When my guide for the week, Raphael Valenzuela, looked at the Luhr-Jensen “Wood Chopper” that I proudly removed from my tackle bag, he shook his head and pointing to my lure he declared, “This is a problem”.
After my thorough research, I was not mentally prepared to be rebuffed, upon pulling out what I was sure was the best lure to use. Baffled, I watched as he produced a Leatherman and promptly removed the front propeller. After reassembling it, he tied it onto my waiting Ripcord, and handed it back with words of approval and encouragement, “no problem now”.
I wasn’t too happy about having my fine, new lure altered, however, after a few retrievals under his tutelage, I realized why the front propeller was a problem – with this particular technique. When fishing for peacocks, the more noise you make the better it works. Violent jerks of the lure produce tremendous amounts of splashing, which in turn produce explosive surface strikes in short order. When you pull the Wood Chopper hard, it sometimes overruns the line, which becomes entangled in the front hook.
With the standard front propeller in place, it would have taken excessive amounts of time to keep it untangled. As it was, on the average of one-in-ten casts, the lure had to be adjusted for hooks that became ensnarled with each other, or the line. The trade-off for the extra work, was some very exciting surface action.
My guide Raphael Valenzuela displays one of my better fish.
The downside, after a couple of long days of casting and jerking, was knots between my shoulder blades and a tender wrist. With some modification to the way I was holding the rod, and jerking the bait, that problem went away. These baits can also be worked with a “walk the dog” action similar to that used with a Zara Spook, which is much easier on the back muscles. A combination of the two is a good compromise. You’ve got to give it a pretty good rip to get their attention, then a little “walking” varies the muscle strain. Just remember, mas action, mas strikes!
The has double rear propellers, instead of singles on each end, like the chopper. It has excellent action, and produces good results as well. You’ll be fishing the edges of grass-lines, that collar the many islands punctuating the landscape. The most productive spots are points of the islands, where the banks fall off in ridges leading to deeper water. Don’t get into a tunnel vision situation, and focus totally on the grass-lines, especially if the action is slow. Standing and submerged timber, away from the islands, is also an excellent option. Don’t leave these caches unexplored. I caught as many bass around timber as I did along the grass-lines. Using two rods, rigged with diverse baits, you can alternate between grass casts and timber doodling.
Peacocks telegraph their presence with plenty of surface action, when they are feeding or running off trespassers. When fish strike on the surface, you need to be on it like a moth on a porch light. Wind up quickly and move to within casting distance, while their aggressive mood is primed. The percentage of strikes in the area of an active fish is 95% or better. These fish don’t hesitate or half step.
Rod and reel selections are critical elements of your success. Lake Guri produces large numbers of fish in excess of 10 pounds, and 10 pounds of peacock is rougher than a tandem hook-up of equally sized largemouth. If you are also going to go after the payara, don’t even consider taking a light-weight reel. You’ll come back with a sack full of parts.
I took two stout rods with a lot of backbone. Keep in mind these fish punch out of their weight class and gear up accordingly.