The bus barreled down the road, we passed the miltary base and kept going, I could see the river!
10 minutes later the bus stopped in front of the Hotel Tropical, a beautiful tourist resort located on the Rio Negro. I got off and walked, with my conspicuous rod case, to the river. It was a weekday and the water was calm so I decided to put on my popper. I had heard that peacock bass had been biting around this point last friday and I really wanted to hook into one.
I fished my little Rapala Skitter-Pop as close as I dared to the half submerged trees, near the walls, and out in the open. No bites for an hour. I cast to some trees, twitched it twice and turned my back on it for a few seconds to look for a spot where I could sit. I heard a large splash and looked back just in time to see the popper dissappear. I set the hook and the lure flew at my face. I took several deep breaths. If I missed this cast and hung it up in some trees the fish might spook. I cast very carefully a few feet over the last blow up. I popped it once and BAM!!! I set the hook, FISH ON! Line was flying of my reel so fast it wasnt even funny. I set the drag higher but by then, I noticed that a tree branch was twitching when I pulled. I knew what that meant. The fish was an expert and had tied itself a round a branch. I gave it a few seconds until I felt the tug on my line. I yanked back and dragged it away from the brush. Then it took things aerial. The first jump was spectacular, close to two feet high. But it kept on jumping. after the third time it took things deeper. I fought it back to the surface where it turned on its side. I was on the wall and while I was making it down to the steps that led to the water. I let the line slack. Then it touched a rock and for one last time sped away. The poor little skitter-pop floated to the surface. The peacock bass had had the last trick.
I almost cried. It would have been my largest peacock bass ever at around 21-23 inches and probably close to 3 pounds. It was also the first of that species that I had ever caught. I wasn’t very happy. It could have been worse, though. As it was, I had fought the good fight and had almost conquered it and even if I had caught it and tried to bring it home alive,it probably would have died since I had to go by bus and it would have used up all of the oxygen in the bag at that size. It was a Tucunaré (pronounced Two-coo-na-ré, the r is hard) paca. Cichla temensis or C. orinocensis (I didnt get a good enough look at it.) The body was dark brown and it had yellowish spots all over it.
It looked like the fish in this link and was about the same size