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Information Central  (c) Larry Larsen

 

Identifying the Peacock Bass 

    Peacocks IdentifyingThe peacock bass is not really a "bass" at all.  The two fish similar in stature and sporting qualities are genetically far apart.  The peacock, which has attained documented weights in excess of 27 pounds, is called bass because it strongly resembles a largemouth in general size and shape.  However, it is actually the largest American member of the cichlid family of fishes which also includes the guapote ("rainbow bass"), oscar, and tilapia, among many others.

     There are 1,400 species of the cichlid family in the world and 250 to 300 in South America.  The family is to tropical waters as the sunfish family, which includes the black basses, is to temperate fresh waters of North America.  Some biologists believe that the two were derived from a common ancestor, a prehistoric saltwater perch.

     The fish, as I found out in numerous trips fishing for the species, are similar to largemouth in many ways.  They have similar habits and habitat preferences and are caught on similar lures.  The ways they are less similar makes them even more exciting.  They are tougher, meaner and slightly bigger.  They feed only during daylight hours.  As a schooler, peacocks are more like the saltwater dolphin.

     Most fish roam in schools, but the peacock bass is known for roaming in gangs.  The peacock bass is something of a thug.  A hooked fish triggers the others in the school to search and destroy prey of their own.  Leaving a hooked fish in the water until a second one nearby is hooked will prolong the excitement.

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