Gone fishin’ for piranha

Frog in the dark.

Last night we went out spotlighting again and tracked down tree frogs in full mating call. Huge, big things with balloon-like throats making deep croaking sounds. Apparently the frog that can keep up the croaking longest gets to mate.

Then this morning we moved from our residence of the last four nights 15km further up-stream to the Amazon Research Centre. The ARC sits in a reserve where there are no nearby villages and no hunting allowed. It has a higher level of biodiversity than most other places around and is surrounded by jungle demarcated by a careful grid system to keep track of and study the local fauna.

Cal reading Dickens as we motor upriver.

As we motored upriver, Callum did his best imitation of a Nineteenth Century British explorer: lying back and reading Dickens. He did deign to raise his head and look at the especially interesting birds we saw, but I kept expecting him to snap his fingers and ask for a G&T to ease the journey.

Dec meets his dinner.

This afternoon, we went fishing for piranha. We were on a clear mission: this was not generic fishing, we wanted piranha. So we motored down to a spot when a tributary meets our river, moored and settled into some fishing using some basic poles. It took a little while until our first bite and then Declan landed a small piranha. I thought his face would split, the grin was that big. Not long after he caught a catfish. Then we moved to the other side of the river and Callum landed a decent-sized barracuda. Over the course of three hours the boys had gone through, perhaps, ten hookfuls of bait; I managed two changes of bait, the fish were so uninterested in me they couldn’t even be bothered stealing my bait. I eventually managed to catch a fish on the quick catch-and-release program – I hooked it but it wriggled off the hook before reaching the boat.

Then Declan hooked a bigger catfish, a major battle ensued with Christian, our guide, shouting “Play it, play it.” while Declan struggled to keep the fish on the line. The end result didn’t really show how tricky the fish was to bring in given a basic pole and line, but we all felt satisfied that this was a fish worth eating.

We had Declan’s catfish for dinner tonight. And it was good.

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