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After and hour and a half, we began to slowly descend. For the last few minutes, I had been watching the Rio Branco. I followed its broad, cafe au lait colored waters downstream searching for "our" river. Soon, the Branco's silt laden waters were pierced by a dart of pale green. From its confluence with the Rio Branco, upstream the Agua Boa looked like a giant anaconda as it slithered on for miles. White sandbars were stacked across the river like belly scales on hugserpent. I knew that from those beautiful green waters, giant peacock bass would charge out onto the sandbars to feed. Once sated, they would drift back into the deeper pools to await their next victim. It was good to be back!

Rio Branco with the Agua Boa entering river right
Agua Boa River


Soon we banked left, slid south of the runway and touched down on the Agua Boa Lodge’s runway. My old friends Charlie Conn and Carlos Azevedo greeted us on the tarmac. After a quick breakfast, we rigged rods, threw gear into bags and walked down to the dock. 




There, as if they had never left, were our guides Preto, Joseph, Irmo, Samuel, Caboclo, and Bacaba sitting in their boats ready to go. Doug Jeffries and I jumped in with Irmo and took off. Birds scattered and fish spooked as our skiff buzzed its way upstream. It felt great to be back to what is quite clearly, one of the world’s great angling destinations! 
Tiger heron
Pico de Pao (pao is log) Woodpecker
     


Doug and I started strong. In each deep green rib below a pale yellow sandbar, borboleta (butterfly) peacocks, medium size paca, (spotted peacocks) and a few larger tucanare (the temensis peacock in all the photos) aggressively ate deceiver and whistler style streamers. We had a great morning!


  
Jacunda (upper left), Pirapitinga (upper right)
 Tucanare peacock (lower left) and Paca or spotted peacock tail (lower right)

Just before lunch, a 10 foot caiman came out of nowhere to take a swipe at Doug’s borboleta. This big black monster scared the shit out of us... edenaline fueled our laughter and it wasn’t long until we were teasing the beast out of the shadows with each fish caught. Finally he gave up in frustration and sulked half hidden in the shady canopy that stretched out over the river. As the heat took over the afternoon, the fishing slowed down. We did pick up a few nice paca before we headed for home. What a great first day!



Our fishing on the adventure was simply spectacular: Peacocks to 18 lbs., huge arapaima, lots of exotic species... and everyone got in on the action. From novice to expert, the Agua Boa offers something for everyone and the guides expertly "grease the skids". On this trip we  caught some 20 species of fish. Just to see if I can remember them all, we caught:
Tawa borboleta peacock (orange throat0
Azul peacock (blue dorsal)
Tucanare Acu peacock (the big boy)
Borboleta peacock (butterfly)
Paca peacock (spotted)
Pacu (silver dollar fish)
Jacunda 
Dogfish
Wolfish (Triera)
Bicuda (freshwater barracuda)
Arapaima (the legendary Pirarucu)
Arowana 
Pirapitinga
Payara (vampire fish)
Red belly piranha (the little psychos)
black piranha
white piranha
Matrincha (human like teeth)
Oscars (we know these from all fish tanks)
Aracu
Piscada
Red Tailed catfish


Doug Jeffries lands a nice peacock 



We used primarily 5-6 foot leaders with a shock tippet of 40 lb. (Approx. .25 diameter) mono or flour rigged on two rods: one rigged with a 250-300 grain sink tip (for probing deeper runs), one a floating or intermediate clear tip (for sight fishing flats and shallow edges of lagoons) on 8 or 9 wt. rods.

Strips: fast for peacocks, long and slow for arapaima, slower shorter for arowana, longer mid-speed for payara. Strip strike peacocks, quick powerful strip strike for arapaima, patient strip strike for arowana (bring them in fast, give no quarter, they unbutton easily), trout set payara (they stab their prey so it’s a tap tap, before they eat so you need to move the fly up into the mouth during that brief interlude).

NEXT PART TWO... the real fishing begins!