FAQ: Camps & Conditions
Isn't it dangerous ?
Emphatically, no! The camps, the boats, the gear are all operated and maintained by our expert, experienced staff. Clients are well cared for in a safe and secure lodge, floating bungalow or yacht environment. Furthermore, the Amazon blackwater regions we fish are remarkably benign environments, free of mosquitos, biting gnats and other pests. Typically, the most common dangers are sunburn and fishhooks (your own).
Just as in any camping situation, a detailed knowledge of ambient conditions and local wildlife is important to enable the safest and most enjoyable experience. All of our camps are staffed by native Amazonians. They are as familiar with the exotic Amazon environment as your local outdoor experts are with your own regional wilderness. Our expert staff makes all aspects of the trip easy, comfortable and non-strenuous, making it readily accessible to youngsters and seniors alike. Your job here is to fish, eat, drink and relax!
Our guides handle all of the fish landing and hook removal chores — and for good reason! see below;
An important note - As safe as we know our trips to be, it is still necessary that certain anglers consider the true remoteness of our fishing operations. Individuals with potentially dangerous medical conditions should be aware that rapid transportation to medical facilities often requires the use of a float plane and can potentially take many hours.
What about piranhas and anacondas?
What about piranhas and anacondas and all the other nasty Amazon Critters you’ve heard about? - Piranhas and anacondas make terrific Hollywood movie fare. Undoubtedly you've seen plenty of horrific movie scenes where the intrepid explorer is either consumed, dismembered or flayed by these almost mythical jungle terrors. Well folks, that's Hollywood! Boring movies don't sell.
The reality is much less exciting. These critters don't really pose any risk at all to the peacock bass fisherman. Piranha are the panfish of the Amazon –sunnies with fancy dentures, so to speak. People eat piranhas, not the other way round. (They also make terrific catfish bait.) There are over 80 species of Serrasalmidae (the family in which piranha are classified) in the Amazon and three quarters are vegetarians. The rest are for the most part, toothy scavengers that subsist primarily on diets of small fish, fins, scales or carrion. One can safely swim or bathe in any of the rivers we fish. Piranha prefer to swim away whenever they can.
Anaconda provide a rare but exciting sighting on the rivers we fish. These beautiful giant reptiles feed primarily on fish, large rodents, caiman, and aquatic birds in the riverine environment. Anaconda do not eat people and when disturbed, will avoid humans by taking shelter under water. Although peaceful and normally retiring, they are large, wild animals and must be given reasonable space. Like any other wild creature, they will bite or defend themselves if they feel cornered or threatened.
This holds true for all the wildlife in Amazonia. People are just not on their natural menu. Treated with reasonable respect, they are happy to go about their business and avoid contact with humans. Observe and enjoy them without interfering in their activities and they are no more dangerous than the wildlife in your own regional wilderness, in fact, probably less so if you live in bear country.
Won't the mosquitoes eat me alive?
Won't the mosquitoes eat me alive? - Absolutely not! Frankly, the only place you’re likely to encounter mosquitos is when you’re changing planes in Miami. There are almost never mosquitoes in the regions we fish during the dry season. The blackwater rivers we fish are too acidic to allow mosquito reproduction. Most of the rivers do have small gnats and horse flies, but never in oppressive numbers. Bees and wasps are also encountered, generally in numbers similar to those found in the United States.
What About Zika?
… It is not a concern in Acute Angling’s Amazon Fisheries!
A disease first seen in Uganda in 1940 has suddenly become the latest Media darling … with a raft of misinformation, typical of Media spin … Although Zika is an important concern to pregnant mothers, it is hardly the deadly, world-ending scourge the media makes it out to be.
Forget the hyperbole — Here are the 5 key facts.
— First of all, the waters we fish are essentially mosquito free. The fisheries that contain giant peacock bass and our other exotic aquatic targets are all “Blackwater” systems. The very low pH inherent in these waters (highly acidic - typically ranging from 3.5 to 5.5) inhibits successful reproduction and development of aquatic mosquito larva. Blackwater does not harbor mosquitos!
— Secondly, the mosquito species that transmit Zika are not native to the waters we fish. One of the few facts that are clearly known and agreed upon by researchers, doctors and even the news media is that Zika is transmitted via Aedes mosquitos (specifically Aedes Aegyptus and possibly A. albopictus). Thus: Where no Aedes mosquitos are present → there is no Zika. Aedes Aegyptus, the Zika vector, is absent from our fisheries!
— Third, the Zika virus is not present in the regions we fish. Zika has not been encountered everywhere in Brazil - Brazil is as large as the U.S. and its Zika cases are concentrated in the Northeastern and coastal regions of the country and in cities. Just as a comparable mosquito transmitted disease, West Nile Virus, is present in the U.S., it is not found everywhere. An effective way to illustrate the prevalence of Zika is by its correlation to the number of cases of microcephaly reported. Our fisheries are a very long way from the areas most strongly affected.
— Fourth, even if it were present where we fish, Zika does not pose a significant health risk to the majority of our anglers. The terrible effect of infant microcephaly is only a danger to unborn children. Thus, pregnant women (and perhaps their husbands) are the only group for whom Zika is a real concern. According to CDC, most people infected with Zika will never notice symptoms. Approximately 1 in 5 will develop symptoms including; sudden fever with rash; joint, and body pain; headache; and conjunctivitis. Symptoms are usually mild and last from several days to a week.
— Fifth, as in the U.S., Brazil is taking aggressive action to halt the spread of Zika. As of this writing, effective mosquito control methods are being deployed throughout Brazil (and the U.S.) in an effort to contain the Zika virus. The U.S. has a significant population of Aedes mosquitos and is also a site for the spread of the disease, so, just as in Brazil, federal, state and local governments are instituting aggressive mosquito control programs. These actions will certainly diminish the chances of Zika ever arriving in our Amazon fisheries. (it is already present in Miami, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico).
The map below shows the natural range of Aedes mosquitos in the U.S.
— In conclusion, the Zika virus should not scare travelers to the Amazon into staying home. Frankly, the likelihood of encountering Zika on an Acute Angling trip is lower than the odds of it being contracted in the U.S. As per an earlier update from the Angling Report, with input from Global Rescue, fishermen shouldn't decide against a trip to South America before knowing the facts.
It is not our intent to make blanket statements in this article that cannot be fully supported or may have exceptions, or whose facts could change in the future (This writing is made as of November, 2016). So, keep in mind these important considerations;
Although mosquitos are absent from our fisheries, and it is highly unlikely that you will ever encounter any on our trips, non-Zika mosquitos (mostly Anopheles and Culex) can be found in the neighboring forests and near human habitation.
It is impossible to say that Zika could not spread from its current locales. Aedes mosquitos can be carried anywhere by aircraft and vehicles. It is possible they could come to thrive in non-native areas. Of course, people travel as well and can bring the disease with them wherever they go.
There are questions as to the relationship between Zika and other conditions. Microcephaly occurs in areas that do not have Zika and both microcephaly and Zika can be misdiagnosed. As with several other viral mosquito-borne diseases, a link has also been suggested between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
U.S. Center for Disease control - http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
U.N. World Health Organization - http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
CARVALHO, R. G., LOURENCO-DE-OLIVEIRA, R, Updating geographical distribution and frequency of Aedes albopictus in Brazil. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 2014, vol.109
What's the weather like?
What's the weather like? - Well it's hot, but not any hotter than Dallas in August. And though it's usually fairly dry during our fishing season, it can get humid, although not any worse than Florida in July. Day-time temperatures can range from 75 to 100 degrees while the nights are generally cooler, from 70 to 80 degrees. The dry season in Amazonia is noted for its relatively benign conditions.
The sun is an altogether different story. Amazonia is located essentially astride the equator. Nowhere on earth is the sun more powerful and more capable of causing sunburn than here. Make sure that you bring and use plenty of sun block and, especially for the sun sensitive, cover up with good quality tropical clothing. We recommend light-colored, long sleeve shirts, pants, a full-cover fishing hat and good quality polarized glasses.
Will I get sick from the water?
No, not in our operations. You won't be drinking local water or river water. Our trips use and provide only bottled water, in addition to canned soda and beer, bottled wine and liquor. Bottled water is used for juices, ice cubes and cooking, thereby eliminating contact with the native flora and the likelihood of “Montezuma’s Revenge”. You're not going to contract any exotic tropical diseases in our operations.
Traveler's diarrhea, however, can still occur from other sources. As careful as we are about providing bottled water, on occasion, an individual may still come down with a case of the runs. They may forget or be unaware of the consequences of drinking South American water and perhaps order a drink or a juice in a hotel or restaurant (their water and ice may not be purified), or in some fashion manage to consume the local flora. We recommend carrying an appropriate antibiotic such as Cipro (check with your physician) to quickly nip the condition in the bud. A good antidiarrheal, such is Imodium is also helpful to suppress the symptoms.
Although the simple act of traveling overseas and being exposed to new foods, different conditions and foreign ambient flora can upset one's normal routine, our anglers almost never experience any problems.
What about tropical diseases?
What about tropical diseases? - Your chances of coming into contact with any diseases are far greater on the airplanes and in the cities than they are in the fisheries. Furthermore, there are no current health advisories for the regions we fish. Nonetheless, a reasonable amount of care is always advisable. Ask your physician for his recommendations based on your personal health profile. The U.S. Public Health Service or I.A.M.A.T also publishes periodic advisories for all foreign countries, providing recommendations for immunizations. We recommend that you consider an anti-malarial such as Malarone and any inoculations that your personal physician might suggest. We fish in the headwaters of remote Amazon rivers, generally well up-river of any permanent habitation. Typically, diseases are passed from human to human when they are in close proximity.
You can call USPHS at 800–279–1605.
for general inquiries or write to:
1101 Wootton Parkway, Plaza Level, Rockville, MD 20852.
We provide gourmet, restaurant quality meals. We can safely guarantee that the food in all of our operations is far better than you expect!
Our Amazonian operations are staffed by experienced and skillful personnel. However, as good as everyone on our staff is, the chef and cooking staff are always better! The quality of our meals is always beyond expectation. The food is delicious and the menu is broad in all of our operations ... and there's always more than you can eat. A hot breakfast is provided every morning with coffee, milk, juice, toast, eggs, bacon and pancakes or French toast. Various breads and rolls and other specialties are always included. Anglers pack a box lunch with sandwiches they make themselves from a selection of cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomato, chicken, eggs and often a pate' of local fish. Topped off with cookies and fruit, lunch is usually eaten on the river. If desired, anglers are always welcome to return to camp at noon for lunch.
After fishing, most anglers make their way to the camp's comfortable dining room or our yacht’s spacious open-air lounge to trade tall tales and enjoy a soft drink or cold beer or cocktail. Our chefs make terrific appetizers ranging from pizza snacks to savory fish tidbits to brighten up our jungle version of happy hour. Dinner is served around seven each evening. Dinners consist of superb soups, fresh salad, and three main dish options are always offered; an American style entree (steak, chicken, lasagna etc.); fresh fish; and also a native style entrée. Vegetables and beans and rice are always included. We serve fine wines with every dinner. Wonderful desserts are served after dinner.
Our staff is able to accommodate most special dietary needs, (such as gluten free meals) if advised in advance. No one goes hungry in our camps. Our problem is that we usually enjoy the food so much, it always means a period of dieting upon returning home, to get back to a reasonable weight.
Where do we stay?
Although specific accommodations vary depending on the fishery, all of our operations (except our exploratory safari camp) offer the same, extremely comfortable amenities; including; air-conditioning, private bathrooms in each cabin, separate private stall showers, 110 V electrical service, fantastic meals, always open bar, always accessible drinks and snacks and comfortable beds.
In the Amazon lowlands, where rivers are navigable, we utilize the Blackwater Explorer, our highly mobile, luxurious air-conditioned yacht, to reach well into the headwaters of peacock bass rivers. The comfortable mothership tows the fishing boats along from fishery to fishery, ensuring the most dependable and productive access to peacock bass.
Where obstacles to navigation are present, we use our comfortable, mobile floating bungalow camp. Built into aluminum hulls, the roomy bungalows are air-conditioned, fully carpeted, screened and rain-proofed. Featuring two large beds, plenty of storage space and tables and chairs, the living space is ample and pleasant. Each bungalow has its own private bathroom with a separate hot-water shower. The units are individually air-conditioned and equipped with lighting and 110VAC outlets for recharging your devices.
Our multi-species variety trips in the high-gradient Rio Travessão of Brazil’s Guyana Shield region are operated from our super-comfortable rustic lodge. With more space than any of our mobile operations, the lodge is an extremely pleasant oasis in the jungle. Each cabin has its own private bathroom with a separate toilet and shower. The units are individually air-conditioned and equipped with lighting and 110VAC outlets for recharging your devices.
Even our exploratory trips, operated in our mobile, safari-style camps are comfortable. Our staff clean the tents, make the beds, bake the bread and wash and dry laundry on a daily basis. The only thing missing is the little chocolate treat on your bed at night. Your job is to fish, eat, drink and relax. Considering how remote our fishing locations are, the accommodations are amazingly pleasant. All the comforts of home with a little touch of jungle elegance added.
How do we fish?
How do we fish? - All of our Amazonian operations fish two anglers per boat with an experienced Brazilian guide. Each of our operations uses specially designed and purpose-built fishing boats. Stable 16 foot aluminum boats with casting platforms, 40-horse outboards and electric trolling motors are standard equipment on our yacht trips. In regions with navigation challenges we use longer, lighter boats with combination semi-vee and partial flat-bottom hulls to provide superior maneuverability. We don’t use heavy, 90 hp broad-beamed bass boats - because they simply can‘t get into the waters we want to fish.
Our experienced guides will take you up or down river to locations that they know to produce fish, or, you are welcome to ask them to explore and try new waters. Most fishing is in the still water of lagoons connected to the river. Occasionally, under the right conditions, you may fish in the river itself, in locations which provide cover for structure loving peacocks. Your guide will start off each day with a plan so that you have an opportunity to fish new waters. Of course, if you've found a spot that you want to return to over and over, feel free to have your camp host adjust the plan to accommodate you. They are always at your beck and call.
Our guides are all expert peacock bass fishermen. They will locate fish, guide you in lure selection, fishing techniques and even help with casting accuracy. Peacock bass relate to structure, making it very productive to cast into some tough spots. Don't worry if you get hung up or into the trees, your guide will promptly recover your lure for you. Our guides are native to the Amazon, are very well trained and know the rivers in great detail. They can always make their way back to camp in the evenings, no matter how far you've wandered or how lost you might feel.
They are also well versed in the operation and upkeep of their equipment (as well as your fishing tackle) and can be counted on to make sure that everything works as it should. All that's left for you to worry about is where to cast and what to do with that wild thing on the end of your line once you hook up.