The Butterfly Peacock is a freshwater fish that is considered to be one of the strongest pound for pound fighters in the world. Like the Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, these fish strike hard and are a pleasure for fishing. Despite their name these fish are actually Cichlids, not Bass, and are just one of the several species of Peacock Bass.
Its shape and large size cause many observers to mistake it for a type of bass fish, but it is in fact just a very large and colorful cichlid fish. It presents an olive-green body color which transitions into a yellow-white belly and is marked on the body and back by black blotches and stripes. But it's the distinctive ocellus or 'eye spot' seen on the tail fin that commands the most attention and that gives this fish its name. They have 3 distinct, short vertical bars, abdominal bar and ocellated blotch in rearmost bar. Reproductively active specimens show intensified coloration, otherwise coloration fairly consistent between individuals. Adult size can go from 200mm up to about 500mm (20 inches).
If fishing for the smaller Butterfly Peacock species you can use fairly light spinning or baitcast tackle. For the large ones in the Amazon 30lb braided line should suffice but if you are casting large lures you might want a thicker braid for insurance. Butterfly Peacock are caught on both lures and bait, although in the Amazon they are primarily fished with lures. One of the most popular sportfish, available to both boat and bank anglers using the same basic tackle as Largemouth Bass anglers; small shiners are the preferred live bait; rarely take plastic worms like largemouth bass do, but top-water lures, minnow imitating crank and jerk baits, and marabou jigs are popular artificial baits; streamers, epoxy minnows and pencil poppers are favorites of fly fishers.
It is native to the Marowijne and Essequibo drainages in the Guianas, and the Branco River in Brazil. It has also been introduced to regions outside its natural range (Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico), but some uncertainty exists over the exact identity, and at least some of the introductions may involve another Cichla species or hybrids.