These are some of the things we saw and did while fishing for peacock
bass on the Nanay River. I wish I could show you the pink river dolphins,
the strangler fig, the red spotted green discus, the big fish that got

We began our adventure expedition in the riverboat, Dawn on the
Amazon at the confluence of the Nanay and the Amazon River, departing
Iquitos, Peru, at first light. We motored upstream past Padre Cocha,
home of the wonderful Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm we had visited the day
before. Past Santo Tomas, the Iquitos waterworks, Llanchama, the
Allpahuayo-Mishana Reserve, and eventually the village of Santa Maria,
last outpost of civilization. In Santa Maria the electrical generator is
turned on at 7:00 p.m. and turned off at 10:00 p.m. The beer is always
skunked. Very few people live in the jungle upstream of Santa Maria.

As we fished our way upstream it was as if we were going back in time
to a way of life that disappeared in most of the world over one hundred
years ago. We were sport fishing, everyone else was survival fishing.
Four days, and three hundred kilometers later, we realized we were sport
fishing for survival, living on what we caught.

Over the course of time, as the Nanay River meandered through the
rainforest for thousands of years, many of the ox-bow bends were cut
from the original stream bed by the annual floods. These natural banana
shaped lakes are called cochas. It is in the black tannic acid water of the
cochas, that we sought  the holy grail of sport fishing, the peacock bass.

In a lifetime of fishing, only a few days stand out from all the rest as
distinctly memorable. One of those days occurred on this voyage. I only
caught three peacock bass that day, but fought several big, fierce,
toothy fazaco for hours. I caught five of the largest fazaco I have ever
caught, on six consecutive casts during part of the feeding frenzy. I was
exhausted…the fishing was so great we decided to stay and fish that
cocha again the next day and never got a bite.

Our catch for the trip was 140 peacock bass, but we lost count of the
fazaco, black piranha, pike cichlid, acarahuasú, and other species. I am
guessing they totaled two or three times the number of peacocks. The
most productive lures were spinner baits, in line spinners, and Excalibur’s
Pop’n-Image, in that order. We fished the Pop’n Image hard in two
colors. The blue shade caught fish, the green shade never caught one.

As always the peacock bass relates to cover. Find submerged timber in
the shade, and make several casts around it. Spinner baits are good to
search the thick cover with because they do not get hung up very often
and can be fished faster than many lures. One way to catch peacock bass
is to find where they are feeding. Listen for their distinctive splashing
sounds and watch for them to follow your lure back to the canoe. Once
you find fish, slow down, make more casts, try different lures. Start out
slow and quiet. If that does not work switch to a popper, chugger, rattle,
or propeller bait. The native fishermen slap the water with their poles or
paddles before they give up on a place. When in Rome, do as the

Peacock Bass Fishing
I’ve fished the seven seas, and caught fish on five continents. In all my
experience, inch for inch and pound for pound, the peacock bass is the
hardest fighting fresh water fish I have ever encountered. I also believe
the peacock bass is one of the smartest and most difficult species of fish
to catch, as I will attempt to document in future installments of the
Captain’s Blog.
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Peacock Bass Fishing

Edson with peacock bass
fishing from Dawn on the Amazon I
Edson with peacock bass