The water clarity in these rivers is amazing, quite different from the sediment-filled rivers so common to the Amazon. The granite base keeps water very clear, even after some rain. The river downstream from the Kendjam community braids out into many parallel channels, creating several smaller, fast-moving streams, a perfect enviroment for wet wading. A few miles downstream the channels join again, re-forming a single main river. This braiding into channels is very common in many streches of Iriri River, and creates a fishing opportunity unique in Amazon waters. Probing the runs and pools of these smaller channels you can target different species using different techniques.
Imagine yourself in a clear jungle river with many different options for unique, powerful Amazon species, many of which most anglers have never even heard of. You can fish in pools using big hopper patterns for 3-10 pound Matrinxas, or even the crazy Curupete Pacu (3-12 pounds) which eat algae and insect imitations and love fast water (and often jump when hooked). Next, exploring runs and flat areas for peacock bass (averaging 4 to 15 pounds), you begin hooking bicudas - a fast, barracuda-like freshwater predator that will crush your fly and burn your fingers when they run. The next day, hiking in the humid early morning air of the jungle you see fish eating off the surface like trout. What fish could they be? The powerful Seringa Pacu, which eat insects and can be fished with dries and nymphs!
And there are more. We all like aggressive big fish, and Kendjam waters hold many, including the prehistoric trairao (wolf fish), and vampire-fanged payaras. We usually sight cast for 10-25 pound trairao in shallow water tributaries, and they act like hungry wolves chasing a piece of meat when you cast a popper or streamer in their direction. Payara are still a bit of a mystery for us in Kendjam; we have caught a few, but the Indians say there are many big ones in the river. We've seen them rolling in the pools and runs, so it will just be a matter of time before we figure out the right way to fish for them.
5 to 8 weight single-handed rods are the norm. It is best to have two or maybe even 3 rods rigged with different lines and/or flies in the boat. Please plan on bringing extra backup rods, just in case. Powerful rods with a strong butt section are recommended. All of the saltwater series of the top rod brands are considered good choices. Your favorite big trout rod or light bonefish rod for 6 and 7 weights and your favorite bonefish or baby tarpon rod will do just great. We recommend rigging one 6 or 7 weight rod for matrinxas, peacock bass, pacu and bicudas with a floating line, and one #8 or #9 weight with floating and intermediate (clear) sinking line for larger peacock bass, Payara and Trairao. Bring one 5 or 6 weight for the amazing dry fly fishing for pacus and matrinxas, truly one of the highlights of the Kendjam fly fishing experience.
Reels that have been designed for saltwater fly-fishing are the best choice. These jungle fish will test your stripping fingers more than your reel, but in the event you can get them on the reel before they get into the wood, reels with strong smooth drags are recommended. Bring a trusted reel that you feel comfortable with. Weight of the reel is important also since you will be casting a lot. 30-pound backing is required.
Most of the fishing is done close to the surface of the water. Weight forward lines designed specifically for the tropics and saltwater are what you want. Scientific Anglers Master Titan Jungle Floating or comparable, ultra-aggressive, warm water fly lines hands-down work the best. Another amazing line is the Scientific Anglers Titan Jungle Clear Tip intermediate tip fly line, 15ft. Full floating Scientific Anglers Mastery Titan Jungle Floating fly lines are excellent for effortlessly throwing large wind resistant poppers. For smaller line weights (6-7 weight), a Scientific Anglers Redfish or Bonefish line is a great choice. Do not bring cold water floating lines, as the hot weather makes these lines soft and gummy. You will also want to bring a fast sinking sink-tip for some specific spots, and big payara. For this we recommend a Scientific AnglersSonar Jungle Custom Tip fly line, or a 250-300 gr sink-tip line. We strongly suggest you bring at least one back up fly line.
Most fish are not really leader shy but the very clear water situation can make some big fish spooky, so fluorcarbon leaders make line invisible under water. Leaders should be strong and heavy enough to turn over big wind resistant flies, so heavy/strong butt leaders are important. Spools of fluorocarbon should include 50, 40, 30, 20 and 15 pounds. The most commonly used is 20, 30, and 40 pound Fluoro. Mono in 20-pound breaking strengths can also be used in certain situations. Some fish require longer, 9-foot leaders, while others just require a single straight piece of fluorocarbon tippet. You will also want to be sure to bring wire tippets from 20, 30 & 40 lbs for the Wolffish, Payara, and Bicuda. We prefer the knottable wire from Rio.
Fishing is done using a wide variety of patterns including baitfish, large insect, fruit, and even algae imitations. There is a new world here to discover. For baitfish imitations, streamers in white, yellow, chartreuse and combinations of these colors are very effective. Flies with good action and movement in lengths from 2 to 6 inches, in 1/0 to 3/0 (high quality hooks). As for patterns, the most typical flies used are synthetic material streamers such as the Glimmer Minnow and the Sardina Cruiser. Many other baitfish imitations have proved to be very successful, among them Puglisi Streamers in medium to big sizes, Whistlers, and Decievers and Half and Half's. Big foam poppers and Divers as well as rubber leg dry flies like Chernobyl Ants are fun to fish and should be included. For the fun dry fly fishing for pacus and matrinxas, we recommend #4-8 Chernobyl Ants, Fat Alberts, Hoppers, Attractors, and Stimulators.
Flies are available for sale at the camp for $7 each, but be sure to show up with a good selection as well. You can order a packaged selection for Kendjam species from us (recommended, and a sample package displayed below). We will discover a lot of new effective patterns during each trip, so have fun exploring new flies, too.
There is a lot of wading here, and some of the rocks can be slick. Felt wading boots are strongly recommended, and if you are used to using a wading staff at home be sure to bring it with you. Studs are not a good idea, however, as they can be noisy walking and spook fish in the calm, clear waters.