When you think fishing Florida, you may think, redfish, snook, tarpon, grouper, snapper, largemouth bass, etc. But there’s one corner of the state that has a unique species not found anywhere else in the United States. I’m talking about the peacock bass. They are not a native species which is why you can only find them within the canals surrounding Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. They were introduced to the area in the mid 1980s by Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) in order to help control the population of illegally introduced and abundant forage fishes as well as to enhance sportfishing in the area. The project was researched for several of years before the introduction to ensure its success; and it was a huge success.
The peacock bass are able to thrive in these south Florida canals due to one reason in particular. Peacock bass cannot withstand water temperatures below 60 degrees. The water in the canals rarely drops below 65 degrees due in large part to the Biscayne Aquifer that flows just a few feet below. The warmer water from the aquifer dumps into the canals providing the warm water necessary for the peacock’s survival. In fact, the peacock bass have over wintered and reproduced successfully every year since their introduction in 1984. There was no need to stock additional fish since 1987 since the population was doing so well, and they’re still going strong to this day.
Catching these beautiful exotics is a fun and entertaining way to fish. Much like largemouth bass, peacocks will devour most anything in sight. Live shiners tend to work best, but artificial lures can work just as well. Your best bet is to use lures that mimic small bait fish or topwater poppers in shaded areas along the canal walls. A lot of anglers also use lightweight spinning gear with 8 pound test or so. This is possible because once hooked, peacock bass are open water fighters meaning that your chances of being broke off are slim. Peacock bass are also a favorite among fly fisherman as well. Again, light line and tippets are common with a yellow or chartreuse fly with shiny strips.
Although accessing these canals can be done from the shoreline, a small watercraft is ideal when it comes to fishing the fallen trees, culverts, rock walls, dead-ends, sharp corners, bridges and so on. Roundabout Watercrafts makes for the ideal craft to navigate these tight areas efficiently and effectively. The Roundabout’s zero turn ability allows it to access all the tight areas associated within these canals. Add plenty of storage and an open deck design make it the ideal fishing platform to fish these peacock bass infested waters.