Tucunare - Peacock bass
Text from a Brazilian Angling Publication (unedited)
Popular name: TUCUNARE (Peacock Bass)
Scientific name: Cichla spp. CICHLIDAE
Description: Those who fish for the Tucunare (Peacock bass) and frequently visit the Amazon region rivers distinguish at least 8 different kinds, as for the color pattern and maximum size stripes, such as the Tucunare-Acu, Paca, Pitanga, Pretinho, Vermelho, Azul, Amarelinho and a variety with 6 vertical black bars, found in the Araguaia river, Currently the Tucunare is found in other parts of the world where it was introduced such as Venezuela, Panama and the United States (Florida and Hawaii). These are fish that can be 1.20m (3.9 ft) long and weigh up to 15 to 16 kg (33 to 35 lbs) [as the Tucunare-Acu]
Habitat and Behavior: Native of the Amazon rivers, they are currently recognized as four species; Cichla ocelaris, C. temensis, C. orinocensis, and C. monoculas. They preferably inhabit the marginal lagoons during the dry season and the flooded forest [igapo] during the flood season. In the lagoons they swim in the marginal areas in the early morning and at the end of the day. When the sun is at its height, they go to the middle of the lagoons, area many times taken by the Corvinas. In rivers without lagoons, the Tucunare protect themselves from the current water behind rock obstacles and wood sticks. They are not keen on fast flowing water.
Equipment: The equipment used to fish the Tucunare is the medium and medium/heavy action rods with 17, 20, 25 and 30 lb lines. The use of a special shock leader with a 0.60 to 0.70 mm (0.023 to 0.027 in) thick line is recommended to avoid losing the fish among the wood sticks. It is a great fighter also in fly fishing, where the streamers and the poppers are the best lures demanding even more expertise from the angler given the higher flexibility of the set which should be from number 6 to 10, depending on the size of the fish. With natural lures, it is essential that the fishing float be used. The hook could be from 2/0 to 4/0 without rigs.
Baits: Predators per excellence, they feed on shrimps and fish that hunt in the ambush system or active chasing. Of general food habit, it has no preference for the kind of fish that make up its prey, feeding on whatever is at its mouth reach. Given such features, associated with an enormous voracity, since the need to be constantly feeding, fishing for it is quite exciting, particularly when fishing with artificial lures. Virtually any artificial lure can entice the Tucunare (Peacock bass), but the surface plug bait fishing is the most exciting of all given the leaps they give in order to catch the little fish. When they "explode" on the surface, adrenaline goes up high and the angler has to be terribly swift to prevent the fish from seeking for the snag, which most times implies loss of the fish. The artificial lure mostly used for fishing for the Tucunare (Peacock bass) are the surface and the shallow running plugs, the spinnerbaits, jigs spinners, spoons, and even foil paper or pieces of red or white cloth.
Tips: The Tucunare (Peacock bass) will be chosen as the symbol for the sportlike fishing in Brazil. The Indians and caboclos of the Amazon region used to fish for the Tucunare with artificial lures before this kind of fishing was propagated in Brazil. Tied to a thin rope, the lure made of red feather is dragged by the canoe or tied to a long rod with about 1.5 meter (4.9) of "line" which passes on the water surface. This fishing system is known as Pinda-Siririca. Although natural lures are little used, the results are excellent. Small live fish attached to a line and a fishing float set can be used as lures, cast at the banks, close to branches and rocks.