Fly Lines

I use two fly lines when fishing for peacock bass.  I use a weight forward, floating fly line for surface flies (poppers & divers), and when the water levels are normal (4' - 6').  Peacock bass are not "bottom feeders", and are looking up for their next meal.  A slightly weighted fly, fished on floating fly line, will sink approximately 6" to 12".  I fished with only a floating fly line for years, and had great success.  My second fly line of choice is a tropical, sink-tip line.  I started using a sink-tip fly line 10 years ago, and under certain conditions, it has become a valuable asset.  As I mentioned in the "Home Page" section of this web site, high water necessitates a different strategy.  A sink-tip fly line (with a sinking section of 15'), and a heavier weighted fly, could salvage a trip in less than perfect conditions.  Since high water in the tropics has become the "rule" rather than the "exception", it is prudent to come prepared.I find this line easy to cast, and the short sink-tip is a big plus in getting your fly down in the water column.  Most lines that are not made for the tropics will go limp and tangle badly in the tropical heat.  Several companies offer specialty "tropical" fly lines that are coated to withstand the high temperatures of the tropics.  

In addition to peacock bass, I also fish for Northern Pike in the summer and bull reds in the fall and winter.  The 9wt set-up that I prefer is a combination of a stiff fly rod and an oversized fly line.  Example:  A standard 9wt fly line weighs 240g - 250g.  The 9wt fly line that I use weighs 375g.  The oversized fly line loads the stiff fly rod "deeply", and allows me to cast bigger flies greater distances without excessive false casts.  Remember that 28.5 pound peacock caught in September 2016?  It was caught on a 9wt rod with a 350g sink-tip fly line.  This combination of fly rod and fly line may not be right for everyone, however, I encourage you to give it a try.    

Having different fly lines set up on different reels will allow you to quickly adjust to different situations and conditions. I my opinion, there is no need to use full sinking lines.  They are a lot of work and will wear you out in the tropical heat.  Try different fly lines before you go on your trip so that you will have confidence in the fly lines that you take. 

It doesn’t take long for your fly line to get dirty and sticky.  Clean it on the water every couple of hours for better casting results.  There are some new products available that allow you to spray your fly line while it is on the reel.  I have used this in the past and it worked great.

Leaders & Tippet:

Peacock bass are not leader shy.  They are too busy trying to destroy your fly; therefore, regular mono filament leaders will work fine.  However, I prefer to use fluorocarbon material for the sink factor.  On my floating fly line I use a 9’ mono leader.  The butt section is 4’ of 50 pound, the middle section is 3’ of 40 pound and the tippet section is 2' of 30 pound.  If you prefer, you could build a tarpon type leader and tie in a 15” piece of 20 pound for a “class” section and then use 30 pound as a shock tippet. On my sink-tip fly line I use a fluorocarbon  leader that is only 5 1/2' long.  I use 3 1/2' of 50 pound and 2’ of 30 pound.  The sink-tip fly line plus the short leader will enable the fly to sink more uniformly.  It is not necessary to use wire in your leader, but big peacocks have a “raspy” mouth so check your tippet section often for abrasions and cuts.  My personal preference is to use an Albright knot to join the sections together (see the video section).  In a perfect world you should never have to change out your leader.  Just bring a roll of tippet material and keep adding to your leader as you need it.