Amazon water levels essential factor for successful peacock bass angling

It took me some time to learn and even some failed fishing trips to the Amazon basin early on the beginning to really assimilate the concept. Why?  Simply because I failed to understand that nature, as the one I am enjoying now, in its purest form, has its own dynamics and logic. Certainly, it does not always coincide with your needs or expectations and certainly it does not adapt to them. It is rather the other way around.

A successful fishing trip to the Amazon basin can be measured in many ways, but the core of the trip is having fun, and fun is to fish as many peacocks as you can and catch them as big as they get. Having said that, the next question is what should I consider to maximize my chances of having fun.

Everyone I respect having some experience to share in this kind of sport-fishing coincides:

The key factor to a very successful peacock bass fishing trip to the Amazon basin is fishing with the adequate water levels.

 If the water levels are too high, water is in the jungle, and your peacocks are in the jungle too, feeding, meaning you won´t catch a thing.  If water levels are too low peacocks are inactive and seeking the deep to simply evade the predators.

Proof of how high the water levels reach off-season is the fact that the ants don´t build their nests at ground level, they build them on the tree branches. Actually one of my first stupid comments regarding the number of beehives …

Amazon Peacock Bass (paper 2): Dog - Cat reverse Amazon logic


Perfect morning, perfect weather, perfect lunch, perfect nap in a hammock listening to the real jungle noises. Our arms desperately needed some more rest. Moquim, our perceptive guide, after 4 intense days with us, could read our faces. When boarding the boat after our nap he humbly asked if we would like to experiment a variation in our strict Peacock regime. – “What are we talking about ? ” ,  was our instinctive answer. “Catfishing” , was the subdued response, almost whispered looking at the floor, knowing his guests where hardline fly- fishermen.

Now, that really poised a challenge to our most embedded creed. Looking at each other and seeing only a tired face, we had an automatic agreement without uttering a single word.  – “OK let´s go for it, but you will have to teach us all about it.“

Moquim´s broad smile shined as a beacon. -  “First thing you should think of,  is that you have to catch a dog for the cat.” With this statement, he started the motor and headed upriver. Things in the Amazon have their own logic, and in this particular challenge it seemed that we would have to apply the reverse logic of current affairs.

The Amazon Peacock Bass (paper 1): Fishing in hidden lagoons

Giant peacock bass

Small side-lagoon tactics for giant peacock bass fishing.

Water levels at the upper Itapará were just perfect and the weather could be described as fully tropical with at least two rain episodes during our fishing hours. The first two days had been very productive but we had only reached the 12lbs mark on three hits.

Over a nightcap, Alejandro, our experienced camp host, dropped the “hidden lagoon” teaser. Naturally our hunter/fisherman curiosity was aroused, but it took more than three Remy Martins to extract a hint from him, literally: “key to success is going counter-intuitive”. Cryptic to say the least.

Next morning before leaving camp, Alejandro instructed our guide Moquim to take us to a couple of hidden lagoons downriver. As the sun started to show behind the tree line we began our amazing trip.