|Been fly rodding for Amazonian peas at lest 8-9 times, but this was the first time that (for me, at least) there was the opportunity for consistently large fish (10# to 20+# range.) |
Was off to Las Lagunas, a new platformed tent camp on the Inirida River in far eastern Colombia. We had to travel into Bogota, overnight it and then jet to a riverside fishing town where we go into large aluminum row-boat to travel 2.5 hours up-river to the camp. The camp was established about a year ago on a very large lagoon (about quarter-mile off the Inirida) that held very large peas. The camp held 6 fishermen at a time and there had only been five previous groups before I got there two weeks ago for 5-days fishing. Of the five fishermen on this trip, only my partner and I were fly fishermen. Because special arrangements had to be made in order to secure the sole fishing rights to the area, the owner had to use new native guides every time a new group came to fish. The Indians didn't speak any English, but could get by with Spanish. And, as we were the first fly fishermen there, we had to teach our guide how to run the boat. Hopefully, he will be able to pass this on the the other guides. Nonetheless, he knew where fish potentially lie and followed our directions fairly well. The skiffs used small motors to get where we were going and the guide then quietly paddled. And, most importantly, the skiffs were very stable and quite large enough for the two of us to comfortably fish at the same time.
The 10x15 high quality tents were on a platform with a thatched overhead roof. They were quite comfortable with nary a sign of any bugs in or outside the tent. Furthermore, the king-sized bed was quite comfortable and the fan kept things comfortable. Nearby was two clean toilet areas (with flushing toilets) and two clean showers (using luke warm water from the lagoon.) Clothes were laundered every day. Food was good and no one had any complaints. Overall, this was a very well organized and well run operation.
Previous groups, fishing conventional gear, were were just slamming the peas right outside their front door. Pictures of many 20+# peas were verifying this new amazing fishery. However, and this is a big "however," when we got there the lagoon waters were low and rapidly receding. Furthermore, after spending the first morning fishing the lagoon, my fly rodding partner and I established that the fish left the lagoon with the water. Although all was not lost as we could still fish the river and other lagoons, needless-to-say, not being able to fish the local lagoon was a big time bummer.
The bottom line was that the conventional guys caught over 50 fish in the 10-21# range, with many in the 15-19# range. Whereas, the biggest we caught were 10# and 13#, with the others in the 5-9# range. The big difference in the catches were primarily due to our "small" surface flies when compared to the 8-10" surface plugs being thrown 150' and the poor water conditions. We just couldn't get the peas to be angry enough to attack the way the plug guys could.
I surveyed the other guys (all experienced Amazonian peacock bass fishermen) as to how they felt about this fishery. To a one, they all agreed that this was just about the best large fishery they have been to. If the water levels had been right and the lagoon in good shape, I have no doubts, whatsoever, that our expectation of catching very large peas on the fly would have been duly met.
Some pics to follow....
[click here to display pictures]