When Leonardo told me we were going to start offering standup paddleboarding down here in Brazil’s Amazon, my first question was, “What the hell’s standup paddleboarding ?”
My second question was, “No seriously. What the hell’s standup paddleboarding?”
Leonardo explained it that standup paddleboarding involves an oversize surfboard-like-thing, a long paddle, and a person willing to stand on that board and paddle.
This activity supposedly get you closer to the water and is a unique way to experience and enjoy the river and the rainforest. It’s also one helluva of a workout.
Or so I’m told.
I’m not getting on one of those things.
But then I never get massages either.
Or go swimming with pink dolphins.
But lots of folks like that sort of thing so we offer them and a whole lot more.
And are the only folks in Brazil’s Amazon to do so.
As I sit here with a cigar in one hand and a caipirinha in the other, looking out over the Rio Negro, I can’t help but wonder where some people get the notion of “exclusive waters.”
You know what I’m talking about.
Some outfitter claims to have locked up part of the Amazon as their’s exclusively and says that there’s more fish there than anywhere else and folks buy into it.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further than the truth as there is no such thing as “exclusive waters” in the Amazon.
See the rivers in Brazil are just like the rivers in the US in that they are owned by the people. And as such, one or two people can’t just up and say, “This part’s mine.” That just wouldn’t fly and nobody would stand for it. Same thing in Brazil. An outfitter can’t claim that one section of river is his or his company’s. Sure that outfitter can say that they have “exclusive waters” but saying it don’t make it so.
Some outfitters promise that they have “exclusive waters” because they’ve made arrangements with the local Indians. While it’s true that arrangements can be made with the locals, none of these deals have anything to do with the river. They have to do with setting foot on that property.
Can you make an arrangement for that?
Think of it like this…
Nobody can come onto your property or in your house without your permission because you own them. If you wanted, you could charge people to step onto your property or charge someone to park a boat there but as for the area in front of your property – the area that you don’t own – well, you can’t charge somebody to use that because it’s not yours! What applies in regards to this hypothetical property is reality on the river in Brazil’s Amazon. You can’t charge somebody to use something you don’t own. Likewise you can’t make a deal for exclusive rights to a place with somebody that doesn’t own that place.
Again, you can say that you do but saying it don’t make it so.
As for where I fish…
I fish all over the Rio Negro…
And I catch the biggest Peacock Bass in all of Brazil’s Amazon.
Still, there’s a certain beauty to these downpours.
I sit high on my porch overlooking the Rio Negro as every hour the water floods higher and higher and into the jungle allowing Peacock Bass and the other game fish we target to swim among the trees and gorge on fruit, nuts, and insects. Despite this hectic and massive change, it will all come to an end in August when the rains cease and the water recedes back into the river proper. And while I’m content to sit here with a cigar in one hand and a caipirinha in the other while watching the majesty of the rainy season from my porch, the rest of my crew is actually doing productive things.
Most of my guides are furthering their education, taking advanced English classes, tying jigs, or meeting with lure companies to talk about innovations in enticing Peacock Bass to strike. Chef Saul is trying new recipes and working with a new Chef in Manaus (look for a special announcement on that coming soon). Jan and Cleo are learning new techniques in order to give better massages while Sheldon and Célio are taking care of the logistics involved in premiering the new 145-foot Rio Negro Queen in September. Sergey’s doing whatever Internet stuff needs to be done while our president Leonardo deals with the airlines to insure our customers get the best deals, arranging the delivery of our new fleet of 14 2016 Bass Tracker boats, two Grizzly bowfishing boats, and two pontoon party boats, and overseeing all of the aforementioned.
Oh who’m I kidding?
Leonardo’s probably up there in Texas counting the days until the McGregor / Diaz fight this summer. I doubt if anything else is truly on his mind.
I joke. I joke.
Leonardo’s pretty busy as is Gayne who writes up all the stuff that appears Online and in our print media.
All in all, everybody’s working but me. But that’s the way I like it. I need to do what I’m doing which is staying connected to the natural world here in Amazônia. After all, how else could I stay on top where the best fishing on the Rio Negro is?
It seems as though not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me how I stay so young looking being in the sun all day long. The answer to that is “sunscreen.”
Lots and lots of sunscreen.
Of course clean living, lots of cigars, and plenty of Brahma Chop beer also helps.
Another popular inquiry is, “Do you think there’s a Peacock Bass out there that’ll break 30 pounds?”
Yes. I’m sure of it.
And yet another question I get is, “Just how big is the Amazon?”
Well, that one’s a little more difficult to answer. If you’re asking about how big the area we fish is I’ll put it this way…We operate on the Rio Negro in Brazil’s Amazon, home of the largest Peacock Bass on the planet. This area is just a speck on the map of the state of Amazonas however as Amazonas is pretty darn big. How big? Well, to put in perspective consider that Amazonas is roughly twice the size of Texas.
Yep. It’s that big.
And most of it is unpopulated.
Think about it: Texas has roughly 30 million folks living within its borders. Amazonas has less than 4 million and half of those live in the capital city of Manaus. The rest are populated in towns and villages of less than 100 people. But what Amazonas lacks in population it makes up with true splendor. Consider this:
Amazonas is 98% rainforest which equates to over half of the planet’s rainforests.
More than 1⁄3 of all species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest.
Amazonas is home to more than 40,000 plant species, 427 species of mammals, 1,300 of birds, 378 reptiles, and more than 400 amphibians.
More than 3,000 species of freshwater fishes are found in its waters.
Yes, Amazonas is a grand place and unlike anything else found on the planet. It truly is an Eden and one you’ll want to visit again and again.