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Author Topic: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary  (Read 18000 times)

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djkimmel

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2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« on: January 31, 2010, 02:25:23 PM »

Well, I'm working on the hundreds of pictures and hours of video myself and the other participants of the 2010 Amazon peacock bass fishing adventure collected. What an amazing trip! What an amazing and MASSIVE river!! From the air, all you can see in all directions is solid tropical forest!

We have nothing like it here in the good ole USA. The Mississippi is big, but the Amazon is MIGHTY!!  By volumetric discharge, the Amazon has a total water flow greater than the next 8 largest rivers in the world combined!! Once you've been there, you can see for yourself because pictures and video just can't adequately show the never ending size of this system. The Solimões out of the Peruvian Andes to the west and the Negro come together at Manaus to form the Amazon River proper, though there are countless rivers and streams merging and names change depending on where you are at and who you ask.

We were actually fishing on the largest major northern branch - the Rio Negro (or black river) named because the water is dark almost like black ink at times. The Rio Negro is the largest northern tributary of the Amazon River and the largest blackwater river in the world! The dark brown/black color of the water comes from humic acid leaching from the vegetation along the river.

The Negro is navigable during low water for over 450 miles and floods up to 20 miles wide in some areas during the rainy season. There are more lagoons, side channels, sand bars and rock piles (farther north) than you can count. We flew a couple hundred miles north from Manaus - where the two large rivers come together to form the Amazon - to Barcelos. Then we took the Amazon Clipper over 100 miles, fishing along the way, to the next town on the river - Santa Isabel. Between Barcelos and until we were near San Isabel, we saw 1 house and only a handful of small shacks.

Leaving at the end of the trip, we flew out of the short little runway in San Isabel back to Manaus on RICO airlines. I have some video from the air that I'll process later to try to show you the massive and endless sandbars, channels and lagoons later. They are actually building the first bridge across the river in Manaus.

But you want to see fish pictures first is my guess, and boy do we have them!! We had an excellent trip for catching peacock bass despite the low water and the uncertainty of making it upriver. Captain Franz had to change to the main river 'channel' to make it all the way up to San Isabel, a direction he'd never taken before, but the few barge captains were able to help with directions to try to figure out which channel was the main channel and where the deep water actually was. In many spots, the channels we were in were several miles wide, but laced with huge sandbars and later rock piles sticking up everywhere, often with no rhyme or reason.

Despite the challenges (and the uncertainty of diesel fuel for the Clipper in San Isabel) we made the trip, running the Clipper at night the first few days (I have no idea how they pulled this off - we only partially hit one sandbar one night) and then only during the day when we got to the rocky stretches. Our group of 14 anglers landed 506 peacock bass!! I can only estimate that we lost near that many and missed about that many strikes on top of it.

As a group, we landed 67 peacock bass over 10 pounds, 38 peacocks over 15 pounds and 14 over a whopping jaw-dropping, surface shattering 20 pounds!!!

I did not break the barrier this first trip though I'm very happy with the 18 pounder I caught on day 2. I was fortunate to land 4 peacocks over 10 pounds - the 18, a 16, a 13 and a 12 1/2 pounder. I also had a massive brute of a bass hit a big topwater so hard and viciously (TWICE!!) that I could not cast straight for the next 15 minutes!!!! I'm an not kidding. I was a nervous wreck and only wish you all could have been there to see how a fish can do that to a grown man ;D !!!! I caught the 'little' 13 pounder about 15 minutes after that and had to take a short time out to collect myself (and slow my heart back down to safe levels according to US surgeon general recommendations after that :D).

So here come just some of the pictures for your enjoyment (until you can join me on this adventure yourself - YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO SAVE UP FOR THIS TRIP AND COME WITH US IN TWO YEARS!!!!!)
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djkimmel

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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 03:01:24 PM »

Once again (because I love to relive it!!) here's a shot of my 18 lbs personal best speckled peacock bass



And here is the champion of the whole trip, Dave Gizzi with a GIANT grande speckled peacock bass coming it at a whopping 24 1/2 pounds (look at the head on that beast!!). That's big bass and veteran guide extraordinaire Rico with Dave. Rico took 4 of the 6 daily big bass pots! BTW, the all tackle world record speckled peacock is only 2 1/2 pounds heavier than Dave's big fish at 27 pounds even, also caught from the Rio Negro in 1994.


Our group landed numerous peacocks in this size range and often you could double up like Dave and Nick Owings did here when you came across schools, or fun, fun a pair of post spawn peacocks protecting fry. When the guide says, "bubbles" you better get ready!!! You're about to get whacked!!

There's a great deal of confusion about peacock bass as far as species and variety. We were catching bass with many different color variations, but you know me, I called a biologist in Florida that specializes in peacock bass to get the scoop. What I found out was that the large ones over 12 pounds or so are all really one species - the speckled peacock (from the cichlid tropical fish family, not really a bass of course - related to oscars).

The speckled peacock bass goes through a large number of color variations, and again, depending on where you read or who you ask, you get confusing and different stories, but the consensus seems to be that the paca 'variety' is the speckled peacock when they are not in spawning mode. The bass Dave is holding on the left still shows some of the paca coloring. The blue-gray sides with white spots and small stripes, along with a white belly, while the peacock Nick is holding has gone over more to the acu 'variety' in spawning mode, where they get the orange/red belly and fins, with the bright greens, the bars darken dramatically and the males start growing the fatty deposit on the head - the nuchal hump.

There are 6 to 9 recognized species of peacock bass, again depending on who you ask and what you accept scientifically. Though some sources say there are as many as 12 more species, they have not been universally accepted yet.

Speckled peacocks are Cichla temensis - called (differently in each country, but in Brazil) paca when they have the non-spawning speckled look and acu (three barred) when they are showing their spawning coloration. There may be some hybridization among peacocks but that is also not universally accepted.

The other species we caught on our trip, and the variety that is caught in the Florida canals, is the Cichla ocellaris, commonly called the butterfly peacock bass. These are much smaller with the world record being about 12 pounds. Most of these we caught were less than 6 pounds, but they still hit our large topwater lures with reckless and vicious abandon. We were throwing 6 to 8 inch long prop baits most of the time that weighed 2 to 4 ounces, and even the 3 pounders would smash them like nobodies business!!

BTW, talking to the Florida biologist, I found out that, at least there, the speckled peacocks they originally planted did not reach sexual maturity until they were 3 years old upon which they already weighed 10 to 12 pounds. They were mostly caught out before they could effectively spawn in numbers.

While the butterfly variety reached sexual maturity in only 1 year and has been able to spawn effectively enough to maintain their numbers. That is why all of the peacocks caught in Florida are the smaller butterfly variety. Florida Freshwater Fisheries did find a butterfly peacock during surveys that would smash the 12 pound 9 ounce world record according to the biologist I spoke to. No one has caught it yet, so the beautiful fish still swims somewhere in one of those canals!!!

I did not catch a single butterfly peacock unfortunately, but I do have one on video that Dave caught. They are also a beautiful fish, seeming more uniform in color than the speckled bass. Our group did not catch very many of them. I think I saw 4 total myself during the 6 full days we fished.

Here is one caught by one of our group:


Jim and I pulled up on a school of them busting the top late on afternoon. Jim landed butterfly peacocks, but all I caught were slightly larger pacas from the edge of the school. Not that I'm complaining ;D Despite the smaller size of the butterfly bass - I think the biggest anyone stated landing was about 6 pounds - they were still aggressive and devastating feeders!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 10:34:42 PM by djkimmel »
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mikesmiph

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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 03:10:52 PM »

You are an awesome story teller Dan. My heart is racing, waiting for the next chapter.
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djkimmel

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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 03:33:03 PM »


This was my very first peacock bass of my life, caught about 8:43 AM local time the morning of the first day after running way up a small cut, bouncing over several shallow sand stretches, jumping 3 sand bars with our 17 foot aluminum bass boats, and then getting out and pushing the boats over one long very shallow sand stretch (remember to shuffle your feet in case of freshwater stingrays :) ).

We were rewarded with a large lagoon that looked like a fishing paradise. Sandbars. Current breaks. Cuts. Islands. And tons of wood along the banks. This very first spot showed me that I was really in for a true adventure. There were large alligators - our guide Gator actually sang to them - and families of big otters. Gator sang to them too and even got one to approach our boat, tail-walking out of the water and singing right back in a chirping voice.

The biggest surprise was the porpoises!!! I was thinking, gosh, I hope I get to see one... One!?! Holy crap!!! They were EVERYWHERE!!! Porpoising out of the water. Loudly blowing their air holes. Boiling after fish!!! Coming from the Great Lakes, it's one thing to see a big muskie or salmon busting bait... but a 200 to 300 pound plus mammal with teeth!!!! Unbelievable.

I quickly found out where there's peacocks, there's dolphin (as the guides called them). Talk about ramping up the adrenaline level a little wondering that any moment a 300 pound  beast with a mouth full of teeth could crash your 'little' 3 ounce topwater chopper. I would have hated to have an EKG that first morning!!! I was a nervous, anxious wreck.

That was before I found out NO ONE catches dolphins on lures... they're just too smart. Even then, I thought, oh boy, they're going to slam and eat every peacock bass I catch while I'm fighting it (there are bull sharks in the river though I never saw any).

Wrong again. They're too smart for that too!

They wait until you let the peacock go.... then KABOOM!!! They come right out from under the boat and no more 8 pound peacock bass!!!!!!!!! The first time this happened that first morning, I can't speak for Nick, but I almost wet myself. Gator was laughing his head off at the green angler who never saw it coming. Peacocks are blistering fast... but the dolphin is king and much faster. They can chomp a peacock right in half. Something shocking to see... the first 4 or 5 times!!!

We started watching for them and trying to let our fish go when we thought we were safe. One boat even left a spot after 4 peacocks in a row where immediately eaten by dolphins, including a 12 pounder the was snapped in half with one bite!!! Nope. Sorry, this all happened so fast, I never caught it one tape. Rats! Besides, get too close to one and you would get soaked!! These are some big, strong and fast animals. And the smell, the first one left a very strange, sweet smell in the air I've never smelled before.

Well enough about dolphins for now. You had to be there, but we often used the presence of stalking dolphins to confirm we were near a group of peacock bass. And they did stalk you. Make no bones about that. I will have some video of dolphins up later to show you how they bird-dogged our boats.

So my first fish above - beautiful fish, aren't they? - came after I completely blew it on several crashing, even multiple attack strikes. I've just never dealt with fish that hit so hard and so fast and so LOUD before so I hope Gator forgave my inexperience. I did manage to start out with a school of anemara - a surprise, though Gator was not enthused. The guides just call them dogfish and they do look like our dogfish - none of the guides like 'dogfish,' but they are the same wolf fish that Larry Dahlberg talks so highly of.

And let me tell you, they are 10 times more aggressive than dogfish up here!! I can't find my pictures of any of them, but they have a ruffled tail, not rounded like our dogfish, and they have no trouble crashing big chopper topwaters half their size or eating a 6 to 8 inch large swimbait (my one big Osprey swim bait lasted exactly 3 wolf fish before it was a dead duck - no tail).

More to come...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 10:31:12 PM by djkimmel »
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LGMOUTH

Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 05:08:05 PM »

You are the man.
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djkimmel

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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 08:39:25 PM »

Yeah... that's me...  ::)

I actually had fun with the wolf fish. I can't imagine what they are like when real big. They are mean... lots of teeth. Very sharp. They were crashing the big topwaters and slamming the swim bait. No fight like a peacock bass. They fought harder and jumped more than the average dogfish. Everything down there does!! I was surprised to see the small ones travel in schools. At least on the Rio Negro.

Hit two different schools of them where they would slam a bait every cast. I now wish I had brought a bunch of large swim baits with me and will if I'm fortunate to go back. We were having a very slow morning on day 2 I think it was. We were up the river quite a ways and in a long narrow lagoon.

The big topwaters were just wearing me out. Just tossing 2 to 4 ounces over and over, and then endlessly ripping them - I really think I will start the chopper workout, I think it might be better than taebo! - after over an hour with no bites, I got out the one lure I brought. A big Osprey swim bait. Deep body. Big flapping tail. Started slow rolling it along the bank and WHAM!!!! 5 to 6 pound green peacock SLAMS it!!!

A few minutes later, I see bait being slashed along shore. Several casts in a row bring small wolf fish and then just outside of them, a 4 pound paca! Things are looking up.

That's when I notice the old swim bait isn't looking real fresh anymore. 2nd cast after that with 3 more hard hits and the swim bait tail says bye bye. Probably in the belly of a toothy wolf fish...

I borrowed every swim bait I could get my hands on after that, but none had quite the hard thumping tail so I mostly donated chunks to wolf fish and piranha after that. No more peacocks. Also, I became more determined to get them on the big topwaters. The strike, when it comes, is just astounding!!

Let me tell you what we're using. 7 to 7 1/2 foot MH to H rods with a little tip. Bigger, fast reels. These peacocks can rip of 30 to 50 feet of line on the first pull in the blink of an eye! And rip they do. Drags are cranked down so you can hardly pull of any line and yet even the little pacas and acu (a sou) strip out line on the first run.

The line is VERY important. I was using 80 pound test P-Line Spectrex superbraid. This is critical. It lays very well on the surface and you would kill yourself trying to rip big chopper baits on top all day with any line stretch. I'm not kidding here. By the end of the last couple days, I was wore out.

You should have seen everyone. Blister tape and wraps on fingers, hands, wrists and elbows. We looked like some type of injured reserve at the clinic after the game of the century or something!

It was kind of funny, though painful... A good kind of pain though. I think there are ways to catch more peacocks that might not be quite so taxing, but WOW, when one does blast the topwater, you instantly remember why you just spent all that time, energy and skin ripping those prop baits!!!

I was pretty fortunate that I ended up with only 3 blisters / calluses. I had some hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder pain, but it wasn't that bad. As usual, my biggest challenge, being the redheaded Irishman was not getting cooked like a strip of bacon. I ended up with heat rash on my arms, neck and back, but next time, I plan on taking more long sleeve shirts with collars. Should do the trick.

Back to some more pictures...
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djkimmel

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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 09:04:59 PM »

So my first peacock the first day. I'm using 80 lb test P-Line Spectrex. Gator says, "bubbles. Stop! Hold cast." He sneaks up on the circle of little bubbles moving along a sandbar and say, "two fish. Get ready!"

He motions for me to cast past the bubbles and I do. It's the first morning. I'm still fresh as a daisy and unsuspecting though Nick has caught several smaller peacock bass already off a sand edge.

(Here's one of the first peacock bass of my trip early the first morning that Nick caught on topwater - a strong paca between 3 and 4 pounds. Blasted a big topwater like nobodies business, and I think this might have been the one the dolphin ate right at the side of the boat as Nick let it go. Sorry little fishy...)

I missed all my strikes other than the wolf fish.

So, now I cast past the bubbles and start ripping this 6 inch long chopper bait. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoo... BLAM!!!! The fight is on. Big one, I think! The fish makes 4 or 5 hard runs, stripping up to 30 feet of 80 lbs test superline on a very hard drag no problem.

"2nd fish," shouts Gator, motioning Nick to cast behind me past the bubbles. KABOOSH!! A depth charge geyser of water erupts on Nicks bait and we have a double one. Wow!!! This is what I've heard about!

I get my 'giant' in the net and see the fish really isn't that big... turns out to be about 7 1/2 pounds. A 7 1/2 pounder that was ripping of 80 lbs test superline on a cranked down drag, making my shoulders shake!?! "Big fish," says Gator about Nick's bass. He has hooked the bigger one of the two.

It looks maybe twice as big as mine and has no trouble at all peeling line off Nick's reel. These fish are incredibly powerful!!! You just have to see if for yourself to truly understand. I've caught plenty of 5 to 6 pound largemouth and smallmouth bass. I truly doubt that many of them could strip out much line if I was using 80 lbs test P-Line Spectrex with a cranked down drag and yet I had 4 pound peacock bass do it. No problemo. 2, 3, 4 runs where they'd strip out line!?!

Nick ends up having his fish pull off half way to the boat. That ends up happening quite a few times. Peacock have big jaws and must have enough jaw pressure to keep the bait from sliding sometimes to get a good hookset.

Plus, with their strength and power, we are using large 80 to 100 lbs test split rings with oversized saltwater hooks that are 2X and even 3X strong. Some force is required though we keep them sharp and often, the peacocks hooks themselves when they crash down on the lure almost yanking the rod out of your hands. I had that about happen several times even though I was ready for it!!!

Despite the heavy caliber of the tackle we were using - and remember at times we were fishing around a lot of heavy shoreline timber - there were several guys who had fish break 80 pound test line, bend hooks out and pull 60 to 80 pound test split rings out!! Terry had one fish the hit so hard, it pulled the large treble hook right off his big homemade topwater by straightening out the split ring!!!!

I'm happy to say that I rigged up completely with top quality line. I mean the world record came from the stretch we were fishing!!! We had 15 bass over 20 pounds landed and I had one that was a monster slam my bait so hard I couldn't cast straight for 15 minutes!!! I was not going to take a chance which is why I took a bulk spool of 80 lbs test P-Line Spectrex with me and put it on all the reels I used. I had 1 paca take me into trees underwater and after it tired a little I was able to pull it out thanks to that line.

The bigger green acu peacock I caught off the same spot later that day - we went back hoping for another crack at the giant - actually ran into a large tree and hung itself on a branch underwater. Chulio, the guide was able to dig it out. No line breakage for me. Not once!! If you ever get to go, don't take a chance. Use the best!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 10:42:25 PM by djkimmel »
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2010, 10:26:21 PM »

Anyway, that's a little about the gear. Here's why - late the first day, we were inside a big sandbar and found more bubbles moving along the first drop of sand. It often stairstepped down once or twice and the bass could be right up against the dry sand.

Gator says, "bubbles." That's all I needed to hear. Now, you had to be careful because this sand is hard-packed by torrents of current during the rainy season floods, so a chopper bait that hits the sand usually means a bent prop that no longer sounds right. Every guide had their own idea of how the rip should sound and would 'tune' the blade for you. I learned though, because of the quick little edge right up against the back, their feeding habits and the dark water, you often got it best if you landed right on the water edge.

This case was no different. My lure hit the water right against the sandy shoreline, scattering ink-colored water and a little silt. I barely moved it and KABLAM!!! A four foot wash tub hole in the water, rod up and line is ripping off my reel as the powerful fish jets right down the edge of the water.

I don't know how they don't end up beached!!?! Actually, several did partially beach themselves or knock bait right out of the water, but those are other stories... my last fish of the first day catapults out of the water and Gator is telling me sharply, "NO JUMP!" I tell you, the jumps are AWESOME!!! The bass cartwheel backwards right out of the water, twisting through the air, crashing back down.

You want to make them jump, but then, with their power and that huge hunk of wood swinging from their jaws... yeah, they can get off real good. I've only caught a few bass this first day and I want this one in the boat so the rod goes down, the bass stays down and after a couple more minutes of hard runs including a little thumb-burning line strip, Gator has my biggest fish of the day on the boga!!

I can't believe the bass was that freaking strong and ends up only being a little over 8 pounds!?! I figured the thing had to be 12, 14 pounds, but no. Just a baby ;D Still, I'm pretty happy with the first day.
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2010, 11:59:16 PM »

I've been sitting here trying to figure out just how to describe the topwater attack of a big peacock bass and it dawned on me that it often sounded kinded of like someone dropping a big cinder block from about 30 feet high into the water. Only add about triple speed to the movement of the block!!!! I had one 6 or 7 pounder hit a big topwater so hard and fast, I actually saw a 4 to 5 foot separation between the fish and the lure where I thought it landed, only the guides yelling to set the hook (I think that is what he was saying in Portuguese anyway, who knows, he could have been saying something about my Mother for all I know ;D ) and by the time I set the hook, instantly I think, the fish actually has the lure and I hook up!!!!!!!

I have played that sequence over and over in my mind and still can't figure out how I got that peacock bass on the hook?!? When I set that hook, I swear the bait and bass were still feet apart?!? All I can say is that once again, I'm sure glad it happened ;D

I really didn't intend to tell so much already, but thinking about it, I really haven't hardly scratched the surface yet of this amazing trip!!

So pictures, pictures....

Here's an idea of the type of spots - outside of lagoons - we were fishing the first few days in the more sandy stretches of river (actually, we fished these types of spots throughout the trip, even in the upper, rocky part of the river). This is the actual spot I caught my 18 pounder the afternoon of the 2nd day with guide Iggy:


You can see where the current is washing down the edge, and also were some water is additionally going over the top of a low spot in the bar creating a converging current. I hit that sweet spot right at the sand tip practically on shore and the big fish immediately crushed my 8 inch 4 ounce chopper bait then ripping down the edge of the sand with two huge crashing jumps (before Iggy yells, "NO JUMP! NO JUMP! Grande! Grande! Big fish!!" ;D)


Professional wrestler Tony takes the big fish pot with guide Rico the first day with this beautiful 21 pound monster peacock bass!!

BTW, peacock bass do make beds similar to our bass, but much bigger in general of course. We did catch a few peacock bass with very worn tails and found old beds in several spots. Also, notice Tony is wisely not 'lipping' this giant. You can lip a peacock bass VERY carefully if you know what you're doing. I have a missing patch of healing skin on my thumb that demonstrates there is a learning curve...


Rick has fished the Amazon 19 or 20 times. Here's a nice peacock that blasted his topwater while we fished together with guide Iggy (the terrorist ;D he wore a black winter type face mask during the hot part of the day - most of it actually).


Note the size of the topwater this beauty blasted. This is one of the smaller topwater prop baits. One of the 6 inchers. An easy 'meal' for this white-bellied paca.


Here's my second biggest peacock bass I caught on a fat topwater off a main river sandbar up the river quite a ways. This bass did what many did later in the week - hitting farther off sand edge almost all the way to the boat. Check out the big nuccal bump on the head of this beauty! I was fishing with Mark and guide Saba.

We used a variety of colors in topwater, but many had an orange belly like this fish. Firetiger was popular. Black with an orange belly. Some guys used a bluish bait with white that looked kind of like a paca. I caught my biggest on the old style perch - more tan and yellow.


Here's Don Stevens with one of his big headed brutes of a peacock bass. Not sure about the weight on this one, but its big!

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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 12:23:30 AM »


Here's Randy VanDam and guide Gator with one of Randy's whopper peacocks! Gator was my first day guide, singing to the alligators and otters.


Here's Terry with one of his big peacock bass. Though his brother Dave caught the biggest of the trip, Terry landed some of his own grandes! Hard to believe all these big peacock bass are the same species, eh?


Pat just finished saying, "this lure's no good" when this huge 21 1/2 pound peacock smashed it in the middle of shallow lagoon that was holding several big peacock bass. Guide Gi - the trickster of the guides - was so determined to get me one of several we saw chasing bait that he ran the chopper firedrill on me.

Two rods alternating with a topwater. Just before you get the first one all the way in, Gi casts out the 2nd one and hands you the rod. Just before you work that one all the way in, he casts out the other one and hands that rod to you while he finishes reeling in the last few feet. Let me tell you, you haven't had a work out until you do 10 or 15 minutes of this drill!!! Whew!!! Exhausting! No mas! No Mas!


This was by far the biggest paca of the trip - a WHOPPING 22 pounds of speckled peacock bass caught by Gator Jim!!! Hard to believe this is the same species of peacock bass, isn't it? If the biologists are right, this fish is done or is not spawning yet. There's still so much to learn about the habits and behaviors of these awesome fish!!
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2010, 12:28:51 AM »

So many more pictures yet, but these are many of the really big ones caught on our trip. Tucunare, pavon or peacock bass, they really are a fantastic gamefish that everyone should have the opportunity at least once in their life to catch.

All I can say is start saving your money now for the next trip we'll take two years from now with Exotic Outdoor Adventures. You will never regret it!!!
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2010, 01:15:52 AM »

Funny, I'm catching up on my taped fishing shows and here's Larry Dahlberg ripping big wolf fish in Suriname!!

Our biggest was only a 5 to 6 pounder that Nick caught the first day. They are known by many names too like the peacock - Giant trahira, aimara, traíra or anemara.
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 02:54:16 AM »

Great stories Dan. I could ask this in person, but maybe someone else is as confused as I am. You take your own equiptment, or not? In your stories, you mentioned you had your own line, and some brought their own baits. Do they furnish all this, or do you buy it? How does it work? And, the big boat is pulling all those bass boats? How does that work? Thanks
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 01:32:10 PM »

Great stories Dan. I could ask this in person, but maybe someone else is as confused as I am. You take your own equiptment, or not? In your stories, you mentioned you had your own line, and some brought their own baits. Do they furnish all this, or do you buy it? How does it work? And, the big boat is pulling all those bass boats? How does that work? Thanks

I've only scratched the surface of this fantastic fishing trip. Because we are flying in on a small chartered plane, we try to limit weight. They also have laundry service on the boat, so you don't need more than about 3 days worth of clothes.

I plan on finishing the new Amazon/Brazil/Peacock Bass section where I'll go over things like checklists and what to bring/not to bring in an (hopefully) organized fashion.

But here's some of the info: you can bring your own tackle, rods, reels, line, etc, but they do have a decent selection of rods. Enough so everyone can usually have 3 or even 4. About all you'll need there really. You could get by with 2 in our conditions, but I think some experimenting might be fun. Some of our group has been doing that, but there's much more possible.

They also have a pretty decent selection of fast speed reels there but I did bring 2 of my own. One with a bigger spool which I liked (and so did Iggy - he gave my big reel an approving vote :) ) and one that was left-handed so I could switch between arms. Relieve a little of the stress and strain on each. I also think some techniques are just easier with a left-handed reel.

They also had a bulk spool of 80 pound line on the boat that many guys used, but don't count on that. First of all it was a brand I did not recognize, and secondly, I think someone previously left it on the boat so don't count on that one though Franz says he tries to have some line on the boat.

I'm not kidding here. You have a real shot at a world record class fish. As KVD said at the Novi UFS, don't even think about taking chances. Which is why I took the very best line available - P-Line Spectrex. A bulk spool because I wanted to make sure I did not run out or have to skimp on line. In a trip involving this much planning, effort and cost, don't mess around!! There's no BPS or Cabelas sitting on the next sandbar to pick up some more at ;D You have what you have.

I also now see it is a good idea to bring extra strong, large, sharp treble hooks, soft bait and swim bait hooks, and 80 to 100 pounds test large split rings along with split ring pliers that can handle that size. Some of the guys ended up with more than a few sore fingers and it was pretty common to have high speed split rings shots flying across the table when someone didn't get it on just right. One almost took me out!!! ;D

Randy VanDam gave me a pretty thorough check list of items to bring that helped a bunch and I will add that to the new section when done along with a few additional and optional items for anyone who might think, yeah, I deserve to have a little fun too... I think I'll go next time!

Just remember that a lot of this stuff has to go in your checked baggage (ask Pat, you can have it taken away from you by airport security) and you have weight and volume limits to consider with a full group of anglers. Several of the anglers shared what they were bringing across their baggage to pack more efficiently. Good idea! Just make sure everyone makes the flights with all their baggage (no names please, but it wasn't me ;D)!?!

If I'm fortunate to go back in 2 years, I will definitely bring more big swim baits and few other items. They have a large selection of chopper type baits on the boat, along with large traps, jerkbaits, some jigs and other odds and ends. Again, you don't have to bring any. I borrowed from the boat and few other persons, but having what you're used to or set the way you like it is nice too. As long as you stay within reasonable luggage limits.

I'm pretty sure once again I had more stuff than anyone already, but some of that was the cameras, related equipment, laptop, backup hard drive and other paraphernalia so I could share the adventure ;D

There is nothing to buy there. That's for sure. Once you get on the boat, you are limited to what they have and what you bring. Now that is on the Clipper. I'm not sure if things are the same on the Otter? I will find out and report it though.

Exotic Outdoor Adventures and Ron Speed Jr do a great job of making sure the trip is as successful and painless as possible though. I trust their experience and expertise in this field 110%!!
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2010, 01:41:50 PM »

What about adult beverages or cigars?
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2010, 09:55:20 PM »

What about adult beverages or cigars?

Cigars available in town with planning from what I was told by the few guys who partook. (Planning since there's 100 to 200 miles of nothing between each town.) I did not get any further specifics on the types of cigars though one member of the team seemed happy...

For adult beverages... well, I think you could supply an army for a month large enough to successfully invade several countries off the FREE beverages available on the Clipper. (Yeah, that's right! I said FREE!!) Most of the team seemed real happy over that one... even a little giddy later on many evenings (though a couple of the mornings weren't very pretty ;D) The Brazilian rum appeared to be particularly popular and endless too despite concerted effort by many of the team.

I even had a beer (Skoal) one evening when I apparently found out tea and beer sound a lot alike to a Brazilado who nao falla ingles muento bien... I was too hot and thirsty to come up with the proper words and wait for the time it would take to correct the translation confusion.

I have a few pictures of the bar that I'll post one of these days for people interested in that kind of backdrop. I noticed that for the first few days, though bottles would empty, the shelves seemed to keep full...

We ate and drank muento bien on the Clipper. Always plenty to spare!!

And the coffee in the morning... whoa nelly. That stuff will grow some hair on your chest. One cup was enough to do the trick. Looked a lot like the river water though it tasted pretty good at 6 AM...
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 09:58:45 PM by djkimmel »
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2010, 06:58:49 AM »

This is sounding more and more like something I am going to HAVE to do before too long. Better start saving my pennies.
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2010, 12:53:29 PM »

Mike, it is worth every... single... penny!! I want to go back as soon as possible. Which will probably be 2 years from now (though I'm trying not to dwell on that... too depressing)
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2010, 01:26:13 PM »

When did they come out with beer Skoal?   I've had most of the other flavors, but not beer...lol.
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Re: 2010 Rio Negro River Peacock Bass Pictures and Summary
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2010, 01:32:14 PM »

So Dan what did you enjoy more? Peacock bass fishing on the Rio Negro or LM fishing in Mexico?
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