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Well, the trip was kind of a bust. I had some work in Puerto Rico and combined a guided trip on one of the inland lakes to fly fish for butterfly peacock bass, a smaller member of the peacock bass family. The guide was nice and knowledgeable. He picked me up at the hotel about 5:45am in San Juan. We stopped for breakfast then made it to the lake to launch in a small canal.

I started with a chartreuse clouser and connected on a small rainbow bass right away. After many more casts and no luck, I switched to an un-weighted streamer from my guide and landed my first small peacock quickly thereafter. I did a TON of casting with not much to show for it. I managed 3 small peacocks, 3 rainbow bass, & 1 tilapia. I had a couple of follows from red devils but never got a strike, which the guide said was very rare, they always catch a bunch of them.

I was hoping for at least 10-15 peacocks and at least one over 5lbs. Didn't happen. He said it was a very slow day. The high water and wind made it difficult and we were blocked to a portion of the lake by drifted lilies. I probably had around 10 follows that I should have had, with a few missed strikes and maybe a couple of 4-5lb fish missed. The lake was not remote and appeared to be heavily pressured. Also, my casting skills could have contributed, especially in tough conditions. You needed to make fairly long casts with pinpoint accuracy to get the fly right at the bank or at a log, then immediately start stripping back. If you let the fly sink at all, any fish there won't hit it and the spot is ruined. Also, if you don't get it right on their heads, they won't come out and chase it. A few hooked logs and lilies probably ruined a few promising spots also.

I did make quite a few good casts but it wasn't enough. I got pretty tired after a while since I haven't been fly casting this winter (the heat didn't help), and made too many sloppy casts. Also, I found out about half way through that a loop knot was putting too much movement on the fly. I didn't think it made that much difference and would be good for streamers but the guide said it causes missed strikes on non-aggressive fish. I switched to a straight improved clinch and hooked up immediately.

We called it quits around 1pm. The guide did take me to a small roadside eatery for some incredible roasted chicken, beans, rice, yam, & yucca. Best part of the trip probably.

Next time I go down, I might try tarpon instead.

Gear was an 8wt Sage Response, Lamson Konic reel, & Rio saltwater intermediate sink line.

(Not a great pic of the rainbow bass)




 

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Very cool! Even though it was tough fishing, I'm jealous! That "rainbow bass" is more commonly known as a jaguar cichlid, parachromis managuenses. One of my favorite aquarium fish. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So I see that it isn't a rainbow bass. That would be a different species. Thanks for clarifying. I wish I would have got a better picture of it. I actually thought they were cooler than the peacocks.
 
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