Peacock Bass Tackle
Fishing Rods and Reels - A good rule of thumb is that if someone who’s never been to the Amazon recommends it for peacock bass, it’s probably too heavy. Because of this fish’s legitimately well-deserved reputation, the knee-jerk reaction is that it must be fought with extra heavy gear. Not a good idea! Anglers will quickly discover that peacock bass fishing means a long hot day of casting lures, making fast, aggressive retrieves and fighting numerous pugnacious fish. After cast number 200, or retrieve number 350, heavy gear will begin to take its toll on anyone.
Peacock bass gear should be tailored to the size of the lure thrown, not the reputation of the fish pursued. Ranging from ½ to over 2 ounces, the principle lure types demand a broad range of tackle capability. Anglers often ask, "Which is better for peacocks, spinners or baitcasters?" The answer is both. Each type can perform satisfactorily alone, but a mix is even better. Casting accuracy is important for successfully catching peacock bass in the structure they frequent. If you're comfortable and skillful with both types, you can truly tailor your tackle to your pattern and presentation. Our clients are provided (at no charge) with the precisely appropriate rods and reels necessary to be successful in all of our operations. You are of course, always welcome to bring your own gear as well. We recognize that anglers are often more skillful with equipment that they are used to. If you choose to bring your own, here are some recommendations;
If you’re bringing your own gear, we recommend quality 3 piece pack rods such as those available available on www.Tackle-box.net from manufacturers such as Temple Forks Oufitters, G. Loomis or St. Croix. One piece rods are a pain to transport on international and charter flights. Two rods will serve the purpose. Three will fill just about all likely applications. With reels, quality is important. Bring something that will hold up under a week’s worth of abusive use. Stay as small and light as possible and select for fast retrieves.
Most necessary – Chopper Rig – A Medium-Heavy 6 and 3/4 foot (or shorter), fast action baitcasting rod coupled with a quality casting reel (Shimano Curado 200 or 300 size) with the fastest possible retrieve (7.0:1 or better). This outfit is designed to sling big surface prop baits with ease and accuracy. Use a rod with a line rating of 10 to 30 pounds and a lure capacity of ½ to 2 ounce. Load this rig with 65 pound test braided line and you're ready to probe tight cover, brush and logs with big woodchoppers or riprollers.
Most necessary – Jig Rig - A Medium-Light, six to seven foot, fast action spinning rod with a line rating of 6-12 pound test and a lure capacity of 1/8-3/4 ounce. Pair it with a lightweight, fast retrieve (6.4:1 or better) spinning reel (we recommend a Shimano Stradic 2500 size) loaded with 30 pound test braided line (mono just won't work well here - we use Power Pro). You can cast 1/2 oz. jigs a mile. Yes, we're exceeding the rod’s line rating, but hopefully, you're setting your drag carefully. If in doubt, let your guide set it.
Optional addition - A stiff, seven foot medium baitcasting rod with a supple, fast action tip, a line rating of 8-17 pounds and a lure capacity of ¼ to 1 ounce is fine. Mount a lightweight, fast retrieve (7.0:1 or better) casting reel with 50 pound test braided line. This gives you a light but tough rig, perfect for fishing smaller stick baits and swimming plugs.
Practice and Test your Gear - If this tackle is new for you and you haven't had experience casting some of the huge baits used for peacock bass, then it's very important that you take some time to make sure that your gear is well balanced and feels right for you. Take the hooks off a few lures and get used to handling big, 2- oz. baits. (A word of caution here for spin fishermen; Spinning tackle can tumble lures and tangle line in the hooks of big baits. If you haven't the experience or skill with this gear necessary to overcome this characteristic, stick with the baitcaster for big lures.) Practice in your back yard or a local pond with the rods, reels, line and lures you plan to use for peacocks. Developing accuracy and a sense of range with your gear while you're still at home, improves your ability to quickly become effective in the rivers and lagoons of Amazonia. Make sure everything is working properly before you leave. There are no tackle shops in the jungle.
Braided or Mono? - Fishermen love a spirited tussle with each other almost as much as they enjoy fighting fish. A longstanding bone of contention has been over the relative benefits of braided line versus monofilament. Once again, each side has its advantages. Mono has enough stretch to make it very forgiving and able to absorb sudden shocks. It can be easily tied into an entire repertoire of knots. It doesn't tangle or backlash as easily and it costs a fraction as much as braided. It won't part as readily when touched against rocks or structure.
Braided lines are much thinner, limber and more flexible for their relative strength. They don't get stale or take spool sets. The lack of stretch gives you a "no doubt about it" hookset. If you can tie a "palomar", you can get almost 100% knot strength. The thinner line lets you get a lot more onto a spool and it lets you cast significantly further without more effort.
If you're going peacock fishing, however, there really isn't any room for discussion. Leave the mono home - it just isn't right for this job. Spool up with braid. It holds up well to the rigors of jungle river fishing, gives improved casting ease and greater overall sensitivity. For many purposes, the line type argument is a just another case of an unresolvable fisherman's debate over an unresolvable issue. Have fun arguing that with your fishing buddies at home, but use only braid in the Amazon.