Over the last fifteen years, the Peacock Bass has taken
it’s place among the world’s great gamefish. They are
aggressive, produce inspiring strikes, and a challenge
to control after the hook-up, especially the large ones.
The Peacock Bass is not really a member of the bass
family, but a family of tropical fish called Cichlids.
Their body style is similar to a black bass and they
have the same ravenous appetite as a largemouth
which causes them to pursue and devour very large
prey. The name “Peacock” comes from the circular
gold-rimmed black spot on their tail fin which is
similar to the markings on the real Peacock.
The Peacock is native to South America and specifically,
the Amazon basin. It has also been introduced to several
other waters around the world. The Peacock is so aggressive
in its feeding patterns that it sometimes causes an ecological
imbalance in its adopted habitats.
In the Amazon, there are three primary species that are of interest to the fly rodder. The first is the Butterfly Peacock. The Butterfly are distinguished by the series of spots near their lateral line that are similar to Chinese language symbols. They are the smallest of the Peacocks and range between two and eight pounds.
The Spotted and Temensis Peacock Bass are the brutes of the species and can attain weights of 25 pounds. They will often feed in schools of up to 40 fish that may average six to ten pounds. When they are in full feeding frenzy, working a school of baitfish, it is an awesome sight.
In some instances, the Spotted and Temensis look very similar in brilliant greens and yellows with three black vertical bars on their sides and the “eye” on their tail. The difference between the two is the Spotted will have spots in addition to the other markings. All the Peacocks are a beautiful fish to view. However, there are some Spotted Peacocks which, before attaining full growth, have a distinctly different look with brilliant spots and other colors and are truly among the most spectacular of all freshwater fish.
The Peacocks are mouth brooders and will stay with their young for a time after hatching. If a predator threatens the young Peacocks, they hide in the mouth of their adult parents. This adds to their aggressiveness as they will often assault a fly because of the perceived threat to their offspring.
Whether its because they are protecting their fry or their strong territorial instincts, they are a ferocious gamefish in the waters of the Amazon and a delight for the fly rodder.
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