a moment in time – new pike PB!

As a fisherman you probably know how a single moment can turn any average day on the water into one to remember for a lifetime.
I fish for moments like this. Usually they don’t happen, despite all the reasons I figure out why I deserve such a moment right now, but that’s what makes them so special when they finally happen, I guess.

As fall is approaching here with big steps, our local predators are said to be feeding to prepare for the cold, dark months that will come soon.
More than happy I accepted the latest invitation of Sam to join him for a day on his boat. Early in the morning we headed to the lake nearby, I really missed such moments since our perch hunts earlier this year.
So we were fishing all day long, mainly looking for bit pikes. Now and then we landed a smaller one but the fish didn’t seem all too motivated. At least the weather was warmer as expected and mostly sunny. so we got that going for us. Unfortunately, comfortable conditions for us don’t always mean satisfying catching rates too.
Anyway, we were far away from giving up throwing around our swimbaits over and over again!

When inviting me, Sam sounded all promising since he caught several well-sized fish a few days prior this trip. This made me hope for my first +1-meter pike ever. Which is probably comparable to catching a 10pound Largemouth or 20pound Peacock Bass.
My current pike-PB was at around 70cm, not much to brag about but lots of potential for improvement.

The sun was already on its way behind the mountains so we decided to fish for another 15 minutes before heading back. As I was watching my swimbait coming up from the depths out of a sudden something shot out of the dark and inhaled my lure! It looked way bigger than the fish we caught before, I set the hook like a madman but the first impression disappointed me a bit when I could reel in the first meters of line quite effortlessly. Disappointment quickly turned into excitement when the fish on the other end realised what happened and started ripping line from the almost completely closed break. “Big Fish!”I started to realize while my possible new PB started another run into the depths. Sam was ready with the net and when I got a first glance at the massive fish under the surface my knees became weak. “That is THE pike!”, never had I seen a bigger on before in real life!
Sam, having already caught many such calibers himself, did an excellent net job. What a relief to see his fish secured in the net! I was and still am deeply impressed by the size and power of that fish, with its massive head, the sharp teeth and muscular body.
Sam questioned the size of the fish while I was pretty sure that monster lengths a meter.

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The measure tape made it all clear: 107cm! – My new PB!

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What a motivation boost, I want more of that stuff!

Big thanks once again to Sam for another unforgettable day on the water, the netjob and the awesome pictures!
Like Ice Cube said: Today was a good day!

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Thanks for your time!
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jungle tackle – use a net, safe a Peacock!

Landing a fish with a net is usually the safest way to do so and for the fish as well.
At least if the person on the net knows what he/she is doing…

With the following lines I’d like to explain why I think every Peacock Bass fishing camp should have nets on their boats ( and it’s probably the same for other fishing camps as well…).

Since I became a dedicated Peacock Bass fisherman I’ve been browsing the web almost daily for the latest photos from the jungle. What caught my eyes way too often is how badly these fish are presented. 20-pounders hanging at a LipGrip and if they are supported at the tail a big percentage is literally bent up to 90 degrees. Sometimes I almost feel how uncomfortable the fish in this position…
Plus I can’t imagine that it is healthy for the fish to hang with its full weight at its jaw. I heard stories from guides I met who told me that they even heard jaws breaking while trying to get a hold on the fish…

Of course, if one really wants protect the fish he/she shouldn’t fish at all. Maybe a snorkelling tour would do it. But then again I don’t think snorkeling in the amazon would be such afun idea plus I like fishing, watching a big Peacock Bass hit the topwater plug is an amazing experience in my eyes.
So if I do stress the fish at least I want to handle my catches with respect, like I have big respect for the rest of the nature too.
So why not treat fish with respect too since without them our passion wouldn’t be quite the same…

I observed it myself, when a big Peacock Bass is next to the boat and ready to land there are usually two possible scenarios:

  1. the landing is done wrong and the fish shakes the lure off…
  2. the fish gets fixed on its jaw with a lipgrip and shakes his locked head what doesn’t seem that healthy to me…

For this reason, before my departure to Colombia this january, I sent two nets to the camp since luggage is usually very limited on such trips. It wasn’t that cheap but I think it was worth it. After I introduced our guide on how to use this landing method it worked quite good.
Bigger fish were dragged over the net, could outpower themselves still in the water and while the fish was recovering there was time to prepare the camera. When everything was ready the lucky one took the fish out the net, a few pictures were taken, which shouldn’t take longer than a few seconds, before the fish got safely released. All that without dislocation the fish’s jaw or break anything else.

Plus the weighting of the fish can be done safely too. Remove the stick, close the net and hang it on the scale. Now you just subtract the weight of the net and you got the exact weight without hanging the fish on just one part. This might not work with all nets so later in this post I will present the net we used.

DSC_0603– how to properly weight a big Peacock Bass – fish in the wet net, digital scale on the net –

So you caught a real beast or even your new personal best and want to get some quality shots of it at the next beach? –  Transport your trophy (it’s still an animal, living creature) safely in the water with a net! I’ve seen too many videos where big Peacock Bass were caught, a few pictures were taken on the boat then they drive to the closest beach to get some more photos all while the fish was hanging on a lipgrip in the air for several minutes and sometimes it even falls into the boat… I can’t understand how one can treat a fish like this and I’m not sure how many or how less survive this harsh treatment. Anglers seem to have lost all respect for the nature just to get some ugly pictures in their speedos. If you really need such beach pictures please use a net! Like this the fish can be transported in the water without risking to hit its head in the boat plus it can breath too.

The nets I use are the “SavageGear Pro folding Rubber Mesh Landing Net XL“. In my opinion an excellent choice for big freshwater fish. I see various advantages:

  • large and deep: with 70x85cm plus the deepness it offers enough space for the fish.

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188– 12-13lb fish in the net –
(Photocreds: Housi)

  • rubber net: hooks can be removed easily and it least harms a fish’s skin.

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  • foldable: it can easily be stored in the boat and is quickly unfolded when a fish is on the line. The stick can be removed for a safe weighting of the catch.

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DSC_0028– easily stored and quickly ready –

  • quality: the net is well made and should endure several seasons even under rough conditions.

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You might think now “well that all sounds reasonable but what about the transport? Even though its foldable it won’t fit in most regular luggage which is already limited on such fishing trips anyway…”
I totally agree with you, as I mentioned at the beginning I had to send mine a few weeks before by postal service and you don’t want to know about the costs for such shipment from Switzerland to Colombia…

To come to a conclusion, I think its in the responsibility of the camps to equip all their boats with decent landing nets, the SavageGear one is just one of many appropriate options. Why? In the end the fish are a camps capital, without them they can close their business, so the fish should be treated accordingly. Big fish produce the future generations plus most clients do such trips in hope of catching the Big One!
It might cost something at the beginning but isn’t it worth the costs if several more big fish will survive?!
Equip your boats with nets and inform your guides AND the clients how to respectfully treat the fish. With the actual technic, good pictures can be taken quickly and with respectful treatment the fish will swim away with a minimum of harm afterwards.

Of course every fish (like every other creature) should be treated with respect and harmed as less as possible. In this article I mainly refer to Peacock Bass fishing because I’ve been on several such trips myself and wherever I went or saw pictures from the LipGrip seems to be the number one landing tool. I don’t want to talk bad about LipGrip, it’s a helpful tool when used properly. I just think that sometimes it should be used more careful regarding the fish’s health!

In this sense, think for the future and for the fish!

190– tired of taking pictures in the boat? – transport your catch in the net besides the boat until you reach your photospot –
(Photocreds: Housi)

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Perch season 2017 so far…

After several reports from abroad here a few words about the recent adventures on the local lake here in Switzerland. The last few trips convinced me that the fishing here can be fun and very interesting too if you put some work in it!
Since a few years now I’ve wanted to catch a big perch in our local lake. I never put too much effort in it  and so I hadn’t caught a really big one yet.
This season has been quiet different and it all started when my good friend Sam invited me on his boat a few weeks ago…
The following paragraphs describe what went down so far – enjoy!

first attempt
Sunday on the lake with Sam. It’s still cold, definitely not my favourite weather. A few casts into the first spot, Sam’s giving me tips on how the set the hook properly (not as hard as when bassfishing) then out of nowhere I feel a bite and set the hook like I’ve been told. Sam lands my first perch of the season, I haven’t seen one that big  in person yet – that has to be my new PB!? It is – 38cm, I’m stoked! No fish during the rest of the day but I’m smiling anyway!

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second trip
Sam: can you take wednesday off? Me: Gotta ask, I already took vacation recently… Later me: let’s go, I don’t need that income anyway, gonna eat yogurt for the rest of the month.^^ I don’t catch a damn fish that day. Sam doesn’t catch much neither what kinda comforts me a bit haha.

third trip
One week later I take another day off. I’m lucky that my actual job allows me so much free days as long as everything is done that needs to be done. Fishing is slow through the day. A few bumpers or was it just a overly motivated rock..? In the evening we pull up on a good looking spot and there is the bite I was waiting for! 40cm – new PB, just 10 days after pushing it to 38.

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fourth trip
Another Wednesday, another day on the water… We both catch some perch now and then but the big ones stay away… We give my new favourite spot another try and promptly we catch and lose some nicer ones. What happens then still amazes me, just one week later I break my PB again with a nice 42er perch! A few casts later, I believe to have hooked some grass but out of a sudden the “plant” starts to fight and Sam nets another beautiful perch of 42cm for me. Never thought I would catch two such big perch within half an hour. These trips are getting better and better!

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fifth trip
Once again I convince my boss to let me do my Wednesday workload on Saturday. So Sam and I give it another. We improve on the numbers but don’t get another +40 perch this time. Still a nice day on the water!

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sixth trip
Already one day later I had to get at the lake for a quick after work session. The latest trips definitely motivated me and I just ignore the heavy winds blowing straight into my face. I cast to this one particular spot again and again, I just feel like there are some fish around and Bam! – theory approved! With 25cm it’s already a nice perch but not the size I was hoping for. I give it another shot and there’s another one, this time it feels way heavier – big fish! After almost loosing it to the only freakin stick along this long strech, my buddy who joined me can finally net the fish. I’m not sure how I deserve this but once again I broke my PB – 43cm! Can’t really believe it, what an evening!

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seventh trip
Sunday, the sun is shining and the lake is full of bathtub-captains and weekend-anglers. In the afternoon dark clouds scare them off the lake and once again we put Sam’s boat into good use. Both land a few good ones without getting over 35cm. right before the thunderstorm we head back home.

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eighth trip
It’s already Wednesday again, another day fishing. At this point I really got into the local perch fishery. I’m looking forward to each upcoming trip with such euphoria which before I only knew from bass or peacock bass fishing days.
It seems like we chose the perfect day. Already in the morning we both get several well sized perch. the highlight is definitely the double hook-up with a 39er for Sam and a 42er for me.
The afternoon continues awesome with more nice fish and sunny weather. Shortly before heading back I even catch the second 40up of the day – my first 41er.
Easily my best perch day ever and even Sam counts it to his Top5 which definitely means something!

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ninth trip
After yesterday I just had to do another shore-after-work-session with buddy Daniel. First cast – fish on! …but it shakes off the lure after a bad netting attempt. Two casts later – fish on, again and this time it lands in the net. 42cm – what’s going on?!

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tenth trip
Shore session on my own. First cast – Bam! there’s the next one but while I dip my net into the water the 40up perch frees itself – what a bummer…

eleventh trip
After loosing that pretty fish the day before I just have to give it another shot. this time with Jan who catches a nice 35up perch while I miss several good bites.

twelfth trip
Monday but some sort of holiday, so Sam and I put his boat another time on the lake. the thunderstorm from the days before seem to scared the fish and just catch some small ones now and then. We plan to leave around 5pm, drive to one of our spots for the third time this day and finally we find them. Out of a sudden I hook one and instantly feel that it’s a good fish. A few meters from the boat we observe how the giant fish shakes its head and out is the hook… DAMN! There goes my new PB which Sam estimated to be at least 45cm. The 38er I catch shortly afterwards is just a small consolation. We end up leaving around 8pm, three hours “late”.

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Two days later I flew to Spain so that was my perch season so far. I’m looking forward to everything that will follow these trips and hope to catch some more nice sized, local fish soon!

Big thanks to Sam for these interesting times, I definitely learned a lot while having a great time. So looking forward to the next adventure!

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Tour de Tucunare – Colombia 2017

As I mentioned in the post before, I would have been devastated if I had to return to Switzerland after such a slow week that we had in Brazil this time. Fortunately this adventure just started and three more weeks were on the program.
In Manaus Daniel and I quickly packed up all our stuff and shortly afterwards headed to the airport. It took us another two flights to get to Bogota, Colombia where we had a few days to relax and visit the city. At first the high altitude plus the smog made every movement laborious but we still managed to visit some “important” spots.

DSC_0149– Bogota from above –

DSC_0203– Bolivar –

So, after a few days stumbling around this enormous city, it was finally time for the next round of Peacock Bass hunting! Together with Jan, our dear friend from Switzerland who joined us in Bogota, we flew to Puerto Inirida from where a boat brought us and the rest of the group for the week to our camp on the Rio Vichada. Because the anglers who fished the week before us would leave on the next day, we had to decided between tent or hammock and so I came to my first night in a hammock ever. It wouldn’t be the last such experience for a long time but more to this later.
An adventurous night later I was ready to finally catch some big Pavones as they call the Peacock Bass in Colombia. On the water, it took quiet some time until we got into some action but Daniel and I were already trained in being patient from the week before in brazil. Right before lunch I lost the first good sized fish in front of the boat. I still don’t know how but this fish managed to break off the screw which attached the prop and treble on the butt of my Highroller Riproller 7.5”. The lure was not one hour in use…
To not loose time, I decided to wait with tying on a new Chopper until lunch and fish an Imakatsu Trairao, rigged on another rod instead. A few casts in, a good one around 15lb inhaled the WTD lure. “Finally!” I thought to myself just seconds before I lost contact, the 80lb Daiwa Samurai Braid was cleanly cut.
As we discovered, grow the bigger Peacocks here small teeth able to cut line. So, if such a fish inhales a lure completely (which is more likely to happen with smaller baits) it gets difficult because as soon as the line touches a toothy part of the fish’s mouth it can easily break, which probably happened with my fish too.
What a harsh start into this trip but at least I already got some motivational action by noon. In the afternoon we didn’t find the real big ones neither but still both got some decent sized fish up to 8lb, what would have been an excellent result one week ago on the Kalua. Fortunately we had 14 full days of fishing ahead of us, 14 opportunities to catch monster Peacock Bass of which we dreamed since we left Colombia almost exactly one year ago.

DSC_0228– Daniel seemed to like his new PBT shirt –

On day two our guide Daniel (yes, two Daniels on the boat so I will call my fishing buddy by his nickname “Housi” for the rest of this report) took us to a lagoon which was already dried out when we were there last year. While Daniel was negotiating the entry fee with the Indians to which this lagoon belongs, I played around with my Wide Glide 200 which I bought a week earlier in Manaus. I just couldn’t resist the stunning discount of a full dollar! Jokes besides, when Housi brought one of these with him the last year I just laughed, I was too fixed on my Highroller Riprollers aka Chopper which in my eyes were the best thing ever made. This time I was going for the biggest, meanest Peacock Bass in the river so I wanted to step up a size. So I was making my first casts with this 20cm surface glidebait to see how it works and totally unexpected I got the first fish of the day on my third cast. What a cool start in the day, this lure definitely won my attention!

DSC_0233 – first fish for the R2S Wide Gilde 200F and the Deps Huge Custom 6’2”-

This catch motivated me to spend throwing this lure all day long which resulted in some nice fish while the fishing overall stood tough. Till the evening I brought around 10 fish in the boat ranging from over-motivated 3-pounders to nice fish in the 13lb-class plus several good ones that spit out the heavy lure.

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DSC_0249 – respect the creatures of mother nature –

The following days didn’t go as promising as we were hoping due to the not ideal conditions of waterlevel, weather, moon and others. Of course we kept fishing anyway and landed some well sized fish but the real trophies didn’t seem too motivated…

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DSC_0274– rainstorms occured on a daily basis, it could get nasty quickly –

After a few days fishing the lagoons around the camp, we, Housi, Jan and me plus our guides, decided to try our luck up river where we found some promising spots in the past year. Our host bought a simple house in the village up there which was our base camp for the coming days. The house basically consists of not much more than four walls and a  simple sheet roof with an improvised kitchen where also shower ans toilet are located. Since there is no more furniture than a small table and a few plastic chairs we had to sleep in hammocks again. Which isn’t the worst place to sleep if it wasn’t for the village’s dogs which kept loudly communicating with their friends all night long. When one finally fell asleep, the peace usually didn’t hold on longer than until our cook started her work at 4am sharp. So much for the “vacation” part of this trip but, at least I, didn’t make my way to the jungle for sleeping anyway :).

DSC_0382– Housi and Jan waiting for breakfast –

With a new starting point came new motivation and Housi and I told about the honey hole we found last year a few minutes from the village. With great anticipation we entered the lagoon but after fishing all the good points we hadn’t seen much fish and it didn’t get better the following hours after. The conditions didn’t seem right up here too and while leaving we discovered a possible reason, water was coming in what resulted in rising water levels. The next spot seemed the same as last year – dead! So the next few days we spent searching new lagoons via satellite view on an offline map on the smartphone. Fallen trees were worked out of the way, the boats pushed through almost no water and new waters conquered but the fish didn’t seem that hungry or the lagoons were already too dry. We even sent locals to up river to check water levels only to find a dried out lagoon the next day anyway.

DSC_0318– one of the few fish from our hotspot from last year –

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DSC_0289– the search for new lagoons resulted in interesting conversations with the locals –

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DSC_0469– even though the fish didn’t seem ready, my tackle was! –

After this fiasko for which we drove over 2 hours by boat one way we decided on a known lagoon of which we knew it had fish and water in it. We visited the lagoon from day two where I “discovered” the Wide Glide 200 and have been fishing it often whenever the conditions seemed right. To make the story of this short, it still seemed to be working. In the morning I caught a 13lber and a 15lber within ten minutes and another nice one around 13lb later that day. A welcome change after the last few days being kind of tough.

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So the supplies got shorter and shorter and after a few days there was no more bottled drinking water available in the whole village what forced us to live off entirely of Coca Cola, Gatorde and beer which sounds like way more fun than it actually was. Before we had to hunt and dig for water, our host had another fishing boat bring us supplies to the lagoon where we both were supposed to fish this day. This delivery turned out to be way more intense than such a simple task usually goes. When we arrived at the mouth of the lagoon we were greeted with insults by the fisherman on the other boat. This because he had to wait for us for about 5-10 minutes. We quickly moved the goods in our boat and let the furious idiot enter the lagoon. Since we found him fishing the first of three lakes shortly afterwards we decided to head straight for the second one which he wanted to do as well when he saw us. We offered him that we would fish there for about half an hour and then move to another spot leaving him with all three lakes. But he didn’t seem that pleased and started shouting at us things like “get out of MY lagoon”, “I paid for fishing here, these are MY spots” or my favorite “you came here to colonise Colombia, MY country!”. The amusing part ended abruptly when he started waving around with a machete but he calmed down quickly when he was offered to clear this with a fistfight ashore. He sat down sulky and we decided to leave him with HIS spots for which he paid… as we did of course but he seemed to forget that. Anyway, at the end we should be the lucky ones while the immature giant-baby caught almost nothing that day, as we later were told. Daniel drove us to a spot nearby and suddenly I saw several blow ups a few hundred meters in front of us. Of course we had to try to find those fish and to my surprise we did only minutes after the observed action. One of the pack bite my Riproller but got off in front of the boat. I saw several double digit fish following their friend and we he got off I pitched the tangled up lure a few meters, twitched it a bit and the biggest fish (an estimated 18lber) of the group came up from below and ate it straight away. At the same time Housi hooked one two and now we tried to land two well sized fish with one net-job. Mine got off a few moments later and while reeling in the lure another, smaller fish hit the Riproller again but finally shook it off before getting in the net. So in total I had three fish on but landed none while Housi had one which he landed. Life can be unfair in so many ways but this was such a spectacular action that couldn’t be angry for long but appreciated the experience instead. At least I have the whole action on GoPro. On our way to the lunch spot we stopped at one particular spot and stood there a bit longer than planned. It might sound crazy but we probably hit the perfect moment because Housi landed during 40 minutes a fish with each single cast!!! I caught my fish too but experimented with several topwaters before turning to a midwater lure which was a guaranty for fish in this case. We weren’t catching trophy Peacocks but still fun to catch fish between two and five pounds. We were sure that there had to be some bigger ones around as well and before we finally left for lunch, Housi made one cast with a bigger Glider what resulted in another 13 pounder. What an unbelievable day or at least morning! In the afternoon we found a few more fish what rounded up this pretty good day.

DSC_0442 – good one on the Riproller before leaving –

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The fishing kept being tough so our guide decided to try one last joker. We visited a local indian tribe and asked for permission to fish their lagoon for the coming day. In the past they always refused entrance to everybody but after a discussion with Daniel and some money, the chief agreed to let us fish there the next day if he could join us on the boat. Since we never had the intent to betray anybody we picked him up early the next morning and started fishing. Until noon a few spots produced good action and Jan even caught a fat 16 pounder.

DSC_0445– FangBait fish in the morning  – 

The real magic started after lunch when our new friend told us to keep fishing one particular spot where the fish would come every single day to feed. So for the next few hours we fished one particular spot of maybe 50x150m over and over. First we thought we were dreaming because what happened seemed so far from reality. Every 5-10 minutes somebody of the three of us caught a fish in the 8-12lb range with a few fish up to 16lb. Sometimes all three had fish on at the same time, Jan even had a doubleheader on his jerkbait twice and this action held on for hours. From time to time we took a break until on of us decided to catch another fish and BAM! caught one on the first cast. Even our guides had to admit that they haven’t seen something like this ever before. Maybe with smaller fish from 1-3lbs but never with fish in this size.

190– good one on the Riproller in the afternoon –

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It felt so unreal and I kept fishing like a maniac with hopes for THE big one to show up. So I decided to put myself apart of the rest and changed my jerkbait for my new friend, the Wide Glide! Jan was still laughing when something big crushed my lure in front of his boat! Finally in the net the scale showed something over 16lbs! “That’s what I’m talking about!” Not the 20 pounder I was hoping for but nevertheless a stunning Peacock Bass!

DSC_0452– of course the camera had to be on the wrong settings for the biggest one… –

DSC_0492– battle scars –

This crazy action endured until sunset when we had to return to the village and left a unforgettable memory in our minds! What a day!

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– beautiful colors on this one –

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– power of pink –

After these action-packed days we stumbled upon Johnny Hoffmann and his crew at lunch. Because they wanted to film we were denied access to the lagoon we planned on fishing in the afternoon. Since our supplies were almost used up again and some of our group were unmotivated due a lack of sleep, we decided to drive down to the camp.

DSC_0486– good one from the morning –

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DSC_0496– another one on the Wide Glide on the way back –

DSC_0548– back in the camp –

The next day we returned to the indian lagoon where the magic happened two days ago because we promised so to the chief of this village. We still caught a bunch of fish but compared to our first visit the end result wasn’t nearly as stunning as last time.

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DSC_0540– Borboleta –

Housi and Jan then decided to leave two days earlier for Puerto Inirida due tiredness and a lack of motivation to fish the same lagoons around the camp again. So for the last two days I was on my own, fishing alone with Daniel. We invited Nano, our guy for everything in the camp and friend, to join us on the boat which he happily accepted. I decided to concentrate on my old favourite, the mighty Highroller Riproller, which provided some fun action through the last days of this amazing trip despite losing a really big fish on the very last cast!

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DSC_0623– the almost perfect shot –

DSC_0625– and now the whole fish –

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DSC_0676 – trees. i like trees –

DSC_0698– fishing till the moon rises –

DSC_0700– time to pack my stuff –

Even though the 20lber didn’t happen this time it was still another amazing trip which I hopefully will remember for the rest of my life. To experience all this nature around is always impressive! One more time I am very thankful for another successful adventure. May many more follow in the future! Thank you to all that made this trip possible, until next time!

If you made it till here I’d like to thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed this report!

DSC_0684– PBTworldwide –

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Tour de Tucunare – Brazil 2017

Last year, when I returned from the Rio Vichada in Colombia, I was sure that I have to return to this river. When my school year didn’t go as planned, it opened up possibilities for another fishing trip. Together with my fishingbuddy Daniel aka Housi we put together a promising adventure and so, for the rest of the year, I worked my ass off to finance those long awaited weeks.
To make the long, uncomfortable flights from Europe to South America worth it, we decided to stay a bit longer than on the trips before. What we exactly did you will find out in the following lines…

We started our trip with a week in Brazil on the famous barco hotel “Kalua”. Long before our arrival in Manaus, Brazil, we knew the conditions probably won’t be very good. Unstable water levels limited the choice of the rivers and reports of trips before ours didn’t sound promising neither. Despite the bad outlook we visited two of the Sucuri Pesca stores shortly after finally arriving in Manaus. I planned on buying plenty of my favourite chopper-lure, the Highroller Riproller 7.5inch, since I used up the few I had last year in Colombia. But both stores didn’t have any Highrollers in stock, the explanation of the sales staff was simple “we just sold so many…”. Hmm, so how about ordering some more?! Compared to our last visit 2 years ago, both shops were scarcely stocked and most of the lures I wanted seemed sold out since longer. The staff didn’t seem to care much and tried to sell me some cheap Chinese knock-offs instead…
Fortunately we both already brought too many lures with us so the failed shopping tour didn’t bother me too much and a short night later we were headed back to the airport to get to Barcelos. On the Kalua, the tackle was quickly prepared and I couldn’t wait to make to first casts. We ended up on the Rio Demini, the only river around with dropping water levels but an unexpected ton of mosquitos.

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Finally on the water, we had not just to find the fish but also the few available spots. Other operators chose the same river and so around 20 fishing boats ended up casting around in the same area, most of them without much success. At the end of day one, Daniel and I had each one small Peacock Bass around 4lb to tell about which wasn’t even a bad result compared to the other 14 anglers on the Kalua.

Full of motivation we started the second day which is quickly told, zero! Not one single Tucunare wanted to bite if there were even fish around, we weren’t so sure. There was no action on the surface and the temperatures of water and air were surprisingly cool.

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Our guide for the week, Carlinho, put in a lot of effort to bring us to some fish. So one morning we spent around two hours cutting our way through heavy reeds until we landed in a promising lagoon.

DSC_0019– “so where’s the lagoon?” –

DSC_0033 – “hold on, I got this” –

After figuring out the working patterns, we caught around 40 Peacocks. Not the big ones we were looking for but still fun after catching almost nothing the days before. With a nice 8lb Acu, Daniel got the biggest fish of the day. At the end of the week his catch was announced as biggest fish of the trip out of 16 anglers. Yes, fishing was that bad!

DSC_0036– biggest fish of the trip, 8lb –

DSC_0043– about the average –

Fortunately we can’t see into the future and so we got up each morning, ready to catch some monsters! Carlinho even organised a chainsaw to get into a hidden Lagoon. After cutting several fallen trees in half, pulling the boat through a drying out creek and battling angry wasps, we finally made it!

DSC_0078– secret entrance –

DSC_0086– working hard –

DSC_0089– the other guides seemed to have big hopes in this lagoon too –

Excitement quickly came up when our guide discovered an Arapayma breathing on the surface. Of course we tried all kind of lures to catch it but the mystical fish disappeared as quick as it came up a few minutes earlier. This was already more or less the highlight of the day because we didn’t get any bites except from those damn bugs! Our guide, guided by the guide of the guides, even made the extra effort and moved away some more trees to get us into the secret part of this lagoon. We didn’t see any fish there but were still very lucky when, on the way out, I discovered a scorpion behind Carlinho’s ear just in time to remove it before it could do any damage. After leaving this promising but empty hole of water, we spent the rest of the afternoon fishing the main river where at least we found some smaller but hungry fish.

DSC_0046– Arowana on topwater are fun too –

The rest of the week we concentrated our fishing on beaches and pocket in the river itself where we found a bit bigger fish than the usual Popocas but fishing remained tough. We had to downsize our lures and I even had to lay away my Highrollers and Woodchoppers and fish midwater baits instead in order to catch at least something.

027– that feeling when you finally land a “bigger” one –

DSC_0059– Miami style –

DSC_0066– at least the Piranhas were nicely sized –

DSC_0054– Peacock on lipless crank –

DSC_0064– my biggest of the week with around 7lb –

The only thing that could be found at each spot at any time was a massive amount of mosquitos and sandflies. Wherever we went, these suckers found us within minutes.
Despite all this negativity, we kept casting but instead of catching fish we talked some senseless sh*t to keep us laughing and enjoyed the impressive beauty of the rainforest around us.

DSC_0134– find the beach –

Before getting back to Barcelos, where our stay on the Kalua ended, we fished the Rio Negro. The water was still way too high and the beaches, which offer great spots for big Peacock Bass, were all under water. The whole morning I was hoping for the lucky punch that would conclude this week but in the end I got one blow-up on the Woodchopper. The 5lb Paca was then caught by Daniel on the following cast with a jerkbait…

Fortunately there were two more weeks of fishing waiting for us in Colombia. With this in mind I could easily accept this bad first week without getting too disappointed. I don’t want to think about how I would have felt if I had to return to Switzerland the next day…

DSC_0116– Kalua and its supply boat on the left –

DSC_0077 – Luau aka BBQ on the beach. I definitely never went to bed hungry on this trip! –

The fishing might have been slow during this week but I can’t say anything bad about our mothership aka Kalua. Everything left a well organised impression, from the pick-up at the airport to the transport back to the hotel after returning from  the jungle. The barco hotel itself is equipped with everything necessary plus some luxury like AC, fridge with cold drinks around the clock and even satellite TV for the telenovela for breakfast :) The staff, like our guide, worked hard every day to make all aboard happy. Besides the fishing and the thousands of bites that covered my body, this week was a success and probably one of the most luxurious vacations I’ve been on until now.
In this sence, a huge THANK YOU/OBRIGADO to the whole Kalua crew!

After some rest in Manaus, we continued our journey with more flights to Panama and from there to Colombia where we hoped for the big ones! How the following weeks went you will be able to read in the next post coming soon!

Thanks for reading!

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faith in swiss fishing restored… kind of

Since my latest Peacock-trip back in February, I haven’t been fishing much. Not being a fan of the cold swiss weather I had to motivate myself to each attempt again and again. When I got a little less cold, I don’t see 15 Celsius as really warm, I tried to fish whenever I had some extra time. Usually I ended with those fishless sessions with even less motivation.

Recently a few guys from tackle-junkies.ch, a fishing forum in involved in, organized a meeting at their local lake. Interested in trying something new, exchanging the latest tackle talk and discovering a, to me practically unknown, part of Switzerland I decided to join them.

So in order to be on the water early, the journey started at around 3.30am in the morning, way too early for a Saturday wasn’t it for the sake of catching some fish. This hope kept me awake during the two hour drive to new water. At the lake I met up with a local, Steven, who was so nice to show me around on the lake. We set up our belly boats and started paddling along the shoreline. First I tried to catch a big perch in the depth but as this didn’t seem to work, at least for me, I changed my strategy and threw a small Topwater against the reeds hoping to catch a nice chub. Surprisingly the first bite came within minutes, the second followed quickly and brought me a challenging fight with this pretty pike. Not really what I was fishing for but after the last months this catch made my morning.

IMG_1123 Shortly afterwards a rainstorm came upon us and of course, prepared as I am, I left my rainjacket in the car. So I ended up taking an unplaned shower early in the morning. Nonetheless, the bite held on and I caught five more, smaller pikes and then finally the targeted fish, a chub! IMG_1128

After meeting up with the other anglers for lunch, the clouds disappeared and finally I saw the sun again after way too many rainy days. The nice weather seemed to to slow down the afternoon bite and I couldn’t catch any more fish.

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Anyway, it felt felt really good to be back on the water and do some serious fishing rather than standing unmotivated at the shore and throw some lures around just that I could say I tried. this day definitely gave me back motivation to go fishing more often instead of just hoping/waiting for the next big trip to the tropics.

The last weeks it rained almost constantly and I was busy preparing myself for the upcoming exams but in about a these will be over and I will be back on the water, making the best of the options we have around here.

In this sense, thanks for reading and I hope I will soon be able to present some more local fish stories and pictures on here soon!

Please check out my facebook and instagram account for updates and for more high quality pictures visit my flickr stream. Contact through facebook.

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Colombian Jungle Adventure

When I first told my friends and family about fishing in the amazon they thought that I am crazy and I guess they still do… Nobody could understand why I would travel around half the globe, endure extremely hot temperatures plus thousands of insects flying around me and all that “suffering” just to catch some fish…

Well, I guess I take all that on me for the love, the love for bass fishing. After my last trip to Brazil back in march 2015, I just knew that I have to go back to jungle and look for the biggest and meanest peacock bass again and again and again! Don’t get me wrong, I like all kinds of bass and try to take every chance I get to hook one. But since I caught my first peacock, this obsession got even stronger! So when my friend and fishing buddy Daniel told me about some cheap flights to Colombia he just found I didn’t think much and just booked it. That was last summer and from then on we started to organize an adventure we would never have expected to be like it turned out in the end.

Let’s start from the beginning, towards the end of January I took the well known four hour train ride to Lugano. There I met with Daniel and together we travelled once again towards South America. Rough hours in the plane later we finally landed in Bogota, Colombia!

There were good news and bad news. The good one, all our luggage including rod tube made it complete and more or less safe to our destination. The bad news, the guy that was supposed to pick us up couldn’t be found anywhere. But thanks to the wonder of cellphones and Daniel’s Spanish Skills we finally got picked up and brought to our hotel. The rest of the day we spent unpacking and repacking tackle, eating steak and meeting up with our Aussie friend, Aaron, who joined us on this trip. At this point shoutout to him and thanks again for all the gifts and the time we spent!

So after a short night we drove back to the airport we came from a few hours earlier and got on our plane to Inirida. There the tropical weather welcomed us with all its heat. Thanks to El Niño, the temperatures where higher than usual (during noon the thermometer often reached over 40 celsius) and the water level of the Rio Orinoco and all the rivers around on unusual low levels for this time of the year. Despite the harsh conditions we continued our travel by boat to our camp at the Rio Vichada, the river we would fish for the next two weeks.

A few uncomfortable hours upriver later we finally arrived at our destination where the next surprise was already waiting for us. The group from last week was still here and wouldn’t leave until the next day. So instead of organizing our stuff, taking a shower and relaxing after a hard on day trip we were brought to the other side of the river were we shared dinner with millions of insects and spent the first night in sandy tents. We wished for an adventure and there we got, I guess. :)

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Getting up early was definitely worth it!

The breakfast and tackle preparations were quickly done and so we started into the first week of peacock bass fishing on the Rio Vichada! Not long after arriving at the first spot I already hooked some pretty peacocks on my Nemo Woodchopper.

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Due to the extrem low water levels, we had just four or five lagoons left to fish in. The rest were already inaccessible or even dried out. Sharing these limited possibilities with three other boats (there was a total of eight anglers in the camp during that week) didn’t make the fishing any easier. But instead of complaining we stood focused and kept fishing hard! I found lots of joy in fishing Highrollers and so I ended up fishing this exhausting technique for days. During the first days, both of us caught some good fish.

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Smaller one the Gan Craft Dead Slow

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Another one on my custom rasta Highroller!

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Daniel with a pretty one

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Stunning sunset ends a day peacefully.

On the third day my “Chopping” work already paid off more than generous when something huge hit my my topwater plug and hooked itself on the second blowup. A wild fight started and after Daniel helped me with his quick reaction to keep the line out of the boat engine, our guide, whose name is Daniel as well, safely landed my first 20lb peacock! What a moment! While my whole body was shaking of excitement I held this beautiful fish quickly in front of the camera before safely releasing it back to its element. One word to describe this feeling? AMAZING!

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Happy to see this fish swim away strongly!

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VMC 4X 2/0 Treble after my new PB

We didn’t catch tons of fish but a big part of the peacocks we hooked were good sized and so we never lost our motivation. Each cast could have been a monster so we kept casting. But most of the time we had to be content with the impressive scenario of the river…

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As always, we knew how to entertain ourselves even after hours without any fishcontacts…

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Fortunately, from time to time we got rewarded for standing the abnormally hot sun and the omnipresent sandflies and other insects.

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Special spots need special tactics – Daniel with a nice one from between the rocks on a Megabass lipless crank.

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Our guide learned quickly how to handle my camera and made this cool shot.

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Close to 20lb but in the end one, two pounds short. Nonetheless a beautiful fish on a Highroller.

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Details

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Lunch break – time to gather new energies and more important to get out of the sun for a bit.

Did I already mention the insects we had to deal with?
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Unlike brazil, where we didn’t really have any bigger troubles with insects, sandflies and mosquitos seem to like the Vichada. Wherever we went, there were some insects that would bite or sting every part of our bodies which weren’t fully covered or protected. The only things that worked were to completely cover ourselves or to pollute our skin with Maxi Deet which melted all kinds of plastic we touched after applying it. After the first few days fishing, my legs were completely swollen and felt like they could explode at any moment. But the worst was definitely my right foot which was swollen to more than three times the normal size what made each step a painful experience. So I decided to just keep standing, focusing on fishing and move as less as possible. With the help of several medications and cremes my bigfoot finally started to turn normal after four days in the balloon mode.
I guess such incidents are part of the price one has to pay in order to catch good fish…

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From time to time a quick thunderstorm blew away the insects but didn’t really make this adventure more comfortable. But who needs lots of comfort if there are cool fish to be caught?!
The approaching storms seemed to put the fish in a crazy mood and so, right before the rain started falling, I landed my only decent Payara after loosing fish after fish on the previous casts.

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Rain for dinner

The first week went by quickly and despite all the traffic from four boats fishing the surrounding lagoons we all had a great time and each one caught some good sized fish. For five of our group was it time to go back and while they were on their way to Bogota, Daniel, Aussie friend Aaron and myself drove a few hours up the river. We wanted to fish some untouched lagoons with the hope to find some fat peacock bass that haven’t seen plastic lures like ours yet. Our guide, who grew up in this region, led us to a lagoon he remembered from the past and shortly after entering it both boats hooked good fish.

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So we stayed the next two nights in the only place around, a small village in the middle of the vast wilderness. This was an adventure for itself not just because the shower which we had to take out of a bucket, surrounded by mosquitos. The major challenge was to get all the necessary supplies, the food was organized after a few chats but to find bottled water wasn’t that easy. Who spends money in a place where most people work hard for every pesos they make and have no problem with drinking filtered water directly form the river?! Questioning several people, we fortunately found a guy with a small grocery store who had a cooler full of water in bottles. What a relief! Our expedition could continue!

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Early morning in the town just before heading to new lagoons.

Thanks to our guide connections we were able to negotiate with an indian tribe and in change for a some cookies, coffee and a few other things they let us fish their lagoons.

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They even carried our boats over land to get into one of their lagoons where, according to their captain, huge peacocks were sighted and I guess some landed in their nets as well. Unfortunately we didn’t find much fish there but with the right conditions this spot should have big potential. I hope to be back there one day to see if our assumptions were correct…

After spending two nights in the small jungle town, a group of our camp finally reached us on our lunch break on day three of this excursion. They set up a tent camp at a beach and brought enough drinks and food that we could stay another three nights away from the lodge and fish new territories.

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Before this trip I would never have imagined to take a night bad in the river, equipped with nothing than a small flashlight and a piece of soap. But after sweating all day long I just had to and overcame my fear of getting attacked by some animal in the darkness. :)
Even though the comfort level was really low, I was happy to experience all this and because I never had to deal with any serious health issues during the whole trip I would say whole expedition was a crazy but great adventure!

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A storm blew away a few of the tents but in the end everybody slept more or less dry.

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The calm before the storm on our way back to the beach camp.

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Other evenings were calmer and provided natural spectacles.

While we spent the nights on the beach dealing with all the challenges such freestyle camping comes with, the days we were on the water catching peacocks!

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Our guide Daniel with the small caiman which took the Imakatsu Trairao.

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Good one on a Rapala X-Rap

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Respect the fish – release ’em safely!

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Two dots and six stripes – no photoshop! :)

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Did I already mention that I am a excellent rower? :)

For the last two days we returned back to the lodge which seemed way more luxurious than it did when we arrived there. After living five days or so out of a plastic bag, I was glad to take a shower and put on some dry, clean clothes.

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We fished the lagoons we knew from the first week and I finally got some more fish on my favorite lure, the Highroller. I have to mention that, despite all those hours of effort I put in, this technique didn’t really work out in the spots up river. Fortunately we found other techniques that led to success!

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On the last day I tried out the Deps Cascabel – BAMM!

That was it! After two weeks in the Colombian jungle, right next the Venezuela, our time to say goodbye had arrived.
I can only be thankful for this great, interesting experience. I learned and laughed a lot, caught some nice fish, met wonderful people and stayed more or less healthy during the whole trip. What else could I ask for?!
Even though there are several things that could be improved, I can’t really remember any point that I would like to complain about so I guess that says it all! The lodge was equipped with more or less everything necessary and all the people that worked there did a great job and put in effort to make all of us happy. Special thanks to our guide Daniel who was always up for a laugh, worked hard to put us on some fish and always cared about our safety. He was the main reason that we were able to get so far up river, fish very interesting waters and see things not many tourists have seen before. I wish him and his family all the best and deeply hope that we will see him and go fishing with him again!
Also a big thanks to Alejo, boss of the lodge, for two amazing weeks and all the laughs! See ya!
Last but not least a big thanks to my fishing buddy Daniel who still takes me on such cool trips and organizes everything! You know :)

I definitely hope that this wasn’t my last trip Colombia and I will do everything I can to do another peacock bass trip in the next season. Stay tuned!

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Thanks for your time, I hope you enjoyed it!
I also brought back many GB of video material which I need to sort out and cut first. I hope to release a video soon.

Please check out my facebook and instagram account for updates and for more high quality pictures visit my flickr stream. Contact through facebook.

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PEACE!