The Butterfly Peacock Bass is also known as the butterfly pavon, pavon mariposa, pavon amarillo, pavon tres estrellas, marichapa in Spanish and tucunare in Portuguese.

How to recognize a Butterfly Peacock

These are the most colorful and plentiful member of the Peacock Bass family and distinguished from other pavon subspecies by 3 black circular blotches along each side of the body. For a complete run down on their appearance click on this link.


While the average Butterfly Peacock Bass weighs in the 2 to 3 lb range, they can get up to 12 lbs and are a vicious fighting fish so make sure your gear can handle the stresses.


This might seem small compared to the size of the Florida Largemouth and it is. But the Peacock is something to behold as it’s rather exotic in appearance. It’s much more tropical in appearance than the catches normally found in North American Waters.


Don’t let its smaller size put you off. Experience the fight for the first time and you’ll be hooked.

Fishing Tips

  • In no way should ultra-light or light tackle be used to catch this fish.
  • You’ll need to set your drag appropriately to make sure that a lunker doesn’t snap the line when it strikes.
  • They are a great fighting fish and are also renowned for their table fare.

Not a Bass?

The Butterfly Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris) is not a bass at all and neither are any of the peacock bass. The name originated in the 1950’s in Florida. When Florida lakes and rivers were being stocked with the fish the name ‘bass’ was chosen simply because it was felt that Americans would not be interested in a fish with the name ‘pavon’.

Body Shape

They have a body shape that’s similar to a largemouth bass hence the name Peacock Bass even though they aren’t related to each other. While the Butterfly Peacock Bass does have similarities to the largemouth, it differs in many ways.


In comparison to the Largemouth, the Butterfly Peacock

  1. have the ability to spawn throughout the year
  2. seek out the sun rather than hiding from it
  3. are far more vividly colored that any of the North American bass


Typically they average 2 to 4 lbs although the record Butterfly Peacock Bass caught in Florida weighed 12 lbs/5.4 kilograms.


The world record was set at 12.6 pounds/5.7 kilograms for a fish caught in Venezuela.


The Butterfly variety is native to the South American Amazon river basin. You’ll find them in jungle rainforests, rivers and reservoirs.


Due to it’s reputation as a great fighting fish, it’s been introduced to Hawaii, British Guyana, Florida, Puerto Rico, Panama, Guam and the Dominican Republic.


They’ve been further introduced to more states as popularity grew and have been transplanted to several other states including Texas and Montana.