Jacunda (Crenicichla marmorata) is a very interesting member of the Cichlid family of fishes of which the Peacock Bass is the largest & best known. Commonly known as a Rainbow Bass to American Anglers due to its vivid colors, it is not to be confused with the Guapote of Central America also referred to as the “Rainbow Bass". Jacunda, seldom weighing more than a couple of pounds, exist in several different color phases depending upon which stage of the spawning cycle they are in. The first Jacunda I ever saw was caught by a fly fishierman n a shallow lagoon off the Rio Negro River in Brazil’s Amazon and was sporting its normal green and yellow with multiple black bars down its flanks with a beautiful red “ocular spot” just behind its pectoral fins. The second Jacunda we caught in the same lagoon a few minutes later was only about 10 inches long but sported an almost florescent red translucent body as it was deep into it’s spawning colorization. It was stunning to say the least. Over the last 15 years I have caught Jacunda in many different phases between their normal non-spawning color phase and this translucent red spawning coloration.
These colorful fish, like all members of the Cichlid family of fishes, are formidable predators, feeding on aquatic insects, small fish and plant material. Most often Jacunda are caught on flies and jigs, incidental to Peacock Bass fishing and thus on pretty heavy tackle which doesn’t allow the fish to show its fighting ability. Found mostly in small streams and shallow bays off the main river channels, they will give a good account of themselves if pursued with light spinning tackle or a 4 or 5 wt fly rod, readily striking small flies and jigs. Jacunda can be caught in their vivid red spawning coloration from late September through late November in northern Brazil’s Amazon.
Jim Kern has a long history in the Peacock Bass world. Jim has fished in Brazil 32 times since 1997 with both fly and conventional tackle. Jim developed and ran the American office for Captain Peacock from 2010 thru 2013 was the Vice President and General Manager of Amazon Tours from 1998 thru 2003. Through Emu Outfitting, his outfitting company of 30 years, he managed Alaska’s Rainbow Bay Resort from 2007-2009 & Alaska’s Angry Eagle Lodge 2013 & 2014. Jim holds a Coast Guard Captains license, has been a registered fishing guide in Alaska, Montana and Idaho and has been a fly tier for 40 years. Jim also was a 3 time American League All Star baseball pitcher in 1977, 78, and 79 & the American League Relief Pitcher of the year in 1979.