Peacock Bass fishing in Florida is a phenomenon that I have personally witnessed from the beginning. As a kid we chased around these “water trucks” that were pumping Peacock Bass fry into the Miami-Dade canal system. We didn’t realize it so much then, but within a year – Peacock Bass become a priority for us.
What interesting is how long it took for these fish to actually become aggressive eaters (with bats attached to fishing lines). I think it was 2 years before we were steady on them. We were catching largemouths on plastic worms back then, but pea’s didn’t want a thing to do with that. After some live bait success, we switched over to various styles of rapala’s and finally found a rhythm with artificial. Today, Florida peacock bass fishing is on fire throughout the southern portion of the state. This includes fly fishing for them as well. Populations have boomed and competition is a little fierce among them for living space – now 30 years later anything on a hook can be fair game.
Whats interesting is that it seems to be a great crossover fish for shallow water flats fisherman. I think because though a largemouth or crappie doesn’t excite a snook and tarpon guy too much, but a colorful exotic does. They always make for a great pic and a great topic for conversation.
The only issue with Peacocks is that they are a south american species that cannot tolerate water temps below 70. In this, they stick to the extreme southern part of the state. Even Tampa anglers have to drive a bit to find them.
In places like Lake Ida near Palm Beach you can find both species of peacock bass, cichlids, largemouth, bluegill, and even clown knifefish. Though there is a valid argument for having too many exotics mixed with our naturally occurring local species, I think there is no argument in the fact that thanks to these introduced species we do have some very interesting fishing days here in south Florida.