Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Sandbars & Saddles
Two structural features that are almost always productive for big peacock bass are sandbars and saddles. Sandbars, particularly those
back inside lagoons, are very productive for big Amazon peacock if they offer a sharp gradient to deep water. Look for the quick drop and fish the darker water at the
point where the visibility seems to disappear.
The biggest fish seem to hold at that "breakline" where the angler can no longer see the bottom. In most South American waters, that
will be at 3 to 4 feet. As an example, avid angler and frequent visitor to Brazil Lance Callero helfs one of his prize catches taken just off a sandbar point.. Other
sandbar areas in rivers are especially good during low waters and when they block significant current. Those with irregular bottom nearby and/or deep water (four feet or
more) adjacent will be most productive for giant peacock bass.
"My wife Linda and I get out of
the boat and wade the shallow sandbars," notes Bill Fuchs, a PBA Supporting Member and co-owner of Wilderness Adventures. "We spend 50% of each day walking the sandy
shore and dry river beds into remote waters the average angler would pass up. If the river is at the right level (low enough to show a dry, sandy
bank) we walk past where other anglers would stop fishing and find lots of hungry fish that have not seen a lure in a while, if ever."
"We use this exploratory method of fishing to improve on our angling success, both in numbers as well as big fish," he
continues. "This past February in a single day of fishing, Linda and I caught and released 168 peacocks all on top
water using the Jumpin Minnow! We had 15 teeners and 3 were over 22 pounds. The smaller lure will not spook big fish when it lands in skinny water off the sandbar.
If you take the time to walk into remote areas and fish those sandbars, you'll discover the sights, sounds and fishing
to be the best the Amazon has to offer. And there are plenty of things to see while walking the sandbars and
exploring the area. Check out this photo of Linda with the big peacock bass beds which indicates that "jumbo" fish have been in this area.
Wade Fish The Saddles!
Saddles, or those shallow, narrow underwater bars that run between a point and an island, can also be peacock bass gold mines. Too
often, they are fished in a hurry by most anglers and guides. Everyone fishes the cuts into the lagoons and the points, but the
saddles, particularly those in small bodies of water can offer great fishing for "teeners" if they have two ingredients: depth on both sides
of the submerged bar and black water.
I remember one saddle in a lake off Brazil's Rio Trombetas where I caught a 12 3/4-pounder, a 14-pounder and two smaller peacocks in
about a dozen casts. I also lost two other huge fish, and my partner caught two double-digit peacocks while fishing beside me. The best
way to fish both sides of that saddle was to wade the two-foot deep sandy bar. So, we got out of our boat and slowly wade-fished,
casting to the deep and retrieving our baits back to the saddle. The sandy saddle would also have been an ideal spot for flycasting; the
waters were relatively clear of weeds and other aquatic vegetation. We tossed giant jerkbaits (minnowbaits), Super Traps and big topwater plugs to entice the fast action.
Peacock tend to hang out just off of these saddles waiting for small baitfish to either inadvertently swim into the
depths there or to be pushed from the other side over the bar and into their adjacent deep water by predators in the
opposite side depths. I repeated this tactic at that same spot the following day and again caught and released
additional teeners. Don't pass up the saddle or the sandbars ... or just make a few casts from the boat to check it out!
Editor's Note: Tips reprinted with permission from PBA's "The World of Peacock Bass" monthly eZine.