How To Catch Peacock Bass

Video peacock bass lures florida

Please read about the hard-fighting Peacock bass below, then leave a review or email us any questions you may have.

All about the Florida Peacock Bass. The butterfly peacock (also called peacock bass) is a prevalent freshwater game fish introduced to South Florida in 1984. It is readily caught by shoreline and boat anglers using various tackle and bait, ranging from live shiners to artificial lures and flies. Peacock bass in South Florida prefer live fish and fish imitating baits often used by largemouth bass anglers, but they rarely hit plastic worms commonly used to catch largemouths.

The Introduction To South Florida

After carefully documenting facts and reviews by experts nationwide, the FWC introduced the exotic species. FWC imported Butterfly peacocks from Brazil and Peru. Then spawned at the FWC’s Non-Native Fish Research Lab, using three stocks to increase genetic variability. After being tested by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn University to ensure they were disease and parasite-free, they stocked.

Today the butterfly peacock fishery extends through 330 miles of canals in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties and is self-sustaining. Since additional stockings are not needed, the program has no ongoing cost. Yet, it generates about 286,000 hours of angling enjoyment annually and provides nearly $5 million annual economic benefit.

Species of peacocks

There are 15 species of Peacock Bass, which all vary in size. The most common in the United States is the Butterfly Peacock bass, a medium-sized species ranging from 6 to 15 pounds. The largest species is the Speckled Peacock Bass which can grow over 36 inches. Speckled Peacock Bass were introduced to South Florida around the same time as the butterfly, but none survived.

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Speckled peacocks haven’t been seen in South Florida in over 16 years and are illegal to catch. The smallest is the Royal Peacock Bass, which grows to a maximum length of 10 inches.

Where and When To Target Peacock Bass

These beautiful fish are caught anywhere south of Palm Beach County. Generally, the best peacock bass fishing is done in Miami, especially for larger ones. Though, fishing trips in Palm Beach are trendy because of the chance of catching another exotic, the clown knife fish.

When peacock bass fishing in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you have a high probability of catching common saltwater species that made their way into freshwater systems, such as tarpon and snook. Peacock Bass fishing trips are made throughout the year, but typically there are two peak seasons, between March and June and September and December. The most significant fish heavier than four pounds are captured at these times.

Tips From The Local Experts

Shaded areas provided by bridges, culverts, and other structures generally are productive fishing spots for this exotic species, along with fallen trees, bridge pilings, canal ends, drop-offs, lily pads, bends, and intersections. During daylight hours is when nearly all butterfly peacocks are caught. The easiest way to catch butterfly peacocks is by using live bait.

A favorite choice is a small golden shiner about three inches in length. Referred to locally as a “peacock shiner.” Anglers can fish these with a float or free-lined while casting or slow-trolling with an electric motor along canal edges. A small split shot weight may be required to fish the shiner at the proper depth.

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Peacock bass can be readily accessed from canal banks or boats, with prime fishing during daylight hours since they rarely bite in the early morning or at night. Focus your effort in rocky areas near a structure, and use topwater plugs, minnow-like crankbaits, or small golden shiners. Light tackle works best. The best fishing holes are known by contacting local bait and tackle shops and reading fishing reports and fishing guides.

Strick Rules and Laws

The bag limit is two fish per day, with only one longer than 17 inches. Butterfly peacocks over 18 inches or 5 pounds are eligible for the Big Catch program. The FWC now has a Peacock Fishing brochure available in PDF format. Additionally, we get asked about having a valid fishing license. If you have a Pennsylvania fishing license do I need to purchase a Florida license? The answer is yes, each state offers an out-of-state temporary license for these times!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>