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The peacock bass has emerged in recent years as a favorite among travelling anglers. Actually, there are three species of peacocks namely, the speckled, royal and butterfly. Of these, despite what you may have read elsewhere, the largest is the speckled, with the very biggest examples (20 pounds or more) commonly called "barred."

In appearance and habits, all three species are reminiscent of largemouth bass. They have the large, rough mouth, the girth and the powerful tail of the largemouth, plus they inhabit both moving and still water where they love to ambush prey from the security of cover. Clusters of boulders, timber strewn banks and other varieties of structure comprise their favored lairs.

Quiet stalks in combination with long, precise casts, with either surface patterns or sunk streamers, are the common tack of flyrodders who pursue peacocks successfully. Once hooked, peacocks turn, leap and dive for cover, requiring No. 8 rods and stout leaders to control their antics. Shock tippets are a must to deal with their abrasive mouths.

Pavon (as peacocks are known in Latin America) are available in Colombia at El Morichal, which is located in eastern Colombia on the Bita River, which drains into the Orinoco. Charter flight time from Bogota, Colombia, to Puerto Carreno is 2 1/2 hours, followed by a l 1/2 hour drive to the lodge. The season here runs from January to April. The fishing is on moving water and is conducted from 30 foot dugout canoes with 25 h.p. outboards. A few spots are accessed by vehicle. Accommodations are bungalow style with overhead fans. IGFA records indicate the trophy potential of these waters is considerable.

Based on double occupancy and shared guide, a seven night, five fishing day package here is $2,450. That includes overnights in Bogota, round trip air charter to Puerto Carreno, transfers, lodging and meals. Call Al Schaeffer at PanAngling (*) for more information. John Jenkins.

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