FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Private rivers fished during periods of optimal low-water flows.
- Peacock bass are territorial – that is, they tend to stay in a fairly small area. And it takes 10 to 12 years for them to reach 20 pounds. Obviously, trophy fish are available in greater numbers in fisheries such as ours that have no outside sportfishing pressure, no commerical fishing pressure, and no subsistence fishing pressure.
- Our constant river monitoring and our mobility allows us to position our clients on sections of rivers that are flowing at optimal low-water levels. High water allows fish to disperse in the jungle. Water that is too low can cause fish to sulk and become unresponsive.
Rivers where no one but our clients are allowed to fish. Since 2002, we have worked hard and dug deeply into our pockets to gain the trust and support of Brazilian authorities who have granted us Exclusive Entry Permits to fish 10 separate river systems that flow through Indian Reserves and Government Preserves. This means that we don’t ever have to take clients to waters where other sportfishing companies, commercial fishing operators and the public at large are allowed to fish. River Plate has earned and kept its Exclusive Entry Permits for more than 20 years by funding and implementing a variety of assistance programs for local communities and tribes collectively called Community Base Preservation Management Program (CBPMP).
There is no advantage in fishing remote areas unless they are officially guarded the way ours are by members of the local community. We treat our communities as stakeholders. They share in the sportfishing profits generated on the rivers that flow through their lands. Our CBPMP is a real conservation partnership, and you participate in that partnership when you fish with us.
Because our costs are higher, and here’s why:
We share all our profits with the local communities that help us provide exceptional fishing. CBPMP and its overhead are significant line items in our budget.
The River Trains that allow us to access remote waters and move constantly to keep up with changing water levels are expensive to operate. But they are worth it. No one comes close to our ability to provide realiably good fishing on 10 different rivers flowing at an optimal level through a 1,000 X 600-mile-wide expanse of prime peacock bass territory.
The very best trophy peacock bass habitat is found in deep lagoons that are reachable only by traversing long segments of river as shallow as two to four feet. Some of these segments are 40, even 80, miles long, and they have to be crossed slowly, relying on supplies brought in by float plane and shallow-draft barge. Maintaining a high comfort level, including air-conditioned cabins, good food, and ice-cold drinks, is a logistical challenge of the first order. But that is the essence of our value proposition that revolves around finding the best trophy peacock bass fishing available anywhere. It’s cheaper, for sure, to buy a trip on a fishing yacht or houseboat that drops anchor in a navigable waterway and sends anglers racing away daily in bass boats to find a fish or two. At the end of a week, to stock up on fuel and supplies and pick up new clients, the operator simply returns to a major nearby port. Our logisitcal challenge is far greater and more costly, but so is the quality of the fishing we provide.
As for our other competitors, fixed-base lodge operators, the guides at these facilities often cannot seek out better (that is, lower) water levels when the river is high and fish are dispersing into the jungle. Even in good conditions, fixed lodges exert way too much pressure on surounding areas. Even areas requiring runs of 2 to 3 hours or more eventuallly get overfished. Peacock Bass are not migratory fish. They stay in the same general area, and they learn to shy away from lures if they are overfished!
During the entire wet season and periodically during the dry season, rivers and/or segments of rivers overflow their banks and spread out over a tree-filled flood plain, greatly expanding the area where fish can look for forage. Whenever and wherever this happens angling is completely unproductive. When the rains subside, water levels across the Amazon slowly recede, but not everywhere at the same time and the same rate. Prime fishing occurs when the receding water is at that perfect level that forces baitfish to leave protected cover and move into open water. Our careful monitoring of water levels, our access to multiple river systems, and our ability to move up and down a river on short notice are what give us an enormous advantage over all our competitors when it comes to extra-large trophy fish.
Absolutely. The Amazon encompasses a huge area, with literally thousands of separate watersheds. The equator “cuts” the region into four separate areas. Water fluctuation varies in each watershed (and in tributaries, too), depending on a host of factors, including proximity to the equator.
Given the number of complex factors that cause water-level fluctuations in the Amazon, it is impossible to predict more than three weeks in advance where the best water levels are going to occur. That’s true throughout our entire 8½-month season that extends from mid-July until the end of March. Yes, we have a good handle on what normally occurs in all our rivers, and we have a good general understanding of the large weather patterns that come and go in the Amazon Basin. Still, we cannot begin to map out way in advance where we are going to position all our River Trains all season. What we do is scatter our trains over a large part of the many miles of water we have the exclusive rights to fish and then we stay flexible and ready to move within the three-week planning window available to us. Most of the time we keep one River Train on stand-by, ready to start navigating toward an emerging hotspot. Occasionally, in the middle of a diffcult week, we have picked up our guests by floatplane from one River Train and moved them to another River Train as far as 300 miles away. If that sounds like we are serious about getting our clients into good fishing, that’s because we are serious about that. It’s the core of our value proposition. You can bank on it.
All our Private Rivers have at least some trophy fish in them throughout our season. Nevertheless, there are some trade-offs available between quantity and quality. If you want a crack at an extra-large trophy fish to the exclusion of everything else, we have some rivers that will suit you fine. Rocado is one such river. Just don’t go there expecting lots of action all day for an entire week. What we have found over the years is, most clients have the most fun on rivers that provide a happy mid-point of good numbers of fish with a scattering of large fish. What kind of numbers and sizes are we talking about here? Up to 40 or more fish landed per boat per day, with 10 percent of them weighing more than 8 pounds; five percent of them weighing more than 12 pounds; and half of the group landing an 18-pound or bigger fish.
To answer that question, we would need to know what your particular likes and dislikes are. Do you particularly like shallow-water fishing that offers chances to cast to sighted fish? Do you like or dislike jig fishing? Are you a fly fisherman? We have a lot of rivers and each one of our rivers has its distinct characteristics. What doesn’t change is the high-quality service we provide. That remains the same wherever you fish. We’ll be happy to find the right location for you that will provide the conditions and the experience you find most enjoyable.
Although peacock bass are the main attraction in the Amazon, there are many other jungle species that are equally impressive in beauty and fighting ability. Here are just some of the species we can introduce you to. Inquire ahead of time if you are interested in any particular fish: Pacu, Pirapitinga, Jacunda, Apapa, Tambaqui, Pirarucu, Bicuda, Picua, Piranha, Aruana, and Pescada. Additionally, if you want to tie into a really big catfish, your guide can arrange that. Most clients choose to do this at night, after dinner. We have big rods and reels, and your guide can find you the bait you need. Don’t be surprised if the largest fish you have ever seen grabs your bait and tries to pull you over the side of the boat!
Before the rubber boom of the 19th century, Manaus was a small, insignificant town. Today, it is a modern, rapidly growing port city of 1.4 million inhabitants where cargo ships arrive with merchandise and other goods needed throughout the Amazon basin. Commerce is everywhere in modern Manaus, but you are never far from the river no matter where you go. In that regard, one of the top tourist things to do is to take a short boat ride from the city’s so-called “floating port” (a destination in its own right) out to the area where the waters of the dark Rio Negro River mix with the sandy-colored water of the Amazon River, referred to in Brazil as the Solimoes River. The sight of these two waters flowing parallel to one another for almost four miles before mixing is one of the world’s greatest marine spectacles. Another site you will be intrested in visiting dates back to the rubber boom of the 19th century that brought wealth and culture to what was then a frontier town. A must-see structure is the oddly opulent Amazonas Theater, completed in 1896 and restored in 1929. The structure would be right at home in a major European capital. Other sites you will want to take in are the Palacio Rio Negro (built by a German “Rubber Baron” and now the residence of the Governor of the State of Amazonas) the Municipal Market Adolpho Lisbon, the Forest of Science (an actual tropical forest inside the City Limits of Manaus), the Museum of Natural Science, the Aboriginal Fair (where you can buy items made by Brazilian Indians), and the Fish Market.
In camp, we provide 110- and 220-volt electricity. You can access the former with traditional American flat-blade plugs. For the latter, you will need to have round-pin plugs. If your devices cannot be operated with either of these plugs, you may need to buy a current conversion kit. Some devices will need a transformer. Advice on what to do (and not do) is engraved or imprinted on most electrical devices. If you are unsure about this, please take your devices to a qualified store in advance.
All of our staff is fully vaccinated, and it has been since the beginning of the 2021 season last June. Nonetheless, we are going to continue to implement the elaborate Covid Safety Program we created in October 2020. This program involves housing all clients in stand-alone, air-conditioned floating suites, obligatory mask usage by all staff (including floatplane pilots and guides), social-distance training, service of meals outdoors, special ventilation procedures in floatplanes, and luggage disinfection. Click here for more details on these and other steps we have taken.