Our friend and Peacock Bass enthusiast Marcel de R. from Rio de Janeiro has had a busy summer of fly fishing in the Amazon with the completion of two trips this year. His first trip was to the Austral Amazon Basin, specifically to the Aripuana River where he had landed a 21 lb. Peacock Bass last year.
The trip was almost a disaster; the water was too high due to the annual flooding conditions. The river was at a 50 year high, cresting at 19.8 meters over the normal level. The people who live along the river live in floating houses or on the few high ground river banks that can be found in some areas. Nature is on a pristine stage in the Amazon with an awesome array of animal life that is encountered around each bend of the river. Marcel and his group travel for 18 to 20 hours upriver, really very far away from any other humans or their civilization.
On their trip last year they encountered a black Jaguar swimming across the river. In the surprise of seeing such a beautiful animal so close, they couldn’t manage to find the camera they had stowed out of the weather until it was almost too late. Unfortunately it was late in the day with poor light and a blurry image was the result.
When the rivers reach such a flood level, the fish move up into the “woods” and feed voraciously on the fingerling’s and other small bait fish. They could hear them up in the jungle cover crashing baits all day long. In 5 days of fishing, 10 hours a day, only 11 fish were landed all under 4 lbs. That action was a result of a school of fish hanging near a rock in the river and then it was over! The next 4 1/2 days without a bite. It was devastating, but that’s the Amazon!
Three weeks later he was there again this time on the Sucunduri River, this trip much better! No trophies but the fish were cooperative and they released 147 fish over 5 days of fishing with biggest fish weighing in at around 14 lbs. As they brought their hooked fish to the boat they could see a lot of some very big fish swimming just beneath the hooked ones looking for an opportunistic meal. He saw some very, very big fish especially on the spawning beds. These encounters helped take the sting out of the first trip.
Marcel uses a variety of toad flies that John Baker ties for us. He finds that the bass prefer them to any other fly he has tried. He has used both the foam and the standard fiber head toads in a variety of standard colors, a thickly tied marabou tail, tied on both 1/0 and 2/0 hooks. Marcel likes a clear or ghost tip line and 12 to 14 foot leaders that he hand ties using “heavy mono” to help get the fish out of the heavy cover that he sometimes finds himself in.
If you’re planning a trip to the Amazon to go Peacock Bass fishing you can’t go wrong with the selection below.