February 25, 2022
It would be newsworthy if a fly fisher caught an IGFA all-tackle record for peacock bass, but even more stunning if there was a quadruple catch—four people hooking four giant peacock bass together within minutes of each other—and one of them was a 91-centimeter catch-and-release length record. That’s just what happened in the fall of 2021 on the Rio Marié in Brazil when four anglers in two skiffs were fishing near each other in a large oxbow lagoon. Rodrigo Salles of Untamed Angling landed the huge bass, which was recently confirmed to be the IGFA all-tackle length record.
According to Salles, a storm was rolling in that morning and the fish went on a feeding frenzy. In the world of peacock bass fishing, a 20-pound fish is the Holy Grail everyone hopes for, but in this case they caught four 20-pound-plus peacock bass at nearly the same time, with double hookups in two boats. The fish lengths were 82, 82, 84, and 91 centimeters.
“They were very actively feeding in the mouth of an oxbow lagoon,” Salles said. “One skiff covered the upper part and the other the lower portion. We arrived and immediately saw big fish moving around, big wakes and some hunting fish. We mixed techniques with poppers and streamers.”
Salles landed the record bass using a Thomas & Thomas Exocett SS 350 rod paired with a Nautilus NV-G 8/9 and a Scientific Anglers Sonar Jungle Custom Tip fly line.
“That was a moment that will remain with us, and we experienced how the conservation efforts on the Marié River are working,” he said. “Rio Marié was named by the natives as ‘Rio de Gigantes’ for this reason.”
The four fly fishers caught 14 fish in total that morning from the lagoon before a storm brought down sheets of rain. Untamed Angling has worked with native groups and the government of Brazil since 2014 to protect 600 kilometers of the Rio Marié with catch-and-release, fly-fishing-only regulations for Cichla temensis, which is the largest species of peacock bass (there are many different species). According to Salles, the nearly eight years of protection has resulted in more trophy Cichla temensis than at any time in memory because they are no longer food fish. The river also has butterfly peacocks that grow up to about 8 or 9 pounds.
Click here to see a video of the experience.
“There are still lots of anglers in Brazil that think … the larger bass can only be caught on big artificial lures,” Salles added. “This will help demystify this idea.”