Ben Chamberlain

El Tuparro National Park in Colombia exceeded all my expectations. It turns out, I had no idea where in the world I was really going. Google Earth. The internet. Travel itineraries. Online forums. None of those can prepare you for the magnitude of El Tuparro.



Try to forget, for a moment, about sight fishing for monster 20+lb Peacock Bass deep in the lagoons, under the structure, or within the river shoals. Forget about the shockingly grotesque and amazing tooth patterns and facial features of the Payara! "vampires of the Amazon" as you fly fish from huge forgotten (or not yet discovered?) prehistoric rapids and boulder fields. Or waiting and watching in the searing afternoon sun as a school of Sardanota blitzes the surface, right off the bow in an Amazonian feeding frenzy. Forget the feeling of line ripping a 100 yards off your reel on a single take, or the sound of your new Scott 8W snapping like a twig as a massive Bass hits your fly. Forget about the searing heat, the amazing wildlife, or the amount of water you cover in a single day. Forget that you are hundreds of miles from any urban society in rugged and remote wilderness. Just forget about all of that, for a minute.



Fishing Colombia is a cultural experience. The indigenous peoples of Colombia and Venezuela in this region are remarkable. They go way beyond guiding. They have your back. They'll help you in ways you won't imagine. At certain points, you're fishing within their community, on their river, fishing their best spots! I was welcomed and greeted enthusiastically by the villagers along the way. It was a humbling experience to see children fishing hand lines, barefoot in rapids, playing around, catching fish from the rocks. Another bonus of the trip was the added time before and after I spent in Bogota, a world-class city. 



Being a solo angler, and unable to speak the language definitely made things interesting. You quickly learn the words you need most: fish, snake and rum. Those were a few of the words I picked up. Try to bring a buddy, or make one at camp. I was fortunate to have had a small international group of fantastic anglers who all helped each other out along the way ranging from problem-solving fouled fly lines, helping with language, lending bug spray, and sharing fly patterns. For me, the best part of fishing Colombia was not the fish. 



Hemispheres Unlimited did an amazing job setting up my trip. They gave me everything I needed to know or have with me from the moment I landed in Bogota until the day I left. Colombia was my second trip with H.U. I have had the pleasure of meeting Justin and his family. This is truly a family run business / guide service. I've already booked my third trip for next season. Indian Himalayas! 



Thank you Hemisphere's Unlimited and Colombia.


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