Fishing with the Peacock Jig
The unique "Sidewinder’s Peacock Bass Rattle Jig" is the most productive peacock bass lure used in South America. Year after year, its design and effectiveness have been improved. Today, it has become an integral part of every peacock anglers tackle-box.
The peacock bass rattle jig can be an angler's secret weapon. Sometimes the big noisy surface plugs just won't get eaten. Sometimes water conditions demand a quieter presentation. Sometimes nothing else works. Having a few jigs in your arsenal ensures your ability to succeed in variable conditions. Although just dragging this highly visible lure through the water is often enough to get it found and eaten by peacocks, several techniques can make it even more productive. Here are some of the basics:
Casting it - After slinging a huge woodchopper for hours, anglers hardly notice the minuscule half-ounce weight of this lure. Take advantage of this. Don't try to throw it on a heavy spinning rod or baitcaster. Downsize. Sidewinder's gear of choice for this lure is a medium-light spinning rod with lots of backbone (fast action). Add a small spinning reel (such as a Shimano 2500 class) and spool it up with a strong, fine braid ( 30 pound test). With a little practice, this rig will provide pinpoint accuracy, effortlessly long casts, fast retrieves and plenty of fish fighting power. If you're a diehard baitcaster and absolutely can't or won't throw a spinner, at least switch to a light rig. Use a medium or lighter rod. Make sure you have a fast retrieve reel (7:1 or better) to maximize the jig's acceleration.
Moving it - The peacock bass jig is effective in a great variety of retrieve methods. The only things that don't usually work very well are fishing it too slowly, or bouncing it off the bottom like a conventional jig. Big peacocks don't usually find it that way. They are piscivorous (fish eaters) and are used to fast moving prey. Move your jig quickly. Work it as though it were a streamer fly, running shallow (2 to 5 feet) with a steadily accelerating start and then a short, abrupt stop (see diagram below). Conversely, off points or in deep, fish-holding water, let it sink and then crank it, with rhythmic jerks, toward the surface. In shallow water or along beaches, skitter it quickly above the bottom or the creases and scallops in the sand. The key to the jig retrieve is to generate a strong, sharp acceleration after each pause, making the bucktail pulse and then move rapidly away from the observing predator.
In order to maintain a good rhythm, to keep your line tight and to stay in position to set the hook in a striking fish, it's important to always keep your rod pointing directly at the lure. Just as you would with any lure, begin your retrieve with the rod pointing directly at the lure. If possible (depending on boat position), keep the rod in front of you and rip it downward to jerk the lure. retrieving line rapidly with the reel after each rip. Using your forearm and snapping your wrist, load the rod and jerk the lure repeatedly and somewhat rhythmically. This will provide the motion favored by peacocks while keeping you in optimal position to set the hook. If conditions require that you work the rod horizontally rather than downward, you can still be very effective. Make your cast and turn your body so that you are approximately 45 degrees from standing parallel to your line. Rip your rod sideways, stopping the rod well before it reaches a 90 degree angle with your body.. Quickly crank up the slack and repeat. Never let your rod get behind you and never let your line get slack. It will take you out of a good hook-setting position and will disrupt your ability to maintain a consistent fish attracting retrieve.
Locating it - As with other peacock baits, placing your jig effectively and moving it through high percentage locations will help to maximize the number of strikes you trigger. First of all, cast at structure; the closer you land to standing timber, pockets between logs and shoreline points, the more likely you are to land on a laid-up peacock's head and instigate an instantaneous strike. Secondly, move your lure along structure; Working your jig along the trunk of a fallen tree can be absolutely deadly if a fish is holding there. Crossing or paralleling lay-down logs, points, shallow saddles, drop-offs or timber lines will increase your opportunity to get in front of a peacock and trigger a strike. Finally, take advantage of opportunities; Cast directly at surface disturbances, scattering baitfish and, of course, feeding peacocks.
Setting the Hook - Peacocks will strike the jig as it accelerates, not on the drop like a largemouth would. There's usually no doubt about a peacock strike. When you feel it, set hard with wrist and arm, using the rod's power to drive the hook home. It's much easier to set the hook with a peacock jig and you'll get surer hook-ups than with other, treble-hooked lures. The single hook configuration and the jig's extra large, extra-strong, 6/0 Mustad hook has a wide gap that enables it to pass around the large, heavy jawbone of a big peacock and to sink home into less resistant tissue. For the very same reason, it's important to maintain constant pressure and a bent rod once you're hooked up, in order to prevent the single hook from sliding loose on a slack line.
When to use it - Although you can use this lure anytime and all the time, typically most anglers will mix it in with an array of other lures. Here are some practical ways to use it:
- As a fish-finding tool - This lure covers a lot of water quickly. Use it when entering new areas to test for the presence of fish or to find where they're holding in the area.
- As a second presentation - Anglers often encounter peacocks that will blast the big prop baits into the air, but not take them; Or they’ll short-strike and miss other lures; Or simply fail to hook up on the first encounter. They will usually ignore the initially presented lure from that point on. Drop a jig in his face and he'll be much more likely to turn on again.
- When your partner hooks up - Peacocks often hunt in bunches. If your fishing partner hooks up, use a jig to offer an easy meal to the often jealously competitive fish hanging behind the one already hooked up. Very often they're even bigger than the first. (A word of caution - If your partner is hooked into a trophy, don't cast at all. Put down your rod, cheer him on and stay out of his way.)
- Sight-fishing - Used like a streamer fly in clear water, the jig is a very effective sight fishing lure because of its relatively subtle presentation. If you can see them, they can see what you're up to. A well presented jig won't be as likely to spook shallow or cruising peacocks.
- When you're tired - After slinging 2 ounce hunks of lumber for a few hours, the jig feels just about weightless.
- Anytime and all the time - A great all around lure, in just about any conditions the jig will catch significantly greater numbers of peacocks than any other bait
When not to use it - The jig may not be as effective as usual in very murky water or very shallow or detritus strewn water. This is the place to put your prop bait or zara spook to work. These baits will cause a surface disturbance and make plenty of noise. If the surface baits prove unproductive and you know there are fish in the area, the jig will still make an excellent follow-up presentation.