Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Like jungles anywhere, incidents with wild animals can happen. The most dangerous encounter during daylight
hours may be that with one of the fresh water sting rays. Since anglers seldom wade in the Amazon, this happening is not common. Sting rays occassionally zap anglers who
may get out of their boat to cast a shallow lagoon on the other side of a navigation prohibiting sandbar.
A friend doing just that was fishing off the sandbar just inside a lagoon entrance and was shuffling his feet, as is
the proper way to wade in shallow Amazon waters. He was not moving much at all but one sting ray was not paying attention to the movement. It flipped its stinger
into the guy's instep several times. The pain was bad, very bad and the angler missed a week of fishing.
Fortunately, the yacht operation employed a full time surgical nurse onboard and the injured man credits that
nurse with acting properly and preventing what could have
developed into a more serious situation while taking
immediate care of the wound in his swollen leg. A brief hospital stay back in the states assured his satisfactory recovery and
skin repair. This was one of those rare accidents that can sometimes happen in a remote flooded jungle. Many of the
Amazon guides with which I've fished have scars from their interaction with one or more rays. All anglers in South America
who get out of the boat and walk in water should shuffle their feet and be very careful.
Another incident, which is far more serious, involved a non-PBA
member angler and a non-PBA Supporting Member lodge a few years ago. It involved a caiman taking off the angler's arm. As
we understand it, a couple of anglers and their guide were trying to transport a large caiman (that was bound) back to
their lodge headquarters. The 12-footer got loose from the ropes, grabbed the closest guy's arm and went over the side. Thank God, the man survived and lost only his arm
and not his life. A live, monster-size caiman is not something anyone should mess around with, let alone
share a boat with, regardless of how well it is tied up. If your fishing buddies or guides suggest otherwise, tell them no thanks. Any
caiman over about 4 feet and 10 or 12 pounds is not to be messed with for any reason.
Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves of the dangers that
exist in a wild world. I got another email from a well-experienced Amazon angler and member who had just returned from a trip to
Brazil. He relayed, "We were fishing the Matupiri River with good success, big numbers to about 19 ½ pounds, but we did encounter
something very strange. A female caiman about 10 to 12 feet long attacked our small fishing boat. She charged us and hit the rear of
the boat. Notice in the picture the outboard motor cowling and the charging Caiman. Then, she proceeded to attack again. Needless to say, things got a little scary for the
moment. Our host said that this was the first time such an attack has ever happened. Hopefully, it is the last
I'll ever have to experience." That sounded exciting and I'm glad they were all ok. Since I go swimming in many
of the Amazon basin rivers, his report was not too comforting!
Not all creatures in the jungle are dangerous. Check out these shots of the
monkey and the swimming sloth. These sights are not too rare in the Amazon. Most sloth are seen in the trees.
Editot's Note: Tips reprinted with permission from PBA's "The World of Peacock Bass" monthly eZine.