Amazon Wild Rivers - Part 2


February 2015 . South America . Suriname

Martin Sack

After our fist successful stage of our one month adventure to South America we travelled to Suriname. Here we wanted to focus on piraiba only and fish in two river systems. This biggest catfish species of South America was swimming on its spawning migrations awesome distances – in the Amazonas even up to five thousand kilometers! The massive body of these predators with the big, beautiful fins was looking a little bit like from a shark and was made for the life as a long distance swimmer in faster currents. At increasing water levels the bigger fishes were moving to the upriver sections, but this year the small rain season had failed and all rivers had only in their main channels deeper water. We were a little bit nervous, if we could pass under these conditions all stretches with the boats and could find the lau laus.

After Claudia, Nils and I were complemented by Frank, Gerry and Hati, our journey to the first water could start. We had to manage nearly three hundred river kilometers, for which we needed two days of travelling. Was the water gurgling sluggishly near to the ocean coast, the landscape was getting upstream increasingly diversified and the stream course was interrupted from bigger rocks and sand banks again and again. We could arrive at our first destination – the rapids downstream of bigger waterfalls, which were natural barriers for up moving fishes. But were the piraibas still here? Our guides were making us not too much hope.

The following days were successful and instructive in the same way. We were searching spot after spot, but next so some mostly smaller redtails we faced no big run to our baits. Only at one pool the piraibas seemed to gather close together – in the first three days we could catch fife of them, all between 1,95 and 2,02m long. Two more of this size we lost by a broken rod or by getting off the hook. Probably the fishes had chosen this calm, muddy hole to wait before spawning period for swelling water. Even a midsized tarpon was shaking off the hook next to the boat. Also this fish species was migrating at certain times long ways upstream the rivers and have been caught in this area in length of more than two meters.

Normally we had planned to fish at the first destination for six days, but because of the difficult boat drive of the journey we had to leave after three days. But we were sure having fished this section hard enough, and the second river was promising more constant action.

Whereas the long boat drives through beautiful jungle landscapes were a real enrichment of our tour, the travel days with taxi and in various hotels – from miserable dosshouse to upper standard – were getting longsome. At the end we reached our last fishing destination, the lau lau river promising the best catch rates at the moment. This time we stored all our things on a pontoon boat as sleeping- and base point, which we were hauling with one of our fishing boats at night upstream. With six anglers and four guides we had not really much space, and also the fishing hours on the small boats were sometimes a bit arduous. We experienced not the expected bite rate, and for every fish we had to work hard. But also here we had the same phenomenon – we caught nearly only big piraibas! These were here spread all over the river and had to be found. All the midsize fish sized had nearly disappeared. Was this caused by the start of migrations of certain catfish generations yet? We didn´t know the truth, but when one of the big lau laus was taking the bait, the drag was howling, hooks were bended and we had to fight very hard between all the sunken trees. As I put one time my thumb on the multi-player when setting the hook, afterwards it was a big blister. So we could outwit at this last stage four big cats more from 1,91 to 2,05m and lost some in this size by hooks getting off.

Also one month in the jungle was coming at one time to an end. We were driving with the pontoon boat slowly back to our starting point. At our complete expedition we had covered only at our journey a distance of more than thousand river kilometers. What awesome impressions we had gathered, what adventure experienced, what fishes caught! At the end our dreams came true and we got a wide overview about the fishing possibilities of this last big wilderness. In the end we were looking for a fast shower at locals. Then it was time do go back to the plane and say goodbye to South America – but surely not forever!



Angler: Claudia,  Martin, Nils, Frank, Gerry, Hati

Piraiba: 12

Length in m: – 1.55 – 0.87 – 0.85

Redtail:10 (up to 1.11m)

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