Any true angler that has never fished for “Giant Peacock Bass” in the Amazon must absolutely put it on their bucket list! Those that have had the experience are, no doubt, looking forward to their next opportunity to return. My trip on the Amazon Santana was not my first time fishing in the Amazon, and I was pleasantly surprised at the comfortable accommodations on the yacht. It “far” exceeded my expectations and was considerably better than previous houseboats from which I had fished on the Rio Negro.
Our group met the Amazon Santana at Barcelos on the Rio Negro, and the crew handled our luggage and rod cases from the time we got off the plane until it was delivered to our cabins. Those that chose not to bring their own rods and reels were provided with good tackle, unlike some of the other trips I had been on. After a hot buffet lunch, pairs of anglers joined their guides and were able to get in several hours of fishing on arrival day.
The experienced guides, most of whom spoke English, constantly amazed me. Although the Amazon Santana moved each day in order to fish new water,they seemed to know each area like the back of their hands. With no charts, no GPS and no channel markers on the river they navigated the thousands of islands, rivers, lagoons, creeks and hidden lakes in order to seek out the best hot spots. In addition to catching Speckled, Orinoco and Butterfly Peacocks, we caught numerous other species unique to the Amazon basin which was always fun. Our guide led us to several big Peacocks including a 23, 21, 20 and 19 lb bass. The 20 lb Peacock was caught on fly tackle.
Our week long experience included, on different days, a shore lunch, barbecue dinner on a sand bar, dining under the stars on the top deck, and even an optional visit to a local native village. Except for an occasional fly, mosquitoes and other pesky critters were almost non existent. Returning to the yacht each day after 10 or 11 hours of fishing, we were met with a cold drink and a welcome cold damp towel. The food was plentiful and the bar was open all week.
All in all, it was a great experience which I am looking forward to experiencing again some day.
Mike Leech, Former IGFA President