So, you have watched several TV shows and read what you could find on the subject – how difficult can it be? Just because you are traveling to a truly remote location in the Amazon jungle, don’t be fooled into thinking that you will be able to cast in any direction and have a 20 pound peacock explode on your fly. I have been fly fishing now for 49 years and have thrown a fly to almost everything that has gills and swims; take it from someone who has just returned from spending my 20th week casting a fly for these truly fantastic fish. If you want to have a rewarding experience then there are a few things you need to know.
Choosing how heavy to go for these fish will be determined by the time of year you travel. After 9 years, I have settled on a 10 weight for casting streamers and a 10-11 mega when throwing surface flies. 90% of my fishing is casting subsurface streamers that represent the bait that they feed on. These flies are large, 6 to 8 inches, with a full silhouette. When you match up the 10 weight rod with the proper fly line, they cast with little effort. I highly recommend the purchase and use of a 10 foot clear sink tip line (Scientific Angler makes this line). The first 10 feet of clear line sinks slowly and the balance of the line floats. Since the line is clear, a short butt section is used with a 2 foot piece of 80 pound mono ending in a loop and to this, 3 feet of 50 pound mono making a loop to loop connection, so that my entire leader is only 5 feet from fly line to the fly. This short leader makes for ease in casting the large flies. I know that you are asking why 50 pound leader? I can tell you that you will be glad you did. On my most recent trip, I had 7 fish break the 50 pound line on a straight pull. During the high water, this is about the only way to insure that you will land a big fish. Take a hint from the plug guys that use 80 pound Power Pro and have that broken. When the river drops to its lowest fishable level, you can play with lighter lines once you have caught enough peacocks to know what to expect. My largest Peacock Bass is 22 pounds and was taken 4 seasons ago on 16 pound tippet. When the river is up and the fish can take you into the trees or brush piles, stick with the heavy line.
I tie my flies on a size 4/0 hook and have many that are very colorful enough to say the least. Just remember that this is the tropical fish capital, so expect highly colorful fish. I spend little time fishing surface flies and after 20 trips, I have produced some very big peacock bass but the numbers dramatically decreased. My personal belief is that these fish hold closer to the surface when it’s overcast and are more likely to be attracted to a surface disturbance. This is when I have been most successful with large surface flies. At this time, I would match the 10-11 mega with a high floating line and keep the leader short at 5 to 6 feet. During the early higher water conditions, I always bring a series of Hi D shooting heads from 300 to 400 grain. This is truly ugly fishing (chuck and duck) but it will get the fly down to some of the larger fish holding off deep points. I recommend bringing at least 3 dozen flies and 2 of each weight rod. Also bring back up lines in the event that you break or lose one. I will be supplying the lodge with a gross of flies this season, but to be on the safe side, you should be sure to bring your own.
I hope this information will aid you to be better prepared for your first encounter with this amazing fish.
Story by Bill Elliott.
Global Sporting Safaris, Inc. is a Full-Service Fishing Travel Agency located in Casper, Wyoming and established in 1991. We have a staff of 7 Fishing Travel Agents and Hunting Consultants with a combined 175 years of experience. We hold integrity, ethics and honesty in high regard and deal with each client in a one on one basis. Global Sporting Safaris invests time, effort and financial resources in developing our outfitters and guides with a constant eye on the quality and professional services they offer.