Angler with Captain Peacock Bests World Record

Angler with Captain Peacock Bests World Record

MANAUS, Brazil – The strike barely dimpled the water, but it sent waves hurtling throughout the freshwater fishing world by shattering a coveted world record that stood for 16 years.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 9, 2010, the sixth day of his first Amazon adventure, Bill Gassmann of Des Moines, Iowa, fished a clown-colored Luhr Jensen Big Game Woodchopper Slim topwater bait in a tributary of the Rio Negro in northern Brazil. The yellow, red and black spotted lure landed atop a monster speckled peacock bass, which sucked it under with hardly a ripple.

Aldeni-Fonseca-and-Bill-Gassmann-with-28-pound-peacock“We were fishing in a wooded area of a little backwater off a main tributary,” said the 44-year-old chief executive officer of BGS Enterprises. “When the lure hit the water, it just disappeared. The fish went straight to the bottom and started spooling my line. Immediately, the guide with more than 12 years experience began jumping up and down and started yelling ‘Grande! Grande!’ I had no idea how big it was or that it might be a record. Then, the fish stuck its head out of the water and I realized how big it was.”


In a fearsome struggle, Gassmann fought the river monster for approximately 12 minutes with his three-piece 6.9-foot G Loomis Escape model ETR81-3HC20 heavy rod attached to a Shimano Curado 300E reel. Finally bringing the beast to the boat, the Iowa bass angler grabbed its gill plates and snapped a Boga Grip on it. On the IGFA-certified Boga Grip, the fresh speckled or three-bar peacock (Cichla temensis) weighed more than 28 pounds, but Gassmann still did not realize the significance of his fish. As Gassmann handed the fish to Aldeni “Elvis” Fonseca, his guide, to release it, Elvis stopped him. Communicating in English, Elvis urged “We go boat now; we go boat now.” Prepared to fish an entire day, Gassmann didn’t want to head back to the Captain Peacock, a 95-foot luxury mothership yacht that accommodates anglers for such adventures. However, Elvis insisted adamantly.

When Elvis and Gassmann finally reached the yacht, Leonardo Leão, co-owner and operator of the Captain Peacock who stays aboard for every operation, dropped the massive fish into the bait well to keep it alive until they could weigh it officially. The colorful hump-headed fish measured 37 inches long with a girth of 25 inches, more than enough to beat the existing 27-pound International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record caught by Gerald “Doc” Lawson on Dec. 4, 1994. Since Gassmann caught the lunker on 80-pound PowerPro braid, Leo also submitted the fish for a possible line class record and kept the fish on board the Captain Peacock to have it mounted as a reminder to future anglers that dreams can come true.

“We are very happy with the opportunity to show the fishing world our exclusive concept combining mobility, safety and first-class service in order to create unique moments like that for every angler from the first-time peacock bass fisherman up to the most knowledgeable ones,” said Leonardo Leão and his partner Nasser Fraxe.

“This is exciting news,” exclaimed Billy Chapman, Jr., owner and founder of Anglers Inn International and a 2009 inductee into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame for pioneering peacock bass fishing in the 1980s. “I was in Brazil in 1994 when Doc Lawson caught the 27-pound peacock. If anyone wants to fish these record-breaking waters, we can make that happen together with the Captain Peacock.”


Guide-Aldeni-Elvis-Fonseca-with-28-pound-peacock-bassBesides catching the possible all-tackle world record speckled peacock bass and his personal best fish of any species, Gassmann caught several bass over 10 pounds plus two 18-pounders, a 19-pounder and other fish on his seven-day adventure. In all, the anglers aboard the Captain Peacock caught more than 450 fish that week with many in double digits and three in the 20- to 23.5-pound range, Leão said.

“I had a fabulous trip,” Gassmann gushed. “Two days before I caught the big one, we went into another backwater and the water was boiling with big peacocks feeding. It was unbelievable fishing back there. The food and accommodations on the Captain Peacock were way above what I expected. It was first class all the way. I’m going to bring my wife, Tammy, next time.”

The Gassmanns will return to the Amazon soon. For catching the pending all-tackle world record aboard the Captain Peacock, Leão and Fraxe granted Gassmann lifetime fishing privileges on the 95-foot luxury yacht.

“At Anglers Inn International, we care about our clients,” Chapman said. “Our clients are like family to us. I always want our guests to enjoy the best possible experience. With the yacht serving with such a unique concept, we can keep up with the best fishing on the river. Our partners on the Captain Peacock are the most professional and serious in the Amazon with a sterling reputation for catching trophy peacock bass — as this fish indicates.”

Leonardo and Nasser as well as their entire crew are waiting for another opportunity to provide you with a trip of a lifetime. To book a trip to the Amazon or any other Anglers Inn International destination, call 1-800-GOTA-FISH or e-mail to On line, see

About John L. Beath

John Beath is a writer, photographer, videographer, blogger, tackle manufacturer & Captain at Whaler's Cove Lodge in Southeast Alaska. He is also owner of and host at Lets Talk Outdoors @
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