Friday, March 30, 2007


I've being going on and on in the last few posts about dorado and pintado but the pacu is one of the most beautiful fish in the Pantanal. Most pacu reach a length of about 50 cm (about 20 inches) and can weigh as much as 20lbs (this one was about 12lbs).

Pacu have very large molar like teeth. Though their teeth are quite large (and almost look human) they are not part of the piranha family. They use these large teeth to cut through vegetation and to break open large seeds that fall into the water. (photo is from Claus Qvist Jessen's Fishing and Angling Photos Page - )

Pacu are herbivores and although they will hit on live bait, their preference is fruit such as the laranjinha (pictured above). This fruit is native to the prata basin of the Pantanal. Wherever you find a tree by the banks, you can be sure there are plenty of fat pacu waiting to be caught.

The best method for catching them is to tie your boat off to a tree branch and use your heaviest weight to drop your bait right on the bottom. Pacu mainly eat fruit that has fallen into the water so they will look for what's just sitting there.

They are skittish so you have to remain quiet and still but the rewards are great. They are not great fighters like the dorado or pintado but still a great catch.

You'll want to use a medium to heavy action rod, 17 - 20lb line and a 4/0 - 6/0 hook.

This is grilled pacu served with rice, salad and topped with fried bananas. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The pacu tastes great and the bones are large so you don't have to worry about swallowing one.
Pacu is just one of the many specialties of the Pantanal and Fish Big Fish fishing adventures. Give us a call to set up your excursion - 1-800-582-2105.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Huge Catfish

For the last week or so, I've mainly been talking about dorado. While they are definitely one of the best freshwater sportfish in the world, the catfish of the Pantanal run a very close second place.

The pintado (speckled catfish) is one of the most prized fish in Brazil. Other cats are the cachara (striped catfish) which is also known as surubim, the barbado (flat-whiskered catfish) which in my opinion puts out a better fight than any of the others, and the monster jaú (giant catfish) which can weigh in at over 200lbs.

All of these cats share the same habitat as the dorado and hit the same bait. You immediately know you have hooked one instead of a dorado because where the dorado will leap out of the water trying to shake loose your hook, the pintado and other catfish will dive down as fast as they can and then try to go under your boat in order to break your line. They are successful on many occasions.

All of them are great tasting fish with the exception of the jaú. I personally like the pintado best. It easily slices up into large fillets and is excellent fried, baked, grilled or stewed. The barbado is best when cut into bite size pieces, batter-dipped and fried. Brazilians call it isca or bait and it is out of this world when served with lemon.

You will not only have a chance to reel in all of these fish during your Brazilian fishing excursion but you will also have the privilege to eat them prepared by our international chef.

When you are ready for your fishing adventure, call us at 1-800-582-2105.

In the meantime, I have prepared a video so you can see what all the excitement of catching Pantanal catfish is all about. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2007

So Just How Tough Are Dorado?

The fishing world has been talking recently about dorado and what kind of fight they can put up once hooked. If you haven't seen the video of their spectacular acrobatic leaps, just scroll down the page and take a gander. If that isn't enough to get your blood pumping and adrenalyne rushing, take a look at this photo.

That's me. As you can see by the look on my face, I am not very happy. Why you ask? Let me tell you. You can see that I am holding two pieces of a fishing rod. A fishing rod that used to be my brand new one piece carbon graphite rod that I picked up specifically for this trip. Now it is a memorial to the fight that one dorado put out our first day on the Paraguay River.

I knew that I should use a medium to heavy action rod but since it was the first week of the season and I knew we would mainly be catching smaller 8-12 lb dorado, I figured a light action rod would be fine. I was wrong and I paid the price.

I also paid the price (or as we say in Brazil, paid the monkey) for only using 17lb test line. I had my line snapped more times than I like to remember. Rogerio figures we lost as many as we caught the first day on snapped lines and because we used hooks too small. Since we pulled in over 30 fish that first day, that is saying something.

Our second day I borrowed a heavy action rod from my new friend Silvio who owns the Tuiuiu Marina in Caceres, Mato Grosso. We also switched to size 8/0 barbed hooks and 30lb test line. After that my line snapped only once but then it was by a monster pintado (speckled catfish). We could see him in the water and estimated he weighed over 60 lbs.

You can bring your own gear from home or use the gear we provide. We use only Shimano reels and we will definitely provide you with the right rods and tackle so you won't have to go through what we did.

But because of the way dorado, pintado and barbado struggle once hooked, we can't guarantee that with even using this equipment you won't suffer a snapped line, bent hook or even broken rod or reel.

When you are ready for this kind of fishing action, give us a call - 1-800-582-2105

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Meeting With The Mayor Of Caceres

During our trip to the Pantanal, Rogerio and I realized the importance of developing relationships with governmental leaders in the region. Caceres, in the state of Mato Grosso, is the port city where our expeditions begin. We wanted to make sure that the city officials understand the needs of our clients as well as our desire to be involved in the local community.

We stopped by the offices of Rubens Macedo (on the left, to my right, in the photo), the secretary for the environment and tourism for Caceres shortly after we arrived. We talked with him briefly about our plans to develop more interest for North Americans to come to the Pantanal not only to fish but also to see the natural beauty of the region. He felt we should meet with the mayor and scheduled a meeting for the next day.

Mayor Ricardo Henry (on the right, my left, in the photo) welcomed us to his offices and was excited to hear about our plans. We shared with him our desire to not only develop tourism in the city but also to give back and build a child development center that would later become a children's home.

His wife works in the department of child services and welfare. We stopped by there also to find out about what is required for this type of venture.

All in all we had some great meetings that produced solid relationships with local officials ensuring our clients have the best time possible during their stay. We have heard horror stories about officials in other South American countries causing problems for American tourists. Our friendship with the city leaders of Caceres means that you will avoid any of that unpleasantness and get down to the real business of your trip - FISHING!

The city's website wrote an article about our visit. It is in Portuguese so you probably won't understand much. You can put it through a translator page such as babelfish but I doubt it will still make much sense.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Caiman Crocodiles of the Pantanal

I have shared about the millions of caiman crocodiles that live in the Pantanal. Here is proof. We went out a couple of nights with an indian guide and this is just one of many caiman we found.

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Catching Dorado

Here is a glimpse of what it is like to catch dorado in the Pantanal. Better than you can possibly imagine. Their acrobatic leaps will leave you speechless.

Rogerio and I spent 2 1/2 days fishing in the Paraguay River last week and had a great time. Sorry the audio is in Portuguese but no one else there spoke English.

I will be posting more video in the next few days

When you are ready a for a trip like this, call us at 1-800-582-2105 or go to our website

Monday, March 19, 2007

Back Home Again

Wow! I guess you can see by the big smile on my face and the beautiful dorado in my hands that we had a great time fishing in the Pantanal. We only fished for two and half days but it was awesome.

Let me give a quick report. First, the weather was great. It only rained one day and then only for a few hours. It was hot but not unbearable. You definitely want to bring sun protection. I used SPF 50 and still got burned on my legs the last day. The mosquitoes were basically non-existent except at night. We had a few ankle-biters but a quick shot of OFF! took care of them. At night you will need to use some type of repellent.

OK, what you really want to know, how was the fishing. In one word, UNBELIEVABLE!!!. Even though it was only the first week of the season, the dorado and pintado were biting like mad. Each time we went out, we caught something within the first ten minutes. The last day, I cast in my line as the boat was approaching our spot and immediately got a hit and reeled in a 8 lb dorado.

Rogerio was reeling them in as well. Our guides knew the best spots to take us. We only went about about an hour or so down river so we didn't make it to where the really big ones are. And the river is really high right now. As the river level drops over the next few weeks, we'll be catching the 20+ lb dorado and 50+ lb pintado.

Over the next few days I'll be post more pictures and giving more information about what we experienced. I also have some video of the acrobatic leaps that dorado make trying to escape your hook. It'll blow you away. Sprinkled in the mix we'll be reporting on the history and culture of this region of Brazil.

When you are ready for a fishing experience like no other, give us a call at 1-800-582-2105.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Heading to the Pantanal!

My wife told me this morning that I am like a kid on Christmas eve and with good reason. Tomorrow Rogerio and I are heading to Cáceres, Mato Grosso for a week of meetings, research and fishing to prepare for this year's fishing season.

The season officially started last week but this is our first chance to get up there this year. We will be checking river levels and fish populations. We also have several meetings scheduled with government officials to prepare the way for an even better fishing experience for our clients.

Best of all, part of that research includes 3-4 days of nothing but fishing. Dorados, pintados, jaús, piranhas, surubins, pacu. Man, I can't wait.

I will be out of the office until the 15th but you can still call the 800 number and reach my wife. She can get in touch with us and help you plan your dream fishing trip or you can always email me at

I plan on blogging throughout the trip to share everything we find along the way. There are several internet cafes in Cáceres so I should be able to keep you up to date on what's happening. We also have several big surprises in store as well that we are working on and will announce shortly after the trip.

World's largest wetland. World's heaviest sport fish population. Largest concentration of wildlife in the Americas. The Pantanal. I can't think of any other place I'd rather be.