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Peacock  Bass  Association
 Executive Director: Larry Larsen

Information Central  (c) Larry Larsen

Fly Tips and Tactics

F4FlyiQuite a few of our PBA members are avid fly fishermen who have a lot of experience at tossing flies to big peacock bass in the Amazon. Most have an affinity toward flashy flies. "The large "Deceiver" patterns work the best for the overall fly fishing experience," one told me. The expert fly angler uses several color combinations (starting from the top [back] of the fly working down to the belly,

1. olive/chartreuse/yellow/white/red beard, 

2. brown/chartreuse/yellow/white/orange beard, 

3.  red/pink/white, 

4. red/pink/yellow/white, 

5. pink/yellow/white,

6.  peacock herl/olive/chartreuse/white/red beard,

7. blue/yellow/white, 

8. blue/white, 

9. blue/chartreuse/yellow/white, and (last but not least)

10. all pink. That said, the expert acknowledges that he has found that the colors make more of a difference to the angler than to the fish.

"I will tie my flies in varying lengths from 4" to 7" and will use the smaller flies in shallower water," one fly tying expert told me. "If you want to fish a topwater fly in the low light and/or cloudy type conditions, a yellow and red combination type surface fly works well. A Dahlberg diver or a popper-type fly will suffice, but I have found that large red eyes and plenty of flashabou or mylar tubing help the appeal of the fly. Prismatic -type eyes also work very well. I use epoxy to hold the head of the fly together and hot glue to affix the eyes. Then, I coat the whole head with a 5-minute epoxy. With the piranhas in those waters, the epoxy will help keep it N605Flyall together, but after several attacks the fly is useless. The peacocks will beat up the fly a lot too."

A lot of guys ask me what is the best fly to throw for giant peacock in South America? I have caught several on flies but am certainly not an expert. But I know several. Many friends have a variety of tarpon flies that seem to be the right size but they wonder about the best color scheme or pattern. Some Amazon fly fishermen toss very colorful patterns and tie the flies themselves. One of the neatest that I've seen resembles a small peacock bass. As we all know, the giants love to eat their smaller relatives.

Six Mistakes Fly Fishermen Make!

Larry Shoenborn, a PBA Supporting Member and expert on fly fishing for peacocks suggests the most common mistakes that even experienced fly fishermen make. "These are what I see. 1. Not keeping the "V" with the right thumb and fingers and keeping the left hand in back, especially while fighting a fish. 2. Not keeping the rod tip bent while playing a fish. With barbless hooks, you can't afford slack. 3. Trying to cast 70 feet with 60 feet of fly line off the reel. The first thing to do before ever making a cast is to strip 50 feet of line off your reel. Gradually strip more line off until you can't cast all of it. It's best to have some extra line at your feet because this enables you to strip sooner after a cast and also helps to pile the shooting, floating fly line on the right spot in the boat. AugFlies4. Taking too many false casts. This keeps your fly out of the water too long and can spook the fish. Weight forward lines are designed to shoot. With weight forward lines, just get about 33 feet of line working and then shoot it. 5. Bringing their fist down instead of straight out on the forward cast. It's almost like they are chopping wood. You need to punch instead of chop wood because peacock bass flies are fairly large and heavy. 6. Setting drags too tight. They should only be set slightly above the setting you prefer for peeling line off your reel quickly in order to cast it. Once a big peacock wraps around submerged brush it's best to apply less pressure instead of more. The guide can (and will) swim down and follow your line to the fish."

Quick Strips On The Fly

"I have three 9-weight fly rods rigged in the boat at all times, one with a Teeny T-200 flyline, one with a Teeny T-300 and one with a floating or short sink-tip line," Larry continues. "The floating line or short sink-tip is for use with poppers or for peacocks in ultra shallow water or mossy areas. The T-300 line is for fishing the deeper waters of lagoons and lakes where peacocks may be along the bottom, often 10 to almost 20-foot deep. I use the T-200 flyline about 70 to 80 % of the time. It's less work and requires less effort over the course of a day because you'll make lots of casts. The big trick with the Teeny T-200 or Teeny T-300 is to use a count-down retrieve technique and start counting as soon as fly hits the water. Usually you are casting towards the shoreline and should quickly strip up any slack so your line is taut." 

Peacock Bass Fishing tipLarry further explains his tactics. He suggests "playing games" with different retrieves while working this count system into every cast. That way, you'll know the depth of takes and develop a relationship with the bottom, according to the expert fly angler.

"You'll do best with long fast strips," he continues. "Quite often I'll retrieve five or six quick strips and then stop for a six count before retrieving again. You normally can do this twice per cast. The Teeny T series, along with other brands of 20 to 24-foot heads, sink about 1/2 foot per second. It's not unusual when fishing lakes or lagoons to have your best success for big peacocks come after an initial count of 20 to 24 before retrieving."

For those sight fisherman, here's a couple of additional fly fishing tips from other experts in PBA that may lead to more success. "Many Amazon fisheries have clear to light tea-colored water," says J.W. Smith, a PBA Supporting Member, "and I feel that it's important in these waters to make long casts, away from the boat. Big fish are aware of the boat. If you can see them, they can see you. Sometimes a (very productive) cast is to throw the fly about two or three feet behind a big peacock bass. That fish will often turn and strike!


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