Peacock Bass Fishing on the Amazon River – the Real Story – Day 7

Day 7 began with a brief, heavy rain which turned into light showers on and off during the day.  Such is not generally good for fishing.  But the fact was, Mark had the biggest fish so far and that bugged me.

I went without socks today and used some of Curt’s duct tape on my feet to deal with my blisters.  My daily routine:  apply fresh Band-Aids on my elbow from my boneheaded fall in the boat earlier in the week, apply duct tape on the blisters on my hands and feet, and pop aspirin twice a day to help with my puffy appendages.  How cool is that?

As expected, the fishing was slow due to the rain we’d gotten over night. We tried several different lures but always went back to the custom-made black and red ripper and the blue and white lure from Bobby.  Rain stopped in the early afternoon and we got to a lake-like area with several small bays.  We saw some big fish roaring around and Mark, using Bobby’s lure, got a big hit by a big fish.  The big fish broke Mark’s line and the blue and white lure disappeared again.  Prato tied a different lure onto Mark’s line while I continued flogging the same area with a red and black ripper.  We got no hits in that spot again.  Amazingly, though, as we’re going around a small inlet, Prato saw the blue and white lure floating in the water.  The big fish had rubbed it off and it floated to the surface!  This time, the back hook was missing and the split ring gone and the whole thing a mess.  Prato repaired the lure by sacrificing a hook from another lure and I was back in action again.  The lure had 3 different hooks on it—one original and 2 replacements. 

The lure Bobby gave me, with 3 different hooks--the front was the original, the back 2 replaced.
The lure Bobby gave me, with 3 different hooks–the front was the original, the back 2 replaced.

While fishing the big lake I got a little too close to shore.  The snagged lure caught the attention of a caiman, so I had to reel slowly and not wiggle the lure.  Prato motored us closer, the caiman swam off and I got the lure back again.  Phew!

Caiman checking out my tree-snagged lure.
Caiman checking out my tree-snagged lure.

Later, I aimed for shore a bit more accurately and my lure was smacked hard.  Soon I had landed a 12-pounder. 

Me and my 12-pounder, which is .5 pounds shy of Mark's biggest.  Arg.
My 12-pounder, which was .5 pounds shy of Mark’s biggest. Arg.

Mark still had the bigger fish, though, so I worked my lure again and again.  Later in the afternoon, we saw lots of splashing at a peninsula where a big peacock was chasing smaller fish.  Mark threw his red and black lure to the left of the peninsula, and when no fish hits his lure, he told me to cast to the right.  And wham! I got a 15-pound peacock bass!

My 15-pound peacock bass.
My 15-pound peacock bass.

We ended up with only 17 fish, but I was pretty happy to have surged into the lead with the biggest fish.  We were also happy because as we were leaving the area , we found Curt’s red and black ripper floating on the water and retrieved it for him.  He was very excited when we gave it to him at dinner. 

The other good news of the day:  it was the first day I had no trouble with my lower right back, even after ripping lures all day.

Somewhere along the line, Mark caught a species of fish we hadn’t seen before.  Only after searching the Internet from home later did Mark identify this as a bicunda.

Mark's bicunda.
Mark’s bicunda.

I was so tuned into fishing that it was Prato that pointed out a woodpecker, one I later identified as a female chestnut-colored woodpecker.  

Female chestnut-colored woodpecker.
Female chestnut-colored woodpecker.

I also saw a female giant cow bird, a swallow-winged puff bird, and a white-necked heron

White-necked heron.
White-necked heron.

I also took a photo of a yellow-billed tern taking on a much larger large-billed tern.  

Terns in aerial combat.
Terns in aerial combat.

On the way home, we came upon this fella, who was delivering food and bottled water to our camp.  He showed up at camp about an hour after we got back.

Delivery man on the Tapera River.
Delivery man on the Tapera River.

It turned out camp had been moved downstream while we were fishing.  They moved camp because the river had been falling every day in spite of a bit of rain, and the closer the camp was to bigger water, the better.  We took photos of the new camp site. 

Our new sand bar.  In the foreground, the dining cabin; the rest are guest cabins.
Our new sand bar. In the foreground, the dining cabin; the rest are guest cabins.

We ate dinner and returned to our cabin–escorted by the Texans again–to find 6 wasps.  The camp staff had opened the windows when they moved the camp down the river today and for some reason our cabin had attracted the wasps.  Now, I’m allergic to bee stings so such an encounter was one of the very things I had most worried about.  And of course, we couldn’t kill the wasps, rather, Mark trapped one in a Ziploc bag, pinched the bag closed and handed the bag to me.  I took my flashlight in one hand, the Ziploc bag in the other, ran outside, opened the bag and waited for the wasp to come out.  I returned for the next wasp and did this 6 times.  That night I went to sleep worried that other wasps were still hiding behind the curtains.

The next morning I learned that Bobby was on his satellite phone talking to his wife when he saw me running back and forth with the wasp bags, and he was about to run over to tell me I had attracted the attention of a caiman when I stopped coming out for the last time.  He said the caiman was about 10 feet away from me.  I could see the article now:  “Caiman Snarfs Stay Puft Marshmallow Woman on the Amazon.”

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