Peacock Bass of Puchong Prima

The Peacock Bass, though believed to be a pest to naturalists is a prized gamefish for anglers all over the world. Those that have tried their hands catching them will have an adrenaline pumping story to tell courtesy of its ferocious attack on lures as well as aggressive fighting abilities. Contrary to its aggressive nature or pest-like characteristics believed by some, the Peacock Bass’s physical combination of greys, browns, yellows and greens alongside stripes and spots is a feast for the eyes.

Though Peacock Bass can be found in many areas around Kuala Lumpur, one company has proven supreme in attracting anglers from all over the world and rightfully so, offering a ridiculously low price, covering a mining pool too big for two feet to conquer its Peacock Bass (PB) potential in a day. Jefri, better known as Jeff for short, runs Prima Fishing, the only fishing charter that takes you around the Puchong Prima Lake. Puchong is sandwiched between Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s political capital, Putrajaya; approximately 30 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

The unmissable sign at the man-made dock
The unmissable sign at the man-made dock
Easy to read safety instructions and warnings from the Water Sports centre
Easy to read safety instructions and warnings from the Water Sports centre

A 12-hour fishing session (7a.m to 7p.m) around Puchong Prima on a boat for two anglers accompanied by a personal guide costs only RM150 (USD 34). Jeff updates Prima Fishing’s Facebook page constantly with his observation on feeding habits of the PB, suitable lures, weather conditions and probability of catching the species. If you’re not convinced of your lure collection to tempt the PB, Jeff will send you a photo of suitable lure colours and types via Facebook Messenger. There is no excuse!

We met Jeff and was introduced to our boatman/guide John (just a nickname) at the Asian Water Sports Village Pick-Up Point, a little man-made dock where we boarded our boat, complete with life-jackets for two anglers. The glorious sunrise injected a calm that for a moment took us away from our hunt for the Peacock Bass, indulging in the morning felt necessary. Though most of the lake’s surrounding had trash floating by, the bigger picture was of serenity in the city.

True to the PB’s preference worldwide, John suggested a fly lure, the typical bright-green and white Clouser Minnow, rigged with a little weight attached to the leader for easy casting. We came prepared to try a few Berkley Grubs, matching the colours of the Clouser with hopes of getting a bite. John prepared a few more flies for us to try and we found ourselves busy at work. Both the grubs and fly had bites, both lost the first few battles.

As the morning sun began shining at its peak and the heat unmissable, a frenzy of Peacock Bass began teasing us with tail flips and explosive leaps all around. Our hands were not fast enough to cast as accurately as they teased but we were not giving up. Snags were a common, we soon became well-trained in saving our lures from them. Another supposed snag had me sighing as I felt a burn on my exposed wrist from the sun, this snag however was putting up a fight that had my Shakespeare Agility reel crackling despite tightening the drag. As most foreign first-fish fight usually have me surprised, John highlighted it was a Peacock Bass at the end of my line. I was mildly disappointed despite the evident fight. I was expecting a tough, ferocious battle as explained by anglers all over, I was also expecting a decent sized Peacock Bass at the end of my line. To my surprise, a juvenile Peacock Bass emerged with a Clouser Minnow beautifully hooked on the side. That was when, the 10-year old excitement shot through my system. A JUVENILE PB! Fighting like THAT! How would a decent sized one fight?! Forget imaginations, I took my first photo, released the beauty and resumed casting to hopefully feed my curiosity.

My first, a juvenile Peacock Bass, beautiful nonetheless.
My first, a juvenile Peacock Bass, beautiful nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the afternoon sun was unbearable. It was worst than the deep sea, tremendously worst in my opinion- maybe because the little PB was the only achievement from all the misses. We took a break from the sun, and for lunch. Most anglers choose to end their trip at lunchtime, or take a well deserved break until the heat subsides. We were ready to call it a day when storm clouds began rolling in, a sign that heading back to the lake could be promising if the rain was not heavy- and it was not.

We battled strong winds, trying out the Berkley PowerBait 8cm Emerald Shiner minnow, John had to take control of the boat whilst we casted continuously. Without warning, my rod was sent bending and my reel screaming, breaking the pitter patter of the raindrops with excitement. This was it, the talked about ferocity of the Peacock Bass. All that I felt at that moment was amplified by just being in the rain. All that I felt at that moment… gone, in 60 seconds. That was it, all that adrenaline, rod bending, life-changing moment ended with a spit of the hook.

We spent two more hours casting the very same lure and sharing it with John as there seemed to be a change and preference for it, instead of the Clousers. There were a couple more takes, all unsuccessful for the three of us. As the sun made its appearance once more after the rain, bringing with it heat unlike the morning, we decided to call it a day.  We headed back to the man-made dock and was welcomed by the sight of children taking a dip at the shallow end of the lake. Stalls selling snacks and drinks were open along the roadside as well. John suggested we joined him for a cup (soon to be discovered LARGE MUG) of fresh Coconut water to cool down, an offer we cannot resist. But first, a photo of John himself, the ever so patient and informative boatman/guide that gave us a lot of pointers to take back, rewarding, despite landing only a juvenile Peacock Bass for the day.

John, cool, calm, collected but most of all, confident with his knowledge of the area and Peacock Bass
John, cool, calm, collected but most of all, confident with his knowledge of the area and Peacock Bass
Delicious, not unless you're dehydrated for 2 days, this is good for 2 people.
Delicious, not unless you’re dehydrated for 2 days, this is good for 2 people.
Stalls by the side. Great way to unwind after a trip around the lake.
Stalls by the side. Great way to unwind after a trip around the lake.
Warning! Wait... what warning?
Warning! Wait… what warning?

If you would like to try your hands at the Peacock Bass of Puchong Prima, Jeff is the guy to call. Unfortunately, Prima Fishing is closed for the remaining of 2015, they are however available from January 2016 onwards. We suggest you book your dates in advance, and in the meantime, keep tabs on the Prima Fishing Facebook page for any news or changes. We are definitely going back for much more!

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