Peacock Bass Experiences in Puerto Rico

peacock bass in Puerto RicoWhat I did on my summer vacation this July?  I accomplished one of my bucket list wishes worthy of talking about.  I went Peacock Bass fishing in Puerto Rico.

There are over eight impoundment’s scattered through Puerto Rico where peacock bass are considered the primary game fish. You should do better than 40 fish a day with high water. The average fish is from one to two pounds. The fresh water fishery in Puerto Rico is regulated. However, there is no fishing license and no minimum size (there is a nominal set of regulations), but still the fresh waters in Puerto Rico are under-fished and a great opportunity for the locals and visitors.

I fished, La Plata, which is about a 40 minute drive from San Juan and does possess good facilities for launching a boat (a necessity to fish mud laden impoundment’s and rivers in the island).  You can always get a row (or motor) boat from anyone residing by the impoundment, as most of the residents of the island speak English. All lakes in Puerto Rico are artificial; they were built for power generation and flood control. During the decade of the sixties, they were stocked with peacock bass (Ciclasoma Monoculus) from Colombia in South America. This particular variety of peacock bass mature early, reproduce prolifically, and grow to a maximum weight of 10 to 15 pounds (the record in PR, in Caonilla Lake, was 14 pounds). Several decades earlier the same impoundments were stocked with Congolese Tilapia. Of course, we know of the explosive strikes of the Tucunare (peacock bass) and of its aggressiveness.  Peacocks are aggressive eaters of Tilapia and other fresh water species.

I hired Captain Angel Campos with his 16’ Lowe Stinger bass boat at a cost equivalent of guides in CA.  He had good equipment and more importantly a 40 year reputation as the best guide for Peacock and Largemouth Bass in Puerto Rico.  I found Angel to be entertaining, well spoken, knowledgeable and experienced in fresh water fishing.  He has lived in Florida in the past, guiding fishermen just as his father before him.

You can contact Captain Angel Campos at  787 603 1974 Email: angelrcampos@hotmail.com

Anglers don’t have to travel all the way down to the Amazon jungle and spend more money and take unnecessary risks to catch Peacock Bass. There are several lakes in P.R with bass. Peacock bass Fishing in Puerto Rico were introduced in the island in 1960 and it is not unusual to catch 50 or more on a good day with some averaging in the six to fifteen pounds. The stocking has been a huge success since the climate in the Caribbean is exactly the same as in the Amazon basin. There are some other countries that peacock bass have been stocked but the problem is when the temperature drops below the 70s the bite dies and so do the fish. Not so for Puerto Rico which stays warm all year long.

There are other warm water species on the island to offer the visiting fisherman. Puerto Rico has good size largemouth bass for those who like to venture out early in the morning or later in the afternoon seeking this particular game. Redear sunfish (locals call Red Devils)  up to a pound share with the tilapia the shaded areas close to vegetation.

So if you have the opportunity I suggest you drop in on the Puerto Rico Island for relaxation and one of the best bucket list items you can imagine if you are a bass fisherman.

Howard Swarts is an amateur bass fisherman who lives in Davis CA  and a member of the Folsom Bass Team.

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