In 2019 I went on a hosted trip to the Bolivina and Amazonian Jungle. After a very successful time in Bolivia catching some monster Dorado, huge fruit eating Pacu, we headed out to the Amazon. This would be my first time hunting Arapaima with the Untamed Angling crew at their Pirarucu Lodge. For those of you that don’t know Arapaima, it is the largest scaled fish on the planet, known to grow up to 400lbs. We had 4 days to get the job done.
The first day started off pretty tough and I could not get a single fish to go for my fly. We saw hundreds of them gulping air. Fun fact, 80% of the oxygen that a Arapaima gets is from breathing air. So visually you see these huge fish rolling around you, all while trying to stay focused on the eat and make sure you set the hook as hard as humanly possible.
Back to the story and my mind was wondering, thinking, “will I ever be able to connect to one of the jungle fish.” All of a sudden right next to the boat, I had a super solid eat. I was not even able to set the hook properly as the fish just took off and greyhounding away from me. Twice it cleared the water, with a full breach. It was impossibly big. I know I was on borrowed time as I did not set the hook properly or as Raphael would say, “Jujitsu Set”. We worked our way to the bank, to try and land the fish. There was no way we would be able to bring it close to the boat. I fully locked the drag, in order to break the fish’s spirit and get it in quick enough to have a good release. With a bit of luck, dodging 5 cayman, the guide Andre managed to get hold of the beast. We were stunned, it measured out just short of 8 feet and after a few calculations, weighted in at over 322lbs. All this on a little fly rod. She swam away strong, doing one last angry jump as she swam away.