Planning a fishing trip out of the country is something you would typically have at least a month or more in time to do…This is how I did it in a little over two weeks.
After feeding my brain with as much research as I possibly could on the area, the fishery and the environment I would be in, I formulated a list of the essentials and priorities that I would need to have for the trip to be successful.
First on my list was obtaining my yellow fever vaccination – This task resulted in being much more difficult than I could have imagined. There was a yellow fever vaccine shortage and after calling all over the Portland area and 2 days later I finally was able to get in touch with a Travel and Immunization clinic – They told me that they have the yellow fever alternative vaccine until the shortage is fulfilled. They then told me that they are booked for a month out …. after some begging and persuading with them they “squeezed” me in that following Monday.
When I met with the nurse who stuck a needle in my arm, she ran down all the “worse case scenarios” with me. She prescribed me the two important pills to bring with, according to her, anti-malaria and anti-diarrhea. There are four different types of anti-malaria pills and all have different side effects, one being that you can have very “vivid” dreams and another being that your skin can be extra sensitive to the sun. I opted for the ladder of the two, bring on the trippy dreams!
After you get your yellow fever vaccine they give you this little yellow stamped card that can be very important in allowing or not allowing you entry in some countries. Luckily for travel from the US to Colombia, it is not required but it is recommended and sort of peace of mind to have it just in case.
Next on my list was the bugs! I will be camping in the jungle for 10 days and from my research, everything in the jungle wants your blood. I found the Sawyer Permethrin spray to be the best pre-treatment for my clothing. I hung up all my clothing in my backyard and sprayed multiple layers of the insect repellent to have a base coat ready and soaked into my clothes upon my arrival. The spray lasts for up to 6 weeks and protects against ticks, chiggers, mites, and mosquitos. Once it was dry I could not feel or see any leftover residue or odor which I really liked.
Where I will be traveling is practically on the equator so protecting my skin was very important to me. All the clothing I packed I needed to be confident in that it would withstand the jungle conditions and have SPF protection. The Free Fly bamboo Shade Hoody paired with the Breeze Pants ended up being my go-to for fishing on the boat. They kept me from getting sunburned and also cool in the hot humid weather.
While traveling in and to Puerto Carreno the Kuhl Horizon Pants held through all the weather conditions that were thrown our way. It went from hot and sunny to torrential downpours while standing on the ferry crossing the river and these pants wicked away moisture.
In preparation for the trip, I had the most fun researching the species I would be going after and tying up some of my own creations on what I think could work. Payara were one of the harder fish to find flies for. I knew they had to be big and flashy so going off of that I came up with a few baitfish patterns to tie and I also found a Colombian local who works with Fish Colombia who is an incredible fly tyer and bought some flies off of him – @orinocoflies.
For the Peacock bass, Umpqua flies had all the arsenal we could need. The Reducer Fly was the VIP of the trip.
Last but not least – The gear! I brought down with me 3 setups. 9wt, 10wt, and an 11wt – the 9 wt I had equipped as my jungle dry line for fishing poppers and streamers that I did not want to sink too much for Sardanita and Peacock Bass. The 10wt I had for the peacock bass streamers with a full sinking Type 6 jungle line to get the fly down there when fishing the lagoons. I used the 11wt set up with a full sinking tropical line, Type 6 for the Payara, who live in the fast strong currents of the Orinoco River.