Sport Fishing in Rewa, Guyana
For centuries, the Amerindian peoples of the Guiana Shield have lived close to the land, relying on the rainforest and its rivers for food, medicine, building materials, weapons, and even spiritual guidance. Here is your chance to visit one of Guyana’s most remote villages to learn about their way of life and join them for a truly rare and exhilarating fishing expedition.
In partnership with the village council at Rewa, Costa Sunglasses, USAID, Nervous Waters, and the Guyana Ministry of Agriculture, Wilderness Explorers is able to offer a limited number of sport fishing licenses for a remarkable and unique catch-and-release experience on the Rewa river. Come and see what very few others have ever dreamt of: unexplored and uninhabited areas teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. The prize? A truly unique opportunity to fly-fish for one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, Arapaima gigas.
Guyana, on the northeast coast of South America, boasts one of the world’s largest and best preserved tropical rain forests and regularly cited as one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet. The country’s 750,000 residents largely inhabit a narrow strip of coastline, with only a handful of Amerindian villages dotted throughout the country’s vast and unexplored interior landscape. Eighty percent of the country is forested and 75 percent of this remains intact. This is one of the highest percentages of pristine tropical habitat for any country on the planet. (read more in our Nature section or explore our maps)
Rewa Village lies at the confluence of the Rewa and Rupununi rivers which merge and flow 100 miles downstream into the Essequibo, South America’s 3rd largest river. It is a remarkably remote and pristine corner of the eastern Amazon basin that has been explored by very few outsiders. It is a genuinely remote, rustic, and rugged place that, lucky for us, has kept the inevitable forces of mass tourism at bay.
Also known as the paiche or the pirarucu, the arapaima is an air-breathing fish that plies the rain forest rivers of South America’s Amazon Basin and nearby lakes and swamps. One of the world’s largest freshwater fish, these giants can reach 9 feet (2.75 meters) long and weigh up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms). They have a wide, scaly, gray body and a tapered head. Though arapaimas can stay underwater for 10 to 20 minutes, they tend to remain near the water’s surface, where they hunt and emerge often to breathe with a distinctive coughing noise. They survive mainly on fish but are known to occasionally grab birds close to the water’s surface.
The Amazon’s seasonal floods have become part of the arapaima’s reproductive cycle. During low-water months (February to April) arapaimas construct bottom nests and females lay eggs. Young begin to hatch as rising water levels provide them with flood conditions in which to flourish. Adult males play an unusual reproductive role by incubating tens of thousands of eggs in their mouths, guarding them aggressively and moving them when necessary.
Rewa 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 the Rewa River. Rewa Eco-lodge is 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 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.
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. Fishing for Arapaima is similar to casting for largemouth bass so bass casting rods of six and seven feet and line of 12 and 20 lb test, would do the job.
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 recommend 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 will want 80-pound hard monofilament for your bite leader. Many of the smaller fish species have teeth, and there are enough piranha around that you will 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 bony mouths much like a tarpon only larger, so you’ll want 8/0 presharpened hooks and big, colorful fish patterns for your flies. Previous fishing expeditions to Rewa Village have 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 may be available for sale at Rewa Lodge, but best to be prepared to make or bring your own. 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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Permits for Arapaima fishing are extremely limited. Book early to guarantee access to this remarkable and rare target species. 2013 permits were sold out by April.
Our custom-designed and packaged 7-day fishing adventures begin the moment you land in Guyana. Immediately after clearing customs you’ll board a privately-chartered Cessna Caravan or Norman Islander aircraft for the 1 1/2 hour journey to the remote airstrip at Apoteri. From there you’ll be met by the team from Rewa for a 2 hour motorized canoe ride to Rewa Eco-Lodge which lies at the confluence of the Rewa and Rupununi Rivers.
The Rewa Eco-lodge consists of two circular benab buildings split into two guest rooms each. A central large benab houses the kitchen and dining area. Three separate shower & bathroom huts sit behind the round benabs. Three new single-room buildings with attached bathrooms were recently built to accommodate fishing and other visitor groups, raising the total bed count for the lodge to about 16. Hammocks – a considerably cooler option for sleeping – are available on the benab porches and under the trees.
Three sides of the facility are surrounded by rainforest; the fourth side faces the Rewa River and tall stands of thick rainforest foliage on the opposite bank. A small community garden next to the kitchen benab is the source of some of the food you will eat; all other provisions must be locally made or brought in by canoe.
Conditions at the EcoLodge are modest, rustic, and close to nature. Because the lodge is relatively new and staffed by villagers who have limited exposure to the outside world, expect homestay style guest service, warm hospitality, and casual comfort. The lodge is solar-powered, with a limited number of electrical outlets for charging your gear. Water is pumped from the river which is fine for bathing, but drinking water must be boiled or brought in bottled.
Guyana is an emerging gem in the nature and adventure tourism market. Still little known, Guyana’s lush interior, criss-crossed by a myriad of rivers and cascading waterfalls, enveloped by virgin rainforest, revealed in its far-stretching savannahs and teeming with tropical wild life rivals the best nature and adventure destinations anywhere else in the world.
With a small population of 750,000 people in land space the size of Great Britain, most of its interior is uninhabited except for a scattering of Indigenous Amerindian villages and a few small towns. Because of its British colonial past, the language is English and it has very strong links with the Caribbean.
Located on the north eastern shoulder of South America and one hours flight away from Trinidad and Barbados, it is the gateway to both Amazonia and the Caribbean.
The Guiana Shield Region of northern South America covers 2.5 million square kilometers of mountains, pristine forests, wetlands and savanna – approximately 13 percent of the entire South American continent. It was formed during the Precambrian era and is one of the most ancient landscapes in the world.
The terms Guiana and Guayana are two universally accepted variants of an Amerindian word interpreted to mean “land of plenty water.” This region contains the world’s highest percentage of intact tropical rainforest, with some 80 to 90% still in pristine condition. Scientific explorations of the area are still discovering species new to science.
Rewa is a remote village in the middle of the rain forest which is one of the things that make it so special. The village consists of roughly 250 indigenous Guyanese, predominantly of the Makushi tribe, but there are also indigenous Waipishana and Warao.
They are a subsistence society and live off the land – so there is no grocery store for staples. You’ll have to pack in any snacks or extra supplies 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 who speak English, as well as Makushi, and you’ll be treated like a guest in their homes. The people of Rewa are very hospitable and feel responsible for your enjoyment.
Arapaima | October to March
Pacu | September and February
Pyara | October and November
Catfish | October to March
Peacock Bass | September to March
There are daily scheduled flights from Georgetown to Annai, a journey of approximately 1 hour. From there it’s a 30 minute overland transfer by 4X4 vehicle to the Rupununi river at Kwatamang Landing, then (depending on water levels) a 2-5 hour motorized canoe journey to Rewa Village.
Scheduled flights in Guyana permit a maximum of 9 kilos of luggage. You’ll need to give us an exact weight of your actual kit before you fly in so we can arrange for an extra cargo allowance (luggage costs are not included in quoted prices).
Charter flights are available from Georgetown to the nearest airstrip of Apoteri, either direct or via Kaieteur Falls. It is then a 90 minute transfer by boat to Rewa Village. Weight is restricted to maximum payload of aircraft for combined body and equipment weight. Contact our office for payload of different aircraft types or have a glance at our Trip Planning pages.
Accommodation is in two benabs with two bedrooms in each building, that sleeps up to eight people and have three shared open-air bathrooms with a shower, sink and flushable toilet. There are three other cabins, each with ensuite bathrooms.
In total seven rooms which can cater for seven singles or fourteen persons on a twin share basis. There’s no hot water, since it’s pumped from the river to a water tanks, but it is 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 rum and to share your fish stories with others.
|05:30hrs||Sunrise, the rainforest comes alive|
|06:00hrs||Breakfast and fishing preparation|
|06:20hrs||20 minute boat ride + 20 minute hike to pond|
|07:00hrs||On the water, fishing from a dugout canoe|
|12:00hrs||Back to the lodge for lunch, relaxation and the opportunity to take a tour or nature walk, bird watch or recharge in a hammock|
|15:00hrs||More fishing, only on a different body of water|
|18:00hrs||Sunset, return to the lodge for a shower, drinks and dinner|
Tipping is not expected but 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. Suggested tips per day are shown below. Both Guyanese and American dollars are accepted.
|$4,000 GYD ($20 USD)||Staff|
|$4-6,000 GYD ($20-30 USD)||Fishing Guide|
|$4-6,000 GYD ($20-30 USD)||Boat captain|
Costa is on a mission to protect the world’s waters by promoting sport fishing. This sport is environmentally friendly, sustainable and native to local cultures. In the rivers and ponds of Guyana’s unspoiled rain forest, we found a place where sport fishing can preserve the country’s natural resources and culture by supporting its indigenous peoples in a responsible way. (Read More…)
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