In September, Florian Kaiser caught a remarkable peacock bass at Rio Marié with Untamed Angling. His pursuit of a giant peacock bass (or GPB) was certainly fruitful, as he landed the largest peacock bass ever caught on the fly. This is his story.
The ULTIMATE JUNGLE BLAST – Fly Fishing in Brazil – September 2016
Catching a truly remarkable Giant Peacock Bass by Florian Kaiser
I was kind of distracted and took it very easy, several times switching between the fishing rod and the camera to take shots of the freshwater dolphins. As usual we changed the location several times to fish the various structures from lakes to lagoons to creek mouths. Eventually we fished a big lagoon with sunken trees providing the perfect holding water for the really big GPB. To that point it was a rather slow day, not many fish to the boat. I had changed my fly some time ago to a rather small white Deceiver with some grey/ blue sprinkled in that I must have tied several years ago for a saltwater trip. With this kind of fishing it is crucial that you are always focused on your fishing as you don’t want to spoil your low number of chances on a good fish. Thus either fish concentrated or make a break. I tried to keep my concentration as high as I could…
Fishing the mentioned self-tied fly on a 300 something grain sink-tip line, letting it sink for several seconds to get it close to the ground, I started a slow retrieve with some shorter quicker pulls mixed in to trigger a possible following fish…
Not at the bank but kind of close I got a solid hook up and an obviously decent fish was hooked. That was not one of those Butterfly Bass that explodes but a solid powerful mass of fish. With those bigger GPBs the immediate judgment of its weight is hard as their behavior can be highly different. Some burst and dart away over 15 meters, as a good fish on Breno’s fly did (+16,5lbs) or show limited strength and can be dominate quickly as my 23lbs GPB from the day before. The fish on my line was possibly stronger as it showed a lot of energy, in very close space between sunken trees the close shore and the boat moving boat in the upcoming wind gusts. To add thrill I got a knot in my line (it might have been a freshwater line, but the tendency of lines to tangle was not much less with specific warm water lines, this specific line was a Vision as it was the only available at a German mail-order shop a year ago), Agustin was able to solve that while I was holding and fighting the fish with the remaining line. The fish knew its territory and managed to wrap the line at least half around one of those trunks of a sunken tree which are the home of these fish. This obstacle was solved by me and the fish showed its full beauty for the first time on the surface. WOW! That was huge! The local guide tried to net it but as usual the fish got angry in face of the net and darted away. It was kind of nerve wrecking – this was not one of those 7lbs NZ SI trout that you would prefer to land but if not you might catch another one – this was a decent or even a very large GPB! Something thousands of fly fisher (and bait fisher) strive to catch for years. So all of us – especially Breno, to make me quit moaning about casting the whole day – really wanted to land it! The next attempt to net it did not succeed, I was afraid that the fly would loosen and just pop out. If that would happen the whole jungle would hear some very angry Bavarian swearing (normally I do not swear because of a lost fish, mostly I laugh heartedly about myself, but in that case I would make an exception). Again the netting attempt did not work but the fourth attempt succeeded! Fish on board and just there we saw its size and weight. The IGFA scale and measure showed the measurements: just shy of 13kg, thus around 28,5lbs and +90cm (on some pictures of the measurement it looks more like +93cm)!
Holy #&@%! – just about now we realized that this fish was not an “ordinary +20lbs GPB” but the most likely biggest Giant Peacock Bass ever caught on fly up to date!
No more words needed. The crew was excited, Breno was excited and lucky that I could not further complain about this “boring casting casting…” and I felled a total new feeling I never had with fishing: kind of sports like satisfaction. Thankful, speechless, …
One annotation to documenting and performing that fish: Everybody aware of the IGFA rules knows by my report that this was not an IGFA-conform World Record but most likely just the largest ever caught GPB on fly. With IGFA I would have needed to use a 20lbs class tippet (which is kind of crazy with these fish, as it might lengthen the fight unnecessarily and or might end in a breakoff) and nobody would have been allowed to touch any of my tackle during fight and the fish would have been measured out of the net on the measures. We did not do any extreme posing pictures, so the fish size is not over exaggerated, the pictures rather understate its size especially compared to my kind of tall size.
I am not a fisherman that needs or seeks attention as long as I am satisfied myself and had a good time out on the water. Thus I asked the team to not tell anything about it to the other guests. Celebrating the joy silently was the way. Only the locals spread the word and I got several thumbs up (real ones, not the virtual ones), nevertheless I later need to post something on social media to satisfy the business side of the game. No Champagne this evening and at the last evening either not.
Next day around lunch the word had spread and the Russians were kind of surprised to realize my record fish.
In case you consider booking your slot at Rio Marie, do not expect to catch record fish. If you are a decent and seasoned fisherman (that means casting 15-20 meters more or less a whole day and knowing what to do), you might have a high chance to catch a +20lbs GPB – but no guaranty!”. Fishing is special and might be kind of boring at times, but if you are in GPB-fly fishing and want to catch a big one of if you want to fish in one of the last virgin spots, Rio Marie is the very best place to go!
*GPB –Giant Peacock Bass
- Reel: Loop Speedrunner
- Line: Vision 300-350 Grain Sinking Tip
- Rod: Greys XF2 Saltwater #9 9′
- Fly: 3/0 small Deceiver in white/grey by Florian Kaiser
- Tippet: 40lbs level
– Florian Kaiser
CV/ Bio: Florian, fly fishing since twenty five years in the northern and southern hemisphere in fresh- and saltwater for many species. Enjoying outdoor sports, mountain biking, photography and good wine. Fly fishing is only one of his hobbies, but the one he kind of loves most. Florian is European Ambassador of Thomas & Thomas, Pro Staff of World Fly Angler (leading distributor of fly tackle and top line brands in Europe) and of Alfa Reels from Finland.