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Peter Widener and Cole Burnham just returned from Angling Destinations' second hosted trip this season to Brazil's Agua Boa River. They had a great trip and a great time! In addition to the great fishing they experienced, they also saw a black jaguar. For all of you Agua Boa alumni... YES!... a black jaguar! Many of us that have been to the Agua Boa before and have never seen a jaguar will be very jealous - including me!

Below is Peter's report:

Picture this, you are on your way to “The Amazon”! You're going to be in the middle of nowhere to chase peacock bass.  You’re not sure how to pronounce all the various types of species you'll encounter (even though you did take some Spanish in High school, you understand that Portuguese is not very close).  As your American Airline flight rockets over the Gulf of Mexico, the Agua Boa Lodge experience awaits you. 

Fly fishing and international travel and the opinions we all form from those experiences including the methods and tactics are all expressed differently by us all.  My personal take on the ABL experience was as highly rated as any fishing experience I’ve ever had. I like to rate my trips in a binary code fashion; either I would go back every year or “Ah, I'd go again, but not a have to” go back.  ABL is definitely the former, going every year would be terrific! I could not imagine it would ever feel like the same old trip (if I was lucky enough to go year after year).


Now on to the the dirty details of what we all read fish reports for….the gilled friends we catch and release, the animals we see, and the people we meet. The morning after arriving in Manaus, you depart in a private charter. a little after dawn. An hour and forty minutes later, you land at the lodge’s private runway. You are greeted with champagne while you stare at a giant circular swimming pool that begs you to jump in and hit the reset button on your bodie’s jet lagged joints!  While sipping your champagne, you walk into the dining room and enjoy a wonderful meal and prepare your lunch for the day.  While the crew and guides put your bags in the rooms, the hosts prep you for the fishing you’re about to dive into after breakfast.


Within the first few minutes you see birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and insects that are for the most part out of a Jurassic Park movie!  Grasshoppers the size of swallows, caiman the size of a VW bug (with the convertible top up) and macaw the size of a small eagle.  And you might even be lucky enough to spot a yellow spotted jaguar or even the very rare all black variation.  Our group was lucky enough to see both and capture some really great shots of these animals, but in particular the black jaguar held still long enough to snap some once-in-a-lifetime photos.


Dear God, I’m a page into this report and haven’t even touched on the incredible peacock bass and all the other amazing fish species the ABL experience has to offer.  We spent 6.5 days sight fishing for 10-18 lb. peacock bass. A bass in that size range has a mouth you could literally fit your fist into!  This is a fresh water sight fishing experience, similar to flats fishing on the Yucatan Peninsula for cruising bonefish.  Your guide WILL have the best eyes in the business. Just make sure his 11 o’clock is the same as yours and you’re all set!  The eats were like the proverbial toilet flushing on the the surface and the fights intense enough to make an 8wt. bend at the cork!  There truly isn’t one of the peacocks subspecies that I would say is unimpressive. They all have their own uniqueness and all are pound for pound as powerful as you can imagine or have heard about. They live up to their reputation in all aspects.


The other species pursued on the Agua Boa River consists of Payara (Vampire fish), Arawana, Bicuda, Wolf Fish, and many others!  However, the most sought after species would hands down be the legendary Araipaima also known as the Pirarucu.  This dinosaur of a fish is similar to a tarpon, but much more snotty like a permit in the sense that if they don’t want to eat your fly they just won’t. I felt they would give you the middle finger if they had one to give.  A few from our group caught them, and they earned them! Many hours were spent chasing arapaima and they succeeded. Congratulatuons to John Ritterbush, a Sheridan Wyomingite, and Dexter Levandoski of Patagonia's Fly Fishing Division for there arapaimas!.

Big fly = big fish sometimes applies and big fish = big smile usually applies, but Arapaima landed means a huge smile 100% of the time... (and maybe a few tears probably blamed on some SPF 45 leaking into your eyes from the last half hour's workout to trying to land this living dinosaur).

In summary, the Agua Boa experience encompasses incredible fishing, lots of laughs, airline beverages, jet lag, foreign architecture, and a whole plethora of cultural events one trip isn’t even close enough to cover.  I can’t say enough the quality of care from the lodge and its hosts to the quality of the guides and their professionalism.  Agua Boa Lodge is a one of a kind experience and should be on your GOTTA GO Bucket list.

I can’t wait to go back!
Peter Widener