Peacock Bass, native to South America, are becoming an obsession with fly-fishermen. To be able to say you caught a Peacock Bass on a fly puts you into some pretty select company in the ranks of fly-fishermen.
These hard fighting fish are not actually a species of Bass, but rather a Cichlid, an aggressive predatory species of fish that terrorizes juvenile members of their own species and baitfish of South American watersheds. Peacock Bass can obtain weights of up to 30 lbs. and are one of the few freshwater fish that will fight like a salt-water species.
The last 2 All Tackle World Record weighing 27 lbs. caught in 1994 and the 28 lbs. monster Bill Gassmann caught in February of 2010 while fishing with Captain Peacock were all caught in the main Rio Negro or within a couple of miles of the mouths of its tributaries!
The world’s biggest peacock (28 lbs) has been caught with Capt Peacock on Feb. 2010 by Bill Gassmann from Iowa. Helanded this monster (see pic. on left) on his first Peacock Bass trip ever.The 27 lbs. fish stood as the world record for 17 years and many people thought, with the increased fishing pressure due to the popularity of this magnificent fishery, it would never be broken.
About 10 years ago the State of Amazonas instituted a commercial netting ban in the upper Rio Negro and when the Peacock Bass had the chance to live to maturity the record was broken twice in less than1 year! These are the areas Captain Peacock fishes, most all of them with the mobility our shallow draft yacht acting as a mother ship, affords us.
Fishing the main river channels can be very productive when the Peacock Bass are spawning in the fall and early winter. Peacock Bass dig nests in the sand bars of the river and with calm water you can sight fish for them. Every sandbar in the river, and there are thousands of them, will have a deep side and a shallow side to them.
The Peacock Bass will dig their beds with their tails in the shallow side and both the male and female will defend their nests as well as their fry. The topwater action can be fast & furious on the shallow side of the sand bars in the main river when the Peacock Bass are spawning mainly between September and January. Peacock Bass will also cruise and hold close to the deep edge of the sandbars when feeding. Points of sandbars are always of particular interest for big fish on the prowl. These are places, out in the open river, where light tackle and fly rods can be great fun, as the Peacock Bass have no cover to break you off. The quiet downstream sides of the islands in the main river can hold big fish as well, especially around stumps and brush.
You also do not want to neglect the points of the main river where it forms an entrance to a bay or where a tributary comes in. These are natural ambush spots, just out of the current of the main river, for big Peacock Bass. After you work these areas with a topwater lure, be sure and go back and cast &/or troll a jig or jerk bait around them.