Malaysia Game Fish Species, Peacock Bass
MALAYSIA FRESHWATER GAME FISH SPECIES
Order : Perciformes
Family : Cichlidae
Species : Cichla ocellaris aka Butterfly Peacock Bass
IGFA All Tackle Record : 5.71kg @ 12lb 9oz , Chiguao River, Bolivar State, Venezuela in 2000
Prized game fish species in the South Americas, Peacock Bass has been one of the most favorite Freshwater Game Fish among lure fisherman and fly-fishing enthusiast. South America is their home country and their long family list has been exported in introduced in other parts of the world, including Malaysia.
Habitat wise, this fish inhabits in rapids and and quite water (ponds or lake) at a medium depth and among underwater structure. It feeds on small fish and other small creature that are available in its habitat. It was never regarded a good species for aquaculture due to its highly predatory habits. One important fact that this fish reproduced at face rate (2 month cycle) and can happen all year round, peaked during rainy season. Peacock Bass is one of the most sought after FW Game Fish Species in Malaysia. It is so famous that it creates a faction within lure fisherman enthusiast in the Malaysian market, who dedicated their hobby to just focused in Peacock Bass fishing. Locally known as “Ikan Raja”, a name worthy for its beautiful and vivid color scheme. It is covered in greenish body marked with either dark spot or stripe, and some species has with a bit of distinctive red belly and a buldge head. Certainly a “Peacock” in the fish realm.
Peacock Bass were introduced in Malaysia, mainly brought over for ornamental fish. During the 70’s, ornamental fish industry flourished and more non-native species were brought in to serve local demand. It accidentally or purposely find its way to natural lake or abandoned tin mine and become permanent inhabitant. The debate of this invasive species carries till this day, but one thing for sure it has now become part of a long list of Malaysia Game Fish Species. There are several species and hybrids of peacock bass in Malaysia but as for now it is safe to say that at least one dominant species ruled some part of Malaysia. The Butterfly Peacock Bass or Cichlia ocellaris. As mentioned early, due to its pure predator in nature and produces fast are some of their key advantage in taking over new habitat outside of their native ground.
Peacock bass distribution can be found mainly in the state of Perak. Tin mining were its main economy back then and now it is filled with a variety of species including Peacock Bass. Air Kuning, Kg Beng, Tasik Chenderoh and Puchong Prima (KL) are some of the best place to land your very own Peacock Bass trophy.
Soft or Hard, Your Choice..
There are many proven method to catch this beautiful fish. It can either be conventional or technical fishing method, all depends on the anglers preference. The conventional way of doing it is to use a live-bait or bait. Peacock bass feed on other small fish or FW Prawn that inhabits the pond or lake. A normal or predictable approach when we want to catch a top tier predator. Some may deemed it as un-challenging but it does the job, plus it is known to be effective catching bigger size Peacock Bass.
Fly-fishing is another favorite method. The common fly (Clouser) is proven to be effective not only in Malaysia but alsoo in central America and Americas. Again, Clouser resembles small fish or fish-fry, tapping it’s main diet is the main key to success. Actual size, coloration or design of this particular fly may varies but we have witness peacock bass slams a 7cm Clouser. To comment further on fly-fishing method of catching Peacock Bass from our experience can be inaccurate as we are not expert, but it is proven to be another proven method.
Like any other lure fishing species, Peacock Bass is the closest experience when anglers go out for Bass fishing. In our realm, fishing Peacock Bass with either Hard or Soft Lure is the main way to go. Top-water, Minnows, Crankbait, Soft Plastic, and the list goes on and on. The basic fundamental on lure fishing for Peacock Bass is to understand their diet, depth, color and location where they hang out. Mainly we can suggest lures like Yo-zuri 3DS Popper, Storm Flutter Stick and Lucky Craft Wander 60. The list carries on and minnow based either lip-less or with lip, this lures is the best choice. Even spoons, spinner bait and buzz bait works too. The selection is endless and through experience then we can shrink the selection.
Technically there is no permanent answer on what lure to use when we are aiming Peacock Bass. The basic form of lure to use is the “Clouser-Minnow” or micro Spoons. Through out Malaysia, it works effectively. One thing we like to highlight is the usage of Soft Plastic lure coupled with a different array of rigs. Some of the basic rigs, Carolina, Texas & Jika are effective in presenting the soft lure. Each rig has its purpose for a variety of situations and fishing condition. Its a whole new world as compared to the usage of Hard Lures.
Over the past year, we have gathered a lot of info from Peacock Bass enthusiast. We have better chance if we understand what, where, how and when they eat. We try to mimic our lure selection based on the information available through experience and current situation. As mentioned earlier, there is no definitive answer to this question. This, we believe whats make Peacock Bass fishing in Malaysia is the most challenging FW species.
Game Fish or Pest?
The ongoing debate, whether Peacock Bass is responsible for the diminishing number of native species. In fact they are labeled as one of the main culprit in the invasive species camp. We know that this Peacock Bass is highly reproductive, aggressive predator and adaptable in new home outside their native homeland. This whats makes it dangerous and destructive to native species. How destructive? Empirical evidence is needed to understand how destructive Peacock Bass is to the native ecosystem. There is long list of alien fish species in Malaysia and still we do not now which species is far dangerous when it is released to natural habitat. What we suggest is some control to the current population if Peacock Bass. Anglers can act as a central role to ensure the population is balance. We strictly suggest that this species is not introduced in new habitat to control further loss of our native species.
No matter what the view is, we have to admit that Peacock Bass does deserve to be one of Malaysia’s FW Game Fish. It was introduced tenth of years ago and looks like it is going to stay with us forever.