December 31, 2015

Catching River Monsters in Guyana, South America

This is the definition of a bucket list trip! I'd been wanting to fish South America for several years and it finally happened a few months ago. I set up my trip with Adventure Travel Alliance. They were great, and I plan on using them again for future trips. I flew into Georgetown, Guyana and from there took a small prop plane to Apoteri Village. From the village we went 26 miles up the Essequibo River to our camp. My main focus was to catch the legendary Arapaima. Guyana is the last place on earth where you can still catch wild Arapaima. After that, My goal was to catch as many species as I could.

We fished hard for 6 days, and caught some amazing fish. We also was all sorts birds. Some of my favorites were Toucans, Crimson and Blue Macaws and the Amazon King Fisher. we also saw Capuchin, Squirrel, Spider and Howler Monkeys along with Giant River Otters, Caymans, and hearing a Jaguar. We were not lucky enough to see one other than tracks. From here, this post will mostly be pictures with descriptions.

My hotel in Georgetown.

My first flight in a prop plane.

Flying over Kaieteur Falls. The world's widest single drop waterfall at 741 feet.

My favorite picture of the trip.
Our camp 26 miles up-river from Apoteri Village.

Capuchin and Squirrel monkeys

The Black Piranha. I thought they were fun to catch, but they quickly became a nuisance. They would often eat the bait before you could get it to the bottom, and they destroyed several lures. we caught them up to 10 pounds.

Peacock Bass. These guys were everywhere. These bass would blowup cranks and top-water plugs. You won't find the giants like they have in Brazil, but they are sure fun to catch.

Making a path down a small stream to get into a lagoon.

I thought I would try to be Tarzan. Not more than two seconds after this picture was taken, the vine snapped high in the tree and all of it came down on me. everyone had a good laugh.

A small Jacunda makes for great bi-catch chasing other species.

The Payara or Vampire fish known for it's over-sized fangs which are so big, there are holes in the upper jaw so the fish can close it's mouth. They roam the faster moving water of the river, and they destroy whatever lure they hit.

Burning logs is easier than hauling them off. they also make a great BBQ for the fish we caught.

A typical meal on our trip. This meal was peacock bass, rice, cabbage, fruits and veggies with some piranha soup. we also had chicken some nights with our catch. I was able to try several of the species I caught.

bow and arrows made by one of the guides used for both hunting and fishing.

Worms from a nut that grows down here. made great bait to catch bait...

Catching bait fish with a willow pole. These Rainbow Wolf Fish did the trick.

A Surubi or Tiger Shovelnose Catfish. we caught them on crank baits and cut bait.

Leopard Catfish. my favorite looking fish of the trip.

Cayman eating our left over bait.

A few of the bigger Redtail Catfish I landed.

Petroglyphs from an ancient people that live in the area. this was along the only river crossing when the river is low.

Our guides went above and beyond to get us into the many lagoons.

The first Arowana of the trip. being in a black water lagoon, the colors were much darker than that of his friend in the main river.

The main target of this trip; the hard fighting Arapaima. I hooked into several, but they almost always got the best of me. I've never fought a fish with the kind of power the Arapaima has.

A few still shots of an Arapaima dancing across the water. They would explode out of the water!

100+ bites from something. They oozed for several days, and itched for over a month. Ants, chiggers or something else. I'm just glad the itching is finally gone!

A Jaguar foot print on the beach where we caught some bait the morning before. 

Making our way to another lagoon.

The guide called this a Doualow (dow-a-low). I have no idea on the spelling.

The Aimara or Wolf Fish is the nastiest tempered fish in the Jungle. If you're in the water and come into their area, plan on getting bit.

The Wolf Fish's bite is not only dangerous because of it's teeth. It has bacteria that it has in its mouth that causes quick infection.

(turn your speakers up) Howler Monkeys in the distance. They were our alarm clock every morning around 3:30 -4 am. One morning they were so close, you could feel the howl in your chest like a car with a nice sound system.

Giant Amazon River Turtle. This one weighed around 90 pounds. The guide told me this was a medium sized one. We took a quick picture and set it free.

Gathering vines for an anchor rope.

Pacu that a guide got with his arrows.

Sunset over the Essequibo River with the Guyana highlands in the distance.

An Arowana from the main river. notice the color change from the Arowana picture earlier,

a baby Biara (spelling).

A Tarantula that greeted me in the shower. It's the only time I freaked out on the trip.

I picture of the crew. It was great meeting new friends.

The kids from the village loved coming to greet the plane. The Amerindian people are some of the nicest people you'll meet.
Loading up the plane. I hope that one day I'll make it back.


  1. What an awesome trip and great photos

  2. Wow!! That is the one place I would go if I could afford it. Nice post and trip. Mack