|The life history and food preferences of peacock bass are not yet fully understood, although from their behaviour it is clear that they are voracious and aggressive fish. They obviously consume other fish, although so little research has been done on them that their favourite prey if any has not yet been identified.
This is one of the most colourful and beautifully marked fish that you could ever wish to catch, and every fish is different. The peacock bass is also a superb table fish. The popularity of the peacock bass as a sport fish is I believe, due to it’s willingness to take surface lures and flies and it’s powerful take and initial run. After a couple of days fishing for peacocks it was clear that the best lies where were there was lots of cover, overhanging trees, on one occasion while making a low side cast under over hanging trees I sent the fly shooting into the branches, giving my line a sharp pull to free the fly I shook the tree and 30 or 40 large bats dropped out of the branches and flew out over the river in all directions, this is the Amazon ! large half submerged rocks and the best of all submerged fallen trees.
Dr Hook Circle Popper!
This is the most effective popper that I have ever used. The Mustad 39951BLN circle hook has an incredible “hit and sit” ratio.
There is no subtle splashing with this popper, the boil and sound from each sharp pull is awesome !!
|We were quick to learn that the distress splashing that attracted the piranhas and alligators also worked well with the peacocks, and quickly developed a technique with large heavy Dr Hook Circle popper flies. With a sinking line and 75cm leader of stiff 50lb mono, with a 25cm wire trace on the point, this hard short leader meant that the popper could be controlled while casting. Standing in the boat I would make 4 or 5 short quick double hauled casts, shooting the heavy popper, into the surface water above possible lies for peacock bass. This violent splashing caused by the popper breaking the surface would tease out any peacocks that were in hearing distance. We also took this technique one step further. My fishing companion in the Amazon was the well known English fly fisherman Malcolm Greenhalgh. We noticed that the largest fish were not easy to fool but we could see them, they would come and look at the splashing, especially when we played smaller fish that splashed in the surface at the side of the boat. We would take turns, one of us beating the surface with a large popper while the other waited for a fish to show and then casting a large sub surface streamer to it, the most effective were large Clouser deep minnows.|
The initial take of the peacock bass was explosive, and if they didn’t take the popper the first time they would hit it again and again and again until the did, but the run was short, only to the nearest cover. This was a real challenge, you had to really hammer these fish when they took, otherwise your leader and sometimes line where knitted in amongst the submerged lattice of branches and tree trunks. Some of the larger fish we encountered even straightened hooks and the clips on 35lb wire trace, on the take. But I must say that after you had stopped most of the peacocks from that initial run they would only make a couple of turns around the boat and then give themselves up, this was a little disappointing, but more than compensated for by that powerful and dramatic take.
Peacock bass are schooling fish, and the site fishing for peacocks that we had was great fun. You would see the surface, normally in shallow water close to sand banks, suddenly begin to boil violently as they attacked a shoal of small bait fish. The bait fish, about 15cm long would sometimes, with the use of their tails as legs, run on the surface of the water for about 5-6 metres in all directions, with bass in pursuit.
|Apart from the well known toothy fish such as piranha, that inhabit the waters of the Amazon basin, just about everything else that swims, crawls and creeps, has teeth like a chainsaw and isn’t afraid to use them. But it’s not only teeth that are dangerous, we observed huge electric eel’s, many metres long in the shallows, that we understood could endanger your life if you came in contact with them, and many of the fish are equipped with poisonous spikes. My guide told me when we caught one of the fresh water sting rays, that you don’t want to be stuck by that. You will cry for three days from the intense pain, and then have a terrible fever, for a week. I agreed, and kept my distance while he unhooked and released it, without bringing it into the boat.|
|It took a few days, but I learned a lot from the guide, just by observing him. If he wouldn’t touch the fish, I wouldn’t touch the fish, if he tucked his trousers in his socks, I would do the same. But I had learned the hard way. On the first day while walking through the jungle It reminded me of Tarzan swinging from tree to tree with the use of the hanging liana vines. I had noticed while following the guide that he wouldn’t touch these vines, so much so, as to take care as to not to have body make contact with them as he walked through the jungle. I couldn’t resist trying a Tarzan. I raised both hands above my head, griped the vine and jumped up in the air while simultaneously letting out a ape like scream. The guide immediately threw both hands over his head, adapted a half foetus position and bolted into a sprint. I let out another ape like scream, but this one wasn’t Hollywood, this one was for real. Insects of every description and size, from small ants to large things with huge horns and massive jaws, that weighed over 150g, began to shower down upon me, I can’t believe that Tarzan did this in his underpants !!|
|A trip to the tropical rainforests of Brazil is so much more than a fishing trip, it’s an experience of a life time, and unlike many fishing destinations that I have visited in the past 20 years, I would recommend that anyone with the possibility to go there does, without a second thought.
If you are planning to travel to the Amazon, choose a good outfitter, one who will give you all the right information on seasons and species, you will find all the information you need and more on the internet.
Salto do Thaimacu Lodge on the River Sao Benedito and River Cururu.
Kuryala Lodge on the Araguaia River
Rio Roosevelt Lodge on the River Theodore Roosevelt