Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back from the Jungle

Yesterday, I got home from a true adventure! My whole life I had dreamed of traveling to Brazil to fish for Peacock Bass on the Amazon. It finally became a reality. Our outfitter for the trip was Billy Chapman of Anglers Inn International. He is famous for his operation on Lake El Salto in Mexico. In 2011, he expanded his operation to the Amazon by building a one of a kind floating mobile lodge. It was incredible to be fishing in the wilds of the Amazon jungle yet come home at night to air conditioned rooms with flush toilets and showers!

The fishing was amazing, and the Peacock Bass lived up to their reputation by providing me with six days of the best topwater fishing I've ever experienced in my life! I averaged over 35 bass per day with many topping the ten pound mark. The best part... it was all caught on video to air on Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors this upcoming season!

As amazing as the fishing was, I was more impressed by our native Brazilian guides, camp staff and their families that met our every need while we were in camp. These hard working people live a very simple life, but seem to enjoy every minute of it. I think we could all learn something from them. I know I did!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Today, I fly from Miami to Brazil through Panama. My final destination is Billy Chapman's Anglers Inn floating lodge on the Amazon. Our goal is to get two great Peacock Bass shows for Stihls Reel in the Outdoors. This is the fishing trip I have always dreamed of doing. My goal is a twenty pound plus Peacock on a topwater! I have beefed up the hooks on all my Lucky Craft baits to handle them... I hope!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hunting Ibex

Ibex on the mountain through our spotting scope.

I just returned from what I have determined to be the toughest archery hunt on the planet! After many attempts, I finally drew an archery tag for free ranging Persian Ibex in New Mexico. Typically they are hunted in places like Mongolia and Pakistan, but after six breeding pairs were transplanted in the 1930's, there is a significant herd now ranging in the rugged Florida Mountains in New Mexico near the Mexico border. 

The success rate for bow hunters on these animals is only 3% to 4%, depending on the year so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I trained very hard for this hunt by doing tons of cardio and climbing work as well as developing my long range shooting. One hundred yard bow shots are very common on these animals. To hunt these animals effectively meant getting above them each morning, so we would leave the vehicles and climb two hours in the dark by headlamp. Much of the climbing was on all fours due to the steepness of the terrain.

After several close calls, I finally got a great opportunity at a large billy Ibex at just under 80 yards, but an unseen cactus branch saved his life and temporarily ruined mine! At that moment, I totally questioned the sanity of what I was doing.. When it was all over, I had survived seven of the most brutal hunting days in my lifetime and came up empty handed. I have total respect for these animals and in spite of my lack of success, would have to rank it among my most memorable hunting experiences!

A blown opportunity!
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