August 7, 2016

2016 Peru (Day 9)

Early next morning, I woke up before breakfast and took a walk to the dock. There were fish feeding on the surface so I grabbed the rod and a piece of bread for bait.

There were a mix of species taking small pieces of bread freelined in the current.

Triportheus angulatus - Species #587

Tetragonopterus argenteus - Species #588

Stethaprion erythrops - Species #589

Triportheus albus - Species #590

These were all great bait species, either cut into small chunks for smaller species, or used as cut or whole bait for catfish.

After breakfast, we packed the big boat and started our journey upstream. Those of us who don't drink coffee caught up on rest instead.

We arrived 2 hours later at the bank of a smaller river. While the lunch was prepared and camp was set up, Anthony suggested that we should cast out a line for Catfish species.

It took all of 2 drifts before I felt a grab and landed the first decent Catfish.

Flatwhiskered Catfish (Pinirampus pirinampu) - Sepcies #591

Others got their baits in the water quickly but that was the only bite we had before lunch.

After lunch, we started to paddle up a creek to access one of the two lakes we came so far to fish.

We had no idea how long it would take to reach the lake. After half an hour, the creek got narrower and narrower. And hour later, we were pulling boats over obstructions.

In some areas, logs and trees were previously cut by chainsaws, but we were barely able to pass through in some areas.

We finally reached the lake!

There were lots of great wood cover to fish. Our primary targets were C. monoculus Peacock Bass. The number of Peacock Bass caught were few and far between. The fishing just wasn't as good as Anthony had expected.

The Trahira, however, were aggressive. They love my #3 silver spinner.

Trahira (Hoplias malabaricus) - Species #592

Lots of them just waiting to crush a spinner.

There were also lots of Gar-like species on the surface. They could be found in small schools in the shallows. They would attack a lure like a Barracuda, slashing in a zig-zag fashion repeatedly until the fish is hooked or the fish is too close to the boat.

Spotted Pike-characin (Boulengerella maculata) - Species #593

A more colourful specimen

Other characin species also love spinners.

Brycon melanopterus - Species #594

The sky started to cloud over and soon started to rain. Even in the dry season, you can expect rain any time of the day in the rainforest.

We took shelter close to shore as the wind came up. Around a log jam, I found some cool looking cichlids.

Mesonauta mirificus or Mesonauta festivus - Species #595 (It is difficult to tell if this was a M. mirificus or M. festivus)

Another cichlid species I had wanted to catch - members of the Pike Cichlid family. The photo is pretty poor since it was pouring and the bench was wet. The fish simply slid around and would not stay in the frame. I had to shield the camera and the fish from the rain for the photo.

Crenicichla semicincta - Species #596 (Green diagonal bands on the body is the ID key)

I also found a Headstander species in the log jam. It's amazing how much Characins have evolved to resemble other family of fish in appearance and behaviour.

Leporinus moralesi - Species #597 (This species was determined base on range. L. moralesi is found in Peru)

We only had a few hours to fish in the lake. We were late getting out of the lake and had to paddled in the creek in dying light. Luckily, the trickiest sections were navigated while it was still bright. We barely made it back to camp just before dark.

After dinner, everyone focused on fishing for Catfish species. Fish were biting well for the first 3 hours after dark. Bites were fairly frequent but our main targets, the Redtail Catfish could not be found. There were some cool catfish species caught though.

Blue Whale Catfish (Cetopsis coecutiens) - Species #598

They may look harmless but these catfish are totally gruelsome. They use their strong mouth to bite into gut areas and use their strong body to spin and rip until a hole is made. They eat their victim from the gut cavity out.

The next species looks like a weapon, but they mainly eats fruits, nuts and any food that are drifting by.

Pterodoras granulosus - Species #599

Here's a picture of their lateral spines from another specimen. They are not called Amoured Catfish for nothing. Handle with care!

The bite kinda died by 9pm. I was lights out pretty quickly under the Amazon night sky.

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