Peacock Bass Fishing on the Amazon River

On January 31 Mark and I set out to catch peacock bass on the Amazon River because, well, someone has to catch peacock bass on the Amazon.  We flew from Detroit to Miami, then from Miami to Manaus, Brazil.  Manaus is in the bottom right of the map, below.

Map showing the large city of Manuas bottom right, the Itapara River at pen point.
Map showing the large city of Manaus bottom right, the Itapara River at pen point.

 Our destination is a river mislabeled the Itapara on the map, above.  See, locals had printed so many of the above maps, they found no reason to correct the spelling and print good ones.  The river’s real name is the Tapera River and it’s a tributary of the Rio Blanca, which is a trib of the Rio Negro which is a trib of the Amazon River.  One might say we were going to fish the headwaters of the Amazon. 

To get to the Tapera River from the busy town of Manaus, we jumped in a plane that had both wheels and floats.  

DSC_9185

 We flew across numerous stretches of river. 

View out the float plane.
View out the float plane.

About an hour and a half later, the pilot saw what looked to me like a pretty narrow stretch of river.  The pilot circled once and landed on the water.

DSC_9205

 Waiting for us on the water were fishing guides in boats. The guides loaded up our gear and we rode off down the river for about a half hour before pulling up on the beach where our cabin awaited.

The floating cabins.
The floating cabins.

Up closer, the cabins look like this. 

Our cabin on the river.
Our cabin on the river.

The inside of the cabin looks like this.  The two twin beds made things super romantic. 

Inside our cabin.
Inside our cabin.

 

 The cabin also contained a toilet and shower. The shower was a drizzle of water pumped in from the Amazon, but it did the trick.

The wee bathroom.
The wee bathroom.

After we settled in, we covered up from the sun and headed out into our boat with our guide, Preto.  

Covering up.
Covering up.

To catch a peacock bass, one can use jigs, subsurface lures or large top-water lures. The one below is a top-water lure that you have to jerk and jerk and jerk across the water to annoy the peacock bass.  It was one of a couple of lures given to us by two great Texans that felt sorry for us after our first couple days on the river weren’t real productive.  The lure below turned things around for me in a big way and caught me more fish than any other lure.

Lure given to us by a kind Texan.
Lure given to us by a kind Texan.

 What’s fun about the Amazon is that the jerking motion of a lure not only attracts fish, it attracts caiman. 

Caiman attracted to our fish.
Caiman attracted to our fish.

Up close a caiman looks like this.

Close-up of a caiman.
Close-up of a caiman.

With a caiman approaching, it’s quite amazing to see how quickly you can reel in a fish. 

So every day for 6 and a half days, we fished from 7 in the morning until late in the afternoon.  Before the week was over, Mark and I caught 132 peacock bass, 14 of which were 8 pounds or larger.  My largest was 15 pounds.  My first big fish is below.

My first fish over 8 pounds.  Photo by Mark Oemke.
My first fish over 8 pounds. Our guide, Prato, is in the background.  Photo by Mark Oemke.

 The next day I caught this fish. 

Beautiful peacock.  Photo by Mark Oemke.
Beautiful peacock. Photo by Mark Oemke.

 Two days later I caught two big fish back-to-back.   

Another nice peacock bass.  Photo by Mark Oemke.
Another nice peacock bass. Photo by Mark Oemke.

 About a half hour later, I caught this one.

Prato is in the background.  Photo by Mark Oemke.
Prato is in the background. Photo by Mark Oemke.

 My last big fish was caught on a different lure, and this fish hit so hard it busted my rod.  I’ve never reeled in a big fish with a small nubbin of rod in my hand in the rest of the rod floating on the surface of the water. 

My former three-piece rod became a four-piece rod due to this fish.  Photo by Mark Oemke.
My former three-piece rod became a four-piece rod due to this fish. Photo by Mark Oemke.

So that’s peacock bass fishing.  Looks easy enough, now doesn’t it?  More on the truth behind the art of peacock bass fishing in the next blog posting.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
paul andrews
9 years ago

Really nice fishing trip.You done a fine job documenting it.Those are some really nice fish you caught there.Congratulations on a successful trip.

Scroll to Top