Peacock bass are one of the most popular fish to catch in South Florida. They're large, beautiful, and very aggressive predators that feed on a variety of species such as shiners and even small turtles.
These fish are true amazons, with brilliant colors and a ferocious appetite. But if you want to catch these magnificent creatures there's more to it than just dropping your line into murky waters: you need to know where they live, what type of bait or lure works best for them, how deep they go when resting...and so on!
This guide will help you learn everything about catching peacock bass in South Florida so let's get started!
What Is A Peacock Bass?
You can tell the peacock bass by its long, elaborate tail or cape of iridescent blue, green and bronze hues that make it look like something out of a Disney movie.
Peacock bass were imported from South America in the 1980s to improve sport fishing in Florida lakes. These invasive species have thrived here ever since; they have no natural predators in our waters to keep them in check (which just puts a smile on our faces)!
Best Time To Fish For Peacock Bass In Florida
Peacock bass are very active year-round, but the best months for catching bigger fish in South Florida are from October to April. The reason for this is that the water temperatures start to cool down at this time of year and peacock bass become more aggressive looking for food.
Peacock Bass can only be found in South Florida due to the warmer water temperatures. On the east coast of Florida in parts of Palm Beach County, all of Fort Lauderdale, and throughout Miami. On the west coast of Florida, they can be found in parts of Naples.
The most ideal conditions when fishing peacock bass in South Florida are 80-85 degrees with clear skies and little wind.
It's important to know when and where peacock bass are most active. Even though the best time to catch big peacock bass is from October to april, peacock bass are most active during the summer months, when water temperatures are at their warmest. These fish do not survive well in cooler waters, so we recommend that manage your expectations during the winter months. They're also found in ponds, canals, lakes and anywhere else you have still water with plenty of vegetation for them to hide in. Peacock bass can be found only in South Florida and South America—you won't find them north of South Florida in the US!
Where To Catch Peacock Bass In Florida
Peacock bass are found in lakes, ponds and canals throughout South Florida. The best time to fish for peacock bass is during the summer months. The nice thing about peacock bass is that they will bite all day long, not just mornings and evenings. Sometimes finding them can be tricky because they tend to prefer clearer water and some kind of structure. Nowadays, peacock bass are found all over South Florida and can be caught year-round.
Best Peacock Bass Lures
Peacock bass will attack a variety of lures, but fishing with jigs when they are bedding seems to work well. We prefer white Rapala X-Raps or small 3" or 4" wacky rigged worms (we like the Bass Pro Shops brand). Just look for a white sandy circle or just a lighter area if they are bedding. When peacock bass are bedding, it is best to use a weighted tiny worm and get them angry enough to attack it. If you are lucky to catch one (or both of the mating pairs) when they are bedding try to put them back as close to the bed as possible. We also tend to try to only catch one fish per bed.
Best Bait For Peacock Bass
Live bait is the best way to catch peacock bass. Live shiners or minnows fished with a size 2 bait hook or circle hook will catch peacocks in shallow water. A good place to start is around any underwater structure such as pipes and drains where you can flip cast live bait at 6-12 feet off shore or near structures like docks, piers, bridge pilings and jetties.
Tackle For Peacock Bass
Fishing Rods For Peacock Bass
A 6 1/2-7ft medium action bass fishing rod will serve you well when fishing for peacock bass on spinning tackle.
The length of your rod is important, but not nearly as important as its action and the weight of the line you are using. The length of your rod should be appropriate for the size of fish you are trying to catch, but also your personal comfort and ability. A longer rod will help with casting distance, but if you do not have much room in the boat or on shore, a shorter one may be better suited for what you are trying to accomplish.
A good rule of thumb is that if you plan on using bait (like soft plastics) then use a longer rod so that it is easier to cast them out there more accurately.
Work baits along bottom contours where they live most days while waiting patiently until something comes along their way before pouncing upon unsuspecting prey!
Fishing Reels For Peacock Bass
You will need a spinning reel or baitcaster which contains at a minimum 100 yards of 10-pound test line, a rod with a fast action and an adjustable drag system.
For the best results, we recommend using 20-pound braided line. The advantages of using braided lines include less stretch than monofilament and stronger durability making them better suited for big game fishing applications.
A good pair of polarized sunglasses will help you spot more peacocks either on beds or around structure. The polarized lenses provide a much clearer view then standard sunglasses, and they allow you to see through the water better. This means you can spot the fish and their habitat much easier.
Why You Should Book A Guided Tour
If you're new to the sport of fishing or just on vacation, especially when it comes to targeting peacock bass, then hiring a guide is probably your best bet. Not only will they be able to show you the ropes and help you land your first big one, but they'll also provide information that can't be found in books or online. When fishing with an experienced guide, you'll learn things like:
- How to modify your tackle set-up based on what other anglers are using around you (this helps ensure that everyone has a fair chance at catching fish)
- How to spot fish from afar (it's not as easy as it looks)
- What bait works best for each species of fish and how to work that bait
Best Peacock Bass Guide Florida
For peacock bass fishing in South Florida, we highly recommend the father and son team of Jake Lewis and Ron Lewis. They specialize in peacock bass and bullseye snakehead on the east coast of South Florida.
You can learn more about them at https://fishingwithjake.com/.
You can also give them a call at 954-903-3311.
Peacock bass are fun to catch and a great fish to add to your collection. If you want to learn more about these fish, we recommend booking an educational fishing tour with Jake and Ron Lewis!