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Cloudy With A Chance of An Amazon River Adventure

Updated: Feb 3

Fresh Fishing Report from the Rio Negro and the Hackbarth group.

Over the last fifteen years of leading finatics to Amazonia, I have asked most every angler after their trip if they thought they would ever like to return to the white-flour sand beaches and tea-colored water of the vast Rio Negro river system. All except two have quickly affirmed they would. Most say they are already planning it! All that is, except for two, and one of those has since reneged. He too wants to return!

La querencia is a Spanish word not easily translated into English but meaning roughly, the power of place or longing for a place; the desired place or wanting place of where the heart is. It comes from the verb queerer, which means to desire or to want. To one who visits the white-flour sandbars, tea-colored waters, and fishes for the ferocious peacock bass and other exotics, the urge will become overwhelming to return to that “wanting place,” the Brazilian Rain Forest of South America and the Rio Negro River and its tributaries.

November 9th, 2019, found this group of finatics deep in the interior of Amazonia aboard the Sistership, Amazon Lord 2, grabbing lunch and making ready for six full days of fishing the Lost Lagoons and Tributaries of the Rio Negro.

As host, leader and destination guide I really enjoy “mixed groups” – those who have visited previously and those we fondly call “newbies.” I love to hear the stories of adventures past and the follow up expressions and comments of adventurers present. One of the best -“I’m really liking your stories, David, but I’m ready for a story of my own! Can we get started now?”

I enjoy the humor of the trash talking and then the retelling of the experiences of the day. But mostly, and certainly with this group, I enjoy the commerradiery and the new friendships birthed in the midst of an eight day Amazon River Adventure.

Fishing conditions for the week were much less than perfect. Upon arrival, we were met with the effects of a significant repiquete. A rise in water levels equaling 15 inches or so over the ten days prior. Simply put, when the lagoons flood, the water retreats back into the dense jungle, and as the water rises and moves into the jungle, so do the baitfish. And guess who follows the baitfish? All week long, we could hear the giant Tucunare chasing baitfish in their quest for a meal. Unfortunately, those ‘three barred beasts’ would escape our hooks for this trip.

Our numbers for the week were low by most standards, with 433 total peacocks landing for our group of ten. However, a few of us managed to extract a few trophies. Congratulations to Dale with a 20# Peacock on the first day and a 24# Monster Tucunare Acu near the end of the trip!


There were a few “teeners” caught along the way as well. But the rest of the story goes to Paula with the Multi-Species Award for the week. Her catches included Piranah, Payara, several species of peacocks, Bicuda, Traira, Sorubim (shovel-nose catfish), the colorful Jacuda, and one I can’t remember the name of. Congratulations, Dale and Paula, two of our returnees to the black water.

Two of our newbies were Wayne and Janet. Diehard anglers and Mexico bass fishing finatics. This was their first trip to Amazonia, and I’m confident it won’t be their last. Both enjoyed the “experience of the eco system” as well as the fishing! Janet with a nice Arawana and Wayne, a “teener” Peacock.

Steve, a prior visitor to the rivers and lost lagoons, brought a good friend and newbie, Richard, who “wasn’t expecting anything at all like this.” I think I made a comment very similar to that on my first trip down. Many don’t know what to expect but find themselves almost overwhelmed by the beauty and vastness of the ecosystem. I think Richard may be planning a return already. And of course there’s the fishing. As veterans Donald, Glenn, Gary, and I can attest, when conditions are right, the fishing can truly be incredible.

Everyone agreed that our fishing yacht, The Amazon Lord 2, the fishing boats, guides, captain, cooks, and entire staff were outstanding. First class all the way! The crew couldn’t do enough—even providing tasty shore lunches and delicious starlit sand bar dinners! Juscelino, our Amazon River Adventures representative in Brazil, accompanied us from arrival to departure and covered our every whim and request during our stay. Thank you, J.


What continually draws folks back to this Querencia?

Maybe ask Donald; he has fished for years all over Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. And it still continues to return.

Or Gary—he started fishing the Northern Brazilian Basin in the mid-90’s, during the infancy of Americans infiltrating the black waters for the giant peacocks.

Maybe Glenn’s first trip with me to the jungle was in 2010, and he has made several more since.

And myself? Well…

What draws the horses to a specific shaded area each day?

Or the traveler to the same plaza or park, trip after trip?

The hidden “wanting places” that reside deep down in the soul of man. Do you recognize them?

La Querencia.

Oh, and the weather. It was sunny some days and cloudy most others on this Amazon River Adventure!

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