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Size Really Matters Peacock Bass When it comes to
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN small peacock bass and the mega- models found in a few places like the Marié is like the difference between Joe Louis and Jerry Lewis. The fact is these really aren’t bass at all. They’re cichlids. Unlike largemouth bass, the bigger peacock bass get, the harder and better they fight.
There are more than 15 species of peacock bass (Cichla genus) in South America. The largest and most powerful is the Cichla Temensis. These fish can reach up to 30 pounds, and are found in the entire Rio Negro Basin. There are two distinct color phases for the Temensis. Some are speckled (Paca in Brazil) during non-spawning cycles, and become barred with three vertical black stripes as their spawning phase develops. All have the spot on their tail, which is thought to deter and confuse predators. The color- changing process is gradual and differences are breathtaking. Each fish has a unique marking on their gill plate that is as individual as a fingerprint. Temensis are extremely territorial and will stay for weeks in the same nest- ing area, protecting their hatch like a mean dog with a bone.
Peacock bass over 10 pounds are uncommon and considered large. Fifteen pounders are true trophies, and anything approaching 20 pounds is considered a giant.
The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) has conducted numerous biological studies in nearly every river in the Brazilian Amazon and published studies indicating the Rio Marié holds at least twice the quantity of trophy-sized peacock bass compared with any other river in the Rio Negro basin and a larger percentage of giant peacocks than any other river in the Amazon(or the world).
The average size of Temensis on the Marié is over 10 pounds, and the number of fish recorded over 15 is shocking. If that’s not good enough, the number of peacocks weighing over 20 pounds is nearly twice that of any other river ever studied.
Consider then, the importance to our sport of Brazil’s designation of the entire, 497 mile-long Rio Marié (plus hundreds of miles of tributaries): It’s the largest single infusion of catch-and-release, fly fishing only water in angling history.

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