Three Fishermen, 400 Pounds of Fight: New “Jungle Fish” Film Ties Monster Fish to the Fate of a Culture
“Referred to as “dinosaurs of the deep,” and believed to be the sinister reincarnation of Pirarucu, the disrespectful and taunting son of an Amazon chief, the prehistoric arapaima grow to be more than 10 feet long and can surpass 800 pounds in weight. They’re found in Rewa, a remote fishing village in the north Rupununi region of central Guyana, population approximately 280.
In the new feature film directed by Louisiana Kreutz and produced by Costa Sunglasses, “Jungle Fish,” follows three expert fishermen in a quest to catch the elusive arapaima with a fly rod, a feat never before accomplished. If they’re successful, they will have discovered a new adventure fishing experience for anglers, and created a sustainable sport fishing business opportunity for the people of Rewa.
For decades, the native people of Guyana depended on extractive efforts like poaching, mining and clear cutting as a way to generate income. But unlike resource extraction practices which can quickly destroy an environment, a sustainable sport fishing business offers a way for the people of Rewa to gain economic independence for things like improved healthcare and education programs within the village, without depleting any of the area’s pristine natural resources.
“The arapaima is a true river monster,” said Oliver White, one of the three anglers featured in “Jungle Fish. “There were definitely times during our research when we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to pull off landing one of them on fly. We went through countless fly patterns and rods before we finally dialed into how to catch one of these fish, which look like something out of the Jurassic age.”
“But we knew if we could crack the code on how to catch the arapaima, it would open up a world of opportunity for the people of Rewa and for adventure anglers everywhere who live for this kind of experience,” said White. “It truly is the catch of a lifetime.”
The newly created sport fishing business model in Rewa is being studied closely to see if it’s a practice that could be replicated in other indigenous areas around the world as a way to sustainably generate income without extracting resources.
The Rewa Eco Lodge, which employs everyone within the village as cooks, hosts and fishing guides, is now open for business hosting small, individual groups of anglers at a time. This flagship lodge is currently booked through 2012. The film’s executive producer Al Perkinson is working with the Guyanese government to establish best practice policies and procedures to ensure the fishery and the surrounding area remain a protected habitat.
“Jungle Fish” is now available for purchase online at www.costadelmar.com/protect .
Visit www.costadelmar.com/protect to watch a short trailer and see epic behind-the-scenes photographs from the project.