2:30

Lost in translations

Ever wonder the best time to fish in the Amazon?

The sun was high in the sky on a rather hot humid day on the Masui River, a tributary of the lower Xeriuini. Rob was fishing with Reno buddy Brian and local village guide Misael. The morning fishing session had slowed and the trio decided it would be a good time to take a break, get out of the sun and have lunch. Misael (Miso) would navigate the fishing boat to a spot under a huge shade tree on the bank of the river. The group settled in and finally got a chance to relax after a fast pace morning. While they ate lunch and talked about the morning the conversation turned to the possibility of catching a big catfish. The lower Xeriuini is massive with some really deep holes and a perfect place to sit in the shade and bait fish for giant Red Tail catfish. Brian and Rob both had brought gear on the trip for such an occasion. So, Rob turns to Miso and asks, “Miso, when is the best time to go catfishing”? Miso, who grew up in Terra Preta village on the Xeriuini answered back in his best broken English “2:30” Rob asked again to make sure the two were talking about the same thing. It was Rob’s understanding that catfish like low light situations and even bite well after dark. Again, Miso answered “2:30”. Brian looked at his watch and it was just after 1:00pm at the time. They decided “lets do it” so Rob would tell Miso to make the hour or so boat ride back to camp to gather the catfishing gear for an afternoon of chasing these giant fish. Misael, looking a little puzzled, cranked up the motor and headed for camp. As they arrived, they were greeted by Neto, the camp manager that week. Neto spoke better English than any of the other guides or camp staff. It was not often that a boat of anglers would return in the middle of the day. Rob and Brian headed off to get their gear while Neto and Miso curiously looked on from the fishing boat. As Rob and Brian returned to the boat with their gear, Neto asked in his best broken English, “What do you do”? Rob answers in an excited voice, “we are going catfishing” “Catfishing”? Neto says… He looks up at the sun beaming overhead thinking to himself, these guys are going to roast sitting in a boat in this blazing heat. Neto and Miso have a short conversation in Portuguese and Neto looks back at Rob and says “why are you going catfishing now”? rob replies, “we asked Miso and he said the best time to go is 2:30”. “2:30”? Neto says. Yes 2:30 Rob replies. Neto and Miso have another conversation in Portuguese and Neto starts to laugh as Miso gets an embarrassed look on his face. “Hey Rob” Neto laughs, 2:30 ha ha ha. Rob asks what is so funny? Neto replies “Rob 2:30 is the best time to catch fish, catch fish not catfish” as he and now Brian laugh hysterically. Rob studies the remark for a minute and realizes that this entire time Miso thought Rob was asking what is the best time to start fishing again after lunch? “What is the best time to catch fish”? Miso was trying to give the anglers a break from the sun and give them a 2:30 starting time for the afternoon session on the Masui. The Redtail Catfish is called Pirirara in Portuguese and Miso had never heard the term catfish. From that moment forward when anyone asks when the best time to do something in the Amazon the answer is always 2:30. So the end of the story is Rob, Brian and Miso took the afternoon off at the camp, relaxing in the shade and headed back out a couple hours later to try to catch a giant Pirirara. The Red Tail Catfish…

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