AMAZON GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS
Roughly 70% of our guests are fly anglers, which makes us a very unique operation in the Amazon.
Make no mistake, THIS IS A SKILL/PRESENTATION BASED FISHERY! Everyone expects to catch a 20 pound peacock bass, but less than 10% of our Guests arrive with the skills to make that happen. PRACTICE YOUR CASTING, or spend the week learning.
Please do NOT arrive with cheap gear, t simply will not hold up here.
WHAT WEIGHT ROD SHOULD I THROW?
A great rule of thumb is to match the rod weight to the size of the fly you are fishing. A 5 inch EP style fly will throw like a dream on an 8 weight. A 6 inch deep clouser or half & half is perfect on a 9 weight, and anything larger should be thrown with a 10 weight. Simple.
An 8 weight, in experienced hands, can be a lot of fun to fish in our waters. You will see on our videos how our rods are doubled over and Guests are working very hard to get a fish in, then when it comes to net it doesn't really look that big. Believe me when I say that there are very few fish in this world that fight as hard as a peacock bass. You will feel under-gunned most of the time catching even our smaller fish with an 8 weight, but it is still very fun. It's great for fish from 2-6 pounds, but you will not be able to control anything bigger than 7 pounds on an 8 weight. You will not be able to turn them from cover and you will likely break the rod (we broke 16 rods last Season). Think of this rod as your 3 weight for catching a wild 17" trout. It can be done, but there are better tools available. Hopefully that makes sense.
A 9 weight is that magic sweet-spot between being light enough to cast all day and to feel the smaller 2-4 pounders, yet powerful enough to turn over heavy flies and land that double digit peacock. This is Michael's preferred rod weight for most of his day. He will always have one rigged with a 5”-6” long EP or Whistler style fly tied to 8’ of straight 40 pound tippet, lined with a Jungle WF9F/I line. We absolutely love Winston's Jungle 9 weight or the Winston Alpha (8 weight rod matched with a titan taper 9 weight line). Other favorites include the Scott Sector and SAGE's Payload series.
A 10 weight is the perfect trophy rod for our waters, and fits into a specific strategy. Rig this rod with a 7" or 8" long fly tied to a 7' 50-pound leader, lined with a RIO or Scientific Angler Jungle line (WF10F/I or Type III Sink tip). This system is always on Michael's boat, rigged and ready in case he sees that 20 pounder crushing bait. Our favorite 10 weights are the Winton Air, Scott Sector, or SAGE Payload.
Notes about rods: Our personal favorite is Winston's Boron III Jungle rod, but sadly that rod is being phased out of production. The Wintson Air series is effortless to cast and performs extremely well in our waters. The 8 weight is great in the Uatuma, and the 9 and 10 are perfect in the Rio Negro. The new Alpha Series is an extremely powerful rod. We love the 8 weight Alpha matched with an outbound or titan style 9 weight line but the 9 and 10 weight rods are just too fast/stiff for our fishery. They will beat you up fast.
Jerry Siems fished with us in 2018 and designed the the SAGE Payload series of rods to match our fishery. The 8 and 9 weights are absolute perfection for our Uatuma fishery and the 9 is perfect for the Rio Negro. These rods were designed to throw exactly our system: a matching Rio Outbound Short or SA Titan WF F/I line, 7-9 foot leader, and a 5-7" long fly.
Matching saltwater grade reels will be able to sustain the conditions of this fishery. We rarely fight our fish from the drag (we can't let them run), but you need a well balanced reel that is designed to thrive in this tropical environment.
(NOTE: We do have Winston Jungle rods matched with Galvan Torque reels and matching tropical intermediate lines available for rent. That's a $1,600 outfit for $150 for the week. Please let us know in advance if you would like to rent an outfit or two.)
Invest your money in the best fly line, and bring an extra. A tropical Intermediate sink tip line that is designed to throw large flies is our go-to. Marlin Roush of Rio fished with us in 2017 and designed their new Jungle taper specifically for our waters. Rio's Outbound Tropical, Jungle Line, and Scientific Angler's Mastery Jungle Titan are all we fish. SA also makes a brilliant line called the Sonar Jungle Custom Tip, which allows the angler to customize the length of the head to perfectly match their rod size as well as their personal casting style. Be prepared, this is a fast sinking line which demands casting with perfect timing, casting arch, rod-tip path, and line management skills.
We keep it simple and use 7-8 feet of 40 to 50 pound mono or flouro for a leader, see below.
This is a challenge for our guests to understand until they hook into their first double-digit peacock bass: 40-pound mono is standard for most situations. That's as light as we would go. These fish are not the least bit leader shy (other operations fish 60 pound tippets), but there is no need to fish a tippet that has a higher breaking strength than your fly line. Fluorocarbon will help your fly sink faster and is a bit more abrasion resistant, but regular mono is very effective as well. Our favorite mono is Maxima Ultragreen for turn-over and incredible knot strength. We tested Scientific Angler's new Absolute Flourocarbon last Season and it was fantastic.
FLIES - MOST EFFECTIVE PATTERNS
Click the buttons below for a printable version of our favorite commercially tied flies. Support your local Fly Shop!
They will be happy to special order these for you. Even better, have them tie some custom flies for your adventure!
MOST EFFECTIVE PATTERNS continued
Take a close look at our “Baker’s Dozen” fly package on our web store. Our entire selection is made up of Enrico Puglisi flies. They are easy to cast, are extremely durable, and our fish eat them like candy. These represent a few of our favorite patterns and colors, but by all means they aren’t the only ones that work on peacock bass.
An absolute favorite to be sure to have is a flash-tail whistler in various colors. This pattern is a must-have in green/white and gray/white in the Uatama and red/yellow and red/white on the Rio Negro. Although these are readily available from Umpqua, their pattern isn't exactly right. They WILL certainly work, but if you are a tyer, build these in the color patterns listed above, tie them on 4/0 hook with a 5" length and you're all set. Your local fly shop would be happy to custom tie these for you as well.
Large Clouser Minnows and large Deceiver style flies work extremely well. Last Season many of our biggest fish were caught on Half & Half style flies with bead chain eyes. Yes, this fly is basically the best of a Clouser Minnow/Lefty's Deceiver/Flashtail Whistler all combined into one absolute fishing machine. Chartreuse or green and white was the killer color combo in the Uatuma last year. Red and white, green and yellow, and olive and white where our confidence color combinations last Season in the Negro.
SPEAKING OF COLORS, here are some of our favorites in order of preference:
Uatama: Chartreuse and white, gray and white, all chartreuse, and peacock bass (or perch) coloration.
Rio Negro: Yellow and red, Fire Tiger, green and yellow, olive and white, and all white.
Insider tip: bring red and black sharpies to add some critical colors to your flies.
LESS EFFECTIVE PATTERNS