Non-Stop Jungle Action

Fishing Wild Magazine – Volume 13

(EXCERPT) The Guyana Shield, which rises as high as 3000 metres above sea level, is geologically a 2.5 billon year old part of the earth’s crust in the north-eastern corner of South America. From here numerous big jungle rivers ow to the east into the Atlantic Ocean, carrying a wealth of precious minerals including gold and diamonds. With the discovery of the New World by the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century, the secret of this fabulous country was revealed and rumours of a city of gold, deep in the jungle, caused a rush of European explorers in their search for El Dorado. e city of El Dorado is however still a myth, but what is not a myth is the fact that the pristine jungle rivers of Guyana are a true ‘el dorado’ for adventurous anglers!

Guyana (British), not be confused with French Guyana, is – so far – an overlooked country when it comes to fishing. Most of its land is still covered in thick, pristine jungle although mining and logging are beginning to take their toll. Infrastructure is poor and you can only reach the isolated jungle rivers near the border with its neighbouring countries Brazil and Venezuela by small plane and a long boat ride of one or more days. It takes quite a deal of effort to explore the pristine Guyana rivers like the mighty Essequibo!

I made contact with Ashley Holland, who is regularly guiding scientists and film crews into the pristine Guyana jungle doing research on giant otters,black caimans and harpy eagles. He told me that the shing in Guyana could be fantastic with thus far untapped potential, not only for arapaima, but also for payara, arawana, peacock bass, bicuda and giant cat sh. Of course I was immediately very interested and asked him if he could organise a special shing trip in Guyana for arapaima, cat sh and other Amazon predators. Although he answered in the a rmative, there was just one major problem. The arapaima is a strictly protected species in Guyana,nd shing for them would not be possible… but there was maybe a way around the problem.

Fortuitously, at that time, Ashley had just taken part in a survey looking into the possibilities to ‘harvest’ the arapaima on a small, managed scale for the local Indian communities, but ensuring a healthy population remained. One idea, based on similar, successful projects in Brazil and Peru, was to take a maximum of 10% of the bigger adult fish (over 170-180cm) each year. The other idea (proposed by Ashley) was to legalise sport fishing on a very restricted scale, letting fishers pay some money to the local communities for every arapaima they caught with an upper limit. Read more by using the buttons and thumbnails below!