Peacock Bass

Peacock Bass is the common English name for a group of related species of tropical, freshwater fish.   There are many common names for these fish in Brazil, the country of the largest native region.  Tucunare' (too-coo-nah-REH) is the most popular name.   In Spanish, the common name for these fish is pavon (pah-VON).

In spite of its name, the peacock bass is not actually a member of the bass family.  Peacock bass belong to a family of fish known as “cichlids” (tropical fish).   Although there are 15 known species of peacock bass, the three most common is the “butterfly” (Cichla ocellaris), the “royal” (Cichla intermedia) and the “speckled” (Cichla temensis).  Of these, the speckled peacock is the largest species, and can grow to weigh 30 pounds.  The royal
peacock is the smallest and will grow to 7 pounds, and the butterfly is one of the most colorful and more plentiful species.  Physical traits vary greatly, depending on species, individual fish and stage of development; however, most fish display three wide vertical stripes on their bodies and a black circular spot trimmed in gold on the tail fin.  This feature, which resembles the eye on a peacock’s tail feathers, is responsible for their English common name.  Other physical traits include: dark rosettes instead of stripes, light speckles and impressive shades of bright green, orange, blue and gold.  In addition, all adult males have a pronounced hump on their foreheads commonly referred to as a “spawning hump”.

The pending IGFA all tackle world record is a 30 lb. 13 oz. (14kg) speckled peacock caught in 2017 on a tributary of the Rio Negro.    The current IGFA fly fishing world record in the 20 lb. line class is 25.8 lbs. caught in 1992.  In September 2016, a German fly fisherman hooked and eventually landed a 28.5 lb. peacock bass on his 9wt fly rod.  Unfortunately, it will not qualify for a world record, because he had help landing the fish.  Until you have fished for these “tackle busting” giants you cannot appreciate the skill and luck involved in landing a fish that size.  Peacock bass, considerably smaller than these world records, will straighten hooks and brake rods, reels and line in a heartbeat.  To be that successful, the “fishing gods” have to be smiling on you that day.