The International Fishing Festival (FIP) in Cáceres, a city with 84,175 inhabitants in Mato Grosso State, is the world's largest recreational fishing festival. In 1995, FIP adopted the catch and release system and in 2004, it opened a canoe fishing category.
FIP is a major showcase of Pantanal culture, with an arts and crafts fair, regional and national music shows, folk dancing and local cuisine.
The festival also hosts a boat show, beach soccer and other sports tournaments, and fireworks.
Participants can sign up for three categories: motor boat, canoe - a FIP innovation in Brazil - and junior.
FIP started out in 1980 with a few teams who shared an appreciation of recreational fishing and nature. According to the Mato Grosso administration, 320 teams participated in the 28th fishing tournament in 2007.
The festival boosts the local economy and investments in upgrades such as a first-rate stage and lookout point help keep it at the forefront of Mato Grosso events.
Catch and Release Rules:
Tournament rules require that participants keep fish alive till they're measured. Teams lose 200 points for each dead fish and possibly an additional set of points for each kind of fish.
Dorado and pacu are the most valuable fish, worth 100 each. Pintado, or Brazilian tiger fish, and barbado (Pinirampus Pirinampu) are examples of other competitive species in FIP.
Through recreational fishing, FIP aims to enhance an appreciation of the Pantanal flora and fauna and the awareness of issues involving the Pantanal and the environment.
Although not free from questioning by environmentalists, recreational fishing is still the main reason people visit Pantanal.
Where to Stay:
Read about fishing and boat hotels in Cáceres.