In Florida, you won’t come across the common bass species that you might encounter in New York or Michigan, for example. The most common kind of bass you’re likely to stumble upon in the areas around Miami is butterfly peacock bass. This species was introduced back in 1984 due to the fact that there were other freshwater invasive species destroying the natural habitat of South Florida. One of the reasons you might want to consider fishing for this species is that it responds particularly well with a broad array of tackle and bait, whether you intend to utilize flies, live shiners, or any type of artificial lure.
When it comes to the biology of peacock bass, it should be noted that there are several differences in terms of the size of the catches. While the maximum weight is about 30 lbs, you might catch smaller ones weighing in at just 5 lbs, and it might be a good idea to release them back in the water as they could grow some more. Handling the fish should be done with care, which is why it’s recommended that you do not grab it by the lip but be aware of the fact that this species is unusually energetic and could injure your hand if you don’t wear any protective equipment.
Spinning and baitcasting tackle offers excellent results when targeting this species. A thick braid is recommended if what’s on your mind is casting large lures. While in the United States, peacock bass is caught both on bait and lures, in Amazonia, they’re typically fished with lures. Live shiners are the top choice for some anglers. Of all of the tackle and baits that you might be tempted to use, the one to stay as far as possible from are plastic worms. From what I’ve gathered and in my experience, no peacock bass likes these. Spoons, crank baits, Rapalas, and diving lures are other suggestions you may need to use on your next fishing trip around Miami.
The most important thing about peacock bass to give some thought to is that it’s a piscivore species, in that it preys upon other live fish and an impressive range of worms. Because they’re sturdy and hardy, they need a bit of action in order to activate their appetite. Some say that they don’t like it if the prey doesn’t put up a fight, although there have been cases where some have taken to eating crustaceans in their habitat. Tiny fish is their preferred food, so if you get your hands on a bluegill or mosquito fish, you can safely utilize them as bait, as well. Whatever the food of their choice, what you have to know is that they are quiet during the night, so it might not be the perfect time to target them.