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Remember our report last month about Untamed Angling (www.untamedangling.com) winning exclusive rights to fish the Marié River in Brazil? The Marié is the ultimate trophy river in the Amazon for peacock bass. Remote and difficult to reach, huge stretches of it have seen no modern sportfishing pressure. And the interesting aspect of this is that Untamed Angling is a fly fishing outfitter. That could mean the Marié will evolve into a trophy freshwater fly fishing river every bit as famous as the rivers in Bolivia, where Untamed Angling offers world-class fishing for dorado under the name, Tsimane.
The new wrinkle this month is that The Fly Shop in Redding, California (www.theflyshop.com), has been named exclusive agent for the kickoff season on the Marié. The season will consist of only five eight-person weeks, starting September 27 and running through November 1. Fly Shop owner Mike Michalak will be personally hosting the second week of the season, October 4 to 11. Tentatively, The Angling Report editor, Don Causey, will be among the first anglers on the river the week of September 27.
Here is how Michalak described the aspects of this opportunity that inspired him to step up to the plate as exclusive agent for these trips: “The emergence of this opportunity is a monumental step forward for angling conservation in the Amazon. Untamed Angling, a fly fishing company, has been awarded control of the entire Rio Marié watershed (comprising more than 800 kilometers of river) after a very competitive selection process. Several indigenous communities had to sign off on this, along with Brazilian natural resources officials, park authorities, and top government figures. It is my understanding that the final decision was made by a committee of 12 persons, and the vote was 12-0. To a large degree, it was Untamed Angling’s success in incorporating the native community in its Bolivia-based Tsimane program that generated the support.
“This is a huge win for conservation and for Untamed Angling, and I am proud to lend all of the resources The Fly Shop has to offer to make this first season a success. To say that other operators in the Amazon are disappointed is a major understatement. They’ve invested heavily in exploration and, in doing so, have substantiated Brazilian fisheries biologists’ contention that this river has more doubledigit peacock bass and a higher percentage of trophy peacock bass than any other river in the Amazon (and perhaps the world). This may be the most significant trophy peacock fishery ever discovered and introduced to anglers. Eventually, it will assuredly be the most sought-after river by fly fishermen.
“We are launching an abbreviated season for 2014, with five eight-person weeks commencing September 27 and running through November 1 in what is the heart of the season. It is late in the season to launch a pioneering effort like this, but I am confident a goodly number of Fly Shop customers will step up to plate, perhaps along with some of your subscribers to The Angling Report. This is the most remote peacock destination on the map, requiring a float-plane flight of over 350 miles from Manaus. Cost of the trips this first year has been set at $5,950. That is for an all-inclusive package, excluding airfare to Brazil and the $595 Native Community Tax that goes directly to support the local Indian communities.
“These trips should appeal particularly to fly fishermen who have been to other Amazon rivers where large numbers of smaller fish tend to predominate. Your subscribers, more than most, know that a big peacock is a different animal, and that difference, along with the excitement and sense of adventure that comes with being among the first in to a new destination, is the attraction of these trips. Your subscribers who want to book one of these trips can call The Fly Shop at 800-699-3474. Ask for Pat Pendergast, Michael Caranci, or Mike Mercer.”
Don Causey Note: I outlined in my report last month some of the challenges associated with outfitting trips on the Marié River. The problems include huge distances that need to be covered to reach the river. Once at the river, it is sure to be difficult this first year to reach those upper regions where water clarity and depth are ideal for fly fishing. Personally, I am going on one of the first trips anyway, because I know those reports of big peacock bass are accurate. My personal best peacock on the fly, a 16-pounder, was taken blind casting to a wooded shoreline on the Rio Negro. The chance to cast to similar shorelines along the Marié, perhaps blindly instead of to sighted fish, has my arm twitching. Indeed I’m going in with my eyes wide open about water clarity and depth this first year, and I think you should, too. Even with that possible drawback, it’s entirely possible that a fly-rod record fish will be taken this year on this river. Enjoy!