The Speckled Peacock Bass
Speckled Peacock Bass (Cichla temensis) are one of the world's hardest fighting fish, much in the same way as the largemouth bass is caught using similar methods. The speckled peacock bass is native to South America in the jungle rain forest rivers and seasonal lakes. Due to their size and popularity, they can now be found in North America through stocking efforts in south Florida and Texas. They are favoured for their table fare and willingness to take lures, strike hard and provide a strong and exciting fight.
Above: 28 pound record peacock bass caught in the rio Negro in Brazil by Bill Gassmann of Indianola, Iowa.
The Speckled Peacock Bass is also know by the names pavon cinchado, pavon pintado, pavon trucha and pavon venado in Spanish and tucunare-pavon in Portuguese. It was not introduced into Florida until 1985, long after the Blackstripe and Butterfly bass were introduced.
Pavon or Tucunare
The name "peacock bass" is a misnomer in many respects. it was a made up name for the United States for marketing purposes. However, in Spanish speaking countries, the fish is known as pavon or tucunare in Portuguese countries like Brazil. While four distinct species are generally recognized, some fish biologists suggest that a dozen or more varieties might actually exist throughout South America. And there is an abundance of large speckled peacock bass that sustains the sport fishery is susceptible to low rates of exploitation in this remote region of Brazil.
The Peacock Bass is not bass. They were given the name when it was introduced to Florida as part of a planned stocking programme. While it has some similarities in appearance and feeding habits to that of the largemouth bass, the speckled peacock bass is not a bass at all, or a sunfish as many bass are. It is from a completely different family.
Annoyingly, many Americans believe the fish to be a bass, but it is in fact a pavon transplanted from South America. The peacock name came from the eye spot on its tail. This eye spot is common to all varieties.
The speckled peacock bass is most popular in South America. The middle portion of the Rio Negro River in Brazil, near the equator, supports a popular recreational sport fishery based on the speckled peacock bass.
The Speckled Peacock Bass (Cichla temensis) and Spotted Peacock Bass are thought to be different species when in fact they are both the same species. The Speckled Peacock bass comes in a variety of colour variations. Some variations are based on the size of the fish while others and just genetic. More on this later in Features and Size.
The Speckled Peacock Bass is common in South America but was introduced to Florida in 1985. And while is has been reportedly stocked in other countries, research is not complete in this regard on the success rates.
However, as far as tourism goes, the speckled peacock bass brings in a lot of anglers from around the world eager to take on the Speckled Peacock Bass. And, while it has been introduced to other regions, the biggest and toughest fighting Speckled Peacocks are in South America. South America has the right temperature, the right food sources: all the ingredients to grow this fish big. The end result is millions of dollars spent on tourism in Brazil. If we add up all tourism dollars attributed to peacock bass fishing world wide, it is estimated to be in the low billions of dollars.