Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 2 - Fly Fishing for Peacock Bass

February 10, 2013 

Peacock Bass of the Amazon are one the toughest freshwater fish on the planet.  They hit a fly as hard as any fish you can imagine then for at least 15 seconds the tug can be terrifying.  Seriously, a 5lber like this will rip line from you so fast it will make your head spin.  And if you let them take too much line you’re tangled in the trees.  It's not 5lbers we’re after down here in Brazil, we’re hoping for some big fish over 10lbs.  Here on the Xeurini River it’s possible to hook a fish of 20lbs!  I’m not sure that even the big sticks we throw can hold one.  

I’m using my Ross Rx 9’ for a10-weight.  I’m chucking the Scientific Anglers intermediate sink tarpon taper and a variety of flies.  Bright colored flies typically work best but we brought everything.  Yesterday I threw a big fly most of the day.  I was hoping to attract a monster but I caught everything but.  Today I downsized to 3/0 flies with a baby peacock bass look to them.  This one is tied by Brent Dawson (Warpath Fly’s).

Things started out rainy like they ended yesterday.  Rain isn’t about to stop anyone in this group and we downed breakfast before 7 and were off for a full day of peacock bass fishing.  Like yesterday, Milkfish and I fished with Antonio and right out of the gates we put a hurt on the local butterfly peacock bass population.  As our casting got more accurate and the numbers of peacocks added up, so did the rain drops.  By 11 AM we were getting soaked.  The rain was falling so hard it was near impossible to take out the camera thus I have few photos from this morning.  Nonetheless, I couldn’t miss this opportunity of Milky with this gorgeous oversized butterfly. 

As fast as the rain started it slowed and stopped.  Then the sun popped and the boat deck began to sizzle the bottoms of my feet.  I prefer to do all my “big fish” fishing bare foot because I can feel if I’m standing on the line – obviously a bad thing to be doing when a big peacock eats my fly!

At lunch a school of matrincha or similar species swarmed the shallows next to us.  These fish love to eat floating fruits and nuts of any kind so I grabbed my unrigged rod and tied straight 20lb test to the end and Clinched on a Dave’s hopper pattern.  Then, without even a reel I dapped the hopper off the ledge.  I slapped it down a few times before I hooked and landed several of these spunky little fish.   Although small he was quite a fight without a reel and my unique move must have been entertaining for Antonio.

Milkfish and I had a nice afternoon.  We racked up a bunch more peacocks and Milky landed this beautiful paca or spotted peacock.  He tore out of a snag and devoured Milky’s fly then destroyed him.  I repeat this - you can't understand how strong a peacock bass is until you experience one for yourself.  And it’s this take that puts peacocks near the top of my favorite fish list.

The fishing day ended at around 5.  The sun was out and it was in the high 80°s.  Once everyone was back we enjoyed cocktail hour in the river. Indeed the river is full of piranha but it’s a myth that they attack for no reason.  You must be bloody and struggling to get their attention.  And if that’s the case there are a number of other creatures that could get your first!


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