Fishing the Mataven

My girlfriend and I had the chance to fish the Mataven river in march 2016. Among the growing community of colombian sport fishermen Rio Mataven is known as one of Colombia’s best spot for peacock bass, the mighty pavone in spanish. It is a beautiful river lost in the forest with a large number of oxbow lakes, some of them big enough to fish the whole day. The nature there is written in capital letters, birds, butterflies and a lot of bugs ! But every fishermen knows that the more bugs, the more fish ! We did hear a lot of stories with peacock bass specimens over 20lbs caught in the Mataven, but you know fishermen stories… But indeed the prophecy did happen ! The conditions were not easy, water’s level was low, the peacock bass tended to stay in the middle of the river and not on the banks where you would have believed they would be. We had to fish deep and bury our dream to catch monsters on poppers. My girlfriend whom started fishing had a lot of fun seeing her propeller lure exploded by some angry peacocks.

Like in most fishing trips we had good and bad days, but even in a poor day on the Mataven you catch a lot of schoolies, 3 to 6lbs fish. Among 8 flyfishermen I was the only one not to catch a fish over 15lbs. Some luckiest fishermen (and probably better) caught some 22/23lbs specimens. The guides confess us that we had the weakest week in terms of numbers of fish. I figure out what it would be when the peacocks are willing to play… The colours and the fight of the fish, the stories and the good vibrations at the camp, everything about that week on Rio Mataven will stay and is a lifetime memory.

Benoit de Vilmorin, Paris, bdevilmorin@gmail.com