Posts Tagged ‘paul reiss’

Peacock Bass Science and Conservation – Peacock Bass pH Tolerance

September 16, 2011
The more anglers know about their quarry, the better they are able to successfully pursue it and manage its conservation. The giant peacock bass (Cichla temensis) roams a blackwater environment that is so significantly different from that of temperate zone freshwater sportfish, that it is worthwhile for peacock bass anglers visiting the Amazon to gain an understanding of the peacock’s home waters. The following article attempts to provide some insights via a research project assessing fishes’ acid tolerance in blackwater environments Throughout North America, Europe and Asia, pollution has caused serious damage to aquatic ecosystems. One of the worst culprits is acid rain. Resulting mostly from sulfur emitted by power plant smokestacks, this toxic acidification has been shown to cause massive fish kills and a serious loss of biodiversity in our lakes, rivers and streams.
On the other hand, in the Amazon basin, highly acidic “blackwater” regions exist that support a huge diversity of fishes in spite of being far more acidic than even our most damaged waters. In fact, this is the preferred home of the giant peacock bass. The most powerful freshwater gamefish in the world, lives in water with enough acid content to kill most species! The obvious question you might ask is, “How is this possible?” Many researchers have asked the same question. The answer may lie in the tea-colored material that gives blackwater its name.

Blackwater is formed when wet, oxygen-poor soils permit the slow decay of matter from vascular plant material. Runoff delivers a constant supply of this mixture of dissolved organic matter (mostly made up of tannic and humic acids). Not only does this material deliver blackwater’s characteristic coloration, but scientists have found convincing evidence that it actually protects fishes against the poisonous effects of acidic environments.

Acid water causes fishes to lose their body salts. Freshwater species have a biological pumping system in the cells of their gills that keeps the salt in their bodies from leaking out into the salt-free freshwater that surrounds them. Acid conditions attack these cells and cause them to stop working. The material in blackwater, however, appears to provide a protective effect for these cells, enabling them to continue to work normally. The peacock’s own ecosystem may be what protects it from environmental toxicity that kills fish elsewhere.

The Amazon is a giant enigma, with thousands of interlocking puzzles waiting to be solved. We haven’t even begun to understand how they fit together. Here is just one more reason why it must be protected at all costs. With more study, we might learn how to use Amazon-based knowledge to protect fishes in each of our various backyards. Perhaps we’ll find that reducing the constant deforestation in our countryside might put more of these blackwater materials into our waters and help slow the rate of environmental degradation and fish loss.

Note – The following unpublished paper is the result of an experiment performed on non-Amazon fishes, with an eye toward understanding more about the nature of Amazon Blackwater systems. The reference materials cited in this paper can provide additional information regarding this subject matter from peer-reviewed sources.

Laboratory Analysis of the Effects of Blackwater on Low pH Tolerance in Fishes

PAUL REISS; Rutgers University, Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA
Rutgers University Marine Field Station, Tuckerton, NJ

Abstract

The unusually high level of fish biodiversity found in acidic “blackwater” systems in the Amazon basin suggests that the humic and fulvic acids in blackwater may provide some form of protection against the toxic effects of low pH, or that fishes endemic to this environment may be more tolerant of those effects. These ideas were tested by two experiments in a laboratory study. In the first experiment, seven fish species from three water types were subjected to a treatment regime of reduced pH to compare the species’ tolerance to pH toxicity. Species examined included: Enneacanthus obesus, Micropterus salmoides and Aphredoderus sayanus from blackwater; Fundulus heteroclitus, Menidia menidia and Cyprinodon variegatus from brackish water and Lepomis macrochirus from clear freshwater. The results demonstrated markedly different resistance to mortality in low pH among the species, as measured by the cumulative concentration of excess H+ ion over time. For example, Enneacanthus was able to tolerate almost three times as much exposure as Lepomis, a member of the same family, and over eight times the exposure of Cyprinodon, a brackish water fish. The results also demonstrated that fishes from blackwater are more resistant to low pH toxicity, as a group, than fishes from other source waters.

In a second experiment, the effect of water type on tolerance to low pH was measured among a subset of species selected from the first experiment, i.e., Fundulus heteroclitus, Cyprinodon variegatus and Lepomis macrochirus. Resistance to mortality ranged from 20% to 100% greater in both blackwater and brackish water than in clear freshwater for each species. These results indicate that there are effects inherent in both blackwater and brackish water that protect fishes against low pH and which are lacking in clear freshwater. The study examines the physiological aspects of pH toxicity in various water types, considers differences in innate or acquired tolerance to low pH among species and analyzes the relevance of ecosystem management strategies in relation to the toxic effects of acidification.

To read the full report, please click here.

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Exploring the Fringe – Two Highlands Rivers – The Rio Urariquera and the Rio Travessao

September 8, 2011

By Paul Reiss

Two Highlands Rivers – The Rio Urariquera and the Rio Travessao

Have you ever daydreamed about some great fishing spot, real or imagined, that would fulfill all of your fishing fantasies? It would be

Trairao - Where's that guy who kisses fish on TV now?

Trairao - Where's that guy who kisses fish on TV now?

isolated; you’d be the only one there. It would be beautiful; an example of Nature’s perfection. It would be just right for your style of fishing; the best spots within an easy cast of your plug or fly. But most of all, it would be loaded with fish; hungry, aggressive, big fish just waiting for your brilliantly presented bait! Of course you have; you’re a fisherman!

Well, so have I and so have my fishing partners and fellow explorers. We..Wellington, Nicky and myself.. Three friends, fishermen and Amazon outfitters, decided to try to make that daydream a reality. As our regularly scheduled guided seasons ended and our time became our own, we pooled our resources to cooperate in a search for new, exotic fishing destinations; for the daydream location.

Our quest started in the far northern Brazilian town of Boa Vista. Surrounded by the rare sight of Amazonian mountains, Boa Vista blends the sensation of a bustling frontier cattle town with the richness and warmth of the rural Brazilian spirit. We met here, at a modest hotel, to lay the groundwork for our expedition into Brazil’s hidden treasures; it’s rare, fast mountain rivers. We were going to succeed surprisingly well.

To read the complete article, please click here.

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Paul Heading Back Down To The Amazon!

September 2, 2011

Paul Reiss, our owner and expert host, will be back down in the Amazon a week from today leading fishing trips for big peacock bass (and other fish like the Bicuda in this shot!). Paul would love to have you join him – check out http://www.acuteangling.com/ for available trips.

Paul Reiss With A Big Bicuda

Paul Reiss With A Big Bicuda

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Trips Available for the Fall

August 3, 2011

Planning your fall getaways already? Let us give you the fishing trip of a lifetime – we have many openings throughout the rest of 2011, including several in September and October. Paul Reiss, our owner and expert host, is heading back down to the Amazon in early September and would love for you to join him!

For more information on available trips, please check out our interactive Trip Finder.

(This Could Be You!)

(This Could Be You!)

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The Not-So-Humble Shad

June 28, 2011
by Paul Reiss

The author and a fat Delaware river shad

The author and a fat Delaware river shad

The little Daiwa UL7 reel started singing as soon as the line popped off thedownrigger.  Jenny, my 17 year old daughter, grabbed the rod, raised it up high and held on.  The four pound test monofilament line traced an arc from straight behind the boat all the way to the middle of the river.  As we watched, the line rose  and suddenly the four pound quicksilver flash on the end was airborne. I scrambled to clear the lines and cables at the back of the boat, and then, as surely as Murphy’s law was written, the fish headed right back toward us at lightning speed.  Within seconds, the gear trailing the boat turned into one big tangle and Jenny’s shad was free.  Her look told me I’d better get to work untangling the lines so that we can  hook up again, and soon.

New Jersey is not usually thought of as a hotbed of freshwater fishing, but there is no better locale to fish for the American Shad than New Jersey’s beautiful portion of the Delaware River .  The shad, a lesser known, migratory member of the herring family returns to its birthwaters each year in the early spring.  They come at the beginning of April when the water temperature  begins to top the 50 degree mark.  At first just a few at a time, then in small pods and finally, when the run is in full swing more than a million shad work their way up the Delaware river.  The three or four pound bucks aggressively seek to spawn with the four to six pound roe filled females.   Shad become the fishing royalty of the river until the end of May, when they have assured the existence of a new generation and then, spent, succumb to the cycle of their species.

To read the full story, please click here.

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Part Five of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “What Peacock Bass Fishing Gear Do You Really Need To Land Monster Peacock?”

May 17, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass Fishing Source about peacock bass gear in part five of an exclusive interview. Read all about it below or click here.

What Peacock Bass Fishing Gear Do You Really Need To Land Monster Peacock?

The Peacock Bass fishing gear you need may surprise you according Paul Reiss of Acute Angling. The first thought may be to grab the biggest, heaviest tackle one can find in order to take on these beast of the Amazon. But before you head out and lay down your hard earned cash in search of your trophy see what it is you really need.

In this segment of our interview with Paul he explains the type of gear that gets results.

Peacock BassB-F-S: What kind of bass fishing tackle would you recommend in going after Amazon Peacock?

Paul Reiss: The tackle should always, always, always be geared to the lures being used. A pet peeve of mine is that first-time peacock bass anglers are often saddled with overly heavy peacock bass fishing gear because they went to a tackle shop to be outfitted.

Sure, the monster peacock is an amazingly powerful and violent fish, but rod and reel selections should be made based on the peacock bass lures you’ll be using, not the mis-perceptions of tackle salesmen who have never fished for peacocks. Heavy tackle makes you tired, snoozing anglers don’t cast and lures in the boat don’t catch fish. Peacock gear should be reasonably light so that anglers can fish without fatigue, make accurate casts and properly work the lures that will ultimately bring in their trophies.

We supply quality peacock bass fishing gear on our Blackwater Explorer yacht trips, however, anglers are always welcome to bring their own equipment. We recognize that folks are usually most proficient with the bass fishing tackle they’re used to.

If you’re bringing your own gear, I strongly recommend 3-piece travel rods. The new “Gary Loomis Signature Series” by Temple Forks Outfitters is a great line of rods for peacock bass fishing. They are relatively inexpensive, guaranteed, light, fast, durable and, of course, very portable. Two or three rigs will support all aspects of peacock fishing; a medium/heavy outfit; a medium and a medium light.

Read more about bass fishing rods.

medium heavy outfit will effectively cast and work the heavy prop baits. I recommend a baitcaster such as the Gary Loomis series TFG TRC 705-3 for best performance with these big plugs. If selecting another rod, avoid overlong (max. 7’) rods and never use long handled rods. They just make working the lure more difficult. Select a fast-retrieve reel, 6.3:1 or faster. We recommend a Shimano Curado reel (modestly priced and 7.0:1). Slow retrieving reels will not allow you to properly work your lure and will leave you very tired at the end of the day.

Medium/Light rig is best for the peacock rattle jig. With a properly set drag, a quality outfit in this category will efficiently handle even the largest peacock bass while providing casting ease and accuracy. For most anglers, a spinning rod is the better choice for this use, such as a Gary Loomis series TFG TRS 703-3 medium-light rod and a Shimano 2500 series spinning reel.

Read more about bass fishing reels.

Medium Outfit is not a must, but it’s a good backup for the other two rods (since rods can break) and it can be very comfortably used for Zara Spooks, Yo-Zuris and other medium size baits. This rig is a bass fisherman’s bread and butter tool. Bring your favorite reel since retrieve rate is not critical with this outfit. A good example would be a medium baitcaster such as the Gary Loomis series TFG TRC 704-3 with a Shimano Curado or Calcutta 250 size reel.

All of this peacock bass fishing gear can be purchased through Acute Angling at 866 431-1668.

More with Paul Reiss on Amazon Peacock Bass:

Paul talks with Bass-Fishing-Source.com about the awesome Amazon Peacock Bass.

Paul shares some priceless Amazon Peacock fishing techniques.

Paul discusses the best lures for Amazon Peacock Bass.

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Part Four of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “What Peacock Bass Lures Do The Pros Use?”

May 12, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass Fishing Source about peacock bass lures in part four of an exclusive interview. Read all about it below or click here.

What Peacock Bass Lures Do The Pros Use?

In this segment of our interview with Paul Reiss he tells us what Peacock Bass lures he has put to work and had success with during his time in going after the monster Peacocks of the Amazon.

B-F-S: Can you describe what type of lures a person should have if they want to catch Peacock Bass?

Paul: I’ve learned long a go never to tell someone that his favorite lure won’t work, because it’s almost an unwritten rule of fishing that the moment you say something can’t be done, someone will go and do it. That being considered however, we hook probably 90 percent of all the big peacocks we catch in a year on four principle categories of lures; propeller lures; stick baits; swimming plugs and peacock rattle jigs.

Monster Peacock Bass Catch

The most famous, of course, are the big, 6 or 7 inch prop baits. These are known from Luhr-Jensen’s (now defunct) “Woodchoppers” and today’s Highroller “Riprollers”. They catch good numbers of fish, generate spectacular topwater strikes and make for wonderful television; however, they are always productive. Certain water conditions may make them next to ineffective, so an angler must be armed with an array of alternative tools.

Stick baits, such as “Zara Spooks” and “Super Spooks” are especially effective early and late in the day, in small, still waters and in thick structure. Swimming plugs like Yo-Zuri’s “Crystal Minnow or Cotton Cordell’s “Redfin” are almost always effective and provide tired anglers with effortless fishing, albeit not nearly as productive as their subsurface counterpart, the “Peacock Rattle Jig”.

B-F-S: With the understanding that conditions will tell you what lure you should use, and it can vary from time to time, but is there any one type of lure that is especially productive in catching these fish?

Paul: Absolutely. The “Peacock Rattle Jig catches far more peacock bass than any other lure. Although it’s a jig in every aspect of the word, the name is a bit deceptive since we don’t jig it. It never goes to the bottom. Instead we fish it as though we were stripping a fly, rapidly accelerating and then slowing again in a rhythmic, jerky motion in the top several feet of the water column. This lure is by far the most productive of all peacock bass lures and is effective in just about any conditions. Even better, their small, light easy to use and cheap – you can even make your own. For more information on this lure and how to fish it, check out our website’s peacock jig section.

Thanks Paul for the priceless information on the best peacock bass lures to catch Amazon peacocks.

More with Paul Reiss on Amazon Peacock Bass:

Paul talks with Bass-Fishing-Source.com about the awesome Amazon Peacock Bass.

Paul shares some priceless Amazon Peaock fishing techniques.

Paul describes the fishing gear needed to catch monster Peacock.

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Part Three of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “Peacock Bass Techniques You Can’t Do Without”

May 10, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass Fishing Source about peacock bass fishing tips and techniques in part three of an exclusive interview. Read all about it below or click here.

Peacock Bass Techniques You Can’t Do Without

I don’t know about you but when 17 years of experience offers up some Peacock Bass techniques, I’m all ears, soaking up as much knowledge as I can. You just don’t come across that much experience and expertise often so we were jumping at the chance to ask Paul Reiss of Acute Angling to give us some tips and techniques we could share with all our visitors.

Girl Peacock Bass Fishing

Check it out in this continuation of our interview with Paul.

B-F-S: Any particular time of day or night that is most productive?

Paul: Peacocks are strictly diurnal feeders. That means they hunt and feed during daylight hours. Consequently, our guides head off fishing at sunup and return before sundown. Since our peacock bass fishery is essentially astride the equator, the sun rises at 6:30 AM and sets at 6:30 PM. Although peacocks are active and can be caught all day long, anglers tend to bog down around noon, when the powerful equatorial sun is at its strongest. So, lunchtime and a siesta are usually in order in the middle of the day. Considering all of this, the best bite is often between 8 and 10 AM and again between 2 and 4 PM. It’s nice to not have to get up ridiculously early when you’re on vacation.

B-F-S: Any tips or peacock bass techniques you can give our visitors that will help them when fishing for Peacock?

Paul: Here are three that will help prevent the disappointment of a lost trophy;

  1. Tie directly to the lure. Avoid snaps and leaders and other mumbo-jumbo. Every link in the chain connecting you to your quarry is simply one more thing that can go wrong. Keep it simple (and use a Palomar knot).
  2. When you hook a big peacock, try to convince him that nothing is wrong. This might sound silly, but it has a very useful effect. The gear I recommended is stout enough for fishermen to simply crank in small fish. But this won’t work with giant peacocks. A big specimen is strong enough to easily snap 65 pound braid. Anglers often try to use heavier line with a tightened drag to overcome this, but that simply leads to broken rods, straightened hooks or torn out lures. These fish are just too powerful for that kind of treatment.So, after you hook up, if he hasn’t panicked yet, don’t make him do so. Don’t start hauling and cranking and getting furious, he’ll sense this and head for the hills. Instead, try to lead him gently by lowering your rod tip to one side of the boat and slowly recovering line, trying to convince him to swim along but always maintaining tension and a bend in the rod. When he gets close enough to see the boat, he will panic, but now he’s in your playing field, far from the safety of shoreline snags or flooded forest. Let him run (they usually don’t go too far) and repeat the process until he’s tired, when you can land him safely.
  3. When fighting a big fish who is heading for cover, always sweep your rod to one side or the other, never pull straight back. When your rod is overhead, any direction presents the same difficulty for the fish, so he’ll go the way he wants to (think of the geometry). When a rod is swept to one side (pick the side away from the cover the fish is seeking), it becomes easier for him to swim in that direction and he’ll generally do so. This will help you avoid losing a trophy fish to the perils of snags and underwater structure.

Once again, thanks Paul. Some excellent and priceless Peacock Bass techniques.

More with Paul Reiss on Amazon Peacock Bass:

Paul talks with Bass-Fishing-Source.com about the awesome Amazon Peacock Bass.

Paul discusses the best lures for Amazon Peacock Bass.

Paul describes the fishing gear needed to catch monster Peacock.

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Part Two of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “Amazon Peacock Bass – The Real Heavy Hitting Monsters”

May 6, 2011

Paul Reiss, owner of Acute Angling, talks with Bass-Fishing-Source about fishing the Amazon for peacock bass in part two of an exclusive interview. Read it all below or click here.

Amazon Peacock Bass – The Real Heavy Hitting Monsters

Amazon peacock bass are quite different than anything you will find in the U.S. While the peacock bass in Florida can be great to catch, fishing for Peacock in the Amazon is not only a whole different experience but it’s also a whole different fish.

In our search for information on catching the “bass” that hits your line like a truck, we were lucky enough to get some insight from a true authority in Amazon Peacock Bass, Paul Reiss of Acute Angling.

We got a chance to ask Paul about what it takes to catch Peacocks in the Amazon, including tackle, lures and even some tips and techniques to land your next trophy Peacock. You don’t want to miss what he has to say about giving youself the best chance to land the fish of a life time.

First a quick introduction for those that may not know Paul.

Paul Reiss Peacock Bass Catch

Paul Reiss operates Acute Angling, a unique outfitting company offering guided Amazon fishing trips and explorations. After a conventional entrepreneurial career, he fulfilled a lifelong nature lover’s dream by founding a business that allows him and the anglers he takes along, to explore the world’s vastest wilderness, pursuing its fiercest sportfish and observing firsthand the amazing aquatic life of the Amazon. With two decades of field experience and doctoral study, Reiss is probably the world’s foremost expert on Amazon sportfishing and the amazing peacock bass. His company is focused on finding and accessing pristine waters for Peacock Bass, Payara, giant catfish and other fierce Amazon sportfish.

Find out more about Paul Reiss and his service, Acute Angling.

B-F-S: How long have you been fishing for Peacock Bass?

Paul: Seventeen years. My first visit to Brazil was in 1994. I quickly fell in love with the Amazon and vowed to find a way to spend my time there. The fishing business quickly evolved and along with it my research and conservation projects.

B-F-S: How do Peacock bass in the U.S. differ from Amazon Peacock Bass?

Paul: Basically, they are simply an altogether different species than thegiants we pursue in the Amazon. Even though they are related, they are as dissimilar as smallmouth and rock bass, snook and Nile perch or ladyfish and tarpon. The species that was successfully transplanted to Florida two decades ago is Cichla ocellaris, a smaller, more cold-tolerant species than the Amazon giant, Cichla temensis. Their behavior is quite different as well. Unlike the Brazilian giants, who are known for theirviolently aggressive topwater attacks, the Florida transplants are more of an opportunistic subsurface species, similar in some ways to the feeding behavior of a largemouth bass, although they typically strike harder.

Amazon peacock bass are enormous and can reach sizes approaching 30 pounds, while the Florida fishery typically yields 2 to 3 pound fish, with specimens occasionally reaching double digits. The fishing experience is also as different as the fishes. It’s hard to compare fishing in a pristine Amazon wilderness with casting in a canal in the shadow of a roaring airport. To experience the true power and ferocious nature of the giant peacock bass, there is no shortcut that bypasses the Amazon.

Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing

B-F-S: Why can you only find these big Peacock in the Amazon?

Paul: Simply put, temperature. They just can’t survive Florida winters. While Cichla ocellaris can tolerate temperatures as low as 60 degrees, the Amazon giant, Cichla temensis, won’t survive if water temperature dips below 75. They are really at their best in water ranging from 82 to 88 degrees year round, an aquatic environment not readily found outside the Amazon.

B-F-S: Many people tend talk about Peacock bass as one species of fish but my understanding is there are actually several species that are categorized as Peacocks. Can you clarify what the most popular and/or most common type of Peacock Bass?

Paul: There are actually 15 described species of peacock bass, but there is a tremendous amount of misinformation and misidentification circulating on the internet regarding their taxonomy. Even in scientific circles, classification of the genus Cichla (to which all species of peacock bass belong) has historically been a subject of disagreement. Recently, however, DNA analysis has provided clarification regarding its place in the family Cichlidae, while a revision of the genus in 2006 has done much to resolve Cichla taxonomy at the species level. There has not, however, been a widespread dissemination of this newfound knowledge in angling and non-scientific circles.

All 15 species of Cichla are relatively large, diurnal predators and all are primarily piscivorous. All of the species are commonly known as Peacock Bass in English, Tucunaré in Brazil and Pavon in Spanish speaking countries.

The giant species targeted by trophy anglers is Cichla temensis, the largest member of the genus and of the greatest importance in the lowlands of Amazonia, both as a sportfish and for human consumption. Their natural environment consists primarily of blackwater flood pulse rivers with extremely variable seasonal conditions. The species is found only in Brazil, Venezuela and Columbia, from the Rio Negro, Madeira and Orinoco drainages. There is an up-to-date and detailed species ID guide on our website, where anglers can see the pertinent information on all 15 species of peacock bass.

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Everything but a Payara – Episode 1 – The “Fish Finder” on the Rio Travessao

May 5, 2011

Steve Townson and Paul Reiss of Acute Angling fish the remarkable Rio Travessao, deep in the Brazilian Amazon. Their target on Steve’s first day on the river is payara, but as it turns out, they catch everything but. The Travessao’s variety means that even if what you set out for isn’t cooperating, a whole cornucopia of other exciting gamefish are ready to take you on.

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