Through a friend who frequently fishes in the jungle of South America, Ross says he learned about a primitive tribe, the Kayapo people, and the ritual they have for boys to pass into manhood. This ritual consists of boys catching one of the most fierce predators in the Xingu River, the payara fish. The payara fish is known by different names like vampire fish, sabertooth barracuda, or dogtooth tetra - regardless of the name, it's the long, razor sharp teeth on the fish that make them infamous. The boys catch these fierce fish and the teeth from their catch are then used by tribal elders to cut and scar the arms and legs of the boys. It's this scarification process that shows respect to the river, the fish and proves their worthiness of becoming a man or warrior within the tribe. Ross says the whole ritual is fascinating, but one of the most interesting aspects of it is the belief of the Kayapo people that by cutting the body with the teeth of a payara fish the spirit leaves the fish and then enters the body of the boy. The spirit of the fish is thought to make them a better fisherman, but also make them more fierce and strong, just like the lethal payara fish itself. Presented with a unique opportunity, Ross was able to travel to the Amazon rainforest's Xingu River and live among, learn from and fish with the natives for payara. He was also able to film it so others could experience it as well. Blood Run: Fishing with Amazon Warriors – can be seen Monday, August 10th, at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel and read about in the June/July edition of Fly Fisherman magazine. The special provides an inside look into the native people, their traditions, their rituals and the way they live. Ross talks with Jim and Trav about the unique opportunity to not only go to the Amazon and fish with the Kayapo people, but to also go through the scarification ritual himself, something that to his knowledge no other outsider has ever done, or filmed.
Listen in as Ross discusses the goal of the Kayapo people to develop a tourism economy around fly fishing the Xingu River in order to help preserve and save their piece of the Amazon jungle. Although the native Kayapo people live a very different life, one far more primitive than Americans, Ross says he was taken with just how similar, not different, we are. A love of hunting and fishing bonded Ross with the Kayapo people and allowed him to see how much they have in common. He'll also talk about living like the Kayapo people, hunting for turtles, fishing and the underlying dangers of immersing yourself in a remote place with very limited medical care. Plus, he'll highlight the payara fish itself and talk about the tactics required to catch these river predators.
Watch this fascinating special, "Blood Run: Fishing with Amazon Warriors" on Monday, August 10th, at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel. Be sure to hop on Facebook at 9:00 p.m. ET for a LIVE Q&A with Ross about payara fishing in the Xingu River in the Amazon rainforest. Watch and submit your questions for Ross to answer!