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Chapter 5 "Super Snook and the Amazon Peacock Bass (Pavon)"

Stoney recently found a flier on the bottom of the ocean that promised exotic tropical fishing adventures somewhere in South America, and it had a small section on “Catching the Monsters of the Tropical Waters.” They were speaking about a Peacock Bass, or “Pavon.” A Bass?? How could anyone call any bass a “monster??” This infuriated Super Snook, but it also provoked his curiosity. He knew that he had a cousin in that region of the world, so maybe he could go visit him and while there recon this “monster.” So he figured a quick trip to Brazil and the Amazon River would satisfy his curiousity about this so-called “MONSTER” fish and give him a chance to catch up with his cousin.

Super Snook knew that even though it would be a bit of a hump to get to those waters, he was easily up to the task. Run of the mill anglers and lures, in the Florida coastal waters was boring him to tears, and he needed a new challenge! This thing sounded promising! So, he packed a few extra mullet and left for a faraway place, and took the flyer with him.

Super Snook’s cousin is the current world record Robalo (Snook) and is living in the San Juan River that connects Lake Nicaragua with the Caribbean Sea. Super Snook headed south around Cuba; passed Cancun, south to Belize, and eventually reached the San Juan River Basin and his cousin!

A few nights with his cousin spent harassing massive tarpon and dining with the local lady fish was just what the doctor ordered! He was soon ready to move on with the new sense of adventure and a few Portuguese gestures that would soon prove invaluable!

Once he got serious and the family visit was over, he asked around and soon discovered that these monsters were living in fresh and brackish waters. This made Super Snook a bit queasy, but he pressed on.. Soon, he was on a cruise swimming up the edges of Brazil’s mysterious tropical rain forest, and the mighty Amazon River. He needed to keep an eye out for giant river otters there that grow to well over 100 pounds, and are the main predator of Snook and other fishes in the region.

Super Snook finally reached the Rio Negro River, the exact river that was featured in his brochure. Where were these Monsters at?! He had seen nothing that even came close to a monster... Was this all some clever marketing scheme to get fishermen here? Why had he not seen any fish that resembled a Monster??

Wait a second...up there, ahead; a fish lying in wait near a clump of downed palm fronds...

As Super Snook got closer, it looked as if it had been in a fight; it had a large lump on it’s head... It blasted away into the stained waters.. Hmm, he surmised that if it was one of these monsters it would have stayed there. He swam on still looking and watching, senses alert to every vibration and noise. He saw a few smallish tarpon and several weird looking fish, but still no monsters. Again, there was a strange looking and colorful fish that had a large lump on it, and it was sitting near a small current break along a wooded shoreline. Super Snook went deep and remembering where the fish was, he jetted up to it and this time there was no chance to dash off! With it’s exit blocked, it stood there shivering and deer eyed, as Super Snook gave him the once over. It looked like one of the so-called monsters in the flier. As he compared the picture against the fish that was poised in front of him, the fish made a move to get passed Super Snook... Well, with one blast of Super Snooks tail, the fish was stunned, and Super Snook inspected more closely.

“So this is the monster??? Hmmm... he is smaller than me by plenty, being around 26 pounds, and it seems he has a strange lump on it’s head!”

Maybe the real monster Super Snook was looking for made this lump?! Plus, it looked like he was beat up with color marks all over his sides. Perhaps, there was a fight and these were bruises.

“I will see if he will tell me where I can find this monster called a ‘Peacock Bass’ or ‘Pavon."

Still groggy and sporting a new lump, the bass righted itself and asked in Portuguese, “What happened man?” Super Snook, well-versed in Portuguese from his cousin, replied, “I was just introducing myself. I am Super Snook, and I am looking for the monster called ‘Peacock Bass’ or ‘Pavon.’ Do you know where I can find this monster of the tropical waters?” The fish, squinting through a freshly swollen red eye, replied, “Yeah, I am right here. I am a peacock bass.

“WHAT?! You? ...You?! The monster I’ve been looking for is... you?! I took you out with one half hearted swipe of my tail! Why type of monster goes down so easily?! I could knock you on to that river bank if I choose to do so; does this make me a monster? I believe it does.. If you are a “monster,” then I am one many times over!”

Then! A sharp and sudden swoosh; a “noise” landed near the two fish, and disengaged their personal inquiries for the time being. The instinct to hit this noise was soon apparent as both fish raced to the lure in a neck and neck fury! Super Snook hit the lure with such ferocity, the lure was immediately reduced to a boil of splintered wood and a mass of sinking tangled wire and treble hooks that Davy Jones now owns.

The smaller amazon peacock bass had changed gears and hit a similar lure that was casted behind the first lure and it was fighting for it’s life now! Super Snook ran alongside the peacock bass and told him, “Look for a limb to break the unseen force that’s pulling you! Every time I feel that pressure, I immediately find a limb or snag to dislodge this torture of humanity!” The peacock bass did what Super Snook told him and made one long run to a sunken set of river logs and dashed among them! The unseen forst was lifted and the peacock bass returned to Super Snook to thank him. This time the was still intact and deeply embedded in his jaw. It was the worst lure of all to get removed! It was a High Roller Lure from the states! This was a serious issue as the lures massive 4/0 hooks embedded in the jaw of any fish means a slow trip to that big cooler in the sky. Just then, Super Snook heard a familiar voice in the stained water...“Hey, you there! Super Buddy!”

It was Stoney! As usual, bringing up the rear and following the High Roller Outdoor Adventures guide, he had for the monsters of the tropical waters. Super Snook quickly took Stoney to the peacock bass to see if he could remove the lure. After several minutes, Stoney’s massive crusher claw had reduced the lure to splinters, and using his other tearing claw, Stoney easily removed the sets of trebles that once held this monster firmly!

“These High Roller Lures are the worst to reduce to splinters and I really have to work them over. Most other lures, I can break with my smaller claw, but High Roller Lures are a different story all together. Seems them American lure guys are still making a quality product, but there are fewer and fewer doing it these days; I have seen them all!”

Super Snook made a brief visit to his cousin’s beach front digs and then after a small meal of mullet, he started back across the open ocean towards Puerto Rico with Stoney clamped on for the ride back. It was an uneventful crossing and after feeding the shallow waters for a few days he and Stoney returned towards the west coast of Florida. Soon, the glow of the Sky Way Bridge in Tampa was in sight and Super Snook had returned after going face to face with the monster of topical waters. He swatted the flyer into the nearby water trash can and said to Stoney, “I knew anything that was called a bass had to be a joke, especially when it’s called a monster. If we had not helped out that monster he would be river shrimp pooh by now.” And with a wink, Super Snook closed his conversation with Stoney, saying, “We know who the real monster is around here, don’t we?