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    Home > Peacock Bass > A Peacock Bass Primer
 
   
Peacock bass fishing guided trips and destinations....A  primer focused on helping you to select when and where to catch peacock bass.
A Peacock Bass Primer - Part I                 by Garrett VeneKlasen
 
Choosing the Right Destination
 
Each river in the Amazon system has it’s own idiosyncracies tailor made for a certain kind of angler.  Some rivers have trophy peacocks, but low numbers of fish.  Other rivers have great numbers, but poor trophy potential.  Certain rivers are better for fly casters, while others are spin/casting rivers only.  It’s important to know where and what you’re fishing before you get there.  Then consider trip types.  There are three basic types of trips; houseboats, fixed camps and safari-style ‘mobile’ fishing camps.  Each of these has its positives and negatives. What type of camp best suits your expectations?  Are you after a trophy or do you want big numbers? Do you just want peacocks or are you interested in incidental species?  What time of the year can you travel?  Are you a fly or spin/bait caster?   Choosing the right river and camp to suit your particular needs deserves special consideration.
 
 
Before you book your peacock bass fishing trip, carefully measure the following considerations .  .  .

Optimal Angling Periods -- Timing and Water Levels are Essential Considerations...   Virtually all peacock bass fishing destinations have a peak angling period.  The Amazon encompasses a huge expanse of territory (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guyana) with literally thousands of separate watersheds.  The equator bisects the Amazon basin into two separate regions that most veterans refer to as the 'northern' and 'southern' Amazon basin.   The equator's convection activity changes in a dependably-cyclical pattern that creates a wet and dry season in both regions.  Water fluctuation varies in each watershed  depending upon its ‘rainy’ season.  An area’s rainy season is dictated by its  proximity to the equator.  During the wet season, the rivers overflow their banks and spread out into a tree-filled flood plain.  Water levels can rise as much as forty feet in some drainages!  When the water rises, the baitfish flee into the flooded vegetation and the gamefish follow them.  Angling is completely unproductive at this time.  When the rains subside, the water levels slowly recede back into a central lagoon-filled river channel.  Prime fishing occurs when the receding waters force baitfish out of the vegetation and into open water.  There is a four week period (this varies from river to river) right after the water recedes when the peacock bass are in a pre-spawn mode.  This is when they are most aggressive.  Once they get on their beds, peacocks can be fussy and difficult to catch.  Each fishery has a  'fringe' period, where water levels and angling conditions are questionable.  Knowledge and careful monitoring of these water fluctuations is an essential part of angling success.  The ‘southern’ Amazon (depending upon the specific watershed) is productive from mid-July through November, while the ‘north’ fishes best from December to the end of March.  Knowing the pertinent seasonal idiosyncrasies of a particular peacock fishery is an essential part of planning a successful fishing trip.  We will tell you the best times to fish a particular destination, and warn you of any ‘off’ fishing periods.  Acute Angling considers every detail from moon phase to localized seasonal weather patterns.
 

Specific Physical Conditions of Each Fishery --  There are dozens of different river types throughout the Amazon basin.  Some are extremely clear, some are muddy, and some are the color of black coffee.  Some rivers are rock filled, while others have beautiful sand beaches.  Other rivers are lined with tree-filled lagoons.  Plug casters and fly anglers have different expectations and we can compare and contrast each fishery to find what river best suits your needs .

Fish Size vs. Sheer Numbers --  Is individual fish size more important than sheer numbers or vice versa?  If you are after a trophy peacock, choose only those destinations known for their ‘big’ fish population (such as Northern Brazil or certain rivers in Southern Venezuela).  If you are after action and high numbers, there are several rivers where it is not uncommon to catch 40 to 50 peacocks per person per day.  Fly casters should pay particular attention to booking a trip.  Tannin-stained rivers and/or rivers with low numbers of fish should be avoided.  Who wants to blind cast a 9-weight rod all day long for 8 fish? Choose clearwater fisheries with high numbers of peacocks and you’ll have a great trip . . .
 
Incidental Species -- Are you interested only in peacock bass, or do you want the option of catching many different types of fish?  Some rivers are full of peacocks, but lack the other Amazon species (there are up to twenty different gamefish in the Amazon).  Other rivers offer a multitude of different Amazon species, but sometimes the peacock population suffers because of this.  Know what you’re getting into before you reach your chosen destination.
 

Choosing the Right Trip for Your Particular Needs . . .


This deserves special consideration.  There are three basic types of trips currently available; mother ship/houseboat operations, fixed camps, and safari-style ‘mobile’ fishing camps.  Each one of these options has its positives and negatives . . .

Mobility and/or Isolation are the Keys to Exceptional Fishing... With an area almost as large as the United States, one would think that the Amazon's angling resources would be virtually endless.  In reality, it takes a wide range of environmental conditions to create the ideal habitat maintaining a 'fishable' number of big peacock bass and other popular Amazonian gamefish.  Each watershed within the Amazon has its own special set of unique environmental and ecological attributes.  The number and source of a fishery’s tributaries, surrounding vegetation, river gradient and surrounding soil types all impact the water quality and clarity.  There is also the ‘human factor’ to consider.  There are well over 3 million people living in the Brazilian Amazon alone.  Commercial and subsistence fishing pressure has depleted fish stocks along all prominent waterways.  Recent research has shown that it takes over ten years for a peacock bass to reach  trophy size (over 15 pounds).  With all the netting and spearing going on, it is essential to travel to obscure unpopulated water sheds.  The most productive fisheries usually have distinct similarities.  Three of the most important considerations in any given location are fish size, overall fish numbers, and relative fishing pressure.
Accommodation & Budget Considerations -- There are essentially five countries (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru) with active peacock bass fishing programs.  There are many different accommodation choices ranging from plush, air conditioned river boats, exotic safari camps located deep in the heart of the pristine Amazon, to comfortable fixed camps built on a single river.  Each has it’s positives and negatives, but most agencies don’t tell you their differences.  Pricing and weekly itineraries vary greatly.  How many days do you want to fish?  How much do you want to spend?  Do you want a weekly package or do you want to budget by choosing a daily itinerary?  Make sure to look at all the options (not just the most expensive), and  you decide which is best . . .
 Unparalleled Pre-Trip Information, Attention to Detail & Someone Knowledgeable to Talk With . . .  Once you settle on a particular location, Acute Angling goes on to provide invaluable assistance regarding all pre-trip particulars.  We will make sure that you arrive with all the right equipment from fishing tackle to clothing.  We have fished, guided, photographed, videoed and managed lodges throughout the world.  Being equally well versed in fly and conventional angling techniques, we can fill you in on the most technical pre-trip details.


Safari-Style Camps...


There is only one outfitter, River Plate Anglers, currently offering safari camps in the Amazon basin.  All their trips are operated in Brazil.  Safari-style camps are designed with the hard-core, adventurous angler in mind.    The key theory behind safari camps is to access the most inaccessible waters in the Amazon.  We’re talking about the heart of the rainforest, where no one else dares to fish.  The payoff can be quite spectacular, because the fisheries are virgin and often brimming with both big peacocks and big numbers of smaller fish.  Safari camps are not for everyone, because you need to get used to the idea of sleeping in a tent (which is actually quite comfortable, although a bit scary for some folks at first).  Interestingly, people seem perfectly comfortable with the idea of sleeping in safari camps in Africa — where lions, hippos, hyenas and a host of other critters have been known to inflict serious bodily injury — but are often frightened of the far safer Amazon.  To my knowledge, not a single angler has ever been attacked by any animal in a camp.  All in all, safari camps are quite comfortable and surprisingly well outfitted, with electricity, ice machines, complete kitchens, etcetera.  The accommodations are also quite ample — much larger than those of the house boats, but not quite as plush as the fixed camps.  They are not the best place to bring along a non-fishing companion, because it is not comfortable to stay in camp all day while everyone else is out fishing.  As with the fixed camps, try and book the first four weeks of the season.  River Plate usually moves their location every four weeks, but make sure you’re not stuck in a camp that’s been in the same spot for more than a month.

River Plate Anglers  
Price: Regular fall rate $2,450, Economy fall rate $1,600 (max 12 anglers), Winter rate $3,250 (max 8 anglers) round-trip Miami/Manaus/Miami air not included in fall and winter rates.  Standard rate includes one night at five star Tropical Hotel in Mananus, all in-country float plane transfers, everything in camp.  Not included — round-trip Miami/Manaus/Miami air, tips and departure tax.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 6
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description, etcetera): varied depending upon time of year — access to both clearwater, ‘black’ and ‘green’ water fisheries.
Accommodations: Two anglers per safari-style tent (electricity, fans, comfortable beds).  Each tent has its own shower and toilet.
Seasonal Implications: August through March using various fisheries.
Package Breakdown:
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Varies with each fishery, but there’s everything from trophy fisheries to numbers fisheries depending what you’re after.
Sample Itinerary: Wednesday to Friday itinerary.  Wednesday, 9:00 PM - Depart Miami via Lloyd Aero Boliviano flight #903. Thursday, 3:05 AM --  Arrive Manaus, Brazil.  After clearing customs, transfer to Tropical Hotel for breakfast, then transfer (approximately 7-8:00 AM) to domestic airport for twin engine charter (8 passenger Cessna Caravan on floats) flight direct to camp.  Half day’s fishing upon arrival.  Friday through Wednesday —  Six full days of fishing.  A normal angling day begins with a 5:30 AM wake-up call followed by breakfast at 6:00 AM. Thursday —  Transfer back to  back to Manaus via charter aircraft (float plane).  Overnight at Tropical Hotel in Manaus. Friday, 2:00 AM -- Depart Manaus via Lloyd Aero Boliviano flight #902.
 6:00 AM -- Arrive Miami
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 8 in most cases, except for the fall ‘economy’ trip, where 12 is the maximum capacity.
Pros & Cons: Arguably some of the finest peacock bass fishing in South America — both in terms of size and numbers.  Great for fly casters, spin and bait casters.  Quite comfortable, but not for those ‘scared’ of safari camps.  My number one choice for hard-core anglers.

Mothership/Houseboat Programs ...


Fishing from an air-conditioned mother ship in the Amazon appeals to many anglers.  The Amazon is often stereotyped as a scorching, inhospitable, bug-ridden hell hole.  In reality, most of the Amazon basin is quite tame (regarding everything from bugs to heat) compared to similar ecosystems worldwide.   If you’re a bit squeamish about your first Amazon trip though, the houseboat option might be your best bet.  If you plan to bring along a non-fishing companion, this is also (along with the fixed camps below) the best choice.  The yacht-based trip’s greatest assets are their mobility and relative comfort.  Water levels and fishing conditions often change on a weekly basis in the Amazon.  In theory a well-run mother ship operation should be able to keep its clients in the most productive water at all times.  Those operators (River Plate and their ‘Amazon Angel’) with the greatest success have well planned weekly itineraries which access large expanses of productive water.  This gives them many different options in terms of daily fishing schedules.  Unfortunately, truly great fisheries are often hundreds of miles apart and a trip from one location to the other can take several days.  Also, time can often be wasted running to and from the port of embarkation.  In other words, if an outfitter picks you up in Manaus at the start of the trip, it may take up to 24-hours to get to the ‘prime’ fishing grounds.  Time can also be wasted if the yacht needs to move from one fishery to another.   A yacht’s comfort factor can be sometimes be overrated.  Certain outfitters try to cram as many clients on their boats as possible.  This can mean extremely cramped living quarters.  A ‘big’ room on most houseboats is 8'x8', so don’t expect palatial accommodations.  They are, however, air conditioned — to some people this is a life or death necessity.  Keep in mind that Amazon temperatures often drop into the mid-seventies at night.  Over-booked trips also jeopardize your fishing quality, because there are only so many productive spots within a given running distance of your home base.  If eight boats are competing for the same water, someone is going to end up having a poor day’s fishing.  When planning to book any yacht-based trip, make sure to ask about room size and the maximum numbers of anglers fishing on a per-week basis.  A maximum of ten anglers is best and eight anglers per week is ideal.  Mother ship programs generally access fisheries with good ‘trophy’ peacock potential (20-plus-pound fish), but daily catches are often low.  This is because the yachts must travel in big waterways accessible both to local and commercial fishermen.  For this reason, we would not recommend this type of trip to fly casters or to anglers wishing to catch large numbers of fish (Peru is an exception, but the fish size is quite small comparatively).  Fly anglers and the latter should concentrate on clear water headwater tributaries with higher numbers of fish.  Blind casting an nine-weight fly rod all day to catch 10 peacocks is not worth the effort.

 River Plate/Cichla Temensis  
Price: Economy fall rate $2,180 (max 12 anglers) including round trip Miami/Manaus/Miami air, $3,250 (max 8 anglers) round-trip Miami/Manaus/Miami air not included standard fall and winter rate.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: All trips guarantee 6 full and one ½ fishing day
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera):
Accommodations: Small air conditioned rooms with bathrooms attached, ample dining area.
Seasonal Implications: Varies depending upon month of the year.  In the ‘fall’/August-October the operation fishes mainly in the Purus and Madiera watersheds, by November (depending upon annual water levels) the operation moves into the ‘northern’ Negro River basin.
Package Breakdown:
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Good trophy potential (20-plus pound fish), decent numbers.  Mainly peacock bass — incidental species include spotty aruanã, pescada, piranha, catfish, jacundá and traida.
Sample Itinerary:
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 12
Client Comments: Extra day and a half fishing is great for the price.  Mixed angling reviews due mainly to inexperience.  Make sure to get in on a river the outfitter knows well.  Fly fishing only clients — make sure you’re fishing a fly-fishing friendly river with high fish populations and relatively clear water.

Amazon Clipper (Ron Speed)
Price: $3,700 — includes round-trip Miami/Manaus/Miami air, round-trip charter flights from Manaus to embarkation point in jungle, all accommodations on houseboats, meals on houseboat, open bar, 1 night at Tropical Hotel (5 Star), Lunch in Manaus last day, all transfers.  Not included — Airport departure tax ($30), last night meal in Manaus, tips in camp and hotel, tackle.  50% deposit due at time of booking — balance due 60 days prior to departure.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 5
Accommodations: Air conditioned ? number of rooms.
Seasonal Implications: Varies depending upon month of the year.  In the ‘fall’/August-October the operation fishes mainly in the Purus and Madiera watersheds, by November (depending upon annual water levels) the operation moves into the ‘northern’ Negro River basin.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Good trophy potential (20-plus pound fish), decent numbers.  Mainly peacock bass — incidental species include spotty aruanã, pescada, piranha, catfish, jacundá and traida.
Sample Itinerary: Monday-Monday itinerary.  Depart Miami Monday night, arrive early Tuesday morning.  After clearing customs you will be met by a ‘Clipper’ representative who will assist in transfer to domestic airport.  Twin Turbo-prop flight to interior village airstrip (approximately 1 hour).  Location depends upon river chosen to fish at a particular time of the year.  Upon landing at village, you will board houseboat and head into chosen fishery.  Fishing available this day.  Wednesday through Saturday full fishing days.  Depart Saturday night and head back to village.  Sunday depart early am via charter flight back to Manaus.  Afternoon sight seeing in Manaus.  Overnight at the Tropical.  Monday (early am) depart for Miami.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 16
Client Comments: Heard mixed reviews from clients — some good, some bad.  Make sure to get good references regarding rivers and specific booking dates.  Fly fishing only clients — make sure you’re fishing a fly-fishing friendly river with high fish populations and relatively clear water.

Peru

Camp Peacock
  Price: $2,500 — includes round-trip economy class Miami/Inquitos/Miami airfare charter flights from Inquitos to embarkation point in jungle, all accommodations on houseboat, meals on houseboat, open bar, 2 nights at decent hotel in Inquitos and all transfers.  Not included — Airport departure tax ($25), last night meal in Inquitos, tips in camp and hotel, tackle.  50% deposit due at time of booking — balance due 60 days prior to departure..
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 4 full days and two half days.
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera):
Accommodations: Floating ‘hotel’ on an oil barge with ten spacious guest rooms.  Each room has two half beds, private bath (toilet and shower with hot water and lavatory).  There is no air conditioning, but all rooms are well ventilated and have strong ceiling fans.  The ‘hotel’ also has a very large dinning/recreation room, large modern kitchen facility, ample refrigeration/freezer units and a large ice machine.
Seasonal Implications: August 1st to October 31st fishing the Cajacuma River Basin in the Peruvian Amazon (about 165 river miles east of Inquitos).
Package Breakdown: Saturday to Saturday schedule.  Depart Miami at 7:00PM on Saturday via Aeroperu flight — arriving in Inquitos about four hours later.   Plane is met by lodge representative, then clients are taken to hotel in Inquitos.  Early next morning take a military float plane into Cajacuma Basin.   There, anglers are transfered by boat to lodge (about a half hour).  Once at lodge anglers settle in, eat lunch, then have a half day fishing option.  Next four days are full fishing days.  Friday is a half day’s fishing followed by reverse transfer already described.  Friday night spent at same hotel with Saturday AM return to Miami.  Arrive in Miami by four PM.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Only butterfly peacocks in this fishery.  Largest fish don’t go over 10-pounds, but great numbers.  Pirnaha and catfish main ‘incidental species.’
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 10
Pros. & Cons: Good value, easy transfers, high fish numbers, but small fish size and short trip are negatives.  Good trip for fly anglers due to high volume of fish.

 Fixed Camps
Fixed camps are a good bet for those who want to experience the great outdoors from the indoors.  They are also a good bet for someone wishing to bring along a non-fishing companion.  Accommodations vary greatly from camp to camp, but all offer relatively comfortable lodging which gives one the feeling of being securely walled off from the ‘wilds’ of the Amazon.  Virtually all fixed camps are located on one or more productive fisheries.  This is great in theory, but keep in mind that anglers visiting these camps inevitably fish the same waters day after day.  This is not a big deal if you’re one of the first several groups into camp each season (you get fresh fish that haven’t been pounded day after day), but don’t make the mistake of visiting one of these camps at the end of the season.  I can almost guarantee that you’ll be disappointed.  Just like any other fish, peacocks get smart fairly quick — once hooked, twice shy, so to speak.  If you do book one of these trips, try and get in on one of the first four weeks after it opens.  Several fixed camps access clear water fisheries which are great for fly casters and those interested in catching big numbers of fish.  See the listing below for more details.



Venezuela 

 Manaka Lodge
Price: $3,250
Number of Actual Fishing Days:
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Confluence of the Ventuari and Orinoco Rivers.  ‘Green’ water fishing.
Accommodations: Private open-air bungalows (two per bungalow), with ceiling fans — very nicely maintained with tastefully done central dining facility.  All the amenities you’d expect at a fixed camp (full electricity).
Seasonal Implications: December through March with December and January peak months.  Fishing the Orinoco River and Ventuari River basins (camp is at the confluence).
Package Breakdown:
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Butterfly, royal and blue/paca (very few camps have all three species) fishing in river and side lagoons.  Usually good numbers of fish up to about seventeen pounds.  Great incidental catches of payara (saber-toothed silver fish up to 25-pounds), sardinata (large golden herring), morocoto (pacu up to 25-pounds), big piranhas and a various assortment of other less-spectacular critters.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 10
Pros. & Cons: Decent peacocks, decent numbers of fish and hard to beat for mix of jungle species.  Comfortable camp and very scenic river.  Bad no-see-ums.  Had a ‘bandito’ raid on the camp several years ago — attempted kidnapping, but national guard has put in a camp to protect lodge, so all is well.


Glen Webb’s Laguna Larga Lodge
 Price $2500 includes charter flights from Caracas to embarkation point in jungle, all accommodations at lodge, meals in camp, open bar?, 2 nights at Caracas Hilton and all transfers.  Not included — Airport departure tax ($25), meals in Caracas, tips in camp and hotel, tackle.  50% deposit due at time of booking — balance due 60 days prior to departure.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 4 full days and two half days.
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Located on the Cinaruco River which feeds into the Orinoco River in southern Venezuela.  “Green’ water fishing.
Accommodations: Comfortable bungalow-style fixed camp similar to Manaka Lodge.
Seasonal Implications: December through March.
Package Breakdown: Day 1 — flight from Miami to Venezuela, arrive in Caracas and overnight at Hilton. Day 2 — transfer to Laguna Larga via twin engine charter.  Half day’s fishing.  Day 3 through day 6 are full fishing days.  Day 7 — Half day’s fishing with afternoon charter flight back to Caracas, then overnight at Hilton.  Day 8 — return back to United States.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Perhaps the best daily average numbers of peacock bass of any South American destination.  Several of my clients say it’s easy to catch 100 peacocks per day.  Average size is good (about six pounds), but don’t expect to catch many fish over 15-pounds.  Also a great mixed bag of species, with plenty of payara, sardinata, morocoto and piranhas to keep anyone busy.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 10?
Pros. & Cons: Even though it’s located in a dangerous area (an actual kidnaping did occur several years ago with several American clients involved), the Laguna Larga area is now heavily patrolled by the National Guard.  The fishing is said to be outstanding and the whole operation gets high marks from many of my clients.  Super place for fly casters!
 

Ventuari Bass Camp
Price: $2,950 – includes all in country transfers, domestic/charter flights, camp accommodations, all meals and beverages at lodge, guided fishing and beer and soft drinks while fishing.  Not included – international flights, tips in camp/Caracas, meals in Caracas and departure tax.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 4-½
Package Breakdown: Saturday to Saturday program..  Saturday – arrive in Caracas , airport reception and transfer to Macuto Sheraton Hotel.  Sunday – morning flight to puerto Ayacucho then charter flight to Ventuari River.  Boat transfer from dirt strip to camp.  Afternoon fishing, dinner and overnight.  Monday to Thursday are full fishing days.  Friday return via Puerto Ayacucho to Caracas.  Evening at leisure at Sheraton.  Sunday return to United States.
Overview: (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Ventuari River.  Very scenic boulder strewn green water river system with ample side lagoons.
Accommodations: Comfortable bungalow-style fixed camp.  Ceiling fans, private baths, good food etcetera.
Seasonal Implications: December to April with December and January peak.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Good numbers of peacocks up to about 17-pounds, payara up to about 20-pounds, pacu, sardinata, bocon, giant catfish, and big pirhanas
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 10
Pros. & Cons: Great place to go for an ‘Amazon sampler (mixed bag).’  Very scenic river, nice accommodations and short stay make it a good choice for the non-fishing companion.
 

Peacock Bay Lodge
Price: Trips can be tailored to group's needs.  A typical 7 day/6 night trip costs $2,000 and provides 4 days of fishing.  Includes all in country transfers, camp accommodations, all meals and beverages at lodge, guided fishing and beer and soft drinks while fishing.  Not included – international/domestic flights, tips in camp/Caracas, meals in Caracas and departure tax.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 4
Package Breakdown: Typical: Saturday to Saturday program..  Saturday – arrive in Caracas , airport reception and transfer to Macuto Sheraton Hotel.  Sunday – morning flight to Puerto Ordaz,  then air conditioned drive or charter flight to Lake Guri. Four full days of fishing.  Monday to Thursday are full fishing days.  Friday return via Puerto Ordaz to Caracas.  Evening at leisure at Sheraton.  Sunday return to United States.
Overview: (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Guri Lake.  Giant lake with hundreds of miles of shoreline and structure as well as huge pelagic environment.
Accommodations: Comfortable and charismatic, lodge-style fixed camp.  Roomy, interesting, good food and service.
Seasonal Implications: September to April.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Good numbers of peacocks up to about 17-pounds, payara are available at times in Lake Guri and at times at nearby Uraima Falls (half hour by air), up to almost 40-pounds.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 10
Pros. & Cons: Great place to go for a flexible, self designed trip.  You can travel according to your scheduling needs.  You can mix peacock bass and payara by combining your trip with nearby Uraima Falls Lodge. The most famous peacock bass lake in Venezuela, nice accommodations and flexible stay make it a great choice for those not prepared to commit more than a week to a trip.

Casiqiare/Pasamoni River System — Amazonas Peacock Bass Safari
Price: $3,350 – 11 days/10 nights per person (double occupancy) includes all in-country transfers, domestic/charter flights in Venezuela, first/last nights in Caracas Hotel, all camp accommodations, all meals and beverages in camp, guided fishing, beer and soft drinks while fishing.  Not included – international air to Caracas, tips, meals in Caracas and airport tax
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 6+
Package Breakdown: Thursday to Sunday itinerary.  Thursday, arrive in Caracas – transfer to Sheraton Macuto Hotel and overnight.  Friday – fly to San Carlos de Rio Negro.  Boat to camp.  Overnight.  Saturday-Thursday are full fishing days.  Friday – return to Puerto Ayacucho and overnight at lodge on Orinoco River.  Saturday return to Caracas and overnight again at Sheraton. Sunday departure back to United States.
Overview: (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Pasamoni River (Tributary of Casiquaire River which connects the Orico and Rio Negro/Amazon water sheds).  ‘Blackwater’ fishing.
Accommodations: Rustic, but comfortable bungalow-style fixed camp.  Anglers sleep in twin beds enshrouded in mosquito netting.  Central bathroom facility for all bungalows includes sink, shower and commode.
Seasonal Implications: January-April with January peak
Size, numbers and Species Overview: One of the best places in the Amazon to catch a 20-plus-pound peacock.  Not much else to catch other than pirhana.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 8
Pros. & Cons: This rustic camp is for serious anglers looking to catch a big peacock (not a great place to bring the non-fishing companion.  Daily numbers are often low, but not always.  Previous recent seasons have experienced high water until last season when the water level was outstanding.

Lake Monserat  —  Peacock Star Camps & Lodges
  Price: $1,995 (per person/double occupancy)– 6 days/5 nights, includes all in-country transfers, domestic/charter flights in Venezuela, first/last nights in Caracas Hotel, all camp accommodations, all meals and beverages in camp, guided fishing, beer and soft drinks while fishing.  Not included – international air to Caracas, tips, meals in Caracas and airport tax
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 2 full and 2 half fishing days
Package Breakdown: Customized package – day 1 – arrive Caracas and overnight at the Macuto Sheraton.  Day 2 – Morning flight to airport nearest lake of choice.  Transfer to lodge with afternoon of guided fishing.  Days 3 and 4 are full fishing days.  Day 5 – Transfer to international airport for departure back to United States.
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): A series of private,
medium-sized lakes southwest of Caracas.  ‘Greenwater’ fishing.
Accommodations: Accommodations vary depending upon lakes fished.  Most are in estancias with spacious living quarters adjoined by bathroom.
Seasonal Implications: Year round.
Size, Numbers and Species Overview: Huge numbers of medium peacock bass up to ten pounds.  Not much else in terms of ‘incidental’ species.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 10
Pros. & Cons: Great for those with limited time on their hands – flexible itinerary nice for add-on trip.  Good choice for first time fly casters/light tackle enthusiasts looking to catch big numbers of fish.

  Jean Wilt’s Roaraima Peacock Bass Reserve
Price: $3,500 — includes round-trip air from Manaus to camp, all transfers in country, 7 nights accommodations (6 in camp and one in the five star Tropical Hotel in Manaus, all meals in camp, soft drinks and beer and daily laundry.  Not included — round trip Miami/Manaus/Miami airfare gratuities to camp staff and guide, meals in Manaus, hard liquor in camp and departure tax.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 5 full and 2 half days of fishing
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Camp is located on the Agua Boa River, a spectacular clear water fishery, which is a tributary of the Branco River (feeding into the Negro) in the Roaraima province of Brazil.
Accommodations: Comfortable bungalow-style.
Seasonal Implications: December through March
Package Breakdown: Wednesday to Wednesday itinerary — Depart Wednesday night and arrive in Manaus Thursday morning, then transfer into camp same day via twin engine charter.  Next five days are full fishing days.  Wednesday return to Manaus and overnight.  Very early Thursday return home, arriving in U.S. in time to make connections home.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Good numbers of big peacocks with decent trophy potential up to 26-pounds.  A few other incidental species, but not much to speak of.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 8
Pros. & Cons: Spectacular clearwater fishery — great for fly casters.  Positive client feedback.
 



Bolivia 

Mamoré River Camp
Price: $ 3,250— includes charter flights from Santa Cruz to embarkation point in jungle, all accommodations at lodge, meals in camp, beer & wine, day room at Los Tajibos Hotel in Santa Cruz and all transfers.  Not included — Airport departure tax ($25), meals in Santa Cruz, tips in camp and hotel, tackle.  50% deposit due at time of booking — balance due 60 days prior to departure.
Number of Actual Fishing Days: 6 full days and one half days.
Overview (exact location, water types, trip description etcetera): Located on a tributary of the Mamoré River which feeds into Brazil’s Madiera River in Northeastern Bolivia.  Mix of clear and “green’ water fishing.
Accommodations: Comfortable bungalow-style fixed camp similar to Makanka Lodge.
Seasonal Implications: year round, but January through March are peak.
Package Breakdown: Day 1 — flight from Miami to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, arrive in Santa Cruz withdirect twin Otter transfer to lodge.  Half day’s fishing.  Day 2 through day 7 are full fishing days.  Day 8 — Early AM charter flight back to Sanata Cruz, day room in Santa Cruz at Los Tajibos Hotel.  Late PM return back to United States.
Size, numbers and Species Overview: Perhaps the best daily average numbers of peacock bass of any South American destination.  It’s common to catch over 100 peacocks per day.  Average size is good (about six pounds), but don’t expect to catch many fish over 15-pounds.  Also, it’s the only place where freshwater dorado and peacocks are found in close proximity.  Only place I know where you can catch huge pacú (omnivorous piranha species) in excess of 60-pounds!  Great mixed bag of other species, with plenty of small payara, yatorana (dorado relative) sardinata and piranha to keep anyone busy.
Max. Number of Anglers per Trip: 8
Pros. & Cons: My new favorite trip.  Incredibly diverse fishing, beautiful country.  A must fish location for everyone but the peacock trophy.  Super place for fly casters!
 

Copyright © 1998  Garrett VeneKlasen
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