Destination Reports

Rio Marie, Brazil

Max Salzburg December 20, 2022

Rio Marie, Brazil

I have been trying to visit the Untamed Amazon mothership in the Rio Marie for two years, but with the pandemic and rollovers it only became possible this year. It was definitely worth the wait.  Untamed Angling’s mothership is one of the most advanced yachts in the Amazon Basin, it is so impressive that there are oversized photos of it in the Manaus Airport in the entry hall.

The mothership really is something to behold and after hanging around the ship for a few days I found myself saying “This is wild. How is this even here? We are in one of the most remote reaches of the Amazon jungle.  And here I am sipping a Caipirinha in air-conditioned luxury after a day of trophy peacock bass fishing! This really is amazing.” 

Where did you go and how did you get there? 

I visited the Rio Marie approximately 400-miles west-northwest of Manaus, Brazil. To get to Rio Marie I first flew into Manaus (MAO) via Panama City on Copa Airlines. I arrived a day early in Manaus to make sure that there were no travel issues. Debora, the handler on the ground, met me at the airport and delivered me to the Hotel Opera Juma across the street from the 125-year-old Amazon Theatre in the heart of Manaus. The hotel is one of the nicest in the city and is close to lots of great restaurants, bars, attractions, and art galleries. Early Sunday morning we were transferred back to the airport to meet our float plane for the 3.5 hour flight to the mothership. The ship moves in the system so the flight can be shorter, but we were in the upper stretches of the river.

Where did you fish?

I fished in the lagoons and lakes that are formed by the Marie River and occasionally in the main stem of the river itself. The river was moving just a bit fast for fly fishing, but there are some spots where it slows down enough to get a good cast and strip.   

How was fishing?

The fishery is a quality over quantity fishery and due to rains in Colombia, the river had come up several feet after our first day of fishing. The fishing was tough on our week, and the mothership moved farther upstream to try to get through the “wave” of rising water.  There were days where the guests did not catch fish, but almost everyone on the trip caught at least one fish over 15-pounds. A few guests caught fish over the 20-pound mark. My big fish for the week was a beautiful 17-pound Asu peacock bass caught on a popper and a 7-weight rod. The encounter was incredibly visual and violent. The fish boiled near the fly and then instantly blew up the popper in a massive and turbulent take.  In the fight, I ended up breaking the 7-weight, but with the help of the guides I landed the fish.

How did you fish?

By casting…a lot. It is estimated that guests cast between 300 and 500 times per day. Casting to structure and into spots between trees where the fish may be. When the water is high the guides will often cast a large Woodchopper teaser with the hooks removed on a spinning rod. They will aggressively pop the Woodchopper to make as much noise as possible and try to get the fish to follow it out of the jungle. When anglers see the wake behind the lure the guide will stop the teaser so that guests can try to cast in the path of the peacock bass. It is an exercise in teamwork, patience, and endurance.

Where did you stay? 

Aboard the Untamed Amazon, Untamed Angling’s luxurious mothership. One evening I took a tour of the engine room, solar battery array, and water treatment system. The water and ice are treated with a state-of-the-art filtration system that makes all of the water in the showers, faucets, water cooler and ice machine potable. The system is one of the best filtration systems in the whole of the Amazon Basin and keeps the mothership from having to use thousands of plastic water bottles.

The cuisine on the mothership is best described as Brazilian chic. Every night we ate fabulous meals of beef, chicken, pork and fish with fresh vegetables and fruit.  Every dinner is followed by a thoughtful and interesting dessert often made from local fruits that the native guides harvest from the jungle. 

What equipment did you use and how did it perform?

I used a 7-weight Sage Igniter with a RIO Jungle DirectCore floating line, a 9-weight Sage Salt HD with a RIO Jungle DirectCore F/I line and a 12-weight Sage Salt with a 500-grain RIO Leviathan line.

The rods performed well. They all put the large flies where I needed them to be relatively easily. Casting a 12-weight with a fast sinking line wore on me, but I was able to make it work with the help of the guides.  I was traveling from Rio Marie to Pirarucu, so rather than carry 5 flyrods I hedged my bets and brought rods that I could use at both destinations.  In a perfect world I would have had an 8-weight rigged with a RIO Jungle DirectCore F/I line and a 9-weight rigged with the RIO Jungle DirectCore Floating / Sink 3 or Sink 6 line. Some guests like to use a 10-weight with a floating line for popper fishing.

Rio Marie, Brazil

Target trophy peacock bass at the most deluxe mothership in Brazil