While the biggest payara were caught on live and cut bait, during our recent trip to the Amazon many of the large wolf fish came on crankbaits. Toward the end of the week a few members of the group managed to catch some good ones on big squarebills in the rapids and eddies, but overall the best bait was one that the lodge gave us, an oversized deep diver from Argentina. We caught fish with it casting to sandbars and deep rock outcroppings and occasionally trolling it over expansive flats.
For those of you old enough to remember, it looked like a larger-than-life version of the old Bagley’s Smoo.
Unfortunately, I did not bring one home, and while I can’t think of an application for it elsewhere, my OCD brain at least wanted to know what it was called. I searched through Brazilian tackle shops’ online inventories and came up with zilch. I tried various searches combining “Argentina” and “crankbait” and once again produced nothing.
Then my friend Ray Kawabata sent me his trip notes, as he does after every trip we take together, and Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson, there it was.
Our mystery bait is called the CuCu.
I don’t know what made them so effective, and I don’t plan on buying any in the near future, but if you’re headed to the jungle to chase prehistoric fish any time soon, you might want to grab a few. Put them in a hiding place where no one ever goes.