For the traveler and angler who has seen it all and wants to go beyond all civilizations and roads, Kendjam is the place. A four hour Cessna Caravan flight from Manaus takes anglers to the home of the painted Kayapos Indians who live in the Kendjam Village. From the village, the lodge is located even deeper in the Brazilian jungle, a 3-5 hours float/portage downstream (depending on water levels) down the beautiful crystal clear rapids of the Iriri River. Kendjam Lodge consists of 4 double occupancy Safari tents that allow one to fall asleep to the soft sounds of the frogs, crickets, birds and the occasional howler monkey. The screened-in lounge/dining room houses the daily cocktails and top-notch chef’s meals. Daily fishing occurs in pools and rapids of emerald green waters where anglers will be able to stalk their quarry. For the real adventurers, outpost “pop-up” camps are available for those that like to sleep alongside the Caymans and the howler monkeys.
2. SIGHT FISHING
The Iriri River is a sandy bottomed, crystal clear tributary of the Xingu River, this river basin is the largest “emerald clear” water in the Amazon. This unique river, and its clarity is a true gem that allows anglers to target specific species using a myriad of rods and techniques embracing both surface and subsurface flies.
My favorite of the bunch, the Pacu, is one of the toughest: the permit of the Jungle. These dry fly eaters are found in the fast-moving rapids and slurp large hoppers as they pass over. Not huge, but very technical, Pacu are usually pursued using a 5wt or 6wt.
If you love technical dry fly fishing, then skating or popping hoppers across the river’s surface in very skinny rapids for these powerful silver “bullets” will really get your heart racing. These, like a hungry trout, will even turn downstream to chase your fly several feet before it eats.
5. MELANIAE PEACOCK
A unique green and turquoise peacock, these beauties found in crystal clear pools and love both poppers and large baitfish patterns. Be prepared with your 7 or 8wt, as these fish are smart and will rock you quickly.
6. TRAIRAO – A.K.A. the Wolf Fish
These fish would eat a flip-flop is presented correctly. Not too picky and not too smart, but man, are they ferocious. The trick: throw a 4/0 foam popper into a creek mouth and rip it out. The sound will draw them like a dinner bell to the feast. Then throw again to the same place, this time with a slower louder and more deliberate “pop pop”, then wait. Trairao, reaching up to 24lbs on the Iriri, will attack almost every time as they just can’t help themselves. Whenever you approach a deeper pool look down over the rock edge first before proceeding, as there is sure to be one with his nose out just awaiting his prey.
Have a love for toothy critters? Love of fast action? A rip of the strip? These freshwater relatives of the Barracuda will chase anything “prey” that moves like lightning across the water. Too slow? Prepare to miss your fish.
These legendary killers, not only can demolish their prey in seconds, they also can wreak havoc on your flies, but a blast to catch. Pound for pound these destroyers pull like none others.
9. THE KAYAPOS INDIANS
These jungle warriors are adorned with their beautiful headdresses made of parrot and macaw feathers. Each covered in black paintings of animal or reptiles prints, their bodies are like works of art. Notice as you walk thru the jungle, not a noise or a rustle emits from their movements. As is customary to all of the Untamed Angling’s lodges, the indigenous Indians partner with the English speaking fly guides to assist in navigating the river, its rapids and pinpointing each and every fishing hole. They have lived off this land for generations are know every crook and inlet of the Iriri River.
10. THE KAYAPOS’ BODY TATTOOS
Every tribesman is covered in temporary animal and reptile patterned tattoo. These works of art an important part of the culture and children are covered at a very young age. Anglers visiting Kendjam will also have the opportunity to participate in the age-old tradition.
Meredith McCord is a world-traveling exploratory angler always in search of the next great angling destination. Check her out on Instagram @meredithmccord!
Rafael Costa is Kendjam’s head guide, and an incredible photographer, @rafael_costa_brfly on Instagram!