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Peacock Bass Fishing in Florida: A Short Guide

Image: FishingBooker.com

When it comes to fishing in Florida, there’s a lot to say. However, if you’re after an exotic adventure, Peacock Bass fishing is something that shouldn’t be missed. The species are native to South America but were introduced to Florida’s waters in the ’80s. They are a beautiful and brutally strong freshwater game fish.

Over the years, they have adapted to their new home, and have earned their place in the hearts of local anglers. Today, they are an iconic part of South Florida’s fishing scene. So let’s get started with all you need to know about this pretty fish!

Peacock Bass 101

The Peacock Bass originates from South America, specifically the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. Even though they resemble Black Bass, they don’t belong to the same family. Peacock Bass come from the family of cichlids, the same as Tilapia.

They were brought to Florida to fight the invasive Oscar and Tilapia. The fish have quickly adapted to their new surroundings and they started eating up their invasive relatives, without threatening other native populations.

There are somewhere around 15 different species of Peacock Bass. The most common one in the US is the Butterfly Peacock Bass, which is usually the anglers’ target. They are very tasty, but due to conservation purposes, local fishermen suggest releasing them to protect their numbers. We’ll dive into the specifics of fishing regulations a bit later.

When it comes to the size of Peacock Bass, it highly depends on the type of species. For example, the Speckled Peacock Bass is the largest one, and it can grow to size over 36 inches. However, they haven’t been seen in Florida for over 16 years, and are illegal to catch.

The smallest species is the Royal Peacock Bass, and they can grow to a maximum length of 10 inches. The most common species, the Butterfly Peacock Bass, is usually somewhere between these sizes, and their weight varies from 6 to 15 pounds. Don’t forget that what they lack in size, they make up for in aggressive strength.

The Best Spots for Peacock Bass in Florida

There are many amazing Peacock Bass fishing spots in Florida, especially in the southern parts. The stretch from Palm Beach County to Key Largo holds a number of these feisty fish. You’ll also find some really good fishing grounds in Broward and Dade counties.

Let’s have a look at some of the premier fishing spots you can explore in the Sunshine State.

Miami

When you book a trip to Miami, Butterfly Peacock Bass fishing might not be the first thing that pops into your mind. However, besides great times on the beach and awesome parties, Miami’s fishing grounds hold some of the best fishing spots in the state.

Many anglers flock to the local canals to test their skills out against these strong fish. Snapper Creek and the Tamiami Canals System are some of the best spots in Miami to catch a Peacock Bass, and there are over 40 miles of fishing grounds to explore. The Peacock Bass usually hides around rocks and bridge pilings. You can also find them near any underwater construction.

Butterfly Peacock Bass love warm water, and the mild climate of South Florida is perfect for them to swim all year round. You can target them during any season, but local guides suggest that the period between March until the end of May is the best time to go after them. Another great thing about this fish is that they usually hunt during the day when there’s a lot of light, so you don’t have to get out on the water too early.

FishingBooker, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 6, 2020