Sport Fishing in Guyana
Guyanese anglers are subsistence fishermen that typically use hand lines or bow and arrows to catch their meals. That being said, they know exactly where the fish hold and are experts at getting them to bite. You have a chance to visit one of Guyana's most remote villages to learn about their way of life and join them for a rare and exhilarating catch-and-release fishing expedition on Rewa River. Several major airlines fly into the capital city of Georgetown, from which you'll take a puddle jumper to Rewa Eco Lodge, the only place to fly fish for one of the world's largest and rarest freshwater game fish, Arapaima gigas.
If you're ready to cross continents and challenge the Amazon jungle for the chance to fight 400 pounds of living dinosaur, you might just have what it takes to sport fish in Guyana. For more details on how to begin this once in a lifetime catch-and-release fly fishing adventure, visit Wilderness Explorers, our favorite eco-friendly travel agency in Guyana.
In the meantime, here's a bit of information to get you started.
What to pack.
Arapaima are not your only fishing options, but they're certainly the largest, toughest and best-fighting fish you'll encounter not just in Guyana, but anywhere in freshwater. For arapaima, you'll want a 12-weight fly rod, otherwise you'll be bringing a knife to a gun fight. We advise bringing two or more, in case one (or more) lose the game of tug-of-war with these massive, powerful fish. Remember, these fish can weigh upwards of 400 pounds, jump and pretty much do whatever they want for the initial stages of the fight. They are explosive and unpredictable, and can freight train their way around the pond no matter how much heat you apply.
In the waters surrounding Rewa Village you can also target peacock bass and pyara, so you'll want to pack eight- and five-weight rods just to keep things interesting. The rivers have plenty of fishing options, and chasing the other species will allow you to check off a handful of species on your bucket list.
When arapaima are your target, we favor Rio Leviathan Big Game Fly Line simply because its rated core takes 70 pounds of pressure to break, while most fly lines are only rated to 40 pounds. You'll understand why you want the extra tensile strength the first time you try to move a big fish or hold onto the line a second too long when a fish lunches the fly and decides to leave town.
Even though arapaima don't have much in the way of teeth, they do have the abrasive mouth similar to a tarpon, so you'll want 80-pound hard monofilament for your bite leader. Many of the smaller fish species have teeth, and piranha are around in enough quantity that you'll want some wire leader in your pack. We also suggest prepackaged, 12- to 15-pound tapered leaders along with 20-, 30- and 40-pound test leader material. If you're not record fishing, you might want to go to a "Homeboy" Leader, which is generally comprised of a heavier class tippet section that will let you turn up the heat as you try to retain possession of your fly rod.
Arapaima have boney mouths much like a tarpon only larger, so you'll want 8/0 presharpened hooks and big, colorful fish patterns for your flies. During the inaugural fishing expedition to Rewa Village, the Costa pros tied all of their flies themselves, with patterns that resembled small peacock bass proving the most effective for arapaima. The pros spent some time teaching the locals how to tie these patterns, so they should be available for sale at Rewa Lodge soon. Arowana like to blow up the topwater stuff, so Poppers and Gurglers are the way to go here, while peacock bass are partial to Streamers and most Popper patterns.
Guyana is close to the equator and the temperatures will likely hover around 90 degrees with 100-percent humidity on the days with no wind. You'll want long pants and shorts made of quick-dry material (leave the cotton at home, because if something gets wet, it'll stay damp). A camp towel is another item you'll want to pack. If you like to travel light or your laundry stacks up, you can hire the ladies from the village to hand wash your clothes in the river and hang them to dry.
Closed-toe sandals (like Keen or Simms brands) and flip flops are all you need in the way of shoes, and you'll want two pairs in case one gets wet while landing fish or posing in the water with them for pictures. You'll also want a headlamp, flashlight, bug spray, suntan lotion, hat, casting gloves, basic first aid kit for cuts and scrapes, and, of course, your greatest need, a camera to document everything you'll experience on the trip. Be sure to bring plenty of memory cards and batteries because breathtaking images can be seen in every direction.
At night while the generator is on, you'll have intermittent Internet service. There's no cell phone service in the area, so we recommend bringing a satellite phone if phone service is a necessity.
The local culture.
Rewa is a remote village in the middle of the rain forest, which is one of the things that make it so special. From the air strip it's a short (90 minute) boat ride to the village consisting of roughly 250 indigenous Guyanese members of the Makushi Rewa is predominantly Makushi, but there are also indigenous Waipishana and Warao as well. They're a subsistence society and live off the land – so there's no grocery store for staples. Pack in any snacks or extra staples you might want during your trip. The lodge is a short walk down a scenic path that separates it from the village. To protect the privacy of the villagers, you must be escorted to the village.
The Makushi are a quiet, friendly people. They speak English (since your Makushi is probably a bit rusty), and you'll be treated like a guest in their homes. The people of Rewa are very service oriented and feel responsible for your enjoyment. In fact, the entire village takes turns working at the lodge and acting as guides to make you feel comfortable at all times.
Accommodations consist of small huts that sleep two and have an open-air bathroom with a shower, sink and flushable toilet. There are two other cabins, each with two bedrooms, a detached outhouse and shower. There's no hot water, since it's pumped from the river to a water tower, but it's likely lukewarm from the sun's rays by evening.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the thatch-roofed main dining area. After a long day on the water, step into the Laughing Arapaima Bar for a cold beer or cocktail and to share your fish stories with others.
Tipping is recommended and appreciated. The concept behind the sportfishing opportunities at Rewa Eco Lodge is to create a recreation-based economy that preserves the environment, animals and fish for future populations. Your generosity will help sustain that economy.
Both Guyanese and American dollars are accepted:
Staff member – $4053 GYD ($20 USD) per night, give to the lodge manager to distribute
Fishing guide – $4053 to 6080 GYD ($20-30 USD) per day, give directly
Boat captain – $4053 to 6080 GYD ($20-30 USD) per day, give directly
The typical day of fishing unfolds like this:
5:30 a.m. – sunrise and the rain forest comes alive
6:00 a.m. – breakfast and fishing prep/stokefest
6:20 a.m. – 20-minute boat ride and 20-minute hike to pond
7:00 a.m. – on the water, fishing from a dugout canoe
12:00 p.m. – back to the lodge for lunch, relaxation and the opportunity to take a tour or nature walk, bird watch or recharge in a hammock
3 p.m. – more fishing, only on a different body of water
6 p.m. – sunset, return to the lodge for a shower, cocktails and dinner
Rewa Village is a unique wildlife experience. While there, you have a chance to see:
- Giant river otters
- Four different (and rarely seen) cats – jaguar, ocelot, puma and lynx
- 450 species of fish – including peacock bass, piranha, catfish, arowana and arapaima
- Over 850 species of birds – such as parrots and parakeets, toucans, Hoatzin, hawks, kites and eagles
- Black spider monkeys, golden handed tamarin monkeys and black howler monkeys, just to name a few
- Snakes – hopefully you won't see an anaconda or bushmaster
- Spiders – and plenty of them so don't sleep with your mouth open (only kidding)
- Giant river turtles
- Caiman (alligators)