By Marcelo Perez and Rodrigo Salles
The history of fly fishing dates back hundreds of years, evident in many of its contemporary traditions. The sentiments of a European angler stalking an English chalk stream today are certainly very similar to those experienced by Sir Edward Gray, Halford, or Walton, centuries ago. Those feelings projected through time form a collective spirit that encapsulates everyone holding a fly rod.
Fly fishing in the jungle has a much shorter narration, but deep in the jungle lies an emerging history, known only to the native peoples of the South American forests. These Indian Nations, each with unique traditions and varying world views, harmonize with mutual respect for their natural environments.
Many of these tribal groups also express a special admiration for some unique fish, usually the top predators in their habitats. Their mythologies and belief systems frequently represent these special fish as deities or sacred beings that should be treated with utmost respect. Even in societies where fish equal subsistence, some species are not to be killed.
These sacred fish in turn become the same ones that anglers pursue with equal reverence within jungle rivers. Can we imagine a bridge – a connection – five hundred years later, between those indigenous peoples and modern jungle anglers with fly rods?
It was only by fishing with the Tsimane that we found out. They taught us to interpret the rhythms of water, the fish behavior, and the interaction with other beings of the forest; to stalk very stealthily, to observe the attitude of the prey fish, the movements of the birds in the river. It was a shared ancient knowledge, cultivated over generations, which shaped the collective spirit of the people of the jungle. The water and its inhabitants are their lifeblood; and we quickly
learned that both the Tsimane and us were defined as anglers by our romance with jungle water.
Fishing in the jungles with the indigenous people has brought us a different perspective. And with every step deeper into the heart of the jungle, with every cast exploring un-explored pools, a new door opens which could lead to a new way of fly fishing: new techniques, specific equipment, and overall, the unique experience of being submerged in those cultures that are connected to its water. From this point, with this uncertain luggage in the backpack, we began our journey towards the last real savage border to be explored in the world of fly fishing.
. To present the concept of the Jungle Anglers through a film featuring four unique destinations in the Amazon Jungle.
. To introduce the concept of developing new fishing styles more compatible and in-tune with the natural cycles of the jungle world.
. To expand the international fly fishing market to the jungle through this new model of work in
partnership with indigenous people, being equitable and respectful to these tribes, protecting vast tracts of wild Amazonian rivers and providing to its local inhabitants a very important, sustainable, economic alternative while revering their independence, culture, and traditions.
The Jungle Anglers
Marcelo Pérez, 54
Argentinean architect, trained as an angler on the Argentinean Paraná watershed from an early age, he is devoted to Dorado, traveling and exploring new places throughout South America in search of this fish. He is the creator of the concept and original idea for Jungle Anglers.
He wrote about fly fishing for Dorado in magazines in Argentina and Spain for years and then founded Untamed Angling, the first tourism company specialized in fly fishing in protected jungle areas and indigenous territories. He developed a completely new model on the market, combining catch-and-release fly fishing in remote and exclusive areas with biological research, significant social benefit to local populations, and the preservation of natural environments.
He designed and developed fly fishing projects that are of international recognition such as La Zona, Far-end Rivers, Desroches Island, Tsimane, and Kooi Noom. Nowadays, Marcelo and his partner and friend, Rodrigo Moreira Salles, are developing new projects in the Brazilian Amazon, and writing the first book for Dorado on the fly.
Rodrigo Moreira Salles, 38
Rodrigo is Brazilian, a Civil Engineer, trained as an angler in Brazil, where he grew up and lived for many years near the headwaters of the Paraná river. There, he learned with his grandfather how to fish for Dorado. He has undergone many experiences while fishing in the jungles of Brazil, particularly in the Pantanal and remote tropical jungles of the Amazon. He also made explorations by various rivers of South America on the search of his favorite fish: the Dorado.
He has written for major magazines in Brazil about fly fishing in the jungle, in a time when the modality was still unknown. Today, he is a jungle correspondent in South America for major industry publications. He is a partner and vice president of Untamed Angling and participated from the beginning in business development and marketing. Rodrigo is currently working on the development of new destinations in Brazil, Marié, Kendjam , and more recently, Pirarucú.
He is responsible for inserting Untamed Angling on the most demanding markets in the world, establishing trade agreements with agencies of international prestige for fly fishing in the United States, Canada, England,France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, South Africa, Australia, and Japan, among other countries.