Giant Peacock Expedition on Brazil's Rio Negro
by Larry Larsen
The week's fishing had been relatively slow but our group had taken several peacock bass in the upper teens. No one had broken the coveted 20-pound
benchmark but we were in big fish waters with slightly high water levels. The upper Rio Negro in northern Brazil is a black, acidic river whose watershed flows southeast from beginnings in
southern Venezuela just north of the Equator. The Negro is just one of 11 tributaries of the Amazon, each of which is larger than the Mississippi River! It
meanders through the Amazon Basin and joins the Solimoes at the city of Manaus to become the main Amazon River.
My partner, Peter Kim, and I had taken a few really
big fish and had worked our giant plugs long hours in search of the elusive 20 pounder. The morning of our final day on the water was hot. The Sun was
bright when we pulled into a small forest-flooded lagoon off the main river. We began chunking our large topwater plugs in the 8 to10-foot
depths beside the emergent trees. I had retrieve my Pavon Prop almost back to the boat when the fish exploded on it.
The giant hit some 30 feet off the flooded lagoon timber point and threw water for 20
feet when it engulped the Tiger-colored 6-inch Pavon Prop plug. The battle was on. Five minutes later, the beautiful, dark peacock bass was on our guide's BogaGrip. The
monster weighed 22 pounds. About an hour later in the same lagoon, Peter was in action and landed a beautiful fish on a fly-jig that weighed 18 pounds! Then, about 30
minutes later, my trip was "made."
Our guide, "Blackie" had moved us to some sandbars in the middle of the main river channel and we started tossing our big topwaters at the
sharp drop behind the bars. I again had an explosion on my plug about 20 feet off the low-rise sandbar and was hooked up to another monster. I fought this fish for a couple of
minutes before I realized just how big it really was. Then, it took another 10 minutes for me to ease it to the boat. The fish weighed 24 and was probably the prettiest giant that I have taken in
over 55 trips to the region. I was using the same topwater plug that was modified with new Daiichi Bleeding Bait #D98Q treble hooks.
The fish was my 30th peacock over 20 pounds
and a very pleasing cap to my trip. Another member of our 8-person group caught and released a 21 pounder on that last day to
salvage his giant fish pursuit. He wasn't feeling too bad though since he caught a 17, 18 and 19 pounder the day before!
We were fishing with Captain Peacock Expeditions, a first class mother ship operation
that spent the week moving to new, lower waters as required. The
operation fishes the Rio Negro area waters from a modern 95 foot long yacht that may run up to 400 miles to find the fish. The yacht
operates with a staff of 18 people, including the onboard manager, and tows a 8 fishing boats behind it when running to new waters each night. During the day, it may also move
while anglers are out fishing.
Captain Peacock operates 24 weeks per year and fishes
several watersheds from September through March. The outfitter has some of the most experienced guides in the Amazon and that always makes a difference in those waters.