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Day 2
Preto and I decided to head as far upriver as our jet outboard would allow. Preto and I are old friends. We had met first in 2009 when we had been together on the Agua Boa Lodge Houseboat. The houseboat had been moored about where we hopefully would begin fishing today. It would be a bit of a journey to get to this point, but I was eager to see the upper Agua Boa once again.





Preto is built like an NFL linebacker. I've seen him wrestle a five foot caiman to a tap-out and haul a John boat around like a rag doll. Today, we walked into numerous lagoons and at one point, Preto hauled a boat 200 yards through the jungle from one lagoon to the next! After a very successful rendezvous with several double digit peacocks, he then hauled our boat to the main river then kicked it off to float unattended downriver. The water was getting too low for its future use this season. Preto told me he would collect it later for a trip back to the lodge.
Preto concentrates at the guide's casting competition.


A big paca on a gurgler.
The rain didn't bother us a bit!

In each lagoon we visited, I caught 10-12 lb. peacocks, numerous 5-8 lb. paca (spotted peacocks) and countless 3-4 lb. butterflies. We fished the whole afternoon in a light rain, often surrounded by 10-14 foot caiman eager to pilfer our peacocks. By the middle of the afternoon, I was beat. Constant casting followed by frequents battles with big peacocks had worn me out. I eagerly gave Preto my rod and told him to fish... please! He caught a few big peacocks and a big black piranha before we started home well over an hour and a half away.


 

Preto and I do that selfie thing!

At the end of a busy day, anglers can look forward to a hot rejuvenating shower, a cold drink by the pool or in the lodge and a delicious meal in the dining room. Dinners are served buffet style and always preceded by a delicious homemade soup. Served, of course, by a very attentive waiter in a sharp white shirt and tie.  Entrees include fish, beef and chicken served a variety of ways. Side dishes include rice and beans, numerous vegetable choices and fresh baked breads. Then it's time to go over the top with yet another wonderful dessert. 






Old friends Steve Peskoe and Scott Sawtelle share a moment!

Wine, beer and caipirinhas (served dockside upon arrival home from the fishing day) are provided by the lodge... other adult beverages should be purchased in Manaus and brought with you in the charter. Lunches are made by the guests at breakfast and include homemade breads and buns, multiple meats, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, desserts etc. Breakfasts are traditional American and include homemade baked goods, eggs, bacon, fresh squeezed exotic juices and strong Brazilian coffee. You will not go hungry at Agua Boa Lodge and considering where you are and what it takes to get supplies into the jungle, the food is simply stupendous!

Charlie Conn with a big tucanare

On Day 3, ABL host (and my old friend) Charlie Conn and I turned right at the dock and headed downriver with our guide Samuel. I always have a great time with Charlie. He has a great sense of humor and is a very experienced and talented fishermen. With Charlie, I always get the low down on any new “hot spot” or "gotta have" fly lines. Charlie and I compare notes and he likes to fish the way I do: serious relaxation and "take it in" followed by moments of chaos all blended together with laughter and possibly swearing, followed by more goofing around. Plus, he likes to sight fish which makes him alright in my book. 

 

 


On this day, Charlie was a bit under the weather, so he donated the bow to me more than I deserved. At one point, in a large lago, I caught many borboletas and small pacas while Charlie snored pleasantly. He was stretched out on the middle seat. Miraculously, he always woke up long enough to unhook my catch. Then Mr. Conn would lie back on his bench and, almost without pause, resume snoring. Samuel and I could only laugh.



One thing did wake Charlie up big time. We spotted a big arapaima (pirarucu) facing us in two feet of water. Motionless, the fish was laid-up 10' from shore. We thought the fish went 60-70 lbs. I had my 8 wt. rigged with a floating line... perfect for a fish this size... if all you wanted to do was just piss it off! Things got very quiet in the boat as I cast Chaz Davis’ beautiful pink and white streamer six inches off the beast’s left eye.



The fish immediately sucked in my fly. I stripped hard and came tight to a freight train that headed right at our boat. I frantically tried to strip line as I lifted my rod as far as I could reach overhead. The fish covered the 70 feet to the boat in the time it takes to say “Holy Shit”. The arapaima ran under the boat’s bow and continued out into the lagoon trailing too much slack and all my hopes of staying hooked up. We all turned from left to right like spectators at at tennis match. When I should have come tight, I did not. The game was over. All that was left of the fish was a muddy trail pointed in a straight line from the shallows out into the middle of the lagoon. 

“That was cool.” was all I could mutter. 

We all waxed philosophically then went back to what we do. I sight fished trying to follow Samuel’s excellent suggestions while Charlie dozed and unhooked my fish.... Perfect day made more perfect when a 12 lb. peacock sucked in my fly at a brief stop on the way home. Thanks Guys, great day, but I must admit I ended up feeling like I had uncompleted business with an arapaima! More on this later....

The cabins at the lodge are very comfortable and very roomy. They are cleaned daily. Twin queen beds, plush towels, a large shower, big counter tops, a mini-fridge stocked with beer, sodas and water, a writing table, large closets and daily laundry take all the “roughing it” out of a stay. Oh, and let’s not forget the A/C... you are in the Amazon Basin after all!

Steve and Cindy Peskoe... 
...railed on some monsters!

Next Part 3...