November 21, 2011
Part of the thrill of taking this particular trip to Brazil was the chance to spend some time with Dennis “Cal” Shew, one-third of the brain trust that runs TackleTour.com. Dennis himself is reasonably entertaining, but his tackle collection is just about unparalleled. I feel a little bad for him though – he can’t even comprehend a simple term like “bargain bin.” On this trip alone he brought sticks from Megabass, Kistler, Daiwa, Phenix, St. Croix and G.Loomis and gave us a chance to fish with all of them. He scoffed at my conventional line choices, instead preferring to employ a braid that is made of eight stands of sasquatch belly hair. It retails for $19.95 a foot.
While Cal’s level of tackle snobbery is high, I have to admit that my own addiction isn’t far behind. I shudder to think of how much I spent for this trip alone – big topwater prop baits, dozens of specialized jigs, a few other baits that looked promising, none of which I’ll ever use anywhere except the Amazon. Hell, some (most) of them didn’t even get wet on this trip.
That’s why the following anecdote is so embarrassing.
On our third day on the water we had some success in the morning, but apparently it didn’t live up to our guide Marzo’s expectations. At midday, he pulled the boat up to the shore, got out and headed into the woods. I figured he was going to take his talents to South Beach, but it turned out he was going tackle shopping. A minute later he returned with a strip of tree bark, which he fashioned into a lure that his father had taught him to make.
An hour later, the wife caught a 13-pounder on his home-brewed bait. The next morning, using a “new” one, I caught my first teen-class peacock. It also produced greater numbers of fish than anything else we used the entire week.
Marzo was adamant that we not show his bait to any of the other guides (with that kind of secrecy, he has a future as an Elite Series pro), and given his excellent skills with a machete, we had no choice but to comply. I kind of doubt any of them read Pete Weighs In (or have consistent internet access), but in deference to his trust in us I’ll refrain from posting a picture of the lure here. However, if you send me a $400 rod, the type Dennis uses, I might have a jpeg to share.