"Rumble in the Jungle" at the Essequibo River
Guyana – a country name can hardly sound more exotic – one inevitably thinks of endlessly large rainforests, crisscrossed by rivers, in which many monsters roam. In free translation, Guyana means something like “land of many waters”.
The state, located between Venezuela and Suriname, has a little more than half the area of Germany – but just about 800,000 inhabitants, less than 1% of our population. It is the only country on the South American continent where English is officially spoken.
In Guyana it is all about freshwater fishing – in the country’s largest river, the Essequibo River, including its tributaries and lagoons. We would like to anticipate two things at this point: You can get real river monsters on the hook in the waters of Guyanas. Fish that you have probably never seen in your fishing life. But as we have already written unequivocally in our title: “Rumble in the Jungle” is the order of the day – and if it goes into the jungle, of course, you have to be prepared for what this means. It starts with the arrival, which is definitely not to be compared to a “coffee trip somewhere to the neighborhood”. You will fish in one of the most remote places on our planet – and it’s not that easy to get there.
Furthermore, you should not have any luxurious demands on the accommodation, even though we already have with the Piaraiba Lodge a place, which has an extraordinary amount to offer for its location (see under “Accommodation”). Last but not least: We are in the middle of the jungle and of course this means that the flora and fauna here looks a little different than ours – combined with one or the other risk, because there are of course dangerous species such as snakes, crocodiles, etc. and also mosquitoes (malaria prophylaxis should be a matter of course).
If you follow a few basic precautionary measures, the chances of being harmed are certainly not greater than if, conversely, a local from here in a German city would cross the street without watching the traffic. Fishing expeditions in the jungle naturally require a certain amount of physical resilience – certainly not inhumane, but if you are not sure, it is better to consult your doctor beforehand.
If the previous lines have not been to much deterrent, we would be delighted if you would like to find out more about this exceptionally exotic destination – especially about fishing, of course.
Season: mid-August to late November and mid-January to late April. This is after the annual rainy seasons.
In Guyana you can experience great moments in both spinning and natural bait fishing. And what is very special about this area (compared to the neighboring country of Suriname, for example) is that you will find almost all of the exciting fish species that South American jungle rivers have to offer here.
In the following, we would like to familiarize you a little more with these fish species – for most, “Catch & Release” applies:
For many anglers, the Arapaima is the undisputed king of the jungle fish. It is undoubtedly an extraordinary experience to have such a fish on the hook – and here the chance is really great. Through their often wild jumps in the drill, they give the angler unforgettable experiences and also demand a lot from the bite to the landing. The fish weigh around 100-150 pounds on average, but can also easily double.
The official information, which can be found in the specialist literature (i.e. max. Around 154 kg), is likely to be understated, since the lagoons of the Essequibos have produced larger fish several times, but these have not been recorded further. The fish have an upright mouth with which they absorb atmospheric air. To do this, they rise to the surface and take in the air with a loud, distinctive sip – it is easier for us anglers to identify and target them. Catch mainly with natural baits.
The Arapaimas are protected from commercial fishing in Guyana and of course “catch & release” also applies to us anglers.
Also known as “Lau-Lau”, this river Catfish species lives in the deep pools of the Essequibos. They are the monsters from the depths, averaging around 180 pounds and a maximum of over 250 pounds. Even if it is often said they are nocturnal, large fish are regularly hooked here during the day time. There are many Indian myths about the Piaraiba, but hardly any of them are really documented.
Theodore Roosevelt, former US President, also devoted a few lines to the fish in a book published in 1914, in which he pointed out that the Lau-Lau was feared by the locals because of its large mouth and its irrepressible strength that could pull a person under water.
Catch with natural baits – very powerful equipment is a must!
This species also belongs to the catfish family, it is the so called “Gilded Catfish. In fact, at most the belly side reminds a little of golden color.
Average fish can weigh around 50-60 pounds – large specimens can weigh over 120 pounds. The current IGFA record (49 kg) has been beaten here several times (of course unofficially).
Catch with natural baits.
This species is the 3rd type of catfish that can reach over 100 pounds.
Average specimens only make it around 30-40 pounds. Frequent by-catch when fishing for Piraiba + Jau.
This specie’s appearance is somewhat reminiscent of the miniature version of the Arapaima. In fact, the two types of fish are also related to each other.
They are caught almost exclusively in spin fishing – average fish make around 6 pounds – large ones at 12 pounds. Arowanas like to hunt even out of the water: they can reach their prey on branches and twigs hanging over the water with jumps up to 2 meters high.
There is hardly a fish that looks as dangerous as the Payara – with its long saber-like teeth (with which it is likely to bite its prey through its swim bladder), it is one of the most desired fish in South America.
It is being caught mainly on spinning lures (mostly wobblers), but it occasionally takes a natural bait. Most fish weigh between 5 and 10 pounds – large specimens barely hit the 20 pound mark.
One could certainly fill pages about this well-known predator. Many of the horror stories are probably fictitious – and yet one should not underestimate the piranha. For us anglers, the piranha is actually not a target fish, but is rather hooked as a more or less desirable or undesirable by-catch. His razor-sharp teeth not only ensure that the leader (if they are not made of steel) or the main line is bitten through – and when he is in the boat, great caution should be exercised, since a piranha easily cuts a piece of meat out of hand or foot. Average fish are often only about the length of a hand – but they can also reach up to 40 cm.
The greatest danger comes from the piranhas when they are caught in cut river basins during the dry season and food is scarce. Then the aggression behavior increases significantly. Nevertheless, it can be said that the dangerousness of the fish shown in adventure novels and films is immeasurably exaggerated. They mainly serve as the “health police” of the rivers and thus fulfill an important function in favor of ecological balance, because dangerous epidemics are prevented by the extermination of animal carcasses. The indigenous Indians of South America swim without hesitation in waters that also contain piranhas. ´
The Peacock Bass can be called the main target fish in spin fishing. No matter whether with wobblers, spinners or also top water lures (little popper) – fishing for “Peacock’s” is always an exciting thing and the fish deliver a good fight on light equipment. The fish are suitable both as bait (e.g. on arapaimas or piraibas) and for the kitchen. The average weight should be 2-3 pounds – but large fish can easily reach 10 pounds.
Below are a few smaller fish species that also belong to by-catch:
Surubim Catfish / Tiger Catfish
Average weight: 12 pounds and maximum weight 22 pounds.
Jandia /Leopard Catfish
Average weight: 8 pounds and maximum weight 12 pounds.
Average weight: 8 pounds and maximum weight 14 pounds.
How to get there
As already mentioned at the beginning, the journey to the deep jungle of Guyana is not entirely without. You can confidently call this a little adventure in itself. The currently best flight connection is via Amsterdam / New York to Georgetown / Guyana. From here continue with the “bush plane” about 1.5 hours to Iwokrama for a small airstrip (ie only one landing runway). Then a good hour’s boat ride to the lodge.
Classic “river boats”, ie with the lowest possible draft, usually around 4.5 to 5 meters long, which are staffed by 2 anglers + guides.
The boats are motorized with outboards 20-40 HP
Completed in March 2016, this lodge, located on the opposite side of the river from the Iwokrama National Park, offers its guests exceptional comfort – if you take into account that we are in the middle of the jungle. In such remote areas, you can usually only camp. There are 7 double rooms with private bathroom (shower / toilet) available for guests, which can also be used for up to 3 people with an extra bed. In addition to the rooms, there are also a few tents (which are very well protected against rain). Separate shower facilities + toilet are then available for this.
Thanks to the laundry service, you don’t have to burden your luggage with too much spare clothing, even for longer stays on site.
All guests receive breakfast, packed lunch and warm food in the evening.
Guyana - River Monster Expedition in the Jungle January 19 - January 31, 2021 - Rumble in the Jungle!
Piraiba Lodge and possible in combination with King William Falls!
Dear sport anglers,
Are you looking for adventure + challenge and want to measure yourself against the world’s largest freshwater predators? Aren’t you afraid to travel to the most remote areas of the deep Guyana jungle to take on the river monsters?
Then we have exactly the right tours for you!
The destination of our trip is the Essequibo River in the heart of Guyana / South America
Our river monster expeditions are now in their 5th year and so far all tours have been an absolute success with gigantic fish – especially Arapaimas and Piraibas, of course, which had so far broken the 100 kg mark several times on each tour.
The special thing about the tour in January 2021: You can choose whether you want to spend the entire time in the Piraiba Lodge, thus enjoy a – compared to the location – very high level of comfort (group 1), or whether you want to take part within this week in the expedition to the King William Falls for 4 days (3 nights) (group 2).
In the Piraiba Lodge you either live in 2-3 bed rooms with shower / toilet or alternatively in tents. The expedition to the King William Falls only means accommodation in a tent.
You must bring your own fishing tackle. We will send you a checklist with the necessary equipment in advance. Depending on what the angler wants to fish for, the directions to the best fishing spots are different and depending on the water level of the river, the journey times are different.
Flight from Germany (via Frankfurt and New York) to Georgetown / Guyana. (Flights from other countries on requst) Afterwards bus transfer to Fairview / Iwokrama National Park (approx. 7 hours) and then boat transfer on the Essequibo River (approx. 1 hour) to Piaraiba Lodge.
9 nights in the Piaraiba Lodge. There are both two-bed rooms with shower / toilet and tent accommodation. More information on this on our website. Full board (breakfast, packed lunch and dinner in the lodge). 8 days of fishing. 2 anglers per boat with guide.
Overnight in the Piraiba Lodge from January 20th to January 21st. Then in the period from January 21st to January 28th. Expedition to the King William Falls for 4 days / 3 nights. (Which 4 days we choose during this time will probably only be decided on site based on the current conditions / e.g. water level). Return to the lodge no later than January 28th. and stay there again.
Return from the lodge by boat to Fairview and from there bus transfer to Georgetown Airport. Late evening return flight from Georgetown to New York.
Arrival in New York early in the morning. Afternoon flight to Frankfurt.
Arrival in Frankfurt. Possibly. onward flight to home airport.
– International flight
– all transfers
– 9 nights in the Piraiba Lodge in a double room or tent
– 8 fishing days. 2 anglers per boat + guide.
– Full board for the time in the Piraiba Lodge or at the King William Falls
– Laundry service at Piraiba Lodge
Group 1 (Piraiba Lodge): € 4,329
Group 2 (King William Falls): € 4.579, –
Not included in the price:
– costs for excess baggage