Picture this, Blackwater river meandering slowly through swamps and wetland and as the thick vegetation opens up and unveils a vast freshwater lagoon teeming with fish…
Welcome to Inirida Colombia!
Imagine cruising 6 days on a river for over 1300km, casting your lures, poppers, stick baits, swim or crank baits and anticipating that strike after you made that perfect cast right under the overhanging branch, a shadow appears from the tea coloured tannin water and the next moment, a vortex engulfs your offering and fish on!
We had the honor of being the first group of foreign anglers to fish Matawan river and the pleasure of having 9 avid anglers with me on this amazing trip, Wei Loong (our main point of contact with the operator), Ng Yam Pin(Ironman), Darel, Teck Hing and Alan from Malaysia, SK Cheong from Macau, Yuye from China and lastly Juan Camilo and Jorge Martinez from Colombia.
The water level on the Matawan river have remained at a higher level, which is not the best when you are fishing in these waters. This means all the fishes will have access to hard to reach places in the river system. Peacock bass is on the top of the list for all of us, the extraordinary colours on these cichlids species are breathtaking and the fight in this magnificent species are just incredible for their size.
Upon arrival in Bogota, the capital city of Colombia, we were ushered to our transport who was eagerly waiting for us. First stop, our day of Colombian cultures and traditions! We visited museums, churches and streets filled with colours, sight, sound and smell. I was in awed by all the exciting things I have seen and so were the guys as our fingers go trigger happy with our cameras. It was soon time to go and we left Bogota for Rio Inirida or Inirida river. We boarded the domestic flight in the early morning and landed just in time for lunch.
We were given a welcome speech by an officer for all the Do’s and Don’ts at the airport as soon as we came out of the arrival hall. This is actually a lot better or safer than I have thought it would be. Wasting no time after lunch, we headed straight for our campsite which was a 5 ½ hours boat ride. We were amazed by how organized things were prepared and setup when we arrived. Again, we were given a welcome speech, this time by the community chief about conservation and protecting this amazing place and how these fishing charters/expeditions helps the community. A large percentage of the proceeds generated through tourism are poured into building or upgrading schools, hospitals or other beneficial causes for the communities that depends on the Inirida river.
Fishing was relatively slow for the first day and we all thought it’s the norm for any trip. We were wrong… first day out and the group ended up with a couple of 20 pounders and numerous smaller peacock basses. This is gonna be great!
Day 2 - Record breaking day! All of us, yes! All of us had our personnel best! What more can we ask for? “breaking your personnel best” that’s what!
Day 3 - Did I mentioned personnel best on Day 2? Yes, all of us did it again. Records were broken again today not to mention there were many unstoppable runs and mind you we are using PE3 – PE6 outfits on these brutes and still lines were getting spooled, snapping, getting cut, snaps were opening, hooks were straightening, bending and even breaking and all the stuff you never wished happens, happened today. The fishes seem to be getting bigger and aggressive as our trip gets shorter and shorter. Back to the campsite for food and more stories for our tired and weary bodies in preparation for the rest of the days to come.
Day 3 to 5 - We were pushing further up and down river every day, as much as our gas tank would bring us and coming back with lots of smiles, laughter and flashes of what happen during the day would be brought to life as everyone shared their stories of the ones that got away over dinner by the fire J
Day 6 - Last day of fishing proved to be just as great as ever with 7-8 unstoppable monsters and I personally lost a fish that everyone reckoned to be just a bit short of 30 pounds! One of the angler, Yam Pin aka Ironman actually had a species which will supposedly rival that of the IGFA record and is pending for submission, the last day made us pushed even further and we just managed to make it back before the nightfall. Picture this, rocking and rolling the boat to ensure gas is constantly fed to the motor, that was how we made it back, it was hilarious!
Day 7 – As soon as we were done packing for home, we boarded our ride back to the main village where we stopped at a few areas and tried our luck for giant Payara along the rocky shoreline. Unfortunately we didn’t get any giants but we did land a couple of these beautiful toothy critter! It was time to head back to the town and check in for the night and get our flight back to Bogota the next morning.
Looking back and summarizing the trip, we caught too many smaller peacock basses under 10 pounds, lots of 10 - 19 pounders and all our personnel best are 20 - 23 pounds and only to be broken again! We witnessed several bigger class of fishes but unfortunately they weren’t hungry at our offerings, I am sure any of these fish will easily break all our personnel records again!
Apart from Peacock basses, other species includes the fang toothed Payara, flesh eating Piranha, wolf fish Traira and pretty Jacunda.
Now, for my closing speech: I would like to thanks Wei Loong for organizing, Christian our guide, Julian our guide assistant, all the crew from Inirida, not forgetting Juan Camilo our Spanish translator and of course all the anglers involved in this record smashing trip! You may not have the species or quantity like the Amazon but you can sure as hell have the quality in Inirida!
I have already pre booked the season for 2017 and you can call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fishing is only possible during the first few months as heavy rainfall for the rest of the year will affect the accessibility and maneuverability of the boats. This is the trip you will wanna be on if a record breaking fish is on your bucket list waiting to be ticked off!
Rod: Senses(prototype), Smith KOZ, Dranckrazy & Eupro
Reel: Shimano Calcutta Conquest, Calcutta D, Metanium, Chronarch CI4 & Daiwa Ryoga.
Lure: Senses Minnow, Rapala, Shimano, Yuzuri, Duo Rough Trail, Tackle House Ocean Blue K-Ten…& more…