Several years have passed since my quest for Aimara ( another Hoplias ), very close relative living in French Guyana waters, you can see report HERE , and I still remember that adventure as one of my best freshwater one; the fishes were mean, the environment wild and difficult, a small fast river flowing in the jungle among giant rocks and sunken trees, a nightmare of covers inhabited by finned monsters.
What we'll infront now will be a different scenario, very clean rivers and lagoons filled with weeds and greenery, so I hope I can get away with somewhat lighter tackle than the PE5 I used in Guyana when I suffered also a couple bad bustoffs.... time will tell, new challenges and new places are what keep up my interest to the max.
Speaking about tackle I will bring basically three rods, a baitcasting PE4-5 outfit like Yamaga Blanks Xtremo 65 paired with Shimano Curado 301, a PE 2-3 rod again baitcasting like Yamaga Blanks Glazer 60X paired with Shimano Scorpion 1501, and same model rod in spinning version with a TwinPower 5000XD ... these three will be my basic arsenal with maybe a couple spares in case of unexpected situations.
Lines, badass braids, in 30 to 65 lbs, giving priority to abrasion resistance rather than casting performances.... leader will be titanium and I will bring with me 40 to 100 lbs wire in order to prepare on place what will better fit the needs.
So we are to the lure selection chapter... the funniest part of every trip... I will make choice as following, considering both my past experience, teh web infos and suggestions by local operator.
All lures need to be strong to withstand crashing jaws and furious fights, through wire is a plus but cannot be obtained for all lures, hooks need often to be changed to saltwater grade ones.
these are the first to be chosen, the vicious surface attack is what trairao is famous for so I absolutely need walk the dog stickbaits and one of the local favorites, the River2Sea Whopper Plopper.
In the WTD array i will bring my own habanos in various size as they performed really well in past trip, Evergreen Amazon, Imakatsu Trairao ( coincidence ? ) and OSP Bowstick. Also a crawler as the Jackall Pompadour could be interesting to have.
In French Guyana the rule was the bigger the lure the bigger the fish, not sure it will work in the same way in Mato Grosso but I will be prepared to do the testing.
Big fishes want big lures, and especially considering these creatures have evolved to prey on very large terrestrial animals fallen or swimming in the river... rats, iguanas, snakes are on their menu and monkey , sloths and even dogs have been reported ti be attacked as mr Trairao could reach and possibly past the 40 kilos size... better be careful in washing our hands ...
So big swimbaits can have their place in my tackle box...
Spinnerbait are a must have lure, for when the fishes are not active on topwater, they can go down there in the weed and wood to search for them... only problem is finding strong enough model... bass models won't do, hooks get easily straightened and wire bent... even on big pike or musky models the wire is gonna bend and will need adjustements after every catch... in Guyana I used custom ones with big saltwater hook and 1.6 wire... they held the fish but also needed to be fixed often.
And some minnow plugs of course, strong ones, I have my favourites but many can fill the slot.
Those will be the basics, then I will add some unusual lures, some frogs for example, as vegetation is heavy.. they will not last long in those mouths, same as with snakehead fishing, were I learnt to rely on Spro King Daddy Bronzeye, 1 0z size and visibly bigger than usual bass models
While we're talking snakehead, why not to consider a couple of lures created for the Channa, of course in big size.. a buzz, a jumpfrog and a popfrog I made...
I will bring also a couple jerkbait, they tend to work everywhere so why leave home without them...
And maybe some cranks just in case, from shallow to deep....
I think I have enough weight in my lurebox and I am hopefully covered for any situation.
Some softies and maybe a couple of weedless jigs the kind I use for wels catfish and I am happy.
I will also make some custom lures right for this trip, this is part of my personal fun as I have some ideas to convert in wood... but not the moment to talk about them until I am satisfied.
Don't take this as the suggestion of the best lures around for Hoplias game, thise are just my personal choices... but I expect them to give me some good action.
We'll see it in less than two months.... Brazil I am coming!!