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Lure Review

Peacock Bass Fishing with the Legendary Luhr Jensen Big Game Woodchopper & Amazon Ripper (continued)


Durability: There are not many freshwater fish that can pull 4X hooks straight but larger Peacock Bass are one of them. These colorful fish put a major hurt on traditional lures and many of the swimbaits and topwater plugs we traditionally fish for bass were quickly rendered useless. These wood baits are able to withstand the shock of the violent strikes as well as the constant barrage of casts into the thick structure that lines much of the Amazon shoreline where the Peacocks reside.


A Butterfly Peacock bass is taken on the "Peacock Bass Special"

Everything in the Amazon is built with teeth and Peacock Bass are not the only fish that will strike the BGW. We caught plenty of Barracuda, Arowana, and Trahira, all of which did their part scratching up the lures. But it is not just the assault from fish that scratch this lure, as you work it the large hooks will also begin carving up the bottom and sides of the bait.

The Peacock Bass Special also features a dual prop design and a shorter fatter overall profile than the Ripper

During my seven day field test there was one orange and black Amazon Ripper that worked particularly well, or maybe it was just the one that I had the most confidence in so I fished it every single day, this lure looked like it had been through a war just three days into the trip and yet with all the battle scars and chipped off paint it continued to remain fully effective.

Butterfly Peacocks may not be as big as the Azuls but they are very pretty

As mentioned earlier constant tuning of the prop is required for maximum noise and water churn but after four days and over 50 fish later the bait needed more than just a bend of the prop. It was a sixteen pound Paca Peacock Bass that finally killed my lucky bait, it fought with such ferocity it actually bent the rear shaft and broke the center split ring loop clean off.

The Peacocks are not the only fish in the Amazon willing to take on the Choppers

I wanted to keep fishing my lucky bait so I decided to cannibalize another Chopper. Since the lure is made out of wood it doesn’t have a substructure like injected baits holding the metal components in place, instead they are simply screwed in and with a pair of pliers can easily be unscrewed and replaced on another lure.

Many fish later the top producing Amazon Ripper is starting to look a little tired

My favorite bait was brought back from the dead and went on to catch many more fish. Overall the Big Game Woodchopper exhibits excellent durability and though it does take a beating it takes a very large fish to really hurt this lure. Baits that are not designed to stand up to the violent strikes and sheer torque that Peacocks are able to dole out either result in lost fish or a destroyed lure after a single strike.

Finally a large Paca Peacock ripped the center hook right out making it useless to thread a new screw back in

Price & Applications: Though primarily designed for targeting Peacock Bass both the Big Game Woodchopper and Amazon Ripper are good for species that will strike at topwater and that includes Stripers and Largemouth Bass that are big and aggressive enough to take on the loud fast moving lures.

These lures are deadly effective for Peacocks

When it comes to fishing for Peacocks color is important but it seems to take a backseat to proper action. When it comes to Striped bass the lighter colors are typically the most effective. So just how good are these lures? For starters it only took two casts to catch my first Peacock bass and if I could only pack one lure to go to the Amazon then the Big Game Woodchopper would be it, followed by the Amazon Ripper, walk the dog styled baits and hair raiser jigs.

The top producing color/pattern for us was the orange bellied Rocky, this bait took a beating but landed a ton of double digit fish... now its going to be mounted back in the lab


Surprisingly these baits are somewhat hard to come by these days and out of four local shops in the Bay Area only one actually stocked them on the shelf, and only kept a few patterns which were painted back in 2004. These lures retailed between 10.99 and 17.99 depending on size and anglers can find them online for around the same price. Peacock Bass fishing has become increasingly popular over the years but the cost of making the trip is somewhat prohibitive and reduces the overall demand for these lures. Combine that with the fact that you can get away for just a few baits for the whole trip as long as you tie good knots and there is little motivation for most retailers to stock the larger baits. Still most retailers will special order the lures for you and it is possible to find them online for very reasonable prices but not always in the patterns you might be looking for. 


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Big Game Woodchopper/Amazon Ripper Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Both the Big Game Woodchopper and Amazon Ripper as well as the Peacock Bass Special are all built with a simple yet quality construction that holds up well to the devastating strikes of Peacock Bass 9
Performance Simply exceptional performance when targeting Peacock Bass. There are times when the dual prop design of the Amazon Ripper seems to work better but the biggest fish seemed to take the traditional Big Game Woodchopper. This lure is a legend in the Amazon and our tests confirmed that this lure is a "Must Have" if your making the trip into the jungle  9
Price At under 20 dollars for even the largest sizes these baits are affordable and compared to today's more expensive swimbait plug style lures they are a downright bargain 8.5
Features The Woodchopper design is simple and sweet. Basically a wooden plug with screwed in hardware and a simple paint finish. While the finishes have improved over the years the bait continues to be simple and effective. The good news is when lures get heavily damaged the components can be swapped out in the field quickly. 7
Design (Ergonomics) The bait is simple to throw yet a workout to fish! The Big Game Woodchopper is as physically demanding as they get when it comes to fishing topwater plugs. Work on your cardio before you head to the Amazon, your going to need it. The Amazon Ripper and Peacock Bass special are less demanding but if you want to incite the more strikes be ready to induce some serious muscle burn regardless 7
Application The Big Game Woodchopper is responsible for more Peacock Bass over 20lbs. than any other lure and while the bait is exceptional for this application it can also be used for any predatory fish that feeds up on top and is willing to challenge such a loud and obnoxious bait, this would include large Stripers and Musky. 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ A proven bait that is a legend when it comes to Peacock Bass - When your fishing it right your going to feel it both then and in the morning
+ Deadly effective for inciting atomic topwater strikes - Surprisingly hard to find both in retail and online
+ Strong enough to hold up to trophy peacocks  
+ The Big Game Woodchopper formula has translated well into the Amazon Ripper and Peacock Bass Special  
+ Reasonable price  
+ A MUST HAVE for the Amazon  


Conclusion: Both the Big Game Woodchopper and Amazon Ripper are basically the same bait with a slightly different profile. Use the Amazon Ripper when fish really want to chase something fast and the Big Game Woodchopper when you need to displace a lot of water and call fish up from below to strike. Both of these baits were effective all day long but were definitely best when the temperature was warmer, the hotter it got the more frequent the strikes and the more we could slack off that shoulder burning retrieve.


The Big Game Woodchopper and the Amazon Ripper are two "must have" lures for anglers traveling to the Amazon to target Peacock Bass


The Big Game Woodchopper has a well deserved reputation and when it came to sheer numbers it was only beaten by a hair raiser jigs but when it came to quality fish the name of the bait sais it all, this bait gets the big fish to bite. Not only is it effective but it is a blast (though tiring) to fish and once you see a big Peacock Bass crush one of these baits it is an image that will stay with you forever. These baits are not just "Amazon Approved," they are an Amazon "Must Have" and an easy choice for our Editors Choice Award.










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