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Off the Beaten Path in Brazil

The Rio Travessao area in Brazil is a series of twisting tributaries and braids which start in the upper part of the Guiana Shield highlands around that country's border. The five small source streams in the Brazilian state of Roraima flow south out of the highlands just north of the Equator to their confluence near the Wai-Wai Indian Reservation. They offer some of the best fishing in the world for the toothy trairao, the slashing payara and the sporty jundari catfish.

The streams are full of submerged rocks and projecting granite that encounters an 8- to 9-mph current in its abundant rapids and chutes, but the adjacent pools, oxbows and false channels are where most of the big fish gather. Below the plentiful walls of rocks, where the river often widens, are pools of big catfish. Numerous splitting channels around various-size islands make an interesting visual, as the rivers lose altitude rapidly. These extremely remote watersheds offer lots of fish in the 20- to 30-pound category and for a sportsman who loves to fish bass tackle, the place is difficult to top.

Several 20-pound plus jundari catfish have been caught here, including the latest IGFA world record. The slashing payara, which can be as long as a grown man's leg, feed along the deep lairs below big rapids. The Dracula lookalikes, with their menacing 2-inch long canine teeth, strike deep-running minnow baits, vibrating plugs, and even spoons with cutbait trailers.

Another sporty, dangerous-looking fish found in the slower moving waters just off the rapids and beneath the small waterfalls on the river is the trairao or trieda. Although the snaggle-tooth fish looks right out of the prehistoric Jurassic era, it is a fairly modern developed species similar to our mudfish or bowfin.

Other dangerous fish that grow to monster sizes are the piranha and, in fact, the most recent IGFA certified piranha record of 8 1/2 pounds was taken here, according to outfitter Paul Reiss of Acute Angling. The area is only accessible via charter float plane and visiting anglers stay in tents on the small rivers. For more information, contact Acute Angling at (866) 832-2987 or visit their website at FS

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