Welcome to part 3 of Bob’s fishing adventure in Malaysia. Bob is off to catch his first peacock bass ever. At least that’s the plan.
We love peacock bass fishing as they fight hard and they are ugly, yet somehow, beautiful. There are however some things to remember and techniques that need to be deployed to catch them on a consistence basis.
The first thing is to go find them!
We left Subang Jaya early in the morning and stopped by an eatery named Pun Chun at Bidor town for some white coffee and herbal duck drumstick noodle. This breakfast stop appears to be developing into a pattern every time we go north for some fishing.
The first pond we fished at is to be promising as it is a privately owned pond (the owner doesn’t use it for anything though) and we have not been fishing it for months. This spot produced many peacock bass the last trip out with some respectable sized fish. After getting clearance from the owner to fish this decently large pond we set off to look for our South American ‘migrants’.
No weed – no peacock bass
The very first thing we noticed is the lack of weeds in and around the pond. You see, the peacock bass prefers to lurk under heavy cover much like the largemouth/smallmouth bass. Since the ponds and lakes around here are mostly made out of disused tin mining ponds, there are not many submerged trees and such. Instead, the peacock bass looks for, and hide in thick weeds that are hydrilla.
While working the edges we did a slow drift looking for weeds. None was to be found which was quite strange. The next best places are lily pads but there are no many either.
Steam must be coming off our heads both from the intense afternoon sun and the lack of peacock bass action.
After some discussions we decided to take a break to cool down and also move to another pond. I was against the idea of fishing a particular pond not far from where we are even though it produced a couple of big peacocks for my American guests, Joe and Jackie, back then.
It was just gut feel and a hunch that we should instead, try another pond further away. Bob and I went for some cool drinks at a small sleepy town. We went back to the boat at around 3pm giving us limited time to catch some peacocks.
In a matter of minutes after we resumed fishing it would appear we have made the right choice as we started catching our target species. There were some smallish fish but overall those caught were quite decent.
Finding and luring peacock bass
Casting speed and accuracy helps when fishing amongst heavy cover for peacock bass. Peacock bass like to stay deep under the thick hydrilla weeds and when there are no surface activity to be seen, deep down is where you want to put your lure.
Let your lure sink all the way down and start a jerk-jerk and drop routine. Not unlike saltwater jigging, actually. Your lure will snag some weeds often times and when that happens just give it a quick hard jerk. It will come loose most of the time. You may loose some lures but if your lure is not getting snagged, it is not at the the strike zone. If it is not in the strike zone – your chances of catching fish are slim. That’s something you have to keep in mind.
There will be times when you can see peacock bass attacking bait. Again usually on top of, or near weeds. That’s when you have to send your lure in quickly.
Sometimes they are at places we simply cannot put a lure at. What we do then is to cast lures into the open area but as close as possible to the action. Many a times the peacocks, with their inbuilt aggressive behaviour, will come out to inspect and hopefully strike on our lures.
On this day that was exactly the scenario where we spotted some peacocks attacking bait deep behind weeds, on the surface but under the canopy of a tree.
We made repeated casts as close as we could get to them. Things suddenly went quiet but we continued casting as the peacocks could be coming out to check out the commotion our lures were making.
On one cast the Yo-Zuri Altima spoon was taken during the drop. The line went tight and the fish that connected to it put up a better fight than the ones caught before. I knew it is a bigger fish but didn’t know how much better. As the fish came nearer to the boat it put up even more resistance. The Abu Garcia Vengeance rod bent beautifully and the Daiwa Exceler-X started spewing the 8-pound Berkley Vanish Transition it was spooled with as the fish tried to get into the cover.
Out came a beautiful 47cm (weighing exactly 2kg on the scale) peacock bass a bit later and we were ecstatic to see this fish after a mostly challenging day!
The fish was released after a few quick photos like every other fish that we caught today.
Nobody was keeping count but the roughly 3 hours we had on the second spot produced between ten to fifteen peacock bass between the three of us. Not to shabby. And a huge relief!
- Rod: Abu Garcia Vengeance VNGS662-4 ML 1/8-1/2 oz lure. 6-10lb line
- Line: Berkley Vanish Transition Fluorocarbon 8 lb (mainline tied straight to lure with no leader)
- Reel: Daiwa Exceler-X
- Most productive lures: Spoons and jigs