Posts Tagged ‘giant’

Fish of the Week: Peacock Bass – Cichla temensis

August 8, 2011
Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis

Our “Fish of the Week” is Peacock Bass – Cichla temensis, which is the largest member of the peacock bass genus. This top level predator is considered by many to be the most powerful freshwater gamefish in the world, as evidenced by its current IGFA record of 27 pounds.

Cichla temensis, in its bright spawning color phase, is called “assu” in Brazil or “three-bar” in English. They become heavier and deeper bodied in this form due to prespawn changes and matured gonads. In the “paca” form, Cichla temensis displays a darker color pattern and a more hydrodynamic shape.

Cichla temensis identification is made somewhat complex by the species’ morphological variability. Specimens are encountered in two very distinct color and pattern phases, with an array of intermediate stages corresponding to their degree of reproductive readiness. The spawning pattern transformation process is gradual – the bars darken, colors brighten and the white speckles disappear. The brilliantly colored acu (pronounced ‘assu’) is in reproductively active condition. The Paca morph has white or yellow dots (3) arranged in four distinct longitudinal rows. Both morphs have 3 distinct dark bars (2) along the sides of the body and a distinct black stripe or speckled markings from the eye to the end of the opercular bone (cheek or gill cover) (1), no ocelli on the sides or at the base of the second dorsal.

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis

Temensis is the most elongate of the Cichla species, with a body depth generally around 25 percent of its standard length (length measured to the base of the tail). It has the smallest relative scale size of the genus, generally having from 100 to 125 scales along its lateral line.

The species has three distinct, entire bars from dorsal peak to below lateral line, almost to the abdomen. It also has a distinctive postorbital band (or series of connected blotches on operculum [cheek]). In paca form, they sport four horizontal rows of light colored speckles. Its colors are extremely variable. Juveniles can grow up to about 300 cm (12 inches), while adults can grow from 300 mm up to about one meter (39 inches). Its depth to length ratio is approximately 25 percent and it has about 110 lateral line scales. Similar species include Cichla pinima and Cichla vazzoleri.

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis’ violent behavior and awesome tackle-busting power is the primary attraction that brings avid sport fishermen to the Amazon. Its known range include the countries of Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil. Within these countries, you’ll find Cichla temensis in the Rio Negro, Orinoco, Madeira and Branco basins, with some limited populations noted in several rivers draining into the Solimoes and Amazon. Temensis primarily occupies lentic (slow or still water) environments in lagoons, backwaters and shoreline pockets. However, they will readily enter faster waters to feed and when water levels leave most lentic habitat dry. They are mostly restricted to blackwater systems. Common names for this peacock include three-barred peacock, speckled peacock, tucunare, acu, paca and giant peacock.

A primarily piscivorous (fish-eating) predator, C. temensis will behave as both a pursuit feeder and an opportunistic feeder. Their determined and aggressive fry-guarding behavior makes large acu readily accessible to sharp-eyed anglers. Cichla temensis is the premier peacock bass species pursued by trophy anglers. Its sheer size, violent attacks and general overall aggressiveness have made it the most highly regarded of all freshwater sportfish. It has spurred volumes of literature and endless variations of tactics and techniques. See our ‘Peacock Bass Primer‘ for a thorough introductory guide to catching this species in its native, pulsative river environments.

 

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Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing – Mid-Season Report

January 18, 2010

This has been an unusual season so far, to say the least. It began with a flood; the highest river stage in 63 years peaked during the 2009 rainy season. Then it turned into a drought; waters dropped so fast it seemed as though someone had pulled the plug out of a bathtub. Through it all, we enjoyed some of our best fishing in years. We used our extraordinary mobility to take advantage of the conditions and stay on top of optimal water levels. We don’t hesitate to move our operations, so we fished November waters in September and we fished “trunk” rivers in December when the secondary tributaries became too shallow to navigate.

 20+ pound peacock bass.

The Rokey brothers show off a pair of 20+ pound peacock bass.

The results were outstanding with consistently productive weeks and some of our best “big fish” totals in years. I had one of my best days ever early this season, with a single morning that produced 12 fish over 12 pounds, with a nineteen pounder to cap it off. The afternoon was almost as good! Late on, we had a week on our beautiful Blackwater Explorer yacht where ten of our anglers combined to catch a total of 2600 fish, with over 70 in the “teens” and seven over 20 pounds!

Right on cue, the mid-season rains arrived over the holiday season, soaking the upper Rio Negro basin and raising water levels throughout the enormous system to a more manageable and navigable level. The timing was excellent, since the 2010 portion of our schedule and our second round of trips is just beginning. Following the pulse of new water, the rivers are dropping nicely again and we expect even better conditions than before in the newly refreshed Northern fishery. If you can travel on short notice, this is a good time to take advantage of some excellent fishing opportunities. And … we still have some excellent options available for you.

Winter Fishing Trip Opportunities

 
Rio travessao payara

A Rio Travessao Payara

The Amazing Rio Travessão is probably the best variety fishery in the Amazon, with over a dozen impressive gamefish species and unrivaled natural beauty. This season we are taking advantage of a unique opportunity to explore new waters in this amazing system. Due to the aftereffects of the global recession, we are operating a shorter planned schedule this coming season. Although that’s bad news from a business point of view, it presents us with a great opportunity from a fishing point of view. The shorter (three week) schedule will enable us to operate without requiring a resupply mechanism during the season. The benefit of this simpler logistic is far greater flexibility for our camp. Therefore, we’ve elected to explore new waters in an as yet un-fished stretch of the river. We’ll carry all of our supplies in at once and simply depend on floatplane service for all access and egress until the season ends.

This provides us with a new exploratory opportunity on a river we already know to be super-productive. It should be the best of both worlds from an angler’s perspective. We expect to find fish that have never seen a lure, new honey holes, new hotspots and perhaps even new world records.
Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy pristine waters and join us on the Rio Travessão this February. Northern rivers are already dropping and we expect optimal water levels this year. We have 5 openings remaining. The trip will be hosted by Wellington Melo.

 
Peacock Bass Fishing - Mothership

The Blackwater Explorer Yacht

The Blackwater Explorer is currently heading into the northern Rio Negro basin to take advantage of what currently appears to be the best water levels in the basin, with access to some of its biggest fish. We plan to follow optimal conditions for the rest of the season, wherever that takes us, upriver or down, tributaries or trunks, even moving into the Rio Branco basin if water levels so dictate. We can blame (or credit) global warming for the unusual weather all we want, but most importantly, we’re taking advantage of the great fishing its provided so far this season. Join us on the Blackwater Explore this February. There’s still time to book a trip, get out of the cold and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.

Short Notice Travel Deals

Several of our February 2010 dates have inefficiently low numbers of bookings. It’s in our best interest to make our trips as operationally efficient as possible, so we’re looking for anglers who can travel on short notice to help us fill them. If you’re interested in a great deal and can fit into our scheduling needs, call us now. We’ll work with you if you can move fast and be flexible.  Call us now at 866 832-2987

Visit us at;  www.acuteangling.com

Follow us on Twitter at;  http://twitter.com/PeacockBass

Check out our photos at;
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/peacockbass/

Watch our videos at;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnzi3Skwi9M

Fall 2009 Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing Report

October 14, 2009

PERFECT WATER LEVELS MEAN INCREDIBLE FISHING!

The Amazon Fishing season is underway and we’ve gotten off to a great start. Roaming from the western tributaries of the Rio Solimoes all the way east to the small water tributaries of the Rio Branco and Rio Negro, the Blackwater Explorer tracked down the best of the season’s Amazon fishing opportunities.

Rio Solimoes backwaters hold enormous arapaima.

Rio Solimoes backwaters hold enormous arapaima.

Brazil’s Rio Solimoes forms the main stem of the Amazon river. It’s headwaters are a primary source of the Amazon’s mineral nutrients and have given rise to a rich aquatic biodiversity.

Amazon Aruana

Amazon Aruana

This September, the Blackwater Explorer set out on an extended exploration to sample the fishing possibilities of this enormous and complex river basin. Eighteen days and over 1000 miles later, both guides and anglers had learned a tremendous amount, caught a wild variety of species and had the experience of a lifetime.
Starting in Manaus the Blackwater Explorer steamed west through the sediment laden “white” waters of the Solimoes and docked at the port of Tefe. Our intrepid exploratory group of Aussies and South Africans arrived in Tefe by air and boarded the Explorer. After settling in with a robust breakfast, they assembled their gear and began a singular exploratory fishing adventure.

 

A leaping apapa.

A leaping apapa.

Monday – Sept 7th

– Lago Tefe – peacock bass (Cichla monoculus) – Arapaima, aruana
Tuesday – Rio Tefe – peacocks, Tefe streetside dinner.
Wednesday – Blackwater lake of Japura – peacocks, aruana, small pirapitinga and other species.
Thursday – Lago Comapé – Loads of Peacock bass.
Friday – Went looking for Amazon catfish and got waylaid by an enormous school of feeding apapa. Within minutes, the water was boiling with striking fish and we were engulfed in a feeding frenzy. Caught them on spooks, jigs, flies – 5 pounds to 15 pounds. Extraordinary day!
Saturday – More apapa mania, also sorubim, redtails.
Sunday –
Rio Mamiya – Peacocks, arapaima, aruana.
Monday – Codajas – arapaima.
Tuesday – Lago Januauca – Big peacocks, arapaima.
Wednesday – Peacocks, arapaima – begin journey north.
Our Solimoes Exploratory will be described in detail in an upcoming article in Col Roberts “Fishing Wild” magazine.
Meanwhile, we’re scouting new tributaries to explore and more species to find for another intrepid group next fall.

Brothers Ric and J.R. Rokey (right) of Arizona show off a brace of 22 lb. trophy peacocks.

Brothers Ric and J.R. Rokey (right) of Arizona show off a brace of 22 lb. trophy peacocks.

After our exciting sojourn in the Rio Solimoes basin, the Blackwater Explorer headed back eastward to the habitat of the giant peacock bass. It seems that every year now presents us with a new set of firsts – we’ve recently had the biggest drought, the earliest rains, and this off-season, the Amazon experienced its greatest flood in 6 decades. A normally predictable system was once again topsy turvy!  –  For us …. No problem! While the usually low southern rivers proved higher than expected in September, the northern rivers began to drop faster than any of us could remember! I guess it figures. We hit Manaus, turned left and headed up the Rio Negro, a month earlier than planned, and our Solimoes explorers went right along with us.

Sure enough we found perfect water levels, 400 miles from where we expected them, in tributaries of the middle Rio Branco. Thank heavens for the Blackwater Explorer’s great mobility. Our anglers untied their esoteric exploratory lures, put on their faithful jigs and woodchoppers, their spooks and plugs and flies and they went straight to work, with great success. Our first week (actually only 5 days) of peacock bass fishing yielded 997 fish, and an average of 124 per angler. The week’s biggest fish landed was a tie at 16 pounds between Rob Bland and Brent Boswell, both of Australia. Honors for the most fish caught went to the Aussie team of Col Roberts and Brent Boswell, with 377 fish between them. The average size of the peacocks caught this week was high, with fish weights heavily concentrated in the mid-size range. The week produced a high percentage of trophy fish that continued growing through the next two weeks. The world’s weather may be turning topsy-turvy, but the Blackwater Explorer knows how to find plenty of big peacock bass nonetheless.

 

Aussie Neil Patrick with a trophy peacock bass.

Aussie Neil Patrick with a trophy peacock bass.

Our second group arrived and began immediately producing lots of mid to large size fish in the same region. As reports of dropping water levels to the south came in, however, we elected to leave them biting and explore the opportunities in several other fisheries. We let our anglers loose on the Rio Tapera, the Rio Massaui and the mouth of the Rio Caures on the Rio Negro system. The effort proved worthwhile as we encountered plenty of big fish along the way, 78 of them to be exact. Our anglers landed a total of 1688 peacocks, averaging 187 per angler for the week. The team of Don Mitzel and Dave Dunafon, both of Missouri, landed an astounding total of 672 peacock bass between them. Jim Butters of New Jersey took the honors for biggest fish with an 18 pound trophy.

 

Steve Townson (front) and Ron Elbers with a double-digit Rio Caures doubleheader.

Steve Townson (front) and Ron Elbers with a double-digit Rio Caures doubleheader.

Week three found us ascending to the headwaters of the Rio Caures. Not only do we depend on the Explorer’s mobility, but we take advantage of its shallow draft to navigate rapidly dropping river systems. Water levels were perfect and the results showed it. The group landed 1286 peacocks with an amazing total of 101 trophies, including 4 over 20 lbs! The largest peacock was a 22 pound hog, courtesy of J.R. Rokey of Arizona. The hard-working pair of Steve Townson (Portugal) and Ron Elbers (Canada) caught the most fish for the week with a total of 309 peacock bass between them.

If you can travel on short-notice, join us now and take advantage of the best water levels in years! The rivers are perfect and the fishing just doesn’t get better than this. To make things even more attractive, we’re offering a one-time only short-notice discount package for several of our upcoming dates. Call now for available openings – (866) 832-2987.

Visit us at;  www.acuteangling.com

Follow us on Twitter at;  http://twitter.com/PeacockBass

Check out our photos at;
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/peacockbass/

Watch our videos at;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnzi3Skwi9M

The Amazon Fishing Season is Underway

September 6, 2009

Acute Angling’s Amazon Fishing Season is Underway for 2009 /2010

Every March, when the peacock bass fishing season winds down, I head home from the Amazon, always happy to return to New Jersey. After six months in the jungle, I’ve missed my family, missed the comforts of home and, dare I say it, even grown a bit tired of Brazilian beer. I welcome the leisure to enjoy pleasant dinners with my wife; to reconnect with my neighborhood, my friends and the fishes of my home waters. It’s always good to get back in time to enjoy the sense of renewal brought by the advent of spring and then stretch out in the comfortable lazy days of summer. Ah, but every September, as the weather begins to feel like autumn at home and the waters begin to recede in the Amazon, a new fishing season looms into view. I become helplessly reenergized with the excitement of starting off again, exploring new waters and fighting new fish. It seems that every year, the Amazon’s magnetic pull becomes greater and greater as the days get shorter and shorter.

The Blackwater Explorer Yacht

The Blackwater Explorer Yacht

As September rolls around and Americans get ready for the Labor Day holiday and kids get ready to go back to school, I’m getting ready to head off on the Blackwater Explorer yacht and get Acute Angling’s new season underway. We’re going to start off with a bang this year, taking our beautiful Amazon yacht into waters she’s never visited, in search of fishes we’ve not often pursued.

Arapaima - An Amazon Giant

Arapaima - An Amazon Giant

Rio Solimoes Exploratory – We’re starting this season with an exploratory voyage into Brazil’s vast western Amazon hinterlands. For the first time, we’ve organized a single three-week long voyage up the Rio Solimoes on the Blackwater Explorer. We’ll cruise from river to river in the complex flood-plain region. We’ll pursue acrobatic apapa (sardinata), enormous pirarucu (arapaima), fruit-eating tambaqui and pirapitinga, silvery matrinchá, explosive peacock bass, giant Amazon catfish and other fierce fishes of the Amazon. We’ll wander where we choose to and we’ll stop where the fishing is good until the three weeks are done. We hope to learn enough about this enormous region to offer our clientele new access to new species and an altogether new angling experience.

The Pirapitinga - A bruising fighter.

The Pirapitinga - A bruising fighter.

To make this limit-stretching exploration even more interesting, we’ve got a boatload of fish-crazed anglers aboard, including a core cadre of Amazon-hardened Aussies and several adventurous South Africans. This group of intrepid explorers comes complete with a fishing writer and a camera crew, so we’re prepared to document what we experience and then report back to our readers and anglers later this fall. We think it will be a stupendous voyage and we look forward to sharing the details with you.

Rio Madeira basin peacock bass – Later during September, we’ll head back east along the Amazon and into the prolific peacock bass regions of the lower Rio Madeira. Preserved in an Indian reservation, the lagoon studded rivers in this exclusive fishery produce huge numbers of big peacock bass every season. Last year, during our four week sojourn here, 41 anglers caught an incredible total of 11,601 peacock bass ranging up to 22 pounds. Think of it, that’s an average of almost 300 fish each, almost 50 fish per day for every angler! With waters dropping rapidly from this year’s record flood season, we expect to find perfect conditions upon our arrival. Perhaps we can even better last season’s remarkable statistics. If you’ve ever considered an Amazon peacock bass fishing trip, this is the best place to start and the Blackwater Explorer is the best way to get there.

When October winds down, and optimal water levels begin to shift with the season, the Blackwater Explorer will head north. We’ll fish the Rio Negro basin and its many renowned tributaries, such as the Rio Unini and the Rio Urubaxi. Meanwhile, I’ll head home for awhile to regroup and report back on our early season adventures. Watch this spot for reports on where we’ve been and where we’re going – as soon as I can get myself to an internet connection. Come November, I’ll be back in the jungle again as Acute Angling moves into other exciting regions like Brazil’s Guyana Shield and the Rio Branco basin. We’ve got two more exciting exploratory trips planned in our ongoing quest to explore yet more new fishing opportunities. You can learn more about where we’re headed by looking at our 2009 / 2010 fishing schedule. Or better yet, come with us! There’s an awful lot of fishing left to be done before March rolls around ….. and someone’s got to do it!

Visit us at;  www.acuteangling.com

Follow us on Twitter at;  http://twitter.com/PeacockBass

Check out our photos at;
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/peacockbass/

Watch our videos at;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnzi3Skwi9M