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Grand-Slam Fishing
On Colombia’s Rio Bita

far different place than that portrayed in the news media.

The Rio Bita is a clearwater river with a lot of fish. Four peacock patterns, including the rare but feisy Royal Pavon, plus payara, aruana and the occasional sardinata. While the 20-pound monsters are few and far between, the river is teeming with smaller fish, with the occasional 10-15 pound trophies.

For Brazil anglers who’ve been frustrated by the plethora of “raincheck” weeks in recent dry seasons, the Bita will be a pleasant surprise. River fluctuation is much more cooperative than the temperamental tributaries of the Rio Negro system. The Bita is prime from January through March. For baitcasters, January offers a pleasant breeze, while February or March may suit fly-casters better.

While Colombian anglers occasionally drift down the river, the lodge has the exclusive legal fishing rights for the Bita. The hard-working local guides know the river well, and have not yet been spoiled by an abundance of gringo anglers. Tipping rates were well below standards elsewhere in the peacock bass world.

The lodge itself consists of four spacious cabin rooms, with good ventilation and private bathrooms. Tasty and wholesome “llanero-style” meals are in the large dining lounge.

The lodge has several other activities, including the cultivation of cashew nuts and eco-projects to help protect the endangered Orinoco turtle. There’s plenty of other wildlife. The llanos grasslands have a Texas like look to them, but on the river the gallery forest looks just like other parts of the Amazon. Our group saw tapir, howler monkeys, a coral snake, and a large caiman lunching on a peacock bass.

At short-trip pricing under $3,000 and no visas necessary (tourist card only), FishQuest’s exclusive Rio Bita trips are a nice respite from longer, costlier peacock trips elsewhere. We currently have six week blocked off for just eight anglers per week.

Getting back to Bogota, I would definitely recommend a couple days in the city to anyone with time to spend. It’s a great add-on especially for couples. Museums, parks, shops, restaurants and clubs offer plenty to do in the capital city. Be sure to have dinner at the famous Andres Carne del Res Restaurant!
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