August 8, 2016

2016 Peru (Day 10)

Morning of our second day. Here's a photo from Josh of our camp with sleeping mats and mosquito nets. It's primitive but comfortable. Just the way I envisioned an Amazonian adventure!

At breakfast, we decided that it was too much work getting into the bigger lake. The smaller lake offers similar mix of species but was 1/3 the distance. After breakfast, we were getting ready to launch. On this day, Ben joined my boat.

We thought it would be an easier way in...nope! Here's an Amazonian traffic jam as boats waited one by one to be dragged over logs.

But the journey in was worth the effort for me. Not long after I started fishing, I got hit hard on a Rapala Jointed Shad Rap.

There are many Peacock Bass species in the Amazon. More and more species are split or discovered each year. In Peru, most of them are C. monoculus or C. pleiozona. My fish lacks a distinct or dark 4th bar and mottled marking on the back, so it is a C. monoculus.

Cichla monoculus - Species #600!!!

While fishing a #3 silver spinner again, I snagged this fish outside the mouth. They are mostly vegetarian. I don't count snagged fish in any case, no matter how close to the mouth.

Prochilodus nigrans (shown here for interest sake, but not counted on my lifelist).

The next species loves spinners though. They often jump out of the water and throw the hook, especially since their mouths are pretty toothy and hard which makes hookset difficult.

Brycon cephalus - Species #601

There were these fish with bright red tails and brilliant yellow fins that kept breaking my off. Thankfully, Ben was on the boat and told me they were actually biting through my light line. It took at least 8lb fluoro to prevent being bitten off, even though most of them were around 4-5" long only.

Tucan Fish (Chalceus erythrurus) - Species #602

Beautiful little species with vicious teeth and comical behaviour. They would jump a foot out of the water to strike anything mid air, including knots and splitshots!

The fishing was quite slow even though I picked up 3 new species. Ben wanted to catch a Spotted Pike-Characin, so I threw a Zara Puppy (smaller version of the Zara Spook) around to find them for Ben. Surface strikes were frequent and exhilarating, but hooksets were poor as most of the fish had very bony mouths. Eventually, Ben did catch a Spotted Pike-Characin for his first lifer of the day.

Fishing was so poor that by lunch, we decided to break camp and return to the lodge that night. Instead of paddling back, Anthony suggested that all the guests trek through the forest so the boats are lighter and our guides can navigate the shallow water with more ease.

At the end of our trek, as we waited for our guides and the boats, we saw some Hatchetfish species and other micro species in the shallows. A few of us decided to return to the area after lunch.

While we were waiting for lunch to be prepared, I cast out a line for catfish and caught a nice P. granulosus Amoured Catfish.

Ben and I spend at least an hour trying for the Hatchetfish. We both came close a few times, only to have the fish flip off the hook and the way up. Luckily, one managed to stay hooked for me.

Spotfin Hatchetfish (Thoracocharax stellatus) - Species #603

There were these tetras with red tail that I've been trying to catch but can't seem to set the hook. Ben caught a couple of them though.

By late afternoon, we have to return to the boat. Josh and Joy fished at the boat and caught 6 Redtail Catfish from 3-8lbs within the span of an hour. Ben and I wanted to try for them so we set up at the opposite side of the eddy.

We had some tentative bites, but it appeared the hot Redtail Catfish bite was over. Ben did catch his lifer Spotted Surubim that evening.

We returned to the lodge at about 8pm. It was late and Anthony and the crew did a great job navigating in the dark. It was no small task as they had to watch for strong current areas, massive whirlpools and entire trees floating down the river. In the dark, it is very difficult.

At dinner, we discussed the next day's plan. At the end, we agreed to try another tributary in search of Cichlid species and Catfish species.

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