IRT Around the World: Adventures in the Amazon (Part 2)

Sunday morning began just as any other… with four of us venturing deep into the Amazon jungle to find a repurposed cocaine camp. After a 2-hour long trek by foot, we arrived at our well-hidden destination which would double as our secondary camp. It goes without saying that this was the most interesting of all our camps. After taking a short rest to recharge and rehydrate, our group quickly departed on the second leg of the day’s journey, an hour and a half hike to an untouched lagoon. This part of the expedition proved a bit more challenging than the previous. Not only were we hiking through the jungle, but now we were getting the full Amazon experience, complete with slippery slopes and slick log bridges. The jungle itself was teeming with life and, just like with the village we previously visited, we were visitors in a local’s territory; venomous snakes, tortoises, and a canopy of not so welcoming monkeys were those included in our welcome wagon. Once we finally arrived at the lagoon, we were greeted by a group of caiman crocodiles who wasted no time making their presence known. This would be the first of dozens more to come. At our nightly brief, we were given a handful of useful tips once again. More specifically we were instructed to keep our hands and feet out of the water due to the abundance of crocs in the region, as well as, you guessed it… piranha. Aside from everyone’s favorite razor-toothed fish, the waters around us were absolutely filled with beautiful peacock bass. I could spend time describing them, but the pictures speak for themselves. I stayed light with my setup that first day with IRT300 spinning reels and bass rods in the 5-15lb class. One of our members, Armando, caught a nice peacock bass on his IRT fly reel, and it wasn’t long before Seth started stacking numbers himself. I believe we reeled in around 25 peacock bass that first day alone, with a few of them weighing in at 14lbs. Quitting time varied day by day depending on how far we would venture from our camp and how long it would take for us to return. Sunlight isn’t something you’re looking to lose when hoofing it through the Amazon. Once we’d made it back to the secondary camp, we all ate dinner: fresh piranha with LOTS of carbs. We all turned in fairly early that night, and this was true of many; we woke up most days around five o’clock, turned in early at night, and continued that cycle throughout most of our trip. Our second day was more of the same. We had insane luck pulling in bass at the lagoon. This day though, we had to split a little earlier due to our travel time back to our primary base camp. I should also note that we only kept a few of the caught fish to eat and share with locals. The rest of the batch were strictly catch and release. At the end of the day, our four-hour hike back to the riverbank was bookended by a riverboat trip to base camp and a downpour to go along with it. The rain was a welcome surprise after the hot and humid walk, and it helped distract my senses from the blisters and wounds that were forming inside of my rubber, village market-bought boots. To anyone reading this that may be considering taking a similar trip, here’s a word of advice. Bring some quality water proof boots!