Silver King Brazil, Brazil
Landon Mace January 16, 2024
Silver King Brazil, Brazil
This trip had a ton of anticipation for me, and I spent months counting down the days until I was able to hop on that first plane to make the journey down to Recife, Brazil. There was also further excitement, as we partnered with the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) to shoot a promotional video for the film tour that will be featured at every show across the nation. Prior to starting a relationship with Silver King Brazil (SKB), at least for me, fishing for tarpon in Brazil was barely heard of and when you did, there were merely whispers from a few that had secondhand knowledge from which they heard about it from someone else that was most likely in the same boat as me. After seeing it firsthand, I was absolutely blown away at what this fishery was and what it had to offer. A big thanks to my friends, Diep Do, Everton Pires (Silver King Brazil), Guido Perillo (Silver King Brazil), Scott Battista (F3T) and Tyler Soares (All Condition Films) for being a part of this exploratory journey with me and making awesome memories that I will never forget.
Note: Please keep in mind that this was an exploratory trip and future trips may not reflect the described itinerary. For the current itinerary, please visit the Silver King Brazil product page on our Fly Water Travel website.
Where did you go and how did you get there?
We set this trip up as a combination to spend time in two different geographic locations outside of Recife. One area north and another to the south. The area north tends to hold larger migratory fish, in conjunction with juveniles, while the area to the south lends its hand to primarily juvenile fish. Travel from the U.S. was easy overall with most connections made stateside, before arriving to Orlando, FL and then a direct to Recife. The airport in Recife is considered an international one, but it is not overwhelmingly large in scale compared to most others that I have frequented. The pickup was easy, and we were all greeted at the arrival gate by Guido Perillo which is the host and coordinator for SKB. Once we had all arrived and were ready, we hopped in the vehicle and were on our way to the first fishing location to the north. Roughly mid-week through the trip, we moved from our northern location and headed south, which brought us to the city of Porto de Galinhas, roughly an hour south of Recife.
Where did you fish?
Throughout the trip, we fished on a handful of rivers in both locations. The area to the north, we fished the Rio Mamanguape and Rio Curimataú. Rio Mamanguape is a preserve and has a native community that calls its shoreline home. It was special to see the connection that this native population shared with the river and how it played a major part in their daily way of life. The Rio Curimataú had more adult fish around and in turn, we fished it more as we were trying our best to catch them. In the south, we spent most of our time between the Rio Ipojuca near Porto de Galinhas and the Rio Capibaribe, which flows right through the city of Recife. The city of Recife has a population of roughly 1.6 million people, but I just want to note that I enjoyed fishing the Capibaribe, even with the hustle and bustle of the city. The sights and sounds gave a whole different experience and catching fish in that setting was a hoot.
All our time was spent in the tidal reaches of these rivers before they meet the bays on the Atlantic Ocean. The fish often were found moving up or down river with the tides and it was really fun to see the areas the fish would frequent at both the high and low. For virtually all of the rivers, we generally didn’t see many people on the water, let alone anglers. It was river dependent, but there were a couple of other anglers around, but we didn’t often cross paths. The rivers all had mangroves and other vegetation lining their banks, but the mangrove sections were the tell-tale sign of salinity’s reach and in turn where to find the tarpon. For the more remote rivers, we often heard various bird species throughout the day, including the high pitch call of a monkey every now and again. It was very nice to often be the only people fishing and having the pick of the litter for where we wanted to go.
How was fishing?
Part of the focus for this exploratory trip was trying to target migratory tarpon on both rivers, and it proved challenging. We found large fish rolling in areas, but despite countless fly changes, various ways of line retrieval, different depths, you name it, we could not get the fish to eat. I was at a loss, throwing everything I had at them. Historically, our guides would see far more fish in the system and more schools of sardines, in which the tarpon feed on while in the river. Sadly, for the duration that we were focusing on the large fish, it didn’t go in our favor.
After we shifted gears and started focusing on the juveniles, it was a whole other ball game. The juvenile tarpon in Brazil were thick bodied and I felt that they were overall stronger fighters from other fish I have tangoed with in other parts of the world. There were instances on the water, and the best picture I can paint with my words to describe it is, if you were on a Blue Ribbon trout stream and a big hatch just came off. All you are seeing is noses pulling bugs off the surface of the water. Picture that but replace the trout with rolling tarpon. We would move down a bank and just fire casts in, around, or under mangrove branches and after a few strips, you’d have a tarpon flying out of the water. Sometimes they hardly gave you a chance to get that first strip in.
We found fish rolling in open water, but I especially enjoy the technicality of placing flies in the mangroves. Whether it’s skipping flies underneath low hanging branches, hitting that little pocket where if you are off by 3-5” in any direction, you’re fly is wrapped or snagged, or seeing that roller and making sure you place it right in their line of sight; that part was something that I remember having some of the most fun doing.
How did you fish?
Virtually all our fishing was done from the boats. They were comfortable and we could easily fish two anglers at a time. It is extremely beneficial if you can cast regular and off-shoulder. Often you and the other angler will be casting at the same bank or side, so depending on whether you are in the front or back of the boat, generally at some point you will be forced to do one of either. We utilized many styles of baitfish and shrimp flies. A standard lead eyed Clouser did well and is a guide favorite down there. I found lots of success on self-tied baitfish in various colorways, that I often like to fish for tarpon. We threw surface flies as well and had some eats, but naturally, going near or sub-surface yielded the most action.
There were a few areas that you could potentially hop out of the boat and make some casts from the sand bars, but it was never necessary while we were down there. Another unique opportunity of this destination is that you also have the chance to fish the ocean off the beach at the lodge house in Porto de Galinhas. Snook, jack crevalle, and needlefish will cruise the beach at times looking for a meal in the surf. It’s not a guarantee, but anglers have found success in doing so when they get some free time after fishing in the evenings.
Where did you stay?
While fishing in the north, we stayed at hotels that were quite comfortable and had the option to cool down in a pool or the ocean. It was a simple base where we could hop in the vehicle and go fish, or we were close enough for a short walk or drive into town to check things out and grab food. When we were in the south, we stayed in a house on the beach of Porto de Galinhas. This city and area is located on a beautiful section of beach that sees a fair amount of tourism, but it honestly didn’t feel overly busy during our stay. The house is really nice and has great amenities. There are two houses on the property, and both have a pool. It was quite relaxing to cool down in the pool, hang out in the hammock, or kick back and drink a Caipirinha.The house also has a private chef that prepares dinners each night and bartends for the guests. He is quite talented and the food was absolutely delicious. Long story short, we were all sad to be leaving at the end of the trip.
What equipment did you use and how did it perform?
The Sage R8 Salt & Igniter series were the rods of choice. Both performed equally well casting anything we had on them. For reels, I utilized the Sage Enforcer, for when it comes to all things tarpon, I believe these to be the ultimate saltwater reel with amazing performance in the Sage lineup.
For lines, I utilized the RIO Elite Tarpon for anything over a 9wt and for the 8wt, I opted for the RIO Elite Flats Pro. Another great choice for situations where a softer presentation isn’t needed or for the novice angler that may struggle to turn over flies, the RIO Tropical Outbound Short gets it done. We also fished some Tropical Outbound Shorts in the full intermediate and RIO Leviathans full sink for the migratory fish.
- Juvenile Tarpon:
Sage Igniter 790 – Enforcer 7/8 – RIO Elite Flats Pro / Float/6ft Intermediate / 8wt
Sage Salt R8 890 – Enforcer 7/8 – RIO Elite Flats Pro / Float / 8wt
Sage Salt R8 990 – Enforcer 9/10 – RIO Elite Tarpon / Float / 9wt
- Adult Tarpon:
Sage Salt R8 1190 – Enforcer 11/12 – RIO Elite Tropical Outbound Short / Intermediate / 11wt
Sage Salt R8 1290 – Enforcer 11/12 – RIO Elite Leviathan / Intermediate/8.5 ips / 11wt
I like to build my own leaders often, so I tend to travel with spools of mono and fluorocarbon. I travelled with spools of 30 – 80-pound RIO Saltwater Mono and the RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater Tippets. The spools I brought covered anything I needed for fishing on both the surface and subsurface. Abrasion resistance is paramount, as the tarpon’s sand paper like pads in their mouths with abrade tippet and leader in no time. Since there are often snook in the same waters, it’s good to be conscience of the sharp gill plate that they possess, which can slice and wear through leader material as well. It’s good practice to consistently check your leader often. RIO has some great options for prebuilt leaders as well. I often reach for RIO’s Light Saltwater Shock Leader in a 25 or 45 lb for juvenile tarpon/snook and then will use RIO’s Tarpon Pro for the adult fish in any variety of choice.
Contributing photos provided by Scott Battista (Fly Fishing Film Tour - @flyfishingfilmtour) & Tyler Soares (All Condition Films - @tylersoares)
Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T)
Please be on the lookout for the Fly Water Travel/Silver King Brazil promotional film at your local F3T shows!
Silver King Brazil
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