Peacock bass belong on a very short list of ultimate gamefish. They eat with aggression. They are powerful, with the propensity to break leaders, straighten hooks, and destroy tackle. Their fight is aerial and acrobatic. They are gorgeous, one of the most photogenic fish in the world. And they are BIG.
As they did with golden dorado at Tsimane (Bolivia) and La Zona (Argentina), Untamed Angling spent years researching where the biggest fish live. Both Tsimane and La Zona have since become world-renowned destinations, and Untamed Angling has raised the bar even higher with the Rio Marié – home of the largest peacock bass in the world.
More 20+ pound peacock bass are landed in a typical week on the Rio Marié than in an entire season at most other Amazonian fisheries. While not everyone joins the exclusive “20 Pounder Club,” over half of the anglers visiting Rio Marié in its first few seasons have done so. In 2016, the Rio Marié produced the current world record peacock bass on a fly rod — 28.5 lbs.
Rio Marié also boasts ridiculous numbers of butterfly peacock bass in the 3-5 lb range. Pound-for-pound, butterfly peacocks are every bit as strong and aggressive as their larger cousins. They are tons of fun and provide lots of action to break up the search for monsters. Other species include the beautiful Jacunda (a cichlid in the same family as peacock bass), the sought-after Arawana, and the toothy Dogfish – the jungle version of a barracuda.
Each day two anglers with their English speaking, fly fishing savvy guide and native boat driver fish a different beat that would be impossible to cover in a single day. The boats feature double casting platforms fore and aft allowing each angler to cover the water. Lunch is usually taken on the fly, then back to fishing, until light starts to fade, the jungle comes alive and retreat back to the yacht is in order. Comfortable accommodations, an open bar, delicious meals, and wonderful service await at the end of every day. Then it’s up in the morning, to a different beat and full day of battling peacocks.
BASS FISHERMAN’S HEAVEN
The style of fishing will make any bass fisherman feel right at home – if one can feel at home catching bass several times as big as the ones back home. Although the main channel of the Rio Marié is deep and wide with substantial current, there are plenty of still water areas: oxbow lakes, lagoons, protected flats, creek mouths, beaches on inside bends of the river, etc. The shorelines of the lakes and lagoons are lined with trees and brushy structure. The skiff typically skirts the shorelines with use of a trolling motor, while the anglers cast flies as close as they can to the structure. The flies are then retrieved with aggressive strips. With lower water, large, loud poppers can be more effective. Under most conditions, huge rattling baitfish imitations are the go-to flies. In other words, bass fishing on steroids.
There are some nice sightcasting opportunities as well. Most of the beaches that form on the inside bends of the river are patrolled by peacocks, especially in the afternoons. It is a nice break from standing on the boat to walk the beach looking for fish hunting the shallows. With low water conditions, large peacocks can also be found protecting spawning beds or the young fry themselves on the shallow flats. In either scenario, these fish will readily take a properly presented fly.
The Rio Marié offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to fly fish in a hyper-remote jungle wilderness for giant peacock bass that haven’t been hammered by gear fisherman throwing huge crank baits and woodchoppers. The Rio Marié is the most remote river in Brazil (more than 500 miles by float plane from Manaus). Untamed Angling’s project is the only sport fishing operation authorized on the Rio Marié, meaning no competition from other lodges.
In fact, no more than a few dozen sport fishermen had ever experienced this incredible, 800 kilometer-long river or its tributaries, until anglers showed up for the inaugural season in 2014. Those who have been there tell fish stories that are hard to swallow.
Unlike a land-based lodge, the Untamed Angling mothership (see ACCOMMODATIONS) is a shallow-draft, mobile base of operations that spreads the fishing over this entire vast fishery. In its short history, however, hundreds of miles of water have yet to be fished. The fishery is huge, has a short season, and no more than twelve anglers per week. It is a matter of “so much water, so little time.” All of those factors mean low pressure and happy fish – many of which have never seen a fly, much less a lure.
WATER LEVEL MANAGEMENT
The mobility of the Untamed Amazon also means that any given week, anglers are delivered to the right place at the right time regardless of river conditions. Although this program is open only during the “dry season,” it is still in the middle of the largest rainforest in the world. Hydrologic cycles vary from year to year, a reality that often means poor fishing – or no fishing – at other Amazonian destinations. The Rio Marié, however, is a headwaters system with hundreds of miles of water, and the fishing program is based on an actively mobile mothership operated by those who understand where and how to find the fish as water levels fluctuate. That means not only that water levels rarely ruin a trip, but can actually be used to advantage.
Untamed Angling designed the Rio Marié project as a new approach to trophy peacock bass and to improve on the techniques to target these remarkable fish on the fly. Rio Marié is now the largest area in the world specifically dedicated to fly fishing only, and the conservation oriented catch-and-release regulations will guarantee extraordinary fishing for many years. Virgin waters, endless, pristine wilderness, record-class fish, and a perfectly designed fishing program with luxury accommodations . . . Rio Marié is simply the ultimate Peacock Bass fishery.