Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Outfitter Selection Process
Booking agents in this country can provide areas with the absolute best fishing, the worst, or something in between, depending on a lot of factors. The best booking
agents will postpone a trip for good cause rather than send clients on a very questionable and costly experience.
No one consciously offers bad trips, but some outfitters let marketing zealousness overrule their abilities to produce
every time they book a group. Quite a few agents will book trips without intimate knowledge of the best timing for the
particular trip and in some cases without any first-hand experience with the fishery or the lodge, camp or boat.
Fortunately, a few agents will not send anyone to an area that they have not personally checked out. That
diligent investigation is what separates the good booking agents from the rest. Some travel throughout the year
extensively on "check-out" trips to verify camp owner's claims about their facility or operation "offering the very
best fishing over the course of many months."
Some have researched the peacock bass exhaustively and can tell you which 22 tributaries of the western
Amazon are "white water rivers" with poor fishing and which 45 are the much better "black water" tributaries. The top
booking agents can generally tell you where the rainy season has affected a fishery and where it has not, based
on their knowledge of runoffs and time of the year. Fishing a tributary just 100 miles north of Manaus, Brazil, may be
great in January, but another fishery that was far better just two months earlier may provide lousy fishing at this time.
Most booking agents will present the highlights of their offering, and a few could even be termed
"promoters". They will give you the strengths of the particular trip and avoid any mention of weaknesses.
You'll have to ask in some cases, but a professional will take the time to explain any concerns.
The most reliable booking agent will try to determine your interests and goals and match you with the
optimal trip that minimizes the potential problem areas. He certainly doesn't want you to have unrealistic expectations
and a reason to complain and not re-book, or worse yet, scare others away with tales of horror.
It has been my experience that the most efficient and reliable outfitters in South America have an English
-speaking owner or manager who is involved in the day-to-day operation of the camp, boat or lodge. The most efficient operations have guides who are natives of the
areas you will be fishing.
It is wise to obtain thorough answers to all your specific questions prior to booking the trip. Prepare a list
of precise questions before you call. You have a lot to do with the success of your trip, and it all starts with good
and necessary communications. When it's decision time, the traveling angler has to decide what he wants to do and how much money he is prepared to spend.