Fly Tying

Peacock bass are not picky eaters.  If they see your fly and it looks like it is trying to get away from them they will do everything in their power to not let that happen.  Over the years, I have had much greater success with sub-surface flies (streamers) than I have had with poppers and divers, only because I fish more streamers than I do surface flies.  I know that surface flies will work, but I just don't fish them as much as I do streamers.  As I mentioned before, conventional lures have a distinct sound and large peacocks will travel a great distance to investigate the disturbance.  The trick is to try and make surface flies that will push water and create as much commotion as possible.  My "CF on Steroids" and "Deer Hair Mega Diver" accomplish that.

On my first trip to Brazil in 2002, I took 50 flies all of which were tied with feathers and deer hair.  Between the fish and the guides needle-nose pliers the ratio of fish to flies was about 3:1.  After one pretty good size fish I remember looking in the river and seeing chicken feathers and buck tail floating by.  Flies tied with natural materials look great and fish great, but they do not hold up over time.  Don't eliminate them completely, but tie the majority of your flies with synthetic materials.  Over the past few years manufactures have come up with some great new synthetic fly tying materials, and most of my flies these days incorporate these new materials. 

One of the characteristics of the new synthetic materials is the fact that they do not absorb water.  This allows the fly tier to make bigger (longer) flies without adding a lot of weight; making the flies easier to cast.  However, there is a tradeoff.  Flies that do not absorb water do not sink as well as flies tied with absorbent materials, hence, the need for sink tip fly lines and fluorocarbon leaders.  It also becomes necessary to counter the buoyancy of the flies with some lead wire and epoxy heads.

Come prepared.  Bring some flies tied with extra weight.  I tie a weighted streamer fly on a 4/0 & 6/0, 60 degree bend streamer hook.  I use a tungsten cone on the front of the fly which give it extra weight, and causes it to track inverted (hook up).  In 8' - 10' of water, it can make the difference between a "hookup" and a fly that goes unseen. 

My hook of choice for all my streamer flies is a extra strong, forged, stainless 2/0, 3/0, 4/0 and 6/0 hook, and a 4/0 and 5/0 hook for my top water flies.  Some of my favorite hooks are Tiemco's 811S and 600SP, Gamakatsu's SP11-3L3H, Mustad's 3407-DT Big Game and AHREX's PR370.  I use various tying techniques, but my main objective is to tie a fly with a great bait fish profile.  I carry a pair of sharp scissors in my tackle box just in case I have to trim my flies.  Since tropical fish are the main food source for peacock bass I create patterns that incorporate bright colors.  Orange, chartreuse, yellow, red, olive and black are some of my favorite colors.  I use permanent ink pens, in various colors, to mark some of my patterns.  I always incorporate some reflective material in my flies if it is not already part of the tying material.  In the "tannic" waters of the Amazon basin the right amount of flash could be the difference between a strike and a fly that goes unseen.  I also like to use 5/16", 3/8" and 1/2" diameter  hologram dome eyes.  After attaching the eyes with super glue, I epoxy over the eyes and thread wraps to make them more durable and to give the fly a little extra weight.  It is not necessary to build flies with a weed guard.  You will get hung-up on occasion, but not often enough to warrant a weed guard.  They do not last, and are not worth the extra effort at the tying table.

In recent years, articulated flies have become very popular.  If tied correctly,  they can be deadly on predatory fish.  I would definitely include some in your tackle box. 

To sum up the Fly Tying section, a good peacock bass fly should have the following 7 characteristics:
          1)  It should be tied on a extra strong, stainless steel hook.
         2)  It should be long enough (5" - 8") to attract big fish.
         3)  It should be tied in such a way that the material will not "foul" the hook.
         4)  It should have a good bait fish profile.
         5)  It should incorporate some flash material.
         6)  It should be slightly weighted and the head epoxied.  Some flies w/ extra weight.
         7)  It should cast easily with an 8wt or 9wt rod.