Taking a Bass Break for some New Floridian Fish: The Peacock Bass

These fish are as brutal as they are beautiful.
These fish are as brutal as they are beautiful.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today, thanks to Todd Kersey of Bass Online I got the chance to get off the beaten path and experience a fishery in Florida that has only taken hold in the last couple of decades. In the mid 1980s Floridians introduced a new game fish into their southern waters, the peacock bass.

The peacock bass, which has origins in South America, is a brightly colored and ferocious game fish that was introduced to Florida waters in order to control the populations of other invasive species like the cichlid. They are originally from South America, the Amazon River specifically. And yes, Florida is the metaphorical “Old state that swallowed the fly…”

But peacocks have flourished in Florida and fish to 12 pounds have been caught. The only fish that I’ve caught that had a fighting ability comparable to these things is a bluefish. I mean they just ravaged our topwater Zara Spooks with reckless abandon and then you weren’t so much fighting them as you were hanging on for dear life.

It was a tremendous experience considering that southern Florida is the only place in the lower 48 where you can target and catch these fish. In total we caught a mix of largemouth bass and peacock bass, totaling 21 fish on the day. That adds up to an additional 49 dollars for the Melanoma Research Foundation, since we made the exception to count peacocks just this one time (promise).

Todd Kersey shows off a peacock bass that hit a spinnerbait.
Todd Kersey shows off a peacock bass that hit a spinnerbait.

It was something for sure that I’ll be hard pressed to forget no matter where this trip wanders from here. Kersey and his wife were some of the most kind, accommodating people I’ve ever fished with and I’d strongly recommend you get in touch with the Bass Online boys if you’re down in Florida and looking to fish.

But catching these fish was an experience that will stay with me for some time. If you’re ever in Florida and want to face the toughest fighting freshwater fish that swims, get in touch with the guys at Bass Online.

I can’t give away the exact spot that we fished, but Peacocks are spreading throughout the Florida canal system like wildfire in and around Miami, and they’ll eat a shiner, topwater bait or even a spinnerbait. It’s truly something that’ll have your friends in awe when you go back home, even if that home is right in the state of Florida itself.

One thought on “Taking a Bass Break for some New Floridian Fish: The Peacock Bass”

  1. Awesome. Some brilliant photos and they certainly are a gorgeous sport fish. I live in Australia and do loads of inshore and freshwater sport fishing around my country but as all fishermen do, I have a bucket list that spans nations – Cichla Timensis is most definitely on that list. I had no idea that they were taking up roost in Florida though. I was still under the impression that I’d have to travel to the Amazon basin to find one. Are there any fishing guides in Florida that target these fish specifically?

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