Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing Trips to the Rio Negro & Rio Madiera in the Amazon River Basin in Brazil

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Hi David,

Hooked on Adventures is by far the best choice for Peacock Bass Fishing.  I have now been on it twice and I can say it is a first class adventure like no other.  I feel an excellent trip all starts with the guides.  Hooked on Adventures has the best guides on the river, and that is not even debatable.  Where other boats on the river aren’t catching fish, the Hooked on Adventures guides are constantly putting their customers on fish.  The best part about them is their passion for fishing.  They get just as excited as we do when we catch a big fish.

Besides the guides the food and service on the boat is outstanding.  Nobody goes hungry on the boat.  The Hooked on Adventures staff offers a unique opportunity to try food that you would never have a chance to eat anywhere else.  I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious the Piranha soup is.  Harry, Tony, and the rest of the staff will meet any requests you have.

Owner/Operator David McCarty works to handle any issues that might occur during the trip.  Anything from missed flights, lost luggage, or arranging sightseeing tours in Manaus, David will take care of it for you.

“If you are looking for an Amazon Adventure look no further than Hooked on Adventures.”


Michael Losinno

Michael Losinno Pic

Stephen Schreifer, Alan Smith and Doug Knepp hosted this fishing week, December 2 – 10, 2011, and it was such a friendly group!  We had quite a few husband/wife couples which we love to have on our trips.  These ladies really know how to fish (and some outfished their husbands) and brought a lot of laughter to the trip.  (Read the testimonial page from L. Rowan about her getting her “fish pout” on and her first fish wound (what a story!).

Douglas Knepp, a member of our Hooked On Adventures team,  wrote “What a great group of people and adventure this trip turned out to be! Alan Smith and Stephen Schreifer are to be thanked for the anglers they choose to join them on this trip.  It was truly ‘The Trip of a Lifetime’!  Great evenings were enjoyed, after a hard day of fishing, included wine flowing, cigars being lit, and stories plus jokes being shared all around.  It was fantastic!   Stephen Schreifer, a retired USAF colonel, was a true gentleman and a great fishing partner.

Together we fished  beautiful sand bars (some very remote and hidden lakes).  I met a man from CT that ate more grilled Piranha that I could ever imagined, along with some natives in dug out canoes, and witnessed one of the women swimming in the Amazon (above)!  We had long conversations that I feel made a new and lasting friendship.”

Douglas also commented “Randy Liljenquist, of AZ,  is a world class, big game hunter with the bow and arrow. He has taken trophies all over the world, and now I know why! When our Guide, Eddie, spotted a big Peacock moving in a tightly sheltered area, he asked Randy to make a cast to that hole. By my count, Randy made over 50 casts to the hole pulling out a few 3 pounders, a 5 pounder,  a few more 4 pounders…..

…….then came the ‘perfect cast’.

The water boiled, and the fight was on!  For 30 minutes of casting, over and over, Randy’s perfect cast rewarded him with a beautiful 18 pounder!  That’s what you get when you listen to your guide, and the result was a huge fish that was photographed and released! 


Here are our numbers for the week:

Location:  Upper Rio Negro/Amazon/Manaus Brazil

Trip Date: December 2-10, 2011 (fishing 3rd-9th)

Group Size:  16

# of Days:  6 – 6 1/2

                                                 Total Number for Week:   737

                                (33) 10 lbs. – 19 lbs.  and  (3) Peacocks 20 lb. and over

                                      LARGEST FISH CAUGHT WERE (1)  25’s

                         10 lb.’ers – 10,    11 lb.’ers – 7,     12 lb.’ers – 2,     13 lb.’ers – 5,   

                         15 lb.’ers –   2,     16 lb.’ers– 2,     17 lb.’ers–  3,     18 lb.’ers – 1,      

                         19 lb.’ers –    1,    20 lb.’ers – 1,     22 lb.’ers – 1,    25’s – 1.

                                                701 additional fish were caught

Water Level:  Levels were a bit higher than normal for this time of year.

Baits Used:     Lure of choice for this trip were Jigs, however, the biggest fish caught was on a topwater lure.

To this week’s group:  We certainly had a wonderful and fun-filled time with you guys, from the moment you reserved your trip, working with you to get you there, and of course, the great time everyone had on the boat with you all.  Come join us again soon, and thanks for the memories!                                                             


p.s.  Laurie and Kerry, you certainly did bring a lot of laughs to the trip, and just so you know, this is the first time we’ve “ever” seen our guides wear a Santa Claus hat!

Our adventure started in Manaus.  Going through customs was a breeze.  Paula met us at the airport dressed in her Hook On Adventures gear; she was hard to miss.  Our luggage was loaded on the chartered bus on off to the hotel we went.  We had a wonderful view of the Amazon river from the room.  We had our very first Caipirinhas in the friendly bar.  This like a mojito, but it’s made with Brazilian rum and the mint leaves are omitted.  Mmmm…so refreshing.  That first night we ate at a real Brazilian BBQ open air restaurant.  There were so many dishes to choose from, and they all looked so very fresh.   We woke up and had a great buffet breakfast before hopping on another chartered bus that took us to a regional airport.  We got right on our small airplane and slept the hour-ish trip to Barcelos.  I regret not having more $1 bills because there were several ladies out selling their handicraft jewelry.  I bought some really cute gifts for friends, family, and myself.

We met Tony at the airport, and he got us on a bus that took us to the Santana.  That night we had a great dinner and had more Caipirinhas (thank you Harry!!!).  We were also assigned our guide for the week, and was told that wake-up call comes early at 5:00 am. We were also given an opportunity to buy one-ounce buck-tail jigs for $6 each.  I highly recommend the red and yellow bucktails.  They were quite popular with the Peacock Bass.

If you want a hot breakfast, please get up while the coffee is hot.  The Brazilian coffee shames Starbucks.  The chef let me watch her make the coffee.  She actually boils the grounds and then pours the coffee through a cheese-clothe type filter into an insulate dispenser.   We always had scrambled eggs, cheeses, tons of fruit, bacon or sausage, and more.  Now it was up to us as to when we wanted to go fishing.  My husband, Kerry, and I opted to get right out for the early fish.  Arnoldo, our guide, must have been born with a natural GPS and fish-finding system.  He always got us spot-on.

We fished our hearts out the first day.   Arnoldo would put us on a spot and would recommend how to catch the fish he seemed to sense.  Sometimes he told us to top-water fish with these 7-inch lures, cast with the jigs or troll with the jigs.  Just how do you do that, Arnoldo?  The chef had packed a cold lunch for us, but we opted to return to the Mothership at 11:00 to  shower and eat.  We had a cold beer with our sandwich and had a hardy nap.  We were back out to fish at 1:00.  We were excited about the 19 fish we caught on our first day, and I was especially excited about the 9 pound Peacock that I caught.  That was, until we saw a fellow fisherman who had just caught a 12 pounder!!  Bummer.  They were packing it up to head back to the Mothership, and my 9-pounder wasn’t that impressive to me anymore.  I admit – I got the fish pout.  Arnoldo must have picked up on that – it needs no translation.  Next thing you know, my hook was stuck on a stump.  Arnoldo started yelling “Big Fish, Big Fish.”  OMG.  It was!  I pulled a fighting 15-pounder out of the water.

What a beautiful fish!!  The head on that fish was big, if not bigger, than my head – and I have a big head.  I took a few pictures with my fish and felt my ego restored.  I was so happy to see blood on the top of my hand ; I had a bass bite from holding the fish with my bare hand.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the boat to share my battle wound!

~Laurie Rowan~ Eglin AFB, Florida      

It is a funny thing in life, when you accept only the very best, you very often get it and that describes “Hooked On Adventures” owned an operated by Mr. David McCarthy.  I recently completed my second trip on the Amazon Santana and am looking forward to my third and hopefully, many more.  You cannot go wrong with this just doesn’t get any better!”

~Stephen Schreifer~ 

Colonel, US Army, retired

Canada’s“Real Fishing, Izumi Outdoors with Bob Izumi” and  TV crew  were on board this trip filming their show with Hooked On Adventures and our Peacock Bass Fishing Adventures on the Amazon.  What a fun trip it was with all these guys, as well as all their Canadian friends that fished with them, and the father and son duo (The Scotts) from New Mexico.  It was a blast and nice to finally put faces with the names. We had a few from our camp as well helping out with things and working hard to make sure everyone had a great time.  We certainly had a great group of guys with us this week!

 Again, sandbars are seen in many places, and we are sailing back into shallow waters to fish. 


Sean Ippolito  (Left)  –   Real Fishing’s TV Host “Bob Izumi”/HOA’s Douglas Knepp (Right) 

Bob Izumi and Guide, “JoJo”

Rick McCrory

Here are our numbers for the week:

Location:            Upper Rio Negro/Amazon River/Manaus Brazil

Trip Date:           November 25 – December 3, 2011

Group Size:         20 Anglers 

# of Days:           6 

                                                  Total Number for Week:   886

                                (26) 10 lbs. – 19 lbs.  and  (6) Peacocks 20 lb. and over 

                                      LARGEST FISH CAUGHT WERE (3)  21’s 


                         10 lb.’ers – 2,    11 lb.’ers – 3,     12 lb.’ers – 12,        13 lb.’ers – 1,    

                         14 lb.’ers – 1,     17 lb.’ers – 3,     18 lb.’ers  –  3,      19 lb.’ers – 1,       

                                                           20 lb.’ers –3,    21 lb.’ers  –  3

Water Level:  Levels were a bit higher than normal for this time of year, but we still had a good fishing week.  Levels continue to decrease a little each day.

Baits Used:     Lure of choice for this trip were “Jigs, Jigs and MORE Jigs”!

We hope to have you guys with us again soon, and thanks for the wonderful camaraderie. We hope to have provided you with some great lifetime memories and a few new fish tales!     ~David McCarthy

I highly recommend this fishing experience to anyone.  The fishing and the accommodations were excellent and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.   The food, meals, snacks and shore lunch were all wonderful.  The entire staff were gracious and hospitable.  The guides were hard working and very, very knowledgeable.  They wanted to find the big fish as much as we did.  Thank you so much for this very fine experience!    ~Stan Ratzlaff

p.s.  Did I mention my 21 lb Peacock bass catch?  I probably didn't mention the 17 lb or 18 lb either.  :)

We had a fantastic time fishing with those Canadian Boys. They are all very nice and it is good to make new friends.  I also got to tell them my portfolio of jokes!  David is a great host and he really has a first class crew.

Thank you and Happy Holidays,

David & Bryan Scott

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Good news from the Amazon yet again!  Water levels are shaping up very nicely and inching their way down daily on the upper Rio Negro.  Sand flats are visible.   We had to navigate into shallow waters to get into some good fishing areas, and again, sand bars are everywhere.  We certainly had a great group of guys with us this week!

Here are our numbers for the week:

Location:            Upper Rio Negro/Amazon River/Manaus Brazil

Trip Date:           November 18 – November 26, 2011

Group Size:         11 Anglers from group fishing

# of Days:           6


                                               Total Number for Week:   836

                                        34 Fish over 10 lb. and “2” over 20 lb. 

                       LARGEST FISH CAUGHT WAS 23 LBS. BY DOUG KNEPP

                     10 lb.’ers – 11,    11 lb.’ers – 7,     12 lb.’ers – 5,        13 lb.’ers – 3,    

                     14 lb.’ers – 3,      15 lb.’ers – 0,       16 lb.’ers – 1,       17 lb.’ers – 1,   

                     18 lb.’ers – 1,      19 lb.’ers – 0,       20 lb.’ers – 0,      21 lb.’ers – 1,    

                     22 lb.’ers – 0,      23 lb.’ers – 1,       24 lb.’ers – 0! 

Water Level:  Levels were a bit higher than normal for this time of year, but the river still gave up a great fishing week for us to enjoy.                                                                                 

Baits Used:     Lure of choice for this trip were “Jigs, Jigs and MORE Jigs”!

Hats off to the Doctors from Puerto Rico and the Hallfords, as they made the trip a great one. We hope to have you guys with us again soon!     ~David McCarthy, Owner/Operator 

Jaime Aponte ~ 17 lb’er


The fishing trip was truly a "Trip of a Lifetime".  I'm planning another trip back to the Amazon as the fishing was incredible!

One day I caught 50 Peacock Bass, and NO mosquitoes!!  Thank you for making the trip so wonderful.  I would recommend "Hooked on Adventures" to all my friends.

~Dennis Allen, Clovis, Ca. ~

We had a fantastic time fishing with those Canadian Boys. They are all very nice and it is good to make new friends. I also got to tell them my portfolio of jokes! David is a great host and he really has a first class crew.

Thank you and Happy Holidays,

David & Bryan Scott


We have had a great time, and a “great outcome”, on our first trip on the Amazon’s Rio Negro River along with good water levels where we fished.   Our clients are very excited, and seem to be quite pleased, with their fishing experience this round.  We are now heading back to Barcelos for the evening in preparation  for our trip back to Manaus/Miami/home tomorrow.  It was an exciting time here on the Amazon with some terrific anglers and good fun!  We hope to have the same on our next trip out which will be November 18 – 26, 2011. 

 Here are our numbers for the week (more info to come along with some testimonials from the customers and group leader):

Location:      Rio Negro/Amazon River/Manaus Brazil

Trip Date:     November 4 – November 11, 2011

Group Size:    20 Anglers

# of Days:      6

Total Number for Week:   2205

Size:             2126 fish under 10# and….

                     10 lb.’ers – 16,    11 lb.’ers – 13,     12 lb.’ers – 8,    13 lb.’ers – 6,    

                     14 lb.’ers – 4,      15 lb.’ers – 6,       16 lb.’ers – 4,     17 lb.’ers – 3,   

                     18 lb.’ers – 4,      19 lb.’ers – 2,       20 lb.’ers – 5,      21 lb.’ers – 3,    

                     22 lb.’ers – 2,     23 lb.’ers – 0,        and  24 lb.’ers – 1! 

Water Level:  Levels were really good with occasional rain and continuing to get even better each day.

Baits Used:     Lures of choice for this trip were High Rollers and Jigs.

Thanks to all who joined us this trip, and we hope to have you guys with us again soon!

David McCarthy, Owner/Operator

Hooked On Adventures (888).295.4665

My husband and I booked a trip to go to the Amazon to fish in February 2011.  We stayed aboard the Amazon Santana.  I am not an avid fisherman nor is my husband, but we love to travel. 

We did not know exactly what to expect and we absolutely loved the trip and will be scheduling another one.  The river is beautiful, we fished, explored, relaxed, and had an adventure of a life time.  The fishing was the greatest ever!!!! The service was excellent and the guides were great.  There were no communication problems at all. 

Here are a few photos from our adventure! 

Thank you  

~Kole & Kim Clapsaddle, NC

I recently had the opportunity to head back to the Amazon to pursue for one of the most explosive species in the water, the Peacock Bass. For this trip, we hooked up with David McCarthy’s Hooked on Adventures as our outfitter!  We traveled aboard the 125 ft. Amazon Santana for an inclusive, and unforgettable, week-long fishing adventure within the heart of the Amazon Rainforest and Brazil's tributaries.  The accommodations are the finest in the Amazon! The Hooked on Adventures staff were very personable and catered to our every need. Dave has some the most  knowledgeable and friendliest guides in the Amazon. They used the yacht and the bass boats to move to the most productive water and to give us the best opportunity to catch fish. We fished the same waters where the recent World Record was caught. While we did not set any records on this trip, we did manage to land a number of big fish and several in the 20 pound range!  In addition to the Peacocks, we caught a number of other species, including; Piranha, Arawana, Sorubim, Jacunda and many others. I know the big Peacocks are there and Hooked on Adventures provides you with the best opportunity to catch them.

Best of all, I’m heading back to the Amazon with Hooked on Adventures this fall!  Where else can you fish by day for one of the strongest fresh water species and relax with friends by night on a luxury yacht?  It really is the best of both worlds – the indigenous areas of the magnificent Amazon River along with the comforts and luxuries of home!    

 ~Randy Kremer, January 28, 2011 Trip~

Note: This article about fishing on the Madeira River was originally published in The New York Times.

Original Article BY KEN SCHULTZ

This morning, the fourth on a week-long trip, Darrell Vore and I are headed up the Rio  Igapo-açu, the “river of the big flooded forest” and a three-times-removed tributary to the mighty Madeira River. We are a twenty-five-hour boat ride from Autazes, the nearest city.

Igapo-açu is a term that could apply to a thousand tributaries here. Northern Brazil’s major rivers are the equivalent of America’s superhighways; its major tributaries are like our state highways; and its thousands of smaller tributaries and flooded passageways are like our county and small-town roads. It’s impossible to comprehend how vast this water world is without seeing and exploring it.

Our destination is a lakelike area in the midst of Cunhã Sapucia, an indigenous reserve where the only village, Tapajem, contains eighty-one residents who live in stilted thatched-hut housing and use hand-carved, low-to-the-water dugout canoes for transportation. The village chief has granted permission for us to catch and release fish, principally peacock bass, or tucunare, in the reserve.

Unrelated to the sundry popular species of North American bass, tucunare are the largest-growing member of the cichlid family of fish and an aggressive predator that can sometimes be seen chasing harried baitfish, especially long and slender sardinata, into the shallows and pinning them against the shore. They occasionally cause fleeing prey to skip across the surface like flyingfish, sometimes landing on the bank.

Yesterday, in a large lakelike area about 20 miles away, Vore and I caught peacock bass until our arms and wrists were weary. None were large, however, so we vowed to use only big lures today and to concentrate on catching some of the huge specimens – fish in the 15- to 27-pound class – that draw several hundred avid anglers here each year during the dry and low-water season. Access to these areas is gained via a yachtlike shallow-draft mothership, the Amazon Santana, which tows its fishing boats behind, moving daily to new areas and allowing guests to eat and sleep in comfort each evening after spending a dawn-to-dusk day casting, catching, and profusely perspiring.

At 6:30 we stopped to cast to the edge of a point of flooded trees, but left shortly after witnessing other predators at work. A pod of dolphins, which had surfaced behind us, swiftly came to the point and stampeded down the edge of trees chasing fish.

Freshwater porpoises, or dolphins, called botu, travel in pairs or small groups throughout the Amazon River and its tributaries. In prior days we observed dozens of them, or heard them puffing through blowholes. Amazonian natives say that botu, which exist entirely in freshwater, eat peacock bass among other fish, and that whenever dolphins are around, peacock bass move into the thickly tangled flooded rain forest to escape them. At this location, the dolphins seemed intent on doing their own bass catching.

Soon, at another point, Vore caught a 12-pound peacock bass, which our guide, Wilson Rodriguez de Lima, was unhooking when my large propellered surface lure, ripping across the surface, was stopped by a thunderous crash.

“Grande, grande,” shouted Rodriguez excitedly. Then, more softly, “ohhh, grande.”

As I held onto the hard-pulling fish, Rodriguez, who speaks as little English as I speak Portuguese, suggested that I be careful. “Easy,” he urged softly.

It’s unclear whether Rodriguez was telling himself to stay calm or me, but I was in a struggle. The worst that can happen is for a large powerful tucunare to turn and charge back into the flooded forest. Once there, the chances of landing it are remote, since the fish pulls the line around trees or snags the hooks on objects, in either case breaking free.

This peacock bass made two strong runs at the trees, getting within a whisker of them once, but I was able to steer it into the open and later direct it into an outstretched net. Wilson whooped and I stared for several moments at 20 pounds of gleaming yellow-green fish with orange-tinged fins and a mouth the size of a cantaloupe.

After the bass was unhooked and quickly photographed it was returned to the water, splashing the boat with a strong tail thrust while departing. Vore resumed fishing. Rodriguez performed tackle maintenance. I sat for a moment to wipe off perspiration, drink cold water, and reflect on my good fortune to start this day in such fashion, in so unique a place.

Shortly, Rodriguez brought the incongruity of his world and mine into focus.

“Where you live?” he asked, completely out of the blue.

“New York.”

“Near Miami?”

“No. Not near Miami. Not near grande tucunare either.”

“Hmm,” he murmured, nodding.  “Too bad.”

By: Ken Schultz

Text & photos © 2011 Ken Schultz. All rights reserved. Re-use prohibited without written permission.

Amazon's Peacok Bass Catch

Of all the places I have fished in the world, The Amazon River in Brazil and its countless tributaries are unsurpassed in outstanding angling.  The monster peacock bass and dozens of other species that prowl the waters there are the most aggressive and murderous fish I have ever encountered in fresh water.  For me, the only operator in this region to even consider using is Hooked on Adventures.  The level of professionalism amongst the staff and guides is unparalleled.  The yachts they use in the fleet are absolutely the most comfortable and accommodating for guests.  They are the perfect vessel for relaxing after an adrenaline-filled day of giant peacock bass crushing your flies or lures.  The local cuisine and libations are second to none!  Where else in the world can you enjoy a bowl of piranha soup?  The custom bass boats we use on a daily basis are the perfect boats for getting into even the most remote back lagoons and tiny creeks to find the largest fish around.  Take it from me (a guy who travels and fishes for a living), there is no better or more effective way to fish the Amazon, than with the folks from Hooked on Adventures.  

(Check out the video clip from my last trip

~Trapper Rudd~ 

Sporting Life Adventure Travel Company
G.Loomis Elite Pro Staff
Cutthroat Anglers (Retired)
Flyfish America Magazine (Field Editor Living Large)

I recently returned from an "Amazon Adventure" with "Hooked On Adventures" aboard  the Amazon Santana.  There was in particular one significant event that I owe David McCarthy and "Naldo", along with others of the crew, my sincere appreciation and heart felt thanks!  You see, I have serious heart disease and had to get my cardiologist's approval to make the trip to the Amazon.  However unbelievable and unexplained, somehow I left all my medicines, including in particular two critical and irreplaceable meds for the heart condition, at the Tropical Hotel in Manaus.  Dave and Naldo contacted the hotel and located the medicine box and had it delivered to Barcelos, the launch site for the Santana.  A boat was sent back (we had already left port when the absence of the meds was discovered the first night out) to Barcelos to meet the plane from Manaus which had retrieved the critical meds from the hotel and then flown from Manaus to Barcelos and finally retrieved by boat!  I owe Dave, Naldo and crew a debt of gratitude for locating and retrieving my heart medications and "saving" my Amazon Adventure from becoming an Amazon Horror!  Thank you guys!!!


In addition, even though the fishing conditions were not up to par, I did manage to catch an 18 pound peacock bass on an 8 weight TFO fly rod --- for me the fish of a lifetime!!  My sincere and heartfelt appreciation to HOA!     

~John Flanagan~ 

Peacock Bass Fishing
Guide with Monster Peacock 2009
Wilderness Taxidermy & Outfitters Group 2009
Peacock Bass Fishing