackle makes you tired, snoozing anglers don’t cast and lures in the boat don’t catch fish. Peacock gear should be reasonably light so that anglers can fish without fatigue, make accurate casts and properly work the lures that will ultimately bring in their trophies.

We supply quality peacock bass fishing gear on our Blackwater Explorer yacht trips, however, anglers are always welcome to bring their own equipment. We recognize that folks are usually most proficient with the bass fishing tackle they’re used to.

If you’re bringing your own gear, I strongly recommend 3-piece travel rods. The new “Gary Loomis Signature Series” by Temple Forks Outfitters is a great line of rods for peacock bass fishing. They are relatively inexpensive, guaranteed, light, fast, durable and, of course, very portable. Two or three rigs will support all aspects of peacock fishing; a medium/heavy outfit; a medium and a medium light.

Read more about bass fishing rods.

medium heavy outfit will effectively cast and work the heavy prop baits. I recommend a baitcaster such as the Gary Loomis series TFG TRC 705-3 for best performance with these big plugs. If selecting another rod, avoid overlong (max. 7’) rods and never use long handled rods. They just make working the lure more difficult. Select a fast-retrieve reel, 6.3:1 or faster. We recommend a Shimano Curado reel (modestly priced and 7.0:1). Slow retrieving reels will not allow you to properly work your lure and will leave you very tired at the end of the day.

Medium/Light rig is best for the peacock rattle jig. With a properly set drag, a quality outfit in this category will efficiently handle even the largest peacock bass while providing casting ease and accuracy. For most anglers, a spinning rod is the better choice for this use, such as a Gary Loomis series TFG TRS 703-3 medium-light rod and a Shimano 2500 series spinning reel.

Read more about bass fishing reels.

Medium Outfit is not a must, but it’s a good backup for the other two rods (since rods can break) and it can be very comfortably used for Zara Spooks, Yo-Zuris and other medium size baits. This rig is a bass fisherman’s bread and butter tool. Bring your favorite reel since retrieve rate is not critical with this outfit. A good example would be a medium baitcaster such as the Gary Loomis series TFG TRC 704-3 with a Shimano Curado or Calcutta 250 size reel.

All of this peacock bass fishing gear can be purchased through Acute Angling at 866 431-1668.

More with Paul Reiss on Amazon Peacock Bass:

Paul talks with Bass-Fishing-Source.com about the awesome Amazon Peacock Bass.

Paul shares some priceless Amazon Peacock fishing techniques.

Paul discusses the best lures for Amazon Peacock Bass.

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Fish of the Week: Peacock Bass – Cichla melaniae

May 16, 2011
Cichla melaniae

David Orndorf of Sunbury, Ohio caught this Cichla melaniae on the Rio Xingu in Brazil.

Our “Fish of the Week” is Peacock Bass – Cichla melaniae, one of the newly described (2006) species of Cichla. Commonly referred to as the “Lower Xingu peacock,” it displays three prominent black vertical bars that are slightly slimmer than other species. It shows traces of medial bars between the three main bars and sports numerous small black spots with light colored margins scattered along the body sides. Cichla melaniae is similar to Cichla mirianae except for the absence of light spots on its head and the absence of midlateral ocelli.

The Cichla melaniae features a deep gold color on its sides and shades darker toward dorsum. Its bars and ocellus are black while its upper fins and tips of its lower fins are a bluish hue. Juveniles grow up to 200 mm while adults can range from 200 mm to 400 mm. Its depth-to-length ratio is approximately 31 percent and it features approximately 82 lateral line scales.

This species of peacock bass has been found in the lower Rio Xingu river basin in Brazil, often in lentic (off-current) lagoons and lotic (subject to river current) rock piles. Dave Orndorf caught specimans like the one pictured on shallow running crank baits and pointed pikie minnows. Similar to other species of peacocks, they were caught in side lagoons as well as rock piles in the river. Dave upgraded his lures with enhanced hooks and split rings.

To date, the IGFA record is seven pounds. Cichla melaniae is named after Melanie Stiassny, an important contributor to Cichlid classification.

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Part Four of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “What Peacock Bass Lures Do The Pros Use?”

May 12, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass Fishing Source about peacock bass lures in part four of an exclusive interview. Read all about it below or click here.

What Peacock Bass Lures Do The Pros Use?

In this segment of our interview with Paul Reiss he tells us what Peacock Bass lures he has put to work and had success with during his time in going after the monster Peacocks of the Amazon.

B-F-S: Can you describe what type of lures a person should have if they want to catch Peacock Bass?

Paul: I’ve learned long a go never to tell someone that his favorite lure won’t work, because it’s almost an unwritten rule of fishing that the moment you say something can’t be done, someone will go and do it. That being considered however, we hook probably 90 percent of all the big peacocks we catch in a year on four principle categories of lures; propeller lures; stick baits; swimming plugs and peacock rattle jigs.

Monster Peacock Bass Catch

The most famous, of course, are the big, 6 or 7 inch prop baits. These are known from Luhr-Jensen’s (now defunct) “Woodchoppers” and today’s Highroller “Riprollers”. They catch good numbers of fish, generate spectacular topwater strikes and make for wonderful television; however, they are always productive. Certain water conditions may make them next to ineffective, so an angler must be armed with an array of alternative tools.

Stick baits, such as “Zara Spooks” and “Super Spooks” are especially effective early and late in the day, in small, still waters and in thick structure. Swimming plugs like Yo-Zuri’s “Crystal Minnow or Cotton Cordell’s “Redfin” are almost always effective and provide tired anglers with effortless fishing, albeit not nearly as productive as their subsurface counterpart, the “Peacock Rattle Jig”.

B-F-S: With the understanding that conditions will tell you what lure you should use, and it can vary from time to time, but is there any one type of lure that is especially productive in catching these fish?

Paul: Absolutely. The “Peacock Rattle Jig catches far more peacock bass than any other lure. Although it’s a jig in every aspect of the word, the name is a bit deceptive since we don’t jig it. It never goes to the bottom. Instead we fish it as though we were stripping a fly, rapidly accelerating and then slowing again in a rhythmic, jerky motion in the top several feet of the water column. This lure is by far the most productive of all peacock bass lures and is effective in just about any conditions. Even better, their small, light easy to use and cheap – you can even make your own. For more information on this lure and how to fish it, check out our website’s peacock jig section.

Thanks Paul for the priceless information on the best peacock bass lures to catch Amazon peacocks.

More with Paul Reiss on Amazon Peacock Bass:

Paul talks with Bass-Fishing-Source.com about the awesome Amazon Peacock Bass.

Paul shares some priceless Amazon Peaock fishing techniques.

Paul describes the fishing gear needed to catch monster Peacock.

Acute Angling – Official Website
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