- Price:$7325 // 8 nights / 6 days fishing
- Fish Species: Trophy Peacock Bass
- Seasonality: September – January
- Location: Middle of the Amazon Jungle
500 miles WNW of Manaus, Brazil
The Rio Marié is a tributary of the Rio Negro and lies within a vast indigenous territory in the heart of the Amazon. To reach this incredible fishery, most anglers take a direct flight from Miami to Manaus, where they overnight (included). From Manaus, a 3 1/2 hour float plane flight delivers anglers directly to the Untamed Amazon mothership.
Not just any peacock bass; the largest in the world. More 20+ pound peacock bass are landed in a typical week on the Rio Marié than in an entire season in most other peacock bass fisheries. Rio Marié is also the first fly fishing-only peacock bass fishery, and there are no other fishing operations in the entire 500+ miles of fishable water.
SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER
September to late December is the dry season for the upper Rio Negro basin, when waters are typically at their lowest and most stable levels. This allows for fishing throughout the entire river system, including its numerous tributaries and lagoons. Each year’s hydrological cycles vary somewhat, but since Rio Marié is a headwaters system, combined with the mothership’s ability to move around the immense drainage, it is much more stable than other regional destinations.
If you are a fly fisherman, a peacock bass enthusiast, or simply want to check peacock bass off your angling bucket list, Rio Marié is the place to go. No other Amazonian fishery comes anywhere near to matching the numbers and size of fish on the Rio Marié. This is THE place to catch trophy peacock bass on the fly.
8 Nights / 6 Days Fishing is $7325
Additional expenses include, but are not limited to, airfare to Manaus, gratuities, $670 Indian Association Fee, and mandatory evacuation coverage. (See RATES) for details.
You the client don’t pay a penny for our travel services! Our destination recommendations, organization, and pre-trip planning services are completely free of charge – and oftentimes less expensive than booking direct with a lodge or outfitter. We can assist with every question, concern, or special request related to your adventure at zero cost!
The Rio Marié is scientifically proven to hold larger peacock bass than any other fishery . . . by far. Studies have shown that the Rio Marié holds double the population of big fish compared to other rivers in the Amazon.
The unbelievable size and numbers of fish certainly make this fishery special, but they are not the only thing. Rio Marié is remote, pristine, and has 500 miles of fishable water with exclusive, fly fishing-only access. The program’s home base is a mobile, luxurious, technologically advanced yacht that enables the operation to fish the entire watershed, which effectively manages water level fluctuations (unlike many other peacock bass destinations) and keeps fishing pressure nonexistent.
Untamed Angling’s proven experience developing fly fishing operations deep inside virgin jungle areas, complete with high end services and refined fishing techniques, is not only refreshingly new to the current Amazon scene, it is revolutionizing the way refined traveling anglers look at an Amazonian angling experience.
The waters of the Rio Marié system are home to incredible numbers of peacock bass and the largest peacock bass in the world — by a wide margin. This is due in part to the remote location, deep inside the most pristine part of the Amazon jungle. Rio Marié is a tributary of the upper Rio Negro in northwest Brazil, which is the largest basin of “black” water in the world. The Rio Marié system has more than 500 miles of rivers, 180 known creeks, 60 lakes, and three major tributaries. It is located entirely within a vast indigenous territory of more than five million acres.
Local peoples have long referred to the Marié as the “Rio de Gigantes” (“River of Giants”), but it was only recently “discovered” by the international angling community as the best peacock bass fishery on earth. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and the intrepid fly fishermen at Untamed Angling (the same South American outfitters who introduced the world to La Zona in Argentina and Tsimane in Bolivia) made several exploratory biological studies of the river system. They found that the Rio Marié has double the population of big fish when compared to other, previously studied rivers such as Itapara, Agua Boa, Xeruini, Marmelos, and others. The studies revealed that the average Rio Marié peacock bass is over 10 pounds and the amount of fish recorded at over 15 pounds is astounding. Thats not all — the population density and absolute number of 20+ pound peacocks is higher here than anywhere else in the Amazon, or in the world.
After identifying the Rio Marié as the ultimate peacock bass fishery, the Brazilian Government, Untamed Angling, and ACIBRN (the local native association) cooperated to create the first official sport fishing operation in Brazil inside an indigenous territory. Anglers pay a user fee to the native associations, helping to sustain their culture and improve quality of life. The project also creates a number of jobs for locals, is sustainable through catch and release, and with very little impact it protects the incredible natural resources of the area indefinitely. The Rio Marié is also the first exclusive fly fishing only project allowed and supported by the Brazilian Government, and is the largest fly fishing only preserve in the world.
Untamed Angling has created a fly fishing operation worthy of this incredible fishery. A mobile, state-of-the-art, three story yacht built specifically for this program allows all of the hundreds of miles of water to be fished, keeping fishing pressure nonexistent and putting anglers at the right place at the right time regardless of river conditions. Professional fly-fishing guides operate state-of-the-art shallow draft fly fishing skiffs. The perfectly designed fishing program is paired with deluxe accommodations, experienced managers, international cuisine chefs who create the perfect mix of local and fine international dishes to go along with beverages, fine wines and the best services, no matter how deep into the untouched jungle wilderness areas. Rio Marié presents a new standard: superior fishing, experienced professional fly fishing guides, great accommodations and services, virgin waters that hold the last bastion of giant peacock bass, and improved techniques to pursue them on a fly rod.
Peacock bass belong on a very short list of ultimate gamefish. They eat with aggression. They are powerful, with the propensity to break leaders, straighten hooks, and destroy tackle. Their fight is aerial and acrobatic. They are gorgeous, one of the most photogenic fish in the world. And they are BIG.
As they did with golden dorado at Tsimane (Bolivia) and La Zona (Argentina), Untamed Angling spent years researching where the biggest fish live. Both Tsimane and La Zona have since become world-renowned destinations, and Untamed Angling has raised the bar even higher with the Rio Marié – home of the largest peacock bass in the world.
More 20+ pound peacock bass are landed in a typical week on the Rio Marié than in an entire season at most other Amazonian fisheries. While not everyone joins the exclusive “20 Pounder Club,” over half of the anglers visiting Rio Marié in its first few seasons have done so. In 2016, the Rio Marié produced the current world record peacock bass on a fly rod — 28.5 lbs.
Rio Marié also boasts ridiculous numbers of butterfly peacock bass in the 3-5 lb range. Pound-for-pound, butterfly peacocks are every bit as strong and aggressive as their larger cousins. They are tons of fun and provide lots of action to break up the search for monsters. Other species include the beautiful Jacunda (a cichlid in the same family as peacock bass), the sought-after Arawana, and the toothy Dogfish – the jungle version of a barracuda.
Each day two anglers with their English speaking, fly fishing savvy guide and native boat driver fish a different beat that would be impossible to 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.
BASS FISHERMAN’S HEAVEN
The style of fishing will make any bass fisherman feel right at home – if one can feel at home catching bass several times as big as the ones back home. Although the main channel of the Rio Marié is deep and wide with substantial current, there are plenty of still water areas: oxbow lakes, lagoons, protected flats, creek mouths, beaches on inside bends of the river, etc. The shorelines of the lakes and lagoons are lined with trees and brushy structure. The skiff typically skirts the shorelines with use of a trolling motor, while the anglers cast flies as close as they can to the structure. The flies are then retrieved with aggressive strips. With lower water, large, loud poppers can be more effective. Under most conditions, huge rattling baitfish imitations are the go-to flies. In other words, bass fishing on steroids.
There are some nice sightcasting opportunities as well. Most of the beaches that form on the inside bends of the river are patrolled by peacocks, especially in the afternoons. It is a nice break from standing on the boat to walk the beach looking for fish hunting the shallows. With low water conditions, large peacocks can also be found protecting spawning beds or the young fry themselves on the shallow flats. In either scenario, these fish will readily take a properly presented fly.
The Rio Marié offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to fly fish in a hyper-remote jungle wilderness for giant peacock bass that haven’t been hammered by gear fisherman throwing huge crank baits and woodchoppers. The Rio Marié is the most remote river in Brazil (more than 500 miles by float plane from Manaus). Untamed Angling’s project is the only sport fishing operation authorized on the Rio Marié, meaning no competition from other lodges.
In fact, no more than a few dozen sport fishermen had ever experienced this incredible, 800 kilometer-long river or its tributaries, until anglers showed up for the inaugural season in 2014. Those who have been there tell fish stories that are hard to swallow.
Unlike a land-based lodge, the Untamed Angling mothership (see ACCOMMODATIONS) is a shallow-draft, mobile base of operations that spreads the fishing over this entire vast fishery. In its short history, however, hundreds of miles of water have yet to be fished. The fishery is huge, has a short season, and no more than twelve anglers per week. It is a matter of “so much water, so little time.” All of those factors mean low pressure and happy fish – many of which have never seen a fly, much less a lure.
WATER LEVEL MANAGEMENT
The mobility of the Untamed Amazon also means that any given week, anglers are delivered to the right place at the right time regardless of river conditions. Although this program is open only during the “dry season,” it is still in the middle of the largest rainforest in the world. Hydrologic cycles vary from year to year, a reality that often means poor fishing – or no fishing – at other Amazonian destinations. The Rio Marié, however, is a headwaters system with hundreds of miles of water, and the fishing program is based on an actively mobile mothership operated by those who understand where and how to find the fish as water levels fluctuate. That means not only that water levels rarely ruin a trip, but can actually be used to advantage.
Untamed Angling designed the Rio Marié project as a new approach to trophy peacock bass and to improve on the techniques to target these remarkable fish on the fly. Rio Marié is now the largest area in the world specifically dedicated to fly fishing only, and the conservation oriented catch-and-release regulations will guarantee extraordinary fishing for many years. Virgin waters, endless, pristine wilderness, record-class fish, and a perfectly designed fishing program with luxury accommodations . . . Rio Marié is simply the ultimate Peacock Bass fishery.
THE UNTAMED AMAZON
“Home” for the week is the Untamed Amazon, a state-of-the-art yacht built in 2015 specifically for the Rio Marié fishing operation. It sets new standards in ship design, luxury, and safety — especially in middle-of-nowhere jungle.
The vessel is three stories tall, 92 feet long, 26 feet wide, and weighs 130 tons. However, it drafts only 4 feet, allowing it to move great distances within the river system, so that anglers fish new water each day and fishing pressure stays at a bare minimum. But the Untamed Amazon is much more than a superbly functional base of operations to fish the Rio Marié. It is equipped with sophisticated amenities worthy of any fishing operation — but such a high level of comfort and style in the heart of the Amazon is simply amazing.
The Untamed Amazon is the first vessel in Amazonia that uses 100% solar power for all electricity. The system has 96 German solar panels located on the roof and three tons of Hitachi solar batteries — the most advanced solar power generation system available.
The vessel’s command control center is located on the top floor, as well as the kitchen, large living and dining rooms, and even two big jacuzzis in an outdoor lounge. Drinks and appetizers are served every evening, before sumptuous meals prepared by the international cuisine chef and his team.
The middle floor has 8 double occupancy suites, 6 of which are for Rio Marié guests, for a maximum of 12 anglers per week. Each suite has a floor-to-ceiling panoramic view of the jungle outside, air conditioning, a private bathroom, twin beds capable of converting to a California king-sized bed, and plenty of storage for clothing and gear.
A crew of 14 mans the vessel, including captain, chef, hostess, 5 support staff, and 6 fishing guides. Staff quarters are located on the lower floor, along with twin propulsion engines, water filtration and water treatment systems, and laundry facility. The vessel is also equipped with the latest safety and navigational technology, including radio, AIS transponder System, Garmin Radar, Sonar and GPS, satellite phone, and wireless internet. It even has a fly shop!
The cuisine is outstanding, almost too good to be true this far from civilization. Breakfast always includes fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, pancakes and toast, and eggs and bacon made to order. Some lunches are packaged up by the kitchen, while other days anglers make their own lunches with gourmet deli meats and sides. Dinners include filet mignon, porkchop with caramelized onion jam, shrimp penne pasta with homemade pesto, roast chicken over orzo with sundried tomatos, and the last night a South American style BBQ with many different meats cooked over an open fire.
One lunch is always unforgettable – butterfly peacocks will be kept, filleted, and roasted on the banks of the river. The native guides build a grill on the spot with green saplings, build a fire underneath, and cook the fish as they have for many generations.
Perhaps the best thing about the Untamed Amazon is its mobility, which allows hundreds of miles of prime peacock bass habitat to be fished – and then rested. It is a perfect vessel for this properly executed operation on this amazing river.
Rio Marié is about 500 miles WNW of Manaus, the most important city in the Brazilian Amazon. There are many options to arrive to Manaus, with daily flights from Miami, Panama, Lima, San Paulo and Buenos Aires.
Most anglers take the direct flight from Miami, arriving late in the evening and spending the night at the Caesar Business hotel (included). Many opt to arrive a day early to mitigate the chances of flight delays and lost luggage. Coming in early will cost an additional hotel night, but for some the peace of mind is worth it. We highly suggest the 1 day buffer. A day spent exploring the cultural and historical attractions and parks of Manaus (a city founded in the 1600’s) is a great start to the trip.
The next morning, anglers are flown via Cessna Grand Caravan float plane charter approximately 3 1/2 hours directly to the Untamed Amazon mothership. At the end of the trip, anglers are flown back to Manaus with plenty of time to have a delicious dinner at one of our recommended restaurants before catching a red-eye flight home.
Arrive to Manaus. Our representative will be waiting at the Manaus International Airport. Transfer from airport to hotel and overnight at the Caesar Business hotel (included in package). Some guests opt to arrive Manaus a day early (Tuesday night), in which case Wednesday is spent exploring the city.
After breakfast at the hotel, the transfer driver will pick the group up around 6:00 – 7:00 am, and head to a local airport, where two Cessna Caravan Float Planes will be waiting. The charter flight duration is 3 1/2 hours, give or take depending on the location of the Untamed Amazon at the time. Anglers arrive at the Mothership and are escorted to staterooms before a brief orientation followed by a half day of afternoon fishing if time allows.
Each day teams fish a different beat in the Rio Marié and its tributaries and lagoons, with one pro fly fishing guide and a local Indian guide in boats with two casting platforms. Both anglers fish constantly all day long from these perfectly designed boats.
Lunch us taken on the water. The Untamed Amazon moves to a different anchorage on most days.
5:30am – Coffee is hot
7:00am – Breakfast
8:00am – Head to fishing grounds
12pm to 1pm – Picnic style lunch on the river
1:00pm – After lunch, fish until late afternoon and return to the Untamed Amazon around 6pm.
6:30pm – Cocktails and appetizers on the covered patio top deck.
8:00pm – Dinner served inside the Untamed Amazon’s air conditioned dining room area
After a leisurely breakfast and time to finish packing, guests board the charter flight back to Manaus at around 11:00 a.m., weather permitting. After a refueling stop in Tefe, arrive in Manaus around 3 p.m. (assuming no flight delays).
Most anglers depart on the late night flight from Manaus to Miami at 11:50 p.m. The staff driver delivers guests to the International Airport after a nice Brazilian BBQ dinner or to the Caesar Business hotel for a quick shower if you choose to rent a day room.
When to Go
RIO MARIÉ IS OPEN SEPTEMBER-JANUARY
In this area of the Amazon, the fishing season normally runs from September through January. This is the dry season for the upper Negro basin, when waters are typically at their lowest and most stable levels. That opens the entire river system to fishing, including the many tributaries and lagoons. When the floodwaters retreat from the jungle interior after the rainy season, huge populations of peacocks concentrate on shallow sandbars and the entrances to creeks and tributaries. Its at this time that peacocks are most aggressive, slamming brightly colored streamers and savagely striking top water flies and poppers.
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.
Each year’s hydrological cycles vary, but since Rio Marié is a headwaters system, combined with the immensity of its drainage and mobility of the Untamed Amazon, it is much more stable than other regional destinations.
Fly fishing is the predominant activity at Rio Marié. However adventurous non-anglers are welcome to join as well – especially nature lovers and photographers.The bird and wildlife can be spectacular in the deep jungle, particularly in the mornings and evenings. You may see parrots, macaws, parakeets, toucans, cotingas, flickers, manakins, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds. The beauty and sheer numbers of butterflies can be stunning. Tapir, nutria, peccary, and squirrel and howler monkeys can be seen at times. If you are lucky you will see freshwater porpoises and giant river otters that swim and hunt the waters of the Rio Marié. The jungle is very dense and the wildlife shy, so you can expect to hear more wildlife than you will see, but it is definitely a bonus to the fishing.
$7,325 per angler
(based on shared room / shared guide)
– All charter flights and boat transfers, and all necessary ground transfers
– One overnight at Caesar Business hotel in Manaus on arrival
– Guide-operated 21-foot, fully equipped shallow draft skiffs per two anglers
– Fishing licenses
– All meals and beverages, including wine, beer and spirits
– Daily laundry and maid service on mothership
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
– International airfare to Manaus, Brazil
– Brazilian visa
– Native Association Fee ($670 cash paid onsite)
– Gratuities for camp staff and guides
– Mandatory evacuation coverage
– Food and beverages in Manaus and any private city tours
– Airport departure tax
– Satellite phone calls ($5/minute)
– Extra hotel overnights
– Hotel accommodation on return, if needed
– Flies (the floating lodge has an extensive selection of the best flies, at $9/apiece)
TERMS & CONDITIONS
Tailwaters Travel must adhere to the cancellation policies of the guides, outfitters and lodges which it represents. Rio Marie’s policy follows: A non-refundable 50% deposit is required to secure all reservations. Final balance is due 90 days prior to departure. All deposits are non-refundable unless clients can be replaced. Full payment may be transferred to another guest for original dates. Tailwaters Travel reserves the right to charge a handling fee of $150 per person for date changes after initial reservation has been made. No credits or refunds are given for fishing time lost due to inclement weather. Refunds of deposits/payments made on credit cards will be charged a 3.5% service charge to fully compensate Tailwaters Travel for all bank charges incurred. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgement that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses.
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 destination, there can be challenges associated with offering a first-class experience in the ‘back of beyond.’ In the Amazon, water level conditions, 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 Niño and La Niña cycles can directly and immediately affect those levels.
Specifically, these EL Niño and La Niña events tend to impact the amount of rain in the headwaters of Amazon rivers, which in turn affect 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 level fluctuates.
The Rio Marié system’s main river and two major tributaries alone account for more than 425 miles of river, from its headwaters down to its merging with the Rio Negro. This unique and extensive water system allows for incomparable flexibility. The Untamed Amazon moves 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 for mitigating less than ideal water conditions. Though the Rio Marié 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 high or low during your trip, then this 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 Marié will reschedule your week to a later time, but will not refund your trip payment.