How to Catch Florida Peacock Bass
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How to catch Florida Peacock Bass

Welcome to How to catch Florida Peacock Bass

My name is Mike, I have been fishing for Peacock bass in Florida since 1995. The purpose of this website is to educate people around the world about the beautiful butterfly Peacock Bass which live in our Florida waterways since 1984. Here on this page, you will find my recommendations on how and what to use to catch Florida Peacock bass. 

When where Peacock bass introduced to Florida?

The Butterfly peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris) was deployed into south Florida waters as an experiment to control the overpopulation of many unusual fish species within the areas canals, ponds, freshwater lakes. The spotted tilapia ( Tilapia mariae ) started thriving after being with the aid of aquarium owners releasing older larger undesirable specimens. These fish consisted of others like the blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) African jewelfish (hemichromis bimaculatus ) and not forgetting the Mayan cichlid (cichlasoma urophthalmus). They hit gold in warm and tropical South Florida waters. The biologist had a large hassle, so big that they noticed Tilapia had become not unusual by the early 1980s that it was outnumbering allot of native fish species. Biologists in Florida were looking for a method on how they could manage that big exceptional problem. I believe they considered many sport fish from there inventory to try to make an impact on the problem they had. Wager what? They picked the butterfly peacock bass (cichla ocellaris). The first introduction of peacock bass in South Florida became carried out in 1984 into the black creek canal system. (C-1)

Largemouth bass who?

The Peacock Bass is a super heavyweight once on your line. It is strong, fast, tough and very smart trying to take you into culverts, structure to try to break you off. The Peacock Bass makes these big-time powerful tackle destroying, head-shaking runs. I have had treble hooks bent and broken in the process of hooking a big one. These fish put up a way harder than let's say the traditional largemouth bass. I would say a one pound peacock fights similar to a 2 pound black bass. They are a real treat to catch, allot of south Florida anglers have grown accustomed and love to fish for the mighty Peacock bass we have in our local waters.


I like fishing for peacock bass in Florida with light tackle it makes these thrilling game fish a blast to catch. My go-to is normally an 8-10 pound test fluorocarbon line with a 2500-3000 spinning reel. I like the versatility of this simple but effective combo. You can fish lures and live bait and could cast a line where cover is limited like overhanging trees, canal dead ends, places where using a baitcasting setup would be much harder.

Where to find Florida Peacock Bass?

Bridges are excellent Florida Peacock bass locations. I would recommend that you to try to focus fishing around them, very productive fish catchers.


The reason why I think bridges are so good is that the butterfly peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris) is a highly predatory fish and normally uses the structure as an advantage to abash unsuspecting baitfish.


I recommend you for sure to toss your lure or live bait at an angle so you can really get into the shady areas inside of the bridge structure. If you happen to be using live bait, hold on and be ready for the strike!

Florida Peacock Bass also loves the structure that consists of a lot of big boulders. I have most of my success when fishing deep rock ledges and drop off's. The peacocks love to sit under the deep side of the rocks.


Sometimes fishing steep canals when you cast your lure parallel to the bank all you see is the head of a  Florida peacock bass ever so slightly creep out from under the rocks. 


They eat baitfish as there main forage, and do they!  Peacock's absolutely destroy any small baitfish makes the mistake of getting just a little bit brave to venture away from the protections of shallow water rock caves which they normally live in.


When fishing for peacock bass in Florida canals and lake drop off's I like using a rod that is longer rather than shorter. The reason for the longer rod is because I can have leverage on the peacock. These fish do not get to grow into monsters by being unintelligent. They often try to find the closest possible culvert, debris, sharp rock ledges to try to break you off.


I personally like best a 7ft to 7'3 Spinning rod. The fishing reel size of choice is 3000. I normally spool it with an 8-pound test KastKing FluoroKote.  

Pipes and culverts are also great spots as well. The fish like to sit by them and wait for baitfish to come threw with canal or lake current. There is a good amount of man-made lakes and ponds in South Florida that have pumps for aeration. The fish sometimes hand out near long stretches of PVC pipes coming from a land that goes underwater. These are my bread and butter locations for when going peacock bass fishing.

Best Peacock Bass Live Baits

Small Spotted Tilapia, Jewfish,Mayan cichlids are 

are excellent Peacock Bass baits.


They normally must be caught with small cricket sized hook with small bread balls. I believe they can only be used on that same body of water you catch them at.

I normally buy the cheapest white bread loaf I can find, use a few slices when trying to catch live exotics, then put the rest in the fridge for later bait catching use next time I go fishing.

Live Shiners are super popular, they work well for Florida Peacock bass. They are normally 3-4" and are sold in most bait and tackle stores live. Prices vary with the times but I have paid in the past like $9-10 per dozen. You will need a bucket and aerator to keep them alive, and frisky. 

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