Fly Fishing for Peacock Bass
FLY FISHING: There is no more exiting quarry for the fly fisherman than the wild and brutish peacock bass. This is where subtlety and finesse meet sheer physical power - a true test of tackle and techniques. Here are some general guidelines:
Patterns -Extra-large streamers fished on a sinking line are most productive (not only for overall numbers, but for larger-sized fish as well). We highly recommend “Sidewinder's Peacock Rattle Fly in red/yellow”. Other popular streamers include 6-inch (5/0) bi-colored bucktails in red/yellow, olive/white and red/white. Big Deceivers, Bunnies, Saltwater Zonkers, Clousser Minnows and other flashy baitfish imitations will also take fish. All patterns should have generous amounts of matching Flashabou or Crystal Flash. Although big saltwater poppers are exciting to fish, they can be extremely exhausting to cast and retrieve while not terribly effective at coaxing bigger fish to the surface.
Fly rods should be fast action models to load sinking lines more efficiently and provide needed 'backbone'. Bring at least two, because rods can break under the ‘jungle stress’. Reels don't need to hold a lot of backing since peacocks don't make long runs, but a smooth, strong drag is essential. Recommended 'heavy' fly rod & reel combinations for sinking line: A stiff/fast action, 9-foot, nine - weight rod (Sage 990-3RPLX or G. Loomis FR1089-4) with Scientific Anglers 'System 2 -89'. Recommended 'medium' fly rod & reel combination (for floating lines): A stiff/fast action, 9-foot, seven or eight-weight rod and matched reel.
Sinking lines are much more effective for streamers than floating lines. Don't bring just any old sink tip. An integrated sinking line such as a Rio 24-foot 300-grain Density Compensated line is easier to cast and can be fished on anything from an 8 to 10 weight rod. If you like, bring a floating line with a drastic weight-forward taper for poppers and sliders but be aware that big fish are more readily caught on sinking lines.
Leaders: Peacocks are not leader shy. Most fly anglers use a straight shot (approximately six feet) of flexible 50 pound monofilament leader. Anything lighter can be snapped off like sewing thread if that fifteen 'pounder' runs you into a wood pile. You will go through a lot of leader material, because of the peacock's abrasive teeth. We recommend buying a spool of soft monofilament leader material (we like Jinkai 50 lb. test soft mono). If you're trying for an IGFA record, you'll have to follow their leader specifications, of course.
Suggestions - We do not provide fly fishing gear. You must bring your own. Fly fishing for peacocks is very productive, but can be tiring if you're not used to blind casting and rapidly stripping a heavy-weight fly rod all day long. If you find yourself tiring, why not consider switching off to baitcasting or spinning tackle (which we provide at no charge) from time to time to give yourself a break.