Most people know what fishing in the Amazon is all about. But just in case you don’t, it’s about catching the heck out of really cool fish. And a lot of different ones. However, the most sought after specie is the peacock bass. The peacock bass is not a bass at all but rather a Cichlid that pound for pound is one of the Amazons fiercest predators. Peacocks have a reputation of shattering the strongest of leaders, straightening saltwater hooks, breaking fly rods and leaving the best fly fishers shaking in their flip flops. I absolutely love fishing for them!
What most people don’t realize is that there are at least four species of peacock bass. There’s actually a lot of debate in this. Personally it seems like there are more from my experiences. What’s confusing is there’s one, Cichla temensis, more commonly known as the “speckled”, which takes on two distinctly different looks of either speckled or striped. This species is known in Brazil as tucanaré or in Venezuela as pavón. This specie is the most desired because of its size. My biggest is only 13lbs but last year three of my guests got 18lbers. Tucanaré have been recorded to nearly 30lbs, but trust me, an 18lber on a fly like this one here Gregg Friedman is holding is all you can handle.
The tucanaré requires the use of at least an 8-weight rod; I prefer my 10-weight. Your typical tarpon leader of a 60lb butt section connected to 20lb class tippet with 12 inches of 40lb mono shock tippet will handle most. Or, you can do it the easy way (it’s not IGFA certified) and just attach 6 feet of 40lb saltwater tippet. The most important thing to do when a humongous peacock takes your fly is give him the full bend of the rod and don’t let them take too much line. If he does, he will be in the sunken trees in a split second. Honestly, the first 15 seconds after these beasts eat your fly can be terrifying!
Typically I like fishing big colorful flies. I also like flies with eyes. The flies I fish are usually concoctions rather than standard fly patterns. I collect cool flies from friends all the time if they are big and bright they work. If you want to get technical I like Lefty Deceivers type flies, big eye baitfish, Warpath Jig flies, Puglisi type flies, crease flies and poppers. The bottom line is peacocks in general aren’t too selective. Most important is that you use flies made on top quality saltwater hooks.
That’s enough dreaming about being in the Amazon today. If I dwell on it too much I’ll have a flashback to the cancellation of our trip last week and get depressed. By tomorrow I’ll dig up some pictures from my stock and show you the other three types of peacock bass you often catch in the Amazon. In fact, as the week goes expect to learn of many fish species in the Amazon.