Explore Brazil: Tropical Fishing and Culture

Words and Photos by Scott Myers of Bayou Chronicles

Brazil is a special place for me; almost a second home and culture since meeting my wife, a native of Rio de Janeiro, in 2003.  Over the years, we’ve gone back many times, mostly visiting Rio De Janeiro and her family there. We also enjoyed venturing further out to places like Salvador, Olinda, Recife, Ouro Preto and the Northeast region.

Despite all those visits I had never managed to organize a fishing trip, especially a kayak fishing trip. This time would be different. In 2016, Hobie brought their Hobie Worlds kayak fishing championship to Leeville, Louisiana, not far from my home in New Orleans. Hobie reached out to Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, our local fishing club. They asked for local anglers that would be willing to spend a couple pre-fishing days with anglers from around the world. Lending our local knowledge of the fishery and techniques.

A Connection for Brazilian Fishing Built

I volunteered to help show the Brazilian guys around and translate for those that didn’t speak English. I also gave them some pointers on fishing in Louisiana.  It was a fantastic experience. Through the friendships I made, I now had opportunities to fish the next time I made it to Brazil.

It would not be until winter 2017 that we had another chance to go back to Brazil, this time with our 9-month old son.  Because of my wife’s work schedule, we are limited to visiting during Christmas holidays. A time of year that is traditionally a vacation period for most Brazilians. I was worried about whether I’d have a chance to fish or not.

Fishing Opportunity Seized

Finding a high-end fishing kayak to rent or use can be a bit of a challenge in Brazil. My contacts there absolutely went above and beyond in their efforts to help me out. A couple of opportunities just didn’t work out because of the crazy holiday schedule, but eventually, my friend Rafael Renzetti and I made a plan.

He had an extra kayak available, and a trip planned. All I had to do was jump on the overnight bus from Rio de Janeiro, fish with him for the day in São Jose dos Campos (near São Paulo), and jump on an overnight bus back.

A whirlwind trip, but I absolutely had to be back in time for Christmas! We had a great trip, the camaraderie was second to none, and the Brazilian guys were extremely warm and welcoming, as is their nature in all things.  I was able to snag a couple of tucunaré (peacock bass) on topwater lures. An absolute blast.

Our traditional first stop on all our trips to Rio De Janeiro is the Point do Peixe restaurant. They serve up some killer fried and stewed fish, in this case Mahi Mahi. Courtesy Image


Rio de Janeiro is a big, crowded city, and it can really shock the senses. Despite being a veteran of many trips there, I was extremely ready to get out on the water for some piece of mind and quiet. Courtesy Image


A typical scene in Rio de Janeiro, with lush green mountains surrounding the dense urban jungle. This is a neighborhood called Madureira. Courtesy Image


Another food tradition – queijo qualho, cheese grilled over charcoal. This one is a staple at the beach!


Getting to the secret fishing spot involved a lot of bumpy, muddy dirt roads. Note the classic red/orange soil in Brazil. Courtesy Image


One of our first stops on the way to fish was a small bridge overlooking a winding stream. The water level fluctuates a lot. During certain times of the year, this area would be fishable. Courtesy Image


After confirming with the landowners that we had access to this spot, we were ready to get on the water. Just a muddy slippery hill separated us and the water. Courtesy Image


It felt incredible to get underway. I could barely keep up with the rest of the crew while shooting all the photos I was trying to take. At the same time, trying to soak in the surroundings. I believe the big house on the hill was part of a fazenda, perhaps the owner of a local paper mill. The trees on the hillside are all eucalyptus. Courtesy Image


After a couple of hours of grinding, luck was finally upon me. I reeled in my first Tucunaré, which exploded angrily on a small topwater plug. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images


Another one in the boat. I decided to go for the close-up. Bayla Bryski, R.D.N.


Last fish of the day for me. Gorgeous predatory creature. Bayla Bryski, R.D.N.


A big thanks to my Brazilian friends for allowing me to join. Bayla Bryski R.D.N.


After sleeping two nights on a bus, and a long day of fishing, I was back in Rio de Janeiro in time for Christmas celebrations. Part of the celebration is one of my favorites, habanada. This sugary treat is essentially Brazilian french toast. Delicious! Bayla Bryski, R.D.N.


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The article was originally published on Kayak Fish

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