By Jim Kern:
Your Rip Roller is tearing up the water as you retrieve it in short quick jerks when suddenly the water explodes from the vicious strike of the Peacock Bass. In your excitement & literal shock you instinctively jerk your rod up before the Peacock has had a chance to get the hook firmly in his mouth and 6 inches of lure and 3 massive treble hooks come flying past your head. Your first encounter with the huge Peacock Bass of Brazil’s Amazon will be one you never forget!
Fishing for this massive, hard fighting predator can be best described to anglers that have not experienced it, as hooking into a 20 lb Smallmouth Bass that is having a bad hair day. To top off this fishing adventure, you are fishing over 1,000 miles from the ocean in the heart of the world’s largest rain forest on black water rivers that are home to over 2500 species of fish and the world greatest diversity of flora and fauna.
Anglers will catch 4 or 5 different species of Peacock Bass ranging from the Popoca and Butterfly species weighing an average of 3 – 5 lbs to the massive Paca or Arzu whose present world record is 29 lbs caught by Andrea Zaccherini in 2010. Anglers can also catch aerobatic Arowana, several species of catfish weighing upwards of 200 lbs, wolf fish & a myriad of others.
Peacocks will readily hit top water baits on waters that aren’t heavily pressured, the most famous being the big propeller driven Woodchopper and its clones, as well as the more subtle Spook type baits. As with most species of fish, subsurface jerk baits and jigs will produce bigger numbers of fish caught than top water lures. Fly fishermen have “discovered” this new game as well, fishing big Deceivers, Dahlberg Divers & Clouser type flies. Heavy bait casting tackle loaded with 65 – 80 lb braided Kevlar line is the ticket for Peacocks as they are structure oriented fish and the war is to keep them out of the cover once hooked. Fly fishermen need to bring salt water style 9 & 10 wt fly rods coupled with a fly reel with a smooth drag & 30 – 50 lb tippets.
In the last 15 years Manaus, a city of 2 million in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon, has become the epicenter of South America’s Peacock Bass fishing. American Airlines flies a daily 5 hour non-stop flight between Miami and Manaus & back making Manuas easily accessible. The majority of operators will have anglers spend the first night in Manaus and then fly by charter aircraft to their fishing destinations. Most mother boat and cruise ship operators that offer Peacock Bass fishing operate on the upper Rio Negro out of Barcelos, a city of 30,000 people located 300 miles upriver from Manaus. The waters of the Rio Negro and the mouths of its tributaries within a 150 mile radius of Barcelos receive the majority of the Peacock Bass fishing pressure. There are presently 40+ mother boats/cruise ships operating out of Barcelos & a large lodge in the area.
The other option for small groups of 6 – 12 people is a fishing trip on private Indian lands and government preserves leased by a couple different outfitters including River Plate Anglers and Acute Angling. River Plate Outfitters, fishing in Brazil since 1992, has leased exclusive fishing rights on 10 different tributaries encompassing over 1,000 miles of black water rivers in all 4 Dry Zones in Brazil’s Amazon within a 500 mile radius northwest and south of Manaus. This enables anglers to fly directly into these private lands by wheel or float equipped Caravan charter planes and be in prime unpressured waters the first day of their trip from mid July thru mid March. The key to these operations is their six “River Trains’ each consisting of 250 sq. ft single or double occupancy air conditioned cabins that can be moved to the tributary in the Dry Zone with the most ideal water conditions in a given time frame and not be relegated only to the upper Rio Negro dry zone.
For additional information you can contact River Plate Outfitters at www.riverplateanglers.com or contact Jim Kern at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 817-946-2479 in Arlington, Texas. Jim has been to Brazil 32 times since 1997 and has in the past managed the American offices of Captain Peacock and Amazon Tours and has booked for the Santana boat operations & River Plate Outfitters. Jim can give you the real facts on most of the Peacock Bass operations in Brazil’s Amazon.