Posts Tagged ‘trips’

Fall Trips Still Available But Going Fast!

September 21, 2011

We have several exotic fishing trips still available for the fall. Space is limited and they’re going fast, so make sure you schedule the fishing trip of a lifetime before they’re sold out! You can do so by visiting our interactive trip finder.

(This could be you!)

(This could be you!)

 

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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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Part One of Paul Reiss’ Interview with Bass Fishing Source: “Paul Reiss Of Acute Angling – Specializing In World Class Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing Trips”

May 4, 2011

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

Paul Reiss of Acute Angling – Specializing in World Class Amazon Peacock Bass Fishing Trips

No doubt in your search for information on the web for Amazon Peacock Bass you have come across Paul Reiss’ service, Acute Angling. There is a reason for that, the knowledge and experience that Paul and his group bring to the Peacock Bass world is top notch and probably pretty much 2nd to none.

If you haven’t read up on our interview with Paul Reiss about Amazon Peacock Bass make sure you take some time to check it out. No doubt from what he has to say on the subject, he has a true passion for what he does and I’m sure most of you out there will agree, when someone has passion it shines through in their work.

We asked Paul Reiss to tell our visitors about his Acute Angling fishing adventure service and what makes it stand out from others.

Here is what he had to say.

Paul Reiss with a Monster Peacock Bass Catch

Paul Reiss with a Monster Peacock Bass Catch

We provide three types of peacock bass fishing adventure and, so that we can control every aspect of the experience, we act as both operator and outfitter for all of these featured trips.

Our Blackwater Explorer yacht trip is the epitome of luxury in the midst of the Amazon, blended with the super high productivity only available to a highly mobile operation. You can catch dozens of spectacular peacocks in pristine jungle waters during the day, yet enjoy an ice-cold cocktail with fancy appetizers during a sunset cruise in the evening – the perfect trip for a first-time peacock angler.

Our specialty floating bungalow trips are somewhat less luxurious, but they allow us to get to otherwise inaccessible locations while still offering great comfort and security.

Our Safari-style camping trips go deeper yet, entering waters that cannot be navigated and allow float-plane-only access. This is a trip for the angler who has seen it all and wants the extraordinary experience only provided by living in the midst of the Amazon jungle. We truly have something for everyone.

There are myriad small reasons why we are different from our competitors; we pay attention to detail, we provide the best of everything, our guides are superbly trained, our equipment is top-notch, our food is superb. I could go on and on but there are two overriding policies that make Acute Angling trips the best value in exotic fishing trips available anywhere.

The first is our dedication to productive fishing, as exemplified in our mission statement; “Our primary goal is to provide the highest possible quality fishing experience in the safest, most comfortable manner possible. We will expend our efforts, first and foremost, to bring you to the most productive peacock bass fishing waters in the Amazon, at any time during our season, regardless of the effort and expense necessary to get you there. With this accomplished, our staff will ensure that your trip is the fishing trip of a lifetime, with unequaled comfort, luxury and service.”

The second is that our featured trips are organized and personally hosted by myself or one of my expert staff. We’re on-site, fishing with you, and making certain that you’re having the trip of a lifetime. We’re there to help with fishing techniques, tackle tips, local knowledge and other extras that no absentee booking agent can provide.

We are very different from fishing travel companies who receive a commission from fixed destinations. As both the trip operator and outfitter, we effectively cut out the middleman and operate independently. We optimize value and productivity at the same time. We’re able to fish the best waters at the peak of each season. Acute Angling’s exclusive hosted programs consistently produce great fishing and lifetime memories. When you fish with us, you won’t find yourself up some remote river without the proverbial paddle. With Acute Angling, you have a guide who speaks your language and is dedicated to making your trip a success.

For detailed information about our trips, visit our Interactive Trip-Finder at; http://www.acuteangling.com/TF/tpl/tripFinder.cfm. We’ll hope you’ll fish with us soon.

Many thanks to Paul Reiss for all the valuable Peacock Bass information he has shared with the visitors of Bass-Fishing-Source.com

Please give Paul a call or drop him a line if you are looking for a great fishing adventure. You’ll be sure to have the trip of a lifetime.

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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

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Equipping Yourself to Catch Peacock Bass in the Amazon

July 15, 2009
The right gear allows productive monster peacock bass fishing.

The right gear allows productive monster peacock bass fishing.

Well, you’ve made the decision to go to the Amazon, to fish for the world’s greatest sportfish in the home of the biggest peacock bass found anywhere. Like any first time Amazon peacock bass angler, you’re understandably excited. The fish of your dreams is waiting to ambush your lures in an exotic place you can hardly imagine. You’ve invested time, money and emotional energy and you’re charged up and ready to go. This, however, is the time to keep a cool head and make sure that you are properly prepared. As in the well-known credit card commercial;

     Booking an Exotic Fishing Trip – $4000 to $5000
     Airfare to get there – about $1200
      Being properly prepared – Priceless!!!

Don’t walk into a tackle shop and ask them to outfit you for peacock bass. Almost unfailingly someone who has never seen a peacock bass and has no idea what to throw at them will load you up with overly heavy, inappropriate gear. Quite likely you’ll arrive in the Amazon well equipped for tuna perhaps, but not for peacock bass. Before you even start packing your bags and before you think about the tactics and techniques necessary to catch them, you need to know what rods, reels and lures will serve you best. Let’s look at what tackle should go in your gear bag, step by step. These recommendations are for the Amazon giants, Cichla temensis, and, although they will still have utility outside the Amazon basin, they are not specifically geared to smaller, generally less aggressive species.

Step 1. The Lures – When peacocks are in full feeding mode, anglers could probably toss their shoes into the water and get strikes. Lure selection, however, becomes much more critical as soon as conditions make the fish a little more selective. To optimize their lure selections, anglers should focus on the following four classes of lures;

The Woodchopper

The Woodchopper

Prop Baits – The classic peacock fisherman’s tool, these big, gaudy plugs are best known for the spectacular surface explosions they elicit. Anglers should bring at least a half dozen assorted samples, concentrating on the larger sizes (up to 2 oz.). Among the best choices are Luhr-Jensen Woodchoppers, Caribe Lures Pavon Props and Highroller’s Magnum Riproller. Although smaller and lighter versions of these lures are available and some may find them easier to cast, they do not always perform as well. Since they can only carry smaller, less durable hooks, they often lead to bent metal and heart-broken anglers.

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow

Swimming Plugs – A great all-purpose tool for catching peacock bass. These baits are easy to use and will work under almost all conditions. Recommended models include; Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow (3/4 oz., floater), 7 inch Cotton Cordell Red Fin, large Bombers and floating Rapala Magnums, among others. Bring a half dozen.

Heddon Super Spook

Heddon Super Spook

Walking Stick Baits – Oftentimes a slowly sashaying stick bait will trigger amazingly violent peacock bass surface strikes. Effective models include; Zara Spook (3/4 oz.), Super Spook (1 oz.) and Mega-Bait (2 oz.). Bring 3 or 4. Note that the smaller models will require hook upgrades.

Peacock Bass Rattle Jig

Peacock Bass Rattle Jig

Peacock Bass Jigs – This is the ultimate peacock bass bait. Nothing catches as many peacocks as a properly fished 1/2 oz. peacock jig (strip it—don’t jig it). Either tie your own or buy a high quality pre-tied model, such as Sidewinder’s Peacock Rattle Jig.  Bring at least a dozen (or more if you’ll be fishing piranha laden waters).

Other Lures – 95% of the peacock bass on our trips are caught by the 4 classes of lures detailed above. Sometimes, however, conditions do call for a different, more specialized tool. Carry at least one or two large spoons (Johnson’s silver minnow – 1 and 1/8 oz.), a few big Rattletrap lures, and perhaps a small, deep diver. Of course, every angler has their favorite lure, one that they just know is going to change the face of peacock fishing and land them a world record. By all means, bring it, but don’t bring too many and don’t get your hopes too high on it. Weight limits and space considerations demand that you focus on the most productive items.

Step 2. The Rods and Reels – Peacock anglers often bring overly heavy gear. Yes, the peacock is an extraordinarily powerful and violent fish, but rod and reel selections should be made based on the lures you’ll be using. Heavy tackle makes you tired, resting anglers don’t cast and lures in the boat don’t catch fish. Keep your gear reasonably light so that you can fish steadily, make good casts and properly work the lures that will ultimately bring in your trophy.

Based on the lures recommended in Step1, Here is a summary of the rods and reels best suited to fishing with each of the lure types.

Medium/Heavy Outfit – This rig will effectively cast and work the heavy prop baits. Whether you’re a baitcaster or spin aficionado, select a Medium/Heavy rod (like the G. Loomis Escape MHC – we recommend 3-piece travel rods). Avoid overlong (no longer than 7’) rods and definitely no long handles. They just make working the lure more difficult.
Select a fast-retrieve reel. For spin fishermen, this is easy; any medium sized reel (i.e. Shimano 4000 series) has a fast retrieve. For baitcasters, you’ll need a 6.3:1 or faster retrieve and these are not the norm in mid-sized gear. We recommend an Ambassadeur C4 5500 series, a Shimano Corado reel (both modestly priced) or a Shimano Calais (more expensive). Don’t neglect this parameter of equipment selection. Slow retrieving reels will make it difficult to properly work your lures and leave you very tired at the end of the day. If you can skillfully operate either type, spin or baitcaster, the baitcaster is the better choice here due to its higher percentage of tangle-free landings and its lower casting trajectory.

Medium/Light Outfit – This is recommended for jigs and other small, lightweight baits. In the hands of an experienced fisherman with a properly set drag, a quality outfit in this category will efficiently handle even the largest peacock bass while providing unparalleled casting ease, efficiency and accuracy with light lures. If you can skillfully operate either type, the spinner is the better choice here. A good rig would be a Loomis Escape MLS and Shimano 2500 spinning reel.

Medium Outfit – This is an American black bass fisherman’s bread and butter tool. Bring your favorite. Retrieve rate is not critical with this rig. A good example would be a 7 foot medium rod (Loomis Escape MC) and a Shimano Calcutta 250 size reel. Use this for Zara Spooks, Super Spooks, Yo-Zuris and other medium size baits. This rod also makes an excellent backup for either of the other two rods described above (rods break).

Step 3. Line – Peacock bass fishing in the Amazon requires braided line. Leave the mono home. Peacock’s tough mouths call for a solid, stretch-free hookset. Great tensile strength is necessary to withstand their violent strikes while the need for casting accuracy demands a thin, light, flexible line. Monofilament’s characteristics will not serve this fishery well. And don’t bother with leaders or clips. They just provide one more point for potential system failure. Tie right to the lures. It’ll help get rid of worn or frayed line tips and make lure action optimal. Even if you’ve never used braid before, don’t worry, the knots are simple and Brazilian guides know the knots and how to use the line. You’ll quickly become comfortable.

Braid Options – For spinning tackle, we recommend a quality thin braid such as Power Pro. Use 30 lb. for medium and light gear. Lines up to 50 lb. test are appropriate for your heavier gear. For baitcasting gear use 30 or 50 lb. test for the lighter rigs. A heavier test thin braid (65 lb. test Power Pro) is recommended for the heavier rigs. These will prove to be more resistant to backlashes and “digging in”.  A hint for new braid users; When tying your line onto your reel’s arbor, place a small piece of electrical tape over the first turn of line. Subsequent wraps will dig into the tape and help to anchor the braid firmly onto the arbor. This will prevent the line from spinning on the spool and will assure that your drag works properly. Learn the “Palomar” knot. All braid packages come with instructions for this simple and super-strong knot.

A Warning – Despite their high tensile strength, even these powerful lines will not allow you to out-muscle a peacock. Their explosive initial bursts will break these strong braids like sewing thread if your drag is not properly set (meaning too tight or locked down). Even if your line survives the initial onslaught, something else will give. Hooks will straighten, rods or reels may break. Peacock bass cannot be “horsed”. Use a properly set drag (you must be able to manually pull out line, although with some effort) and use your angling skills to lead fish away from structure and slowly and steadily tire them out.

Step 4. Traveling Light – Be judicious with your tackle selections. Almost all charter operators have a 44 lb. (20 Kilo) weight limit. Anglers often find they bring material they never use.

Step 5. Where to Buy – All of the individual items recommended here, as well as complete destination specific packages are available at www.Tackle-box.net or call 866 832-2987 or 866 431-1668 for assistance. Lower priced or higher value alternatives are also available.

Blackwater Explorer

Blackwater Explorer

Most higher end trip operators make rods and reels available for their clientele. Acute Angling has stocked the Blackwater Explorer yacht with the appropriate mix of Loomis rods and Shimano reels, free for clients to borrow, so that no one ends up without suitable equipment. Of course, you’re always welcome to bring your own gear. We’re well aware that anglers tend to more comfortable and skillful with equipment they’ve grown accustomed to. Lures are a different story and are best purchased before you leave. They may be unavailable at your destination and they will certainly be more expensive.

Now that we’ve gotten some of the basics covered, we’ll start talking about how to pack and prepare and then how to catch these scaled marauders in upcoming posts.  To find out more about the tackle recommended for these great fish, visit the tackle section of our website;

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

Why Go all the Way to the Amazon – When They Have Peacock Bass in Florida?

June 18, 2009

 

Why go all the way to the Amazon, when they have peacock bass in Florida? Well, for the same reason it’s worth traveling 10 miles down the road to a river full of smallmouth bass instead of fishing for rock bass in the creek behind your house.  The term bass is a catchall for several related but quite dissimilar fishes.  They are very different animals in a very different environment.  The peacock bass imported to Florida are about as similar to the Amazon giants as rock bass are to smallmouths.  They are very different animals in a very different environment.

Amazon Peacock Bass attain enormous sizes

Amazon Peacock Bass attain enormous sizes

 The venerable smallmouth, highly regarded as one of North America’s most sporting gamefish belongs to the family Centrarchidae, as does its smaller, meeker cousin, the rock bass.  Although they are from the same branch of their family (let’s call them cousins) and they are both called bass, they are very different in form and have very different behaviors. (Perhaps you have a first cousin named, well, lets say “Fauntleroy”, whose hobby is collecting back issues of Home and Garden; See what I mean?)

 The same analogy holds true for peacock bass.  All of them belong to the family Cichlidae; Fifteen species comprise the genus Cichla and all of them are called peacock bass.  Cichla ocellaris, also known in Florida as the butterfly peacock (lets think of them as the rock bass of the family, or maybe “Fauntleroy”, for the moment) were transplanted from waters of the Guyana shield region, (north of the Amazon main stem) into South Florida canals some 20 years ago.  A strong, efficient predator for their size, they flourished in the region.  Their native environment in cooler waters outside the lowlands Amazon basin made them temperature-tolerant enough to survive the cold spells common in subtropical Florida.  They have been a good addition to south Florida’s freshwater fish population and they offer a nice alternative to the resident largemouths.  But from a fisherman’s point of view, they are no comparison to the enormous beasts found in the Amazon.

   Let’s compare them point by point in some of the more important parameters;

 1. Size; No comparison here.  Although Florida peacocks (Cichla ocellaris) can attain up to 10 lbs. in weight, a far more typical size is a pound or two.  Their Amazon cousins (Cichla temensis) are beasts of a different magnitude, averaging 5 lbs. or more (depending on the river) with 15 lb. trophies common and with hulking monsters over 25 lbs. lurking in the Amazon’s blackwaters.

 2. Feeding Behavior; Although not as obvious as the size differences, feeding behavior is what characterizes a gamefish and is probably the most significant indicator of fishing quality from the point of view of a sportfisherman.  Florida peacocks tend to be subsurface feeders and can be extremely selective.  Anglers find it often takes a live shiner to get their interest.  Amazon peacocks, on the other hand are exclusively piscivorous feeders and are pursuit hunters.  That means their target is fish and once they decide something is food, they’ll run it down halfway across a lagoon if they have to.  And, unlike the Florida species, they aggressively strike lures on the surface, violently and with abandon, hence Larry Larsen’s famous description of “Peacock Bass Explosions”.  This is probably the most exciting predatory attack of any sportfish in the world.  No comparison here either.  Frankly, no other fish compares, anywhere.

 3. Habitat; Amazon peacocks are found in the most pristine and exotic habitat on earth.  Jungle-lined blackwater rivers, hidden lagoons and white-sand scalloped beaches are just some of the spectacular settings in their native environment.  The alien-appearing, isolated still waters lend a counterpoint to the sudden, violent and explosive attacks of these monsters.  And, there are lots of other fish, ranging from acrobatic aruana to hulking giant catfish.  Even if there were no fish at all, the stunning Amazon environment alone creates a hauntingly beautiful experience.  Florida’s peacocks live in a wide range of very different water bodies, ranging from canals surrounding Miami airport, to residential development ponds, to the infield at Homestead race track.   One might consider these to be exotic also, but in a very, very different way.

 4. Environmental conditions; The central Amazon basin experiences a yearly water level pulsation, akin to a gigantic tide.  With water levels rising and falling as much as 30 to 40 feet during each year, these fisheries undergo astounding changes.  Amazon peacocks have evolved behaviorally in response to these unique conditions.  They feed, spawn and undergo remarkable physical changes during these cycles.  Most importantly, from a fisherman’s point of view, they become highly concentrated, aggressive, accessible and hungry during the falling water period.  This creates optimal conditions for anglers and coincides, of course, with our fishing season.  These conditions aren’t found outside of the Amazon, so Florida understandably provides a more homogenous fishing environment, without the extraordinary seasonal productivity associated with low water in the Amazon.

 5. Price; Surely I’m kidding, right?  There can’t be any comparison, can there? Well, believe it or not, fishing for peacocks in the Amazon costs about the same per day than the same length of excursion in Florida.  Our Brazil trips provide about 6½ days of fishing and start from $3,650, or about $560 per day.  That includes everything (except tipping); sumptuous meals, open bar 24/7, dedicated personal service, one of the world’s last great wildernesses and an unequalled fishing experience.  What about Florida?  You can expect a professional guide to ask for $375 to $550 per day (and sometimes you’ll pay extra for gas, lunch and bait as well).  Let’s be economical and just call it $475.  Now add in a motel, at least $60 a night, dinner and breakfast, if you eat cheap you can manage on $40, (and if you enjoy a cocktail in the evenings you’d better figure that in as well).  We’re at $575 per day already, without even a cold beer, and you’ve got to admit you’re not quite getting the same ambiance for your money.  Compare that to our trips.  Go ahead, you do the math!

Amazon peacock bass are found in the most pristine waters on Earth.

Amazon peacock bass are found in the most pristine waters on Earth.

 There are many other points open for analysis, but I hope that by now it’s become clear that we’re not talking about the same type of fish or the same type of experience.  All of this being said, I wouldn’t disparage the Florida peacock in any way.  It’s a great fish in its own right.  Pound for pound all peacocks are great fighters, displaying an unparalleled power and tenacity on rod and reel.  Florida peacocks are no exception.  They’re great fish when taken in context;  they’re just not in the same league with the Amazon peacocks.

 I’m not a purist, I just love to fish.  I’m a pragmatic fisherman.  When all that’s available to me are rock bass, I’m not proud; my bait will be in the water.  As Steven Stills so famously and perhaps a little bit callously sang, “Love the one you’re with”.  If I can’t be in Brazil, I’ll happily fish for Florida peacocks and if I can’t get to Florida, I’ll happily fish for one pound largemouths in my backyard pond or even rock bass in the creek, just as long as I’m fishing.  But given the choice and the chance, count me in for the world’s greatest freshwater fighting fish, the Amazon peacock bass.

For more information, visit us at;  www.acuteangling.com

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Peacock Bass – Fishing, Facts and Conservation

May 9, 2009

For almost 20 years, anglers have recognized the peacock bass as the world’s most exciting freshwater gamefish.  Although much has been learned about the life history and fishing characteristics of this spectacular gamefish by scientists and anglers alike, very little accurate and consistent information is available on the web.  There are two simple explanations for this.  On a small scale, it’s partly the result of the publication of unreviewed and largely incorrect information by unqualified individuals.  On a much larger level, it’s a result of aggressive commercial competition among legitimate agents and operators of peacock bass trips, as well as input from a variety of shady hustlers and wannabees.  All, of course, in pursuit of the angler’s dollar.

Amazon peacock bass

Amazon peacock bass

My purpose for this blog is to try to apply a framework of accuracy, reality and consistency to the amorphous fog of peacock bass information swirling around the internet.  If the web is all about information, it should at least be correct.  Hopefully, such information can help anglers enjoy this wonderful animal and hopefully it can be applied to sorely needed management and conservation efforts.  A little bit of enlightened effort can ensure that the remarkable experience of fishing for peacock bass in one of the world’s few remaining natural wildernesses remains available for future generations.

I’ll try to avoid being commercial, although I’m a principal in a peacock bass fishing operation.  I’ll try to avoid being pedantic, in spite of being a doctoral candidate in the study of, what else, peacock bass.  I’ll try to avoid naming names or pointing out sites with incorrect information about peacock bass.  Instead, I’ll aim high by trying to simply provide real, scientifically valid and factual information.

None of it is secret, most of it is readily available in peer reviewed publications or is evident through simple logical application of established fact.  Nonetheless, I hope it opens some eyes and elicits the occasional “Wow, I didn’t know” that response.  That would be enough to make it worthwhile.  I hope to get underway soon.

If you want to know more about peacock bass, right now, you can visit our peacock bass website at www.acuteangling.com

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