South Florida’s introduced butterfly peacock bass population is alive and well. Virtually every canal holds them. As the water temperature starts to rise in March – peacock bass begin their instinctual spawning behavior. Peacock bass will spawn from April through September when the water temperature is warmest. This fish will not survive in water temperatures lower than than 60F, and they have a low tolerance to salinity. Our Spring & Summer months best mimic their native South American waters.
Your task in locating peacock bass is to find the structure. Culverts, bridges, canal bends, corners and tunnels provide the best fishing. Also, if you walk along the shoreline; or cruise slowly by boat; look for the tell-tale spawning signs. Cleared out flat, hard-surfaced areas with small, orange fry suspended above it usually means a mating pair is close nearby. While they’re in spawning stage, peacocks will fearlessly guard their bed & fry. They will not stray far from their mating area. In this scenario; sight cast, twitch your lure and try to provoke a strike.
During spawning season, the males may have a large notch on their head, called a “nuchal hump.” When provoked; lit-up peacock bass, gills flaring, will inhale a jig faster than you can react, and might spit the hook. However persistence is key, peacock bass will usually strike multiple times. If you choose to target them by fly – a white clouser minnow will do the trick…stripped fast. Small minnow baits work well in white/silver, and colorful patterns.
Here are some guides I can recommend for peacock bass fishing in South Florida:
- Hai Truong with Urban Angler Miami. He takes guests on run-and-gun walking trips. His website is HaiTruongFishing.com
- Adam Rizzi with Reel-Deal Adventures. He hosts run-and-gun bank walking trips in Broward County. His phone number is 561.706.8013. You can also find him on his Facebook page.
- Captain Shane Procell takes guests on boat trips into the Everglades and surrounding areas for peacocks & largemouth bass. You can find him on his website: floridaevergladesbassfishingadventures.com