The Agua Boa is a river of exceptional diversity. The fish of the Rio Agua Boa vary from the aquarium fish that we all fell in love with as children to the freshwater dolphins which are a remnant from the days when the Amazon basin was an ocean.
There are many species of fish in the pristine waters of the Agua Boa many of which can be taken on a fly. Until last year the number of different fly caught fish was eighteen however recently our guests added another two, a large armoured cat fish and a fish that looked like a tambaqui, a seed eating characin prized for its eating qualities. Our main quarry is of course the Peacock Bass.
There are three species of peacock bass present on the Agua Boa: the butterfly, spotted and temensis. They are all great fish for the fly rodder. The butterfly peacock is the most numerous in the system. Butterflies are aggressive takers on poppers and 3-4 inch streamers. They are great fighters and jump often. They range between 2 and 8 pounds with approximately a 3 pound average in the system. Butterfly peacocks provide plenty of action between shots at larger fish. The spotted and temensis peacock bass are both a totally different beast. These two species are the largest of the peacocks and can attain weights of 25 pounds. These peacocks are some of the most aggressive game fish on the planet. They wander in schools of up to 40 fish and feed together working bait like bluefish. It is difficult to describe a school of these large peacocks in full feeding frenzy. Needless to say that 1 pound baitfish are flying everywhere in a desperate attempt to escape. In many cases the baitfish will jump onto land to escape. If you can get your fly into the action, the results are spectacular: a ferocious take, a blistering run, a jump and or a run into structure are just a few of the possible obstacles you might be confronted with.
The other jungle species are also well worth pursuing. The arowana look and act a lot like a
tarpon. They have huge scales, are air breathers, spooky and wander through the river in schools in search of baitfish. Arowana are a surface oriented fish. They are
very visible and provide exciting sight casting when conditions are right.
Beware they are spooky and difficult to hook and land. Arowana have a split eye that allow them to see above and below the water. As a result they are very sensitive to false casting and unnatural movement to the fly. Smaller patterns stripped slowly and in short increments seem
to be the most successful. Remember watch the fish and try to keep your fly as close to the fish as possible when retrieving your fly. Arowana have a jaw similar to tarpon and require a hard strike. They are aerial fighters and good runners. Arowana average 6 -10 lbs, but can reach nearly 15 lbs.
Pacu, also known as the silver dollar, are a fun fish and can be taken on trout patterns like royal wulffs, caddis and flesh flies. They are shaped like a permit and in the Agua Boa they reach weights of 5 pounds. In front of the camp there are pods of hundreds of pacu rising nightly.
Pirarucu, the giant tarpon of the Amazon, reach weights well in excess of 200 pounds. These fish
look and act a lot like tarpon, but are so smart and probably one of the most difficult game fish on the planet to land on a fly. We have landed over 20 on the fly. They are acrobatic and excellent fighters. It is tough to describe the excitement of seeing a six foot fish and trying to manage a cast to one.
Read what Henry Walter Bates the famous naturalist writes in his journal:
“The owner of the house was not at home, and the wife, a buxom young woman, a dark mameluca, with clear though dark complexion and fine rosy cheeks, was preparing, in company with another stout-built Amazon, her rod and lines to go out fishing for the day’s dinner.
It was now the season for the Tucanares and Senora Joaquina showed us the fly baits to take this kind of fish which she had made with her own hands of parrot feathers. The rods used are slender bamboos, and the lines made from fibres of pineapple leaves.”
Walter Henry Bates circa 1850
(The Naturalist on the River Amazons)
So, come fish the Agua Boa. It is truly a unique fishery for the fly-fisherman and offers one of the best opportunities to sight fish for the many different species of the Amazon. It is truly worth the trip.