River of dreams

I caught a piranha! On our recent tour of the Cuyabeno river and reserve we spent a relaxing evening piranha fishing. If that sounds like a contradiction, I assure you it is not.

After a day of motoring around the river and the lagoons, our driver, Rojilio (who was the president of the local Siona tribe!) parked our canoe under some low hanging branches near several downed trees… prime piranha fishing ground.

We baited our hooks with hunks of beef that our guide brought along and dropped our lines in the water. We were using very basic fishing poles- just long sticks with a length of fishing line and a hook attached.

Andy had the first go with our fishing pole and almost immediately managed to catch a 3 inch long baby catfish. Not what we were looking for, but still pretty cool!

Andy's first catch of the day!

Our guide told Andy to leave the catfish on the hook… it would attract piranhas. And, sure enough, within a few moments Andy had caught the first piranha of the day!

Andy's piranha!

Everyone in the boat was pretty excited to say the least. Especially when another piranha was caught by the young boy in the front of the boat just moments later! We were on a roll!

Feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, the adults in the boat all opened beers that our guide had tucked in his backpack and chatted and laughed while we waited for the next bite.

And we waited and waited and waited. Maybe the piranhas weren’t hungry anymore?? Dusk started gathering over the jungle on either side if the river and still… nothing.

I wasn’t actually planning to fish. I just wanted to get photos of Andy in action! But he convinced me to give it a go. After a few false starts (I managed to get my line caught in a tree!) I felt a nibble. There was great excitement in the boat as I yanked my line out of the water to reveal the biggest piranha we’d seen yet!

At this point, predictably, I started freaking out. I swung my line out too far, got the fish stuck on a branch, the whole time shrieking “Andy! Andy!” Luckily my husband is a more experienced fisher than I am. He simply took the pole from me and calmly pulled the big, flapping piranha into the boat.

SK8's piranha... please note how HUGE this guy is!

So, I guess I didn’t really catch a piranha on my own. It was a Team Abercrombie effort!

The rest of our time spent in the boat on the river wasn’t nearly as dramatic. In fact, the hours we spent motoring around, spotting beautiful birds and butterflies and even dolphins, were among the most relaxing hours of the week. The air was thick and humid, it’s easy to see why the Amazon jungle is often called “The Lungs of the World”, and we could relax, prop our feet on the side of the boat and drag our fingers in the cool water. Luckily for our fingers, the only piranhas we saw all week were in the ends of hooks!

Relaxing in the canoe at the end of the day

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