Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Tip … Adjust You Drag, But Only Once! … In South America, it often
seems that the ones that do get away are all giants. Big peacock bass certainly have the know-how and the strength to strain the limits of our
guides, equipment and our reflexes. Improper drag setting, for example, is a common fault in the loss of big peacock bass. It is vital to set the drag
before the fish strikes, either at home or as conditions change. The drag should be less "giving" in an area of heavy timber and snags than in open
water above a sand bar. Some anglers try to adjust the drag while the peacock bass is on. With a giant peacock, even an experienced
fisherman can't get away with that.
I remember making such a stupid mistake once a dozen or so years ago, and it cost me a 20-pounder. I was fishing a lagoon off the
Pasiba River in the Amazonas Territory of southern Venezuela and had caught four peacocks between 18 and 21 pounds already that
week. Two were from a flooded stand of trees where I was again casting my giant Woodchopper. I lofted a cast to the edge of the
timber and had a monster boil up on it. I set the hook and held on as the fish swam parallel to the treeline. My drag was clamped down
tight and that prevented the 20-plus pounder from moving into the trees. Over the following five minutes, I carefully worked the big
peacock away from the entanglements, as my guide thoughtfully paddled our boat toward the center of the cove.
I was about 75 yards away from the potential hang-ups and the fish appeared tired after jumping several times and struggling against
my powerful rod. Not wanting the hooks to tear out of the fish at boatside on a last, desperate attempt to escape, I eased back on the
star drag ever so slightly. That, I thought, would give me a little safety buffer in case the peacock saw the boat and tried to make
another run. The drag then would absorb the shock.
Well, I was right, but I had miscalculated. The giant did indeed see the boat and took off, but it pulled line like I had just hooked a
freight train. It headed back for the timber, taking most of my spool of 40 pound test monofilament (I was fishing the light lines back
then) and smoking my thumb in the process. I tried to stop the fish with the thumb on the revolving spool and got a burn for it. The fish
swam right into the timber, made a right turn and my line separated, sounding like a gunshot. My guide and I sat there in the boat in
awe of the fish that we expected to be whipped and safely away from any entanglements. I had only myself to blame. Unfortunately,
anglers are not always prepared mentally to handle a trophy peacock bass when it strikes. Everyone makes mistakes, even the most
experienced of us. I have seen novices make many critical mistakes when first seeking trophy peacocks, but with these fish,
catastrophic mistakes are easy to make. For those anglers that say, "big peacock bass always seem to get away," I say get prepared and stay that way. – Larry
Watch Your Tips
On several occasions, I've seen the tip top guide become loose in the course of fishing for Peacocks. The braided line we use and the
larger lures with large tie eye screws can damage or loosen a ceramic or Hardloy tip top guide insert. One preventive or corrective
measure is to put a drop or two of Super Glue at the point where the retainer ring "meets" the center of the insert guide. Wait a few
minutes for it to dry before using. Some anglers carry Guide Glue (which is even better than Super Glue) in their tackle bags and a few
prepared individuals that I've met, like PBA member Greg Thompson, carry several entire tip top guide replacements with them in the
boat. I have seen a few rods break just an inch or two below their tip. At times, the old guide tip top can be simply heated, slid off the
piece of broken rod, and then glued back onto the tip of the blank (depending on the taper of the rod blank and placement of the other
guides). Guides that pop out of retainers further down the blank can be fixed (or reinforced) with the Super Glue or Guide Glue as well.
Be prepared if you only take a few, prized rods along on any peacock venture!
Editot's Note: Tips reprinted with permission from PBA's "The World of Peacock Bass" monthly eZine.