Nick Owings catches a Peacock Bass

My first day ever Peacock Bass fishing in Brazil I fished with Nick Owings. It was January 18, 2010 and we didn’t know what to expect by expert guide Aligator guided us to a number of nice peacock bass!

I was so excited to be fishing in Brazil that I didn’t capture some of the excitement on video. The lure of fishing for exotic fish was too strong but there’s a little scenery and action above. Both Nick and I were able to catch some nice peacock bass from the Rio Negro and its backwaters. No giants but a small peacock bass hits like a load of bricks and strips out line on a heavy braid casting rig.

Possibly the most exciting and astounding occurrence of a day full of firsts was the surprise when Nick let go his very first peacock bass of the day!?! We were pleasantly surprised by seeing a number of pink dolphins (some are actually gray) in the first lagoon we motored into that first morning. They were aggressively schooling and busting through minnows off a sand bar.

It’s impressive watching them eat and attack. I’ve always heard how smart dolphins are but never seen firsthand before. Add to the fact that these freshwater dolphins are very prehistoric-looking and blind it’s even more amazing watching them at work. The water of the Rio Negro is dark brown-black making underwater sight unimportant but these freshwater dolphin use echo location to devastating effect!

How smart are they? We found out! Nick landed his first peacock bass about 3 pounds. As he leaned over the side of the boat to release the fish a big dolphin came out from under the boat and smashed into the peacock bass to the end of the bass!! We got wet and Alligator, our guide, cracked up because he saw it coming and we didn’t.

The dolphins know when you hook a fish it turns out. They stop chasing and sneak up on the boat often hiding right under the fishing boat. They wait until you release the bass knowing it is tired, an easier target. Peacock bass are fast but the dolphins are even faster! We heard a number of stories around that first evening’s dinner table of dolphins attacking released peacock bass!

And of course there were the giant River Otters, large Black Caiman that our guide Alligator would call out to in a deep rumble causing more than one of them to swim towards our boat – slightly nerve-wracking but also exciting! There were also quite a few smaller Spectacled Caimain though we saw a lot more of those in the smaller backwaters farther up the river.

The main reason we were in the Amazon jungle though was the peacock bass, especially the giant Speckled Peacock Bass! But it’s hard to ignore all the other exotic sights and sounds so stay tuned for more peacock fishing videos, pictures and stories from the jungle!

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