26 to go, and rather unexpectedly. It was one of those “check your pride at the door” moments, but a fish is a fish.
After the Rio visit, I had gone to Sao Paolo for a couple of days of meetings. Due to airline vicissitudes and plain old bad planning, my flight out was not until Sunday night. There is not much to do in Sao Paolo during the day, especially since I am not single, and so, just for the heck of it, I asked the Hyatt to see if they could arrange any local fishing.
The coast is only 50 miles away, but this can be three hours in traffic, so I had them look at freshwater options, which are few and limited to manmade ponds where local entrpreneurs have stocked a few fish and charge for them by the pound. This may not sound sporting or even dignified to you, but remember that you’re talking to someone who has fished in hotel fountains, sacred ponds, and the decorative pool at a shopping mall.
And so I spent an hour in a cab going to someplace called “Pescareira Matsumura,” which is basically Portuguese for “Matsumura’s Fish-Laden Cesspool.” After paying my 4 dollars to get in and obtaining the appropriate local bait – a pasty substance which defies polite description, I set to fishing. To be fair, the place was actually nicely run and fairly attractive, a bit of nature in an enormous concrete metropolis. And there were some fish, despite weather that went from blustery to driving rain in the course of a few hours. (Which required me to drag out the “Flying Nun” emergency plastic poncho.)
The very first thing I caught was a medium-sized grey fish, and I am semi-ashamed to admit I immediately knew was in the genus Leporinus. (“Hello group, my name is Steve, and I am a fish geek.”) Then I caught a slightly bigger one, so I weighed it and took a few photos. It turned out to be decent sized Leporinus macrocehpalus, the Piavucu, and oddly enough, no one had ever turned one in for a world record. I have now addressed that oversight, for the Piavucu is a fine creature and it deserves to be recognized by the IGFA.
I also caught a nice Tambaqui, photo also enclosed. Interestingly – perhaps only to me – the Tambaqui gets a lot bigger. See enclosed photo of one I got last year. (A shameless way of squeezing in a big fish photo? Guilty as charged, but let’s face it, after the Sepitiba debacle, I need to build my confidence back up.)
Of course, language barriers occasionally lead to logistical challenges, and when I got set to go home and asked my hosts (via hand signals and grunting) to call a taxi, they looked at me like I was crazy and indicated that no cab would come out to this isolated location. On a very bad cell signal, the hotel indicated they could send a car, but it would take 2 hours, and the place was closing. Waiting by the gate in the dark for a hotel car did not seem like a good option. And since it took a cab an hour to get me out there in traffic, it was a safe bet that the walk would be at least 45 minutes.
Enter Ademir Duarte, the only other person who was still fishing there. Not only did he speak excellent English, it also turns out that he lives about 5 minutes from my hotel in Sao Paolo. He generously gave me a ride and a delightful conversation about local fishing; we will definitely get out on the water together on my next trip to Sao Paolo.
And so, despite the rain, wind, and lack of dignity, that’s one more on the march for 1000. This concludes the Brazil updates.
EDITORIAL NOTE FOR MY EASILY CONFUSED AUNT – I HAVE BEEN BACK FROM BRAZIL FOR ABOUT 2 WEEKS. I AM SENDING OUT THESE UPDATES IN ORDER AS I GET THE FISH IDENTIFIED. THIS WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN VERY EXCITING IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW EXACTLY WHICH LEPORINUS I CAUGHT, NOW WOULD IT?