The highest percentage of Trophy Peacock Bass of any river on Earth!
The Rio Marié (in the opinion of government biologists) has more double-digit Peacock Bass, and a higher percentage of trophy Peacock Bass, than any other river in the Amazon. It is the most remote river (more than 350 miles by float plane from Manaus) in Brazil, and its spotted monster fish have not been pounded by woodchoppers and jigs. In fact, no more than a few dozen fishermen had ever experienced this incredible, 800 kilometer-long river or its tributaries, until we showed up for the inaugural season in 2014, and those who have been there tell fish stories that are hard to swallow. Rio Marié is simply the ultimate Peacock Bass fishery, and the locals call it “Rio de Gigantes”.
Rio Marié is the first river in the Amazon Basin in which the Brazilian Government has collaborated with the local Native Communities to develop an ambitious project designed to protect the 800 km wildlife preserve while promoting catch-and-release fishing only for Rio Marié. Through the cooperation of the Native Communities, the Brazilian Government, and Untamed Angling (the same South American outfitters who introduced the world to La Zona in Argentina and Tsimane in Bolivia), Rio Marié is now the very first -and only -truly and legally exclusive fishing area of the entire Amazon Negro Basin. This protected area encompasses more than 400 miles of virgin waters, boasting a healthy population of giant peacock bass. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) has conducted numerous biological studies in the region. This research has demonstrated impressive results: Rio Marié holds at least twice the quantity of trophy-sized peacock bass compared with any other sport fishing destination in the Rio Negro basin. For anglers, this translates into very real opportunities to consistently hook and release larger-than-average peacocks on the fly.
The waters of the Rio Marié and its tributaries are scientifically proven – after several biological studies by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and Untamed Angling – to be the home of the largest peacock bass in the entire Amazon basin. This is a fishery where fly anglers really can pursue and conquer the dream of reaching a world record on the fly.
The results of these studies were remarkable, and our experience each season has consistently demonstrated that the average size of speckled peacock bass here is over 10 pounds and the amount of fish recorded at over 15 pounds is shocking. And if that’s not good enough, there are more fish measuring over 20 pounds than anywhere else in the entire Amazon Negro Basin, or the world.
Keep in mind that targeting these true trophy peacock bass is not a numbers game, and not everyone will land a fish-of-a-lifetime. That said, on average over half of the anglers fishing the Marié manage to land a fish over 20 pounds, and more 20+ pound fish are landed on that river in an average week than most other destinations in the Amazon did in their entire season. The fish are there, and every single cast made has the potential for a world record fish.
In addition to the giant speckled peacock bass, the river also has healthy populations of smaller butterfly peacocks, which average 2-6 pounds. These beautiful, brightly-colored, aggressive strain of peacock bass hit hard and often take to the air when hooked, and help keep anglers enthralled and engaged while searching for their even larger cousins.
Untamed Angling designed the Rio Marié project as a new approach to targeting trophy peacock bass on the fly. Specifically, we are changing the concept of peacock bass fishing that has been adopted by the majority of the outfitters operating in the Amazon basin. Rio Marié is now the largest area in the world specifically dedicated to fly fishing only, and the conservation-minded catch-and-release philosophy which will guarantee extraordinary fishing for many years.
As with all of Untamed Angling’s past projects, Rio Marié presents high standard packages with professional fly-fishing guides, state-of-the-art shallow draft fly fishing skiffs, experienced managers, and international chefs who create the perfect mix of local and fine international dishes. Beverages, fine wines and the best services are offered to meet the excellent standards set by the other projects, no matter how remote they are, or how deep into the untouched jungle wilderness areas.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long Rio Marié package is:
• Angler Rate: $7,600 USD per person, double occupancy
• Non-Angler Rate: $5,150 USD per person, double occupancy
• Private Room: $800 USD per person, based on availability
• Single Angler Rate: $12,540 per person, single boat/room
* Additional cost of Native Fee $700 collected onsite (see Native Community Fee)
Rio Marié Winter Fishing Program Rate (Jan/Feb Only): Call for rates
Included in your angling package at the Rio Marié is All charter flights, boat transfers, and all necessary ground transfers • One overnight at Hotel Juma Óperal in Manaus on arrival, double occupancy • Guide-operated 21-foot, fully equipped shallow draft skiffs per two anglers • Fishing licenses • All lodging and meals onboard Untamed Amazon, including wine, beer and spirits • Daily laundry and maid service onboard Untamed Amazon.
Not included in your angling package at Rio Marié are International air fare • Brazilian visa (no longer required after June 17th, 2019) • Indian Association Fee ($670) • Tips and gratuities for camp staff and guides • Food and beverages in Manaus and any private city tours • Airport departure tax • Satellite phone calls ($5/minute) • Extra hotel overnights, if needed • Flies (the floating lodge has an extensive selection of the best flies, at $10/apiece)
Native Community Fee:
This project was formed as a long term social project which supports the preservation of the Indian Culture by improving their quality of life. The Rio Marié tribe has formed an association (ACIBRN) and board to protect their interests moving forward. This Association includes representatives from all 14 Indian Communities. The project has a significant user fee on all visiting anglers. The funds from the fee will primarily be used for social, infrastructure development, transportation, and medical and education projects.
The fee will be $670 per person for the trip. The fee will be payable in cash ($USD) to the Rio Marie representative upon your arrival in Manaus and goes directly to the Indian Association Account; anglers will receive a receipt from the Association. This fee represents an important step in the continuing effort to protect our ability to continue to share this amazing and unique part of the world.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Insurance Information
Seasons at Rio Marié
In this area of the Amazon, the fishing season normally runs from early September to the end of February. This is the dry season for the upper Negro basin, the time when waters are typically at their lowest and most stable levels which allows for fishing throughout the entire river system, including its numerous tributaries and lagoons. The Negro Basin fisheries have variant conditions according to each year’s hydrologic cycles, but since Rio Marié is a headwaters system, combined with its geographical location and the immensity of its drainage, it is much more stable than other regional destinations.
The weather can be hot. Mid-day temperatures in the Amazon range from 85° - 95°F, or higher, with 80 - 90% humidity. Due to the intense sun (you are literally on the equator) and sweat-inspiring humidity during the day, you'll want to be mindful of dehydration and overexposure to the sun. At night the temperature drops to a comfortable 65° - 75°F. Although you will be fishing in the dry season, there are occasional rain showers (you are deep inside a rain forest), so you want to have light rain jackets and rain pants with you at all times. The jungle is surprisingly friendly due the high tannin concentration of its waters, and there are no mosquitoes here. There are, however, some no-see-ums and gnats, along with horseflies and bees. In low water conditions these pesky insects are usually pre-occupied and leave anglers alone entirely; but when the waters come up they search for salt, and find it on sweaty fishermen! We strongly recommend wearing long sleeve shirts and pants during your fishing week. Buff face masks are almost mandatory for sun and bugs. Covering up from head to toe in light-colored, lightweight clothing will protect you from the sun and the bees. We also strongly recommend bringing a head net. Most of the time you won't need it, but it is good to have in your boat bag if the bugs do come out to play. They are not biting insects so bug bites are very uncommon, but they can be annoying while flying about searching for salt.
Rio Marié High Water Policy:
Fishing for peacock bass in the Amazon jungle represents one of the last frontiers in the fly fishing world. As with any such hyper-remote destinations, there can be challenges associated with offering a first-class experience in the 'back of beyond'. In the Amazon, water level conditions will, on occasion, present such challenges. The Amazon River annual water level cycles are not a simple equation, even for the most experienced local experts. Normally, high and low water levels here follow a fairly predictable monthly cycle, but climate changes and the effects of stronger or weaker El Nino and La Nina cycles can directly and immediately affect those levels.
Specifically, these El Nino and La Nina events tend to impact the amount of rain in the headwaters of Amazon rivers, which in turn effects the entire Amazon basin. Water levels are important when fishing for peacock bass, and understanding how to work around them is a key component to success. Low water does not always result in the best fishing, just as high water is not always the worst thing. More important is to understand where and how to fish as the water fluctuates.
The Rio Marié system has more than 680 kilometers of rivers, tributaries and lagoons from its headwaters down to its merging with the Rio Negro. This unique and extensive water system allows for incomparable flexibility; the yacht and anglers can move up or downstream throughout the season - every week or even daily - to reach the best water levels in which to find trophy fish. This is useful when mitigating less than ideal water conditions. Though the Rio Marie season has been chosen to coincide with the best water conditions annually, it's difficult to predict water levels, and this is one of the risks associated with fishing the Amazon. If you are not comfortable with the risk of the river levels being too high or low during your trip, then it is probably not the trip for you. You will not be refunded for water conditions that may not meet your expectations. In the event the water is too high to fish on any given week, Rio Marie will re-schedule your week to a later time. To date, in 5 seasons of operation we have never had to re-schedule a trip!
Getting to Rio Marié
The week at Rio Marié is from Sunday to Sunday. Most US guests will reserve flights to Manaus out of either Miami (American Airlines) or Panama City (Copa Airlines). We recommend working with Alicia Regueiro at Holdy Tours (1-800-446-1111 or email@example.com) for the schedule that will best suit your trip and to book your flights.
Saturday, The day before scheduled arrival at the Untamed Amazon mothership:
Arrive at Manaus International Airport. Guests will greeted by our English speaking representative/transfer driver. They will arrange for transfers to the Hotel Juma Ópera. You and another angler will be put up in a Double Occupancy room at the hotel for the night (included in the trip package). The transfer staff will let you know when they will pick you up at the hotel the next morning, to take you to the charter airport.
Sunday - Arrival at the Untamed Amazon:
After breakfast at the hotel, the transfer driver will pick the group up around 7:00 am, and head to a local airport to board one of two amphibious float-equipped Cessna Grand Caravan charter flights to the river. The charter flight duration is approximately 4 hours. The Untamed Amazon will be anchored and waiting for you. Upon arrival, you will be shown to your stateroom, and then greeted upstairs in the comfortable lounge where you will meet the guides and fishing team. After a cold drink and lunch, anglers will have a brief explanation of the daily fishing plans and schedule about the yacht. You'll have a chance to get situated in your suite, and prepare tackle for a half day of fishing that afternoon.
Monday to Saturday:
Each day teams of two anglers fish one of the beats in the Marié River (including tributaries and lagoons), with one professional English-speaking fly fishing guide and a local Indian guide, in brand new, specially designed fishing boats. These wide-bodied, 20-foot boats have two casting platforms (one at either end of the boat so both anglers can fish at the same time), a center console, and are powered by 90hp, 4-stroke motors, as well as remote-control electric motors.
Departure from Rio Marié - Sunday:
In the morning, the group will have a leisurely breakfast and a couple of hours to relax and finish packing while waiting for the arrival of the float planes which will drop off the incoming group and transfer you back to Manaus. The plane will usually stop in Sao Gabrielle (about an hour's flight) to refuel before continuing on to Manaus, arriving back in Manaus in the late afternoon.
Most anglers will be departing on the late night flight, technically the next morning, departing Manaus for Miami at 12:40 am on Monday morning, or to Panama City at 3:40 am also on Monday morning.
Lodging at Rio Marié
The Untamed Amazon is the very first vessel of its kind in Amazonia that uses nearly 100% solar power generation for all electricity use. The system has 96 state-of-the-art German solar panel generators and 3 tons of Hitachi Solar Batteries – the most advanced Japanese battery system for solar power generation. The Untamed Amazon is an aggressive project that brings a unique concept to boat design that changes the game in live-aboard fishing vessel standards. The Untamed Amazon was designed to offer a unique and remarkable experience.
The Untamed Amazon has 3 levels. The lower floor is a restricted area for staff only, and includes the inner workings and heart of the vessel with its twin 200-horsepower propulsion engines. It also houses the laundry, staff rooms, and water filtration systems. The vessel has its own sewage treatment plant.
The main floor of the Untamed Amazon has 8 guest suites - each 18 square meters in size - 6 of which are double suites, and two of which are set up as single suites. Six suites can accommodate two guests, in super single beds and includes a private bathroom, air conditioning and plenty of open space for clothes, equipment and storage. Two suites accommodate single guests, also with private bathrooms, air-conditioning and plenty of open space for clothes, equipment and storage. The suites all feature outside-facing, ceiling-to-floor panoramic windows.
The upper level is for guests to relax, enjoy an adult beverage and re-live their day's fishing adventures. It features a spacious living and dining room, and an open lounge where drinks and appetizers are served. This 3rd level is also home to the full commercial kitchen where a trained chef and his team create sumptuous meals, as well as serving as the command and navigation center for the vessel.
Ship Facts - "Untamed Amazon"
Year Built: 2015
Vessel's Registry: Brazil
Port of Embarkation: Manaus, Brazil
Length: 92 feet / 28 meters
Beam: 25.6 feet / 7.8 meters
Draft: 4 feet / 1.2 meters
Gross Tonnage: 130 tons
Cruising Speed: 6 knots
Electricity: 110 volts
Engines: 2 MWM 200 HP Marine Engines
Generators: 96 German solar panel generators with 4 solar regulators and inverters and 3 tons of Hitachi state-of-the-art batteries.
Auxiliary generators: 2 x 40 KVA MWM (encapsulated for noise reduction)
Water: 4,000-liter water treatment plant
Safety on board:
Radio communication with separate battery pack; AIS Transponder System, Garmin Radar, Sonar and GPS, satellite phone, Wifi internet; life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares and signals.
Untamed Amazon Crew:
14, including a captain and crew, 6 pro fly fishing guides, international cuisine chef, and hostess.
Up to 16 passengers with private facilities.
Unique Features and Amenities:
Panoramic windows; air conditioning; twin beds capable of converting to a California king-sized bed; bathroom with shower, toilet, sink, cabinet, hot water around the clock, and a basket of toiletries. Living and Social Areas: lounge; dining room; fly shop.
Fishing at Rio Marié
We've Discovered Really Big Peacock Bass!
The Rio Marié offers a unique opportunity to fly fish for giant peacock bass, in a hyper-remote jungle wilderness, that haven't been hammered by gear fisherman throwing giant crank baits and woodchoppers. These are happy and rested fish and a well-orchestrated beat rotation system on over 100 kilometers of water insures a quality angling experience. Each two anglers with their English speaking, fly fishing savvy guide along
with native boat driver will fish a river beat, which would be impossible to entirely cover in a single day. The boats feature double casting platforms fore and aft allowing each angler to cover the water. Lunch is usually taken on the fly, then back to fishing, until light starts to fade, the jungle comes alive and retreat back to the yacht is in order. Comfortable accommodations, an open bar, delicious meals, and wonderful service await at the end of every day. Then it's up in the morning, to a different beat and full day of battling peacocks.
7 to 10 weight single-handed rods are the norm. It is best to have two rods rigged with different lines and/or flies in the boat. Please plan on bringing an extra backup rod. 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 bonefish and baby tarpon rod will do just fine. We recommend rigging one 7 or 8 weight saltwater rod for smaller peacock's with a floating line, and one 8, 9 or 10 weight with an intermediate (clear) sinking line. The most popular rods at Marié are 8 and 9 weight.
As with rods, reels that have been designed for saltwater fly-fishing are the best choice. Peacocks 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. Rio Outbound Tropical Short or comparable, ultra-aggressive, warm water fly lines, hands down, work the best. Our go-to fly line for peacocks is far and away the Rio Tropical Outbound Short clear intermediate tip line, the 30ft INT/15ft Clear model. Full floating Tropical Outbound Shorts are excellent for effortlessly throwing giant wind resistant poppers. Do not bring cold water floating lines, as the hot weather makes these lines soft and gummy. You can also consider bringing a fast sinking sink tip for some specific spots and/or higher water situations. For this we recommend a 24-foot 200 to 300 grain sink-tip fly line. We strongly suggest you bring at least one back up fly line (the intermediate sink tip, in particular). In our first season we saw many fly lines either explode, or be destroyed by monster fish wrapping up anglers in the wood. Be prepared...
Peacock Bass are not particularly leader shy, and the huge ones normally can explode a 40-pound shock tippet as if it were 5x tippet. Leaders should be heavy enough to turn over a big wind resistant fly. Spools of fluorocarbon should include 50 and 60-pound breaking strength. Our go-to leader was a 6-foot piece of 50 or 60-pound fluorocarbon. Record-seekers should bring a wider variety of tippet strengths.
Fishing is mostly done using baitfish imitations. The travel staff at The Fly Shop® along with the Rio Marié Pro-guides have designed some very effective fly patterns, specifically for the Rio Marié. As well, other patterns in white, yellow, chartreuse, and red (or combinations of these colors) are very effective. Good action and heavily-dressed flies in lengths from 3 to 7 inches, in barbless 2/0 to 6/0 (high quality hooks) are required. As for patterns, the most typical flies used are synthetic material streamers such as the Cruiser Peacock. However, many baitfish imitations have proven to be very successful, among them Puglisi Streamers in medium to very big sizes, Whistlers, Umpqua's Tarpon's Snake and Deceivers, and Half and Half's. Large flies with rattles inside seem to be particularly effective. Big foam poppers, Pole Dancers, and divers are fun to fish and should be included. Flies are available for sale at the yacht for $10 each, but be sure to show up with a good selection, as well. Fully packaged selections are available from The Fly Shop®.
In the first 8 weeks of the 2015 Marié Season, anglers landed 47 fish over 20 pounds and 96 between 15 and 20 pounds, an average of one 20+ pounder for each two anglers who fished Rio Marié. Additionally, four pending Women's IGFA Line Class World Records from one week's fishing on the Marié were submitted! And while trophy fish are certainly the prime draw to Marié and one of the things that sets this destination apart from any other, anglers also kept busy with smaller yet beautiful and hard-fighting butterfly peacocks from 2-6 pounds; a total of 3,421 butterfly peacocks were landed. Overall, anglers averaged 43.8 fish landed per week ranging from 2 - 25 pounds.
There will be a couple of significant upgrades for the 2016 season: instead of using a fixed wheel-plane landing site in combination with a long boat transfer to the lodge, Untamed Angling will be chartering two Cessna Caravans fitted with amphibious floats to directly transport guests from Manaus to the Untamed Amazon mothership. Feedback from guests this year indicate that the boat transfers, while scenic, were long and made for a hard travel day, and universally they expressed that they would rather pay a slightly higher rate for air travel direct to the floating lodge. Each aircraft will accommodate six anglers with plenty of room for their fishing gear. The turboprop aircraft are comfortable and deliver anglers directly to the heart of the fishery and the waiting mothership, avoiding the wheel-plane and boat transfer combination.
The first two seasons (2014 and 2015) were conducted under strict guidelines imposed by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and they have now endorsed (allowed) an expanded fishing zone for the 2016 season which includes the entire river and all of the Marié tributaries. This actively-mobile fishing model, with the mothership positioned in the most productive areas of the reserve, will allow us to fish and explore the entire Marié Reserve - more than 680 kilometers (425 miles) of the main river, its two major tributaries, and the dozens of lagoons and back bays. It also allows us to manage the fishery by rotating between 5 river sectors - Upper Turi, Lower Turi, Upper Marié, headwaters of Marié, and Lower Marié, all within the protected 650 kilometers of the Marié Reserve.
The use of the two float planes with direct access to the most productive fishing areas and the mobility of the shallow-draft Untamed Amazon will put anglers on some fantastic water that has only been explored in the past and never included in the itinerary. Quick and easy access to the fishing grounds and utilization of the entire fishery is the name of the game for 2016.
We have increased our occupancy by two for next season and will be able to accommodate 12 anglers per week in our deluxe, double-occupancy staterooms onboard the Untamed Amazon. We have six double-occupancy rooms with private bathrooms, and two single/private rooms for those anglers that require their own private accommodations, or for hosted groups.
In addition, Untamed Angling completed construction this year of the new Untamed Amazon. This liveaboard vessel is much more than a houseboat or mere mothership operation; it is a luxurious mobile floating lodge. Guests this year were astounded and amazed at the level of comfort they were able to enjoy in such a remote destination. More information and a detailed description of the Untamed Amazon is provided below.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• LARGEST PEACOCK BASS IN THE WORLD!
The Rio Marie’ boasts the largest population of giant peacock bass (fish up to and in excess of 20 pounds) than any other river in Brazil. Fly Anglers looking for a legitimate shot a true monster peacock; or a new World Record could not pick a more appropriate river to fish than the Rio Marie – truly the Rio de Gigantes – “River of Giants”!
• OVER 600 MILES OF PRIVATE WATER TO FISH AND EXPLORE The Rio Marie’ encompasses more than 600 miles of river, tributaries and lagoons, the largest exclusive fly fishing reserve in all of Amazonia. That much fishing water, combined with our mobile state-of-the-art fishing yacht allows us to manage the fishery and rest literally hundreds of miles of river each week which results in happy and unpressured fish, that hammer big streamer flies with abandon. More water, rested water, rested fish, happy fish – fish that eat.
• THE MOST DELUXE FISHING YACHT IN BRAZIL Just because you’re in the most remote corner of the Amazon Jungle doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. Anglers fishing the Rio Marie are accommodated aboard the “Untamed Amazon” a state-of-the-art fishing yacht boasting every imaginable amenity you would expect in a topnotch fishing lodge. Spacious suites with full bathrooms, air-conditioning, Jacuzzis along with fine cuisine prepared by a trained chef are what to expect. You sleep comfortably at night after a dining on world-class food and be well rested and fueled for a full day of fishing trophy peacock bass.
• STATE-OF-THE ART FISHING SKIFFS We have designed and built custom fishing skiffs that feature huge front and back fishing decks, an electric trolling motor wirelessly controlled by a seasoned guide and polling platforms that allow for stealthy approaches to fish. The skiffs are powered by 90 hp outboards and are plenty fast to access hundreds of miles of river during your fishing week. These skiffs are specifically designed for fly fisher and are the ultimate in comfort, function and safety and allow anglers to fish longer, harder and more effectively each and every day.
• THE MOST RESPECTED JUNGLE OUTFITTER IN THE WORLD The Rio Marie’ is outfitted by the “Jungle Guys” Untamed Angling, the most experienced and recognized jungle outfitters in the world; the same fanatic anglers that discovered Tsimane, the Dorado fishing destination in Bolivia. These folks are pros with years of operating experience in the Jungle; you are in very capable hands. The management and staff will take care of all the logistics, support and mechanics of the trip, all you have to do is fish as hard as you can and enjoy the experience.
• GIVING BACK TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES The Rio Marié is an award winning collaborative program between local Indigenous Indians the Brazilian Government and Untamed Angling in an effort to promote conservation, sustainability and culture. Your dollars help the local native people by providing funding for health care and access to education. Additionally, you help support one of the most comprehensive and aggressive scientific studies of peacock bass, and jungle environs they habitat by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). A portion of your dollars are making a difference in native’s life and the understanding and conservation of the Amazon Jungle and its native species.