|Photo taken from redtunashirtclub.com|
The Red Tuna Shirt Club makes fishing shirts featuring highly rated fishing charters or guides from around the world. Each month, they unveil a new shirt that is sent to all of their members. They are currently having a writing contest which asks the question:
"What's your dream fishing destination? Who would you fish with? What species would you fish for?"
I personally thought about this question for days. It's nearly impossible to decide on -one- dream fishing destination. After all, I can think of probably twenty different places around the world that, if asked to fish it, I would immediately drop whatever it is I was doing and go fish.
I tried to narrow my dream destination down a bit by selecting a target species, but that just made matters worse. My ideal fishing trip involves some remote place that few have fished or seen, and casting to fish that have rarely (or never) seen a lure. The bottom line is that there are just too many fishing destinations...too many fish (if that's possible)...the world is just too big to pick one place to go. But, after quite a bit of thinking, I decided on the place that might be on the top of that -very- long list.
Now I'm generally a saltwater guy. No offense to all the freshwater fisherman, but I become bored with bream and bass pretty quick. And sadly, I don't get much of a kick out of throwing microscopic pieces of hair into a fast moving creek in hopes of landing an 8 inch trout. I much prefer slapping a foot long bait fish onto a bridge gaff-like hook and tossing it out just to hook something bigger than myself.
But after some thinking, I made an exception to that rule: Cichlids. Almost all species of cichlid have what I want in a saltwater fish, but in freshwater form. Tough fighters, highly aggressive, and will hit a lure half the size of their body. I discovered fishing for these fish years back in the Florida Everglades. Back in the 60's, aquarium hobbyists released the Oscar into some of South Florida's canals and they soon became established. It wasn't long before more, and more, and yes...even more species were released into the canals and began to multiply. These South American and African fish are able to survive in South Florida because of its tropical weather. Soon, the state began to look for ways to help control the population of Oscars, Mayan Cichlids, and other invasives. They decided on purposefully introducing another species of cichlid; The Butterfly Peacock Bass.
Today, South Florida is still home to exotic fish and the number of established species continues to rise every year. I try every year to make a special trip down to the Everglades to fish for cichlids with a fly rod and I have a blast every time I go. The only problem I have with these trips is the people. There are -constant- signs of people wherever you go. Giant mounds of garbage, grocery buggies sunk on the bottom, other boats, car traffic (many canals parallel roads), etc. Although I may love sight casting my fly to an unsuspecting peacock bass that's hanging out under a bush, the semi-truck passing by a 70 mph takes away most of the naturalness...well...more so than the fact that I'm fishing in a man made canal, for an introduced species.
Taking all these things into account, my dream fishing destination would be The Amazon River in Brazil. The Amazon is home to numerous cichlid species including the Butterfly Peacock Bass and the Oscar. From everything I've read, the Peacock Bass get even bigger in Brazil than they do in Florida. World records for these fish continue to be broken along the Amazon. To make things even better, scientists continue to describe new species and subspecies of peacock bass.
|Photo taken from riverplateanglers.com|
One may ask, "How would you even go about fishing a place like this?". Well, it certainly isn't cheap, but I hope to be able to do it one day. There are several different options available for people who wish to fish the amazon for peacock bass. Probably the most common method is a mothership trip. Fishermen stay on the mothership and take smaller boats into the backwaters to fish during the day. Another method is floating cabins which are literally just like they sound. Several floating cabins are hooked together and towed around the river. Meanwhile, like with the mothership, fishermen get to take smaller boats or even float planes into hard to reach places. The last method that I've seen is a safari camping style trip. It allows fishermen to reach nearly inaccessible locations, but at the price of camping alongside the river. Did I mention this is in the jungle? I'd have to seriously consider whether I'd want to camp or not. There are a multitude of different outfitters for Amazon fishing, but here's one that is an example of the kind of thing I'm looking to do: Peacock Bass Fishing
And if my calculations are correct, after I sell my Jeep to pay for the trip, I should have just enough money left over to buy something off McDonald's dollar menu.
Of course one can't go on such an adventure by them self. A fishing partner is a must. The person I would love to take with me would be my dad.
He is, after all, the person who got me hooked on fishing at age 3. I make nearly all of my fishing trip with him and I couldn't imagine not having him along on a trip such as this.
One of these days I'll get a chance to fish the remoteness of the Amazon, see the eruption of an enormous Peacock Bass under my fly or lure, and feel the pull of one of the toughest freshwater fish species around. Until that time, I'll be here in the states, getting my yearly fix somewhere in the metropolitan nightmare that is South Florida.