The Spotted Peacock Bass (Cichla temensis) is a highly desirable game fish well-known for its aggressive strikes and strong fights. Like other peacock bass, the spotted peacock bass is not actually a bass at all. The bass name was given to the Butterfly Peacock Bass when it was imported to Florida from South America in the 1950s.
Above: Scientific classification
In South America, where it is native, the Butterfly Peacock Bass is known as pavon instead of bass. While it may resemble the largemouth in shape and form, it is a far different fish and angling techniques are different.
For one, it sleeps at night and can only be caught during the day with the best fishing hours when direct sunlight is on them. Moreover, sunlight plays a major role in their life, governing spawning, feeding habits and growth.
The Spotted Peacock Bass is considered the same species as the Speckled Peacock Bass even though it has a very different colour pattern. While the spotted bass was previously considered a different subspecies of the Peacock Bass, it has since been classified as the same species as the Speckled Peacock Bass, and as a result, we keep it as a separate fish at BassFishing Gurus.com. This is the only peacock bass that has spots on its head and tail and is considerably different in appearance to any other peacock bass.
The Spotted Peacock is a subspecies of the Cichlidae family and Cichlids and are a tropical fish that are native throughout Africa and South America, though many subspecies have been introduced to the United States, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Malaysia, Panama, Singapore, Guam, Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the United States Virgin Islands. They are commonly called tucunare in Brazil and Peru, pavon in other Spanish speaking and bass in North America.
Spotted Peacock Bass have several qualities that make them an ideal angling target. For one, they are very territorial and aggressively defend their territory including their fertilised eggs and the young fry up to an age of ten weeks. As they are so territorial, ideal baits and lures are not as important to get strikes as the placement and movement of the lure. Live baits are successful and will generate higher probabilities of landing a lunker, however, playing on their territorial instincts is more strategic.
The Spotted Peacock Bass, Cinchado in Spanish, has an unmistakable mottle patch directly behind the eyes and four horizontal dotted lines on both sides that tend to disappear when the fish gets over 20 inches. As the dotted lines disappear, three wide vertical black lines will appear on both sides. The spotted bas is also one of the largest Spotted Peacock Basses or Pavons as they can reach 20 pounds.
Above: spots behind the spotted peacock's eye
Above: speckled peacock bass
Being vorascious, their primary diet as adults consists of other fishes with most of them being minnows or other small fish. A typical fishing trip during the dry season will often yield as much as 25 peacock bass per day weighing anywhere from 5- to 20 pounds.
The Spotted Peacock Bass is painted black from the top of it's head to its tail. Half of it's tail is black but only the top of the rest of the fish is black.
Above: spotted peacock bass
It's sides are a muted yellow that fades to orange with the bottom half of it's tail being orange along with it's anal, pectoral and pelvic fins. Several black vertical bars travel down from it's back and fading to it's belly. However, what is unique about this spotted bass are the spots on its head and tail. the spotted lines that run horizontally along its sides and across its dorsal fins. Though once considered a separate subspecies of the Peacock Bass, it is now classified as the same species as the Speckled Peacock Bass but with different paintings.
The Spotted Peacock Bass shares the largest of the peacock/pavon species attribute with the Speckled Peacock Bass as it can grow up to a three feet, four inches in length. It is slightly elongate with a large head, and it looks more like a bass than the other peacock subspecies.
There is some orange on the tail under the eye spot but the rest of the speckled peacock bass is dark to yellow down the side and white on the underside of the fish.
It has three dark vertical bars and a series of horizontal rows of cream, coloured spots and during spawning, the males acquire nuchal hump during spawning.
A common characteristic shared by all peacocks is the black circular eye spot. In the Spotted Peacock, the eyespot is rimmed in white, which is stark compared to the overall black in the top half of the tail where it is located. This spot closely resembles the tail plume of a peacock fowl. Hence, the name peacock bass became the perfect moniker.
The Spotted Peacock Bass and Speckled Peacock Bass attains the greatest size of all peacock bass with the largest one on record being a 27 pound peacock from Negro Brazil, though this record is expected to be a temporary record with some many fish being caught in the mid 20 pound range. The normal expected adult size is ten pounds, but those exceeding this weight are common in some areas.
The Spotted Peacock Bass has reportedly a fairly uniform, continuous growth rate until it dies of old age. The average size of most peacock bass is around three or four pounds, but in many South American waters, several between six and 10 pounds may be taken on a good day and in a few select places, monsters over 15 pounds can be caught occasionally.
The Spotted Peacock Bass is also the largest of the species in terms of the length that it can achieve with the record speckled peacock bass reaching three feet, four inches in length.