Rio Manacapuru



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Deep Down and Dirty Hot Humid and Sweaty

Where on Earth could we fish after Murchison, we were hooked, and had to go somewhere. After many hours blindly surfing the Internet I came across a photograph of a Tucunare. Oh Boy! what a fish I just had to go and catch one of those! The trip was organised by Tailor Made Holidays in the Amazon. After some questioning of my sanity we agreed to book the trip. We took along another of our Trout Fishing friends Nick, and met another angler who was joining the trip at Heathrow, another Mick. Mick, Nick, Mick and John needed a name for the party, something that seemed to encapsulate this growing mad desire to go and fish these strange places. Using the name of our favourite  lake the 'Twinhoe World Angling Team' the TWATs were born!
We arrived at Manaus, what an incredible place, a whole City that all arrived by river. Then in a Campervan with three wheels, a broken Windscreen, and no Suspension we crossed the Rio Negro on the ferry. Nothing in Great Britain can prepare you for the scale of these rivers, the width of the Amazon and Negro disappears over the horizon. They make the Thames look like a ditch. We arrived at Manacapuru and found our boat, and Captain Josimar. Within five minutes we saw our first Pink Dolphin or Boto.
Our guide to his great credit, is one of those people who likes to go to places at the same 'level' as the local population. This means using local busses, broken down vans, cheap hotels, roadside food and in this case using a real working river boat to fish from. Our boat was used to transport cattle during the rainy season, and government disinfectant teams in the dry season. We slept on deck in hammocks  and ate the best Brasillian cuisine of Rice and Beans, and the fish that we caught. (and not forgetting the teeth cracking Farinha)
Our captain Josimar Our cook, Issa. Someone us boys all took a shine to, because of her umm err cooking!
We set off for our two week trip. The first night we anchored the boat in the middle of a large lagoon and went for a cooling swim in the dark black water. We were surrounded by groups of Dolphin both Boto and Tucuxi. It was amazing.

That night we set a bait, on a ledger. The bait was a Piranha head, on lifting the line in the morning we were somewhat surprised to see that the Piranha head had been replaced with the head of a Mandi Catfish . Very bizarre,  then again the Amazon is a very bizarre place.

It was hot. I had checked the weather reports directly before we left. 100 Fahrenheit, 100% Humidity, Dew Point 100 Fahrenheit. I thought I was going to die. It was a few days later when we found out that the crew were impressed as to how we were coping. It was a heat wave, and they were finding it hard going!!

and then there's the insect life! Mosquitoes, piums, and moutuca flies like miniature stealth bombers, all trying to drain your blood. Millions upon millions of other flying insects, at night the surface of the lagoons were literally covered with insect life

We travelled up waterways the size of the Thames, but too small in Amazonian scale to be marked on any map, through Lagoons of enormous size, and fished around the Igapů. We caught 27 species of fish (see the Species List) on spinners, lures, cut fish and dead baits. We saw giant buttressed trees, flocks of parrots, Toucans and a myriad of other brightly coloured birds, Cayman, Atrophic rivers with hundreds of fish floating on the surface. We saw a world that was made of water.  
We caught Tucunare!! Though nowhere near as many as the locals could manage with a bit of red rag as a lure. 
We caught Pirapitinga. As they are called in these parts,     with human like teeth, and damn fine eating.

And of course there were piranha, red, long, yellow, white, silver . . . . . . .
And other toothy critters, scianga, triaro, osca
And a host of catfish
Josimar introduced us to his parents, still living in a floating cabin, whilst we were there he caught and killed a dangerous child eating Cayman!
We were given gifts of bananas (the sweetest I have ever eaten), Inga beans (Jungle sweets - the beans are surrounded by a sweet white fluff like candy floss) and Brasil nuts.
We visited a number of riverside settlements, Caapiranga and Anama
On the way back down the Solimoes to Manacapuru I managed to catch a Carpet! Actually a Discus Ray. I had just broken my boat rod and was angling with a spinning rod, it took about an hour to fight. We flooded a canoe to land the monster.

Then after two weeks on the river, with just the dark water, the green jungle, and the blue skies, we were back in Manacapuru for the annual Ciranda. Who spiked the drinks?





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