Views on commodities and energy
Behind Brazil’s hydroelectric dams, a fisherman’s dream
Environmentalists have long disparaged the evils of hydroelectric dams in Brazil: they flood large swaths of forest, displace indigenous groups and wildlife, increase water evaporation and salination, as well as emit methane from decaying submerged forests — a particularly bad greenhouse gas.
But, while it hardly deserves consideration in the more important environmental debate, hydroelectric reservoirs are a fantastic resource for the sports fisherman and the beautiful and aggressive tucunare, more widely known as the peacock bass.
Seven varieties of the colorful fish, which is really a cichlid and not a bass, inhabit the waterways of Latin America’s tropical and subtropical zones. Several large-scale sport fishing outfitters cater to American, Japanese and European fishermen, bringing them to remote tributaries on the Amazon. But these trips are logistically difficult, often involving a complex combination of planes, taxis and boats. They also often run several thousand dollars for a week.
But fishing on the reservoirs along several of waterways outside of the Amazon region and only a few hours drive from Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro are much cheaper and less complicated, while still offering many exciting hits.
The fish, also known in Portuguese as pavao – peacock because of the big eye-like dot on its tail to confuse predators, thrives in the warm fresh waters of the reservoirs, which are fecund with surrounding plant and animal life. The tucunare grow to more than 20 lbs (10kg) in some cases, feeding on young piranha and other fish. They are super aggressive and an superb sport fish. If you don’t enjoy fishing peacock bass, you probably aren’t made out for the sport.