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Fisherman's Guide to Catching Peacock Bass


Peacock bass (or Brazilian tucunaré) (Cichla) is a genus of big cichlids, predatory freshwater fish indigenous to tropical South America's Amazon, Orinoco, and Guianas rivers. They are sometimes called to in English by their Brazilian or Spanish names, tucunaré and pavon. Despite their popular name and apparent resemblance, they are unrelated to other members of the black bass family, such as the North American largemouth bass.

Peacock Bass

Define Peacock Bass

A distinguishing feature of this species is that it is often light to dark yellow in color with vivid orange fins. On both sides of the fish, vertical black bars create lines. Generally, the underbelly is bright or almost white. Peacock bass upper jaws, like those of largemouth bass, extend far beyond the back border and are movable.

Florida, Panama, and Brazil are the world's TOP Destinations for exploring and catching prize peacock bass!


Everything you need to know about the Florida Peacock Bass. Butterfly peacock (affectionately known as peacock bass) is a popular freshwater game fish that was introduced to south Florida in 1984. Shoreline and boat fishermen may easily catch it using a variety of equipment and bait, ranging from live shiners to artificial lures and flies. Peacock bass like live fish and fish-imitating baits often employed by largemouth bass fisherman in South Florida, but they seldom strike plastic worms usually used to capture largemouths.

South Florida: An Introduction

The FWC agreed to admit the alien species after rigorous compilation of facts and evaluations by specialists from around the country. Butterfly peacocks were brought by the FWC from Brazil and Peru. Then they were hatched at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Non-Native Fish Research Lab, utilizing three stocks to boost genetic variety. They were supplied after being screened for illness and parasites by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn University.

Today, the butterfly peacock fishery is self-sustaining and spans 330 miles of canals in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Because more stockings are not required, the program has no continuing costs. Despite this, it gives over 286,000 hours of fishing delight per year and almost $5 million in economic gain.

Peacock species

There are fifteen species of Peacock Bass, each with its own unique size range. The most frequent species in the United States is the Butterfly Peacock bass, which is a medium-sized fish weighing between 6 and 15 pounds. The Speckled Peacock Bass is the biggest species, reaching lengths of over 36 inches. Around the same time as the butterfly, Speckled Peacock Bass were introduced to South Florida, but none survived. Speckled peacocks have not been sighted in South Florida in more than 16 years, and their capture is banned. The Royal Peacock Bass is the smallest, growing to a maximum length of 10 inches.

When and Where to Look for Peacock Bass

These magnificent fish are found south of Palm Beach County. The greatest peacock bass fishing, in general, is found near Miami, particularly for bigger specimens. However, fishing expeditions at Palm Beach are particularly popular due to the possibility of capturing another rare species, the clown knife fish. When fishing for peacock bass in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, there is a good chance of capturing typical saltwater species that have found their way into freshwater systems, such as tarpon and snook. Peacock Bass fishing excursions are available throughout the year, however there are normally two peak seasons: March through June and September through December. These are the periods when the majority of large fish above four pounds are caught.

Local Experts' Suggestions

Shaded regions created by bridges, culverts, and other structures, as well as fallen trees, bridge pilings, canal ends, drop-offs, lily pads, bends, and junctions, are all good fishing locations for this invasive species. Almost all butterfly peacocks are collected during daytime hours. The simplest method of catching butterfly peacocks is using live bait. A little golden shiner around three inches in length is a popular option. Locally referred to as a "peacock shiner." Anglers may fish them with a float or a free-lined line while casting or slow-trolling around canal borders using an electric engine. To fish the shiner at the right depth, a little split shot weight may be necessary. Peacock bass are easily accessible from canal banks or boats, with the best fishing occurring during daylight hours, since they are seldom active early in the morning or late at night. Use topwater plugs, minnow-like crankbaits, or tiny golden shiners to target rocky areas near structures. The best tackle is light tackle. By calling local bait and tackle stores, reading fishing reports, and consulting fishing guides, you may learn about the greatest fishing locations.

Embarrassing Rules and Laws

The bag limit is two fish per day, with no fish over 17 inches in length. The Big Catch program is open to butterfly peacocks that are at least 18 inches or 5 pounds in length. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission now offers a Peacock Fishing booklet in PDF format.


Peacock Bass


Peacock fishing blogs provide the greatest and most up-to-date fishing reports for butterfly peacocks. A few tackle stores specialize on butterfly peacock anglers. There are also a number of professional guides that specialize in catching this species. Experienced guides assist visiting fishermen and those want to learn the fundamentals fast. They give advice on the finest canals to fish and the best lures to use. It advised that first-time, non-guided butterfly peacock anglers consult with local freshwater tackle stores for the best places and baits to utilize. The top fishing guides in the region are mentioned below.

Peacock bass may be found in the following cities in Florida:

Miami, Naples, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Homestead, Miramar, Plantation, and Pompano Beach are all great places to live.

These maps are also accessible on our fisheries publishing website in Acrobat PDF format.

Avoidance Measures

In Florida, cold water temperatures are the most crucial component for butterfly peacock bass. Peacocks die in water colder than 62 degrees Fahrenheit, according to laboratory temperature tests. Due to low pond temperatures, the initial effort to investigate peacock bass in the 1960s failed.

The finding of coastal southeast Florida canals being warmer than other waterways throughout the winter in the early 1980s, with some seldom dropping below 65 degrees. The primary cause for this is the Biscayne Aquifer, which is just a few feet below ground. The warmer water coming from this aquifer into canals generates the warm temperatures required for the survival and success of many exotic species throughout the winter.

The butterfly peacock is no different. In fact, the peacock bass is the least tolerant to low water temperatures of any alien fish now established in Florida. Since their introduction in 1984, peacocks have survived winter and reproduced every year. Since 1987, no extra fish stocking has been required.

Although peacocks suffer from partial winterkills on occasion, coastal southeast Florida canals offer circumstances that should maintain a high-quality recreational fishing for this important species indefinitely. Butterfly peacocks, unlike their cousins, do not swim in saltwater.

Salinities comparable to those accepted by largemouth bass limit their range. Butterfly peacock bass are unable to expand outside of the urban South Florida region because to their aversion to saltwater and cold water temperatures.


Consider your local options first before selecting a Peacock Bass Fishing Guide. Second, their experience is irreplaceable. Whether you're fishing in Miami, Naples, or West Palm Beach, some lakes, such as Lake Ida and Airport Lakes, will give the most enjoyable experience. Seek for fishing guides that are knowledgeable about the area or body of water where you want to fish.

While most guides are capable of catching fish, professional animalshub guide tours are all about and catch premium equipment, top-notch boats, high-quality gear, years of expertise, and courteous service. Alternatively, you may fish from the bank! Over the past two decades, the peacock has thrived in these urban canals and lakes, and all of this excellent fishing is only a short drive from almost anyplace in South Florida.

Bass Online employs the state's biggest "full-time" team of Florida freshwater fishing guides and specializes in numerous species of peacock trout. Our Guides are the most experienced and only the finest in South Florida when it comes to fishing for Peacock Bass. Our TEAM at will happily help you in preparing your next Florida fishing vacation that is certain to provide you with lifelong memories!


Topwater entices (with and without propellers). Artificial baits such as minnow resembling crankbaits and different jigs fished on casting or spinning equipment are excellent alternatives. These include Rapalas and Yozuri minnows that float and sink, Rat-L-Traps, Shad-Raps, Tiny Torpedos, and Pop-Rs. A combination of a plastic twin-tailed minnow and a jig. Additionally, buzzing across the surface or tossing at fish seen in deeper water might be fruitful. Sight-fishing butterfly peacocks using small tube lures and jigs is widely employed, particularly when they are vigorously protecting spawning sites along the coast. While larger baits (up to five inches in length) may attract more trophy-sized fish, baits less than three inches in length will consistently yield more fish. Even a giant butterfly peacock, though, will eat baits smaller than those generally used by largemouth bass fishermen.

Fly fishing is very popular for these aggressive Florida fish. Dahlberg divers, deceivers, Clousers, epoxy minnows, zonkers, and poppers are all popular fly fishing patterns used by well-known fly fishermen. Many fisherman like gold, firetiger, or natural-colored lures; fly fishermen favor chartreuse or yellow flies with colorful Mylar-type stripes. The majority of butterfly peacock fishermen utilize light spinning equipment and 6 to 8 pound test line. Lighter lines and tippets create more strikes than heavier lines and tippets, and larger lines are unnecessary since canal-caught butterfly peacocks are fighters. By the end of the day, successful fishermen who employ a thumb hold will have several scrapes caused by teeth. Despite this, peacock bass are handled using the same thumb and finger techniques as largemouth bass. While technique does not render peacocks immobile, it does provide an excellent image.

What You Should Know

Use tape, a leather thumb guard, or a fish landing device such as the Bogagrip to avoid this. The current bag limit for butterfly peacock bass is two per day, with only one fish over 17 inches in length. This additional protection for huge fish, which is critical for sustaining a high-quality recreational fishery, is provided by this 17-inch length limit. Assume that the popularity of butterfly peacock fishing continues to develop at a rate consistent with expectations. To safeguard this fishery, it may be essential to propose even more rigorous rules (e.g., the bag limits). All sport fish restrictions are subject to change, so always double-check to ensure you're following the most up-to-date guidelines.

We at  urge anglers to fish for butterfly peacock using a catch-and-release technique. In general, we believe the species is a hardy fish, with about 100% of individuals surviving when properly handled. Peacock bass, on the other hand, do not spend as much time in live wells or as long out of the water as largemouth bass. Peacocks must be released immediately to ensure their survival.



Florida has some of the greatest bass fishing in the country, and the peacock bass is a favorite among recreational freshwater fisherman. Bass in Florida grow to enormous dimensions and are caught all year. A prize peacock bass weighs at least five pounds. Peacocks may be found around submerged structures and rocks in canals and lakes.


While Panama is most renowned for its gigantic black and blue marlin, another species caught and often inquired about in this country is the peacock bass. As in Brazil and Florida, this vibrant and aggressive fish attracts a large number of humans. A day spent fishing for peacocks in Panama is enhanced by the setting.


Since the mid-1980s, a growing number of anglers have traveled to Brazil and Venezuela's Amazon Basin to pursue peacock bass, a freshwater species that some consider to be the most thrilling gamefish on the planet! The earliest stories of peacock bass were reported in the late 1950's or early 1960's by the late Field and Stream editor A.J.


In Hawaii, Lake Wilson is supplied with seventeen distinct kinds of freshwater fish. The Peacock Bass, like all the other sites, is the most popular. It was brought to Hawaii from South America in 1977 and is easily identifiable by its color and spot. While it is found in limited regions in Hawaii, it is the only site in the United States, along with South Florida.


Are peacock bass found in Florida?
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission introduced the Peacock Bass to Florida's lakes in early 1984. These non-native species of cichlid fish are characterized by their yellow and golden hues and sidebars. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Peacock Bass are native to the Amazon but have adapted well to the South Florida climate.

Is it possible for peacock bass to survive in saltwater?

They thrive ONLY in freshwater and do not thrive in saltwater with salinity (salt), which occurs when saltwater and freshwater combine. Peacock Bass are also quite picky about brackish water, or, more broadly, water quality, water temperature, and currents. They are establishing the ideal habitat in the warm waterways of South Florida.

Where is the greatest place to fish for peacock bass?

As said on this website, there are other excellent venues for peacock bass fishing, but none compare to Brazil. When it comes to fishing in the rainforest, the fish's solitude and size make it extremely appealing—but the expense, worry of safety, and at best shaky transit prompt fishermen to look for other options.

In Florida, particularly in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, there are several unique Peacock Bass fishing areas. Between Key Largo and Palm Beach, then Fort Lauderdale and Naples, there are several excellent fishing areas with hard fighting fish.

Are peacock bass toothed?

Peacock bass have rows of small, scratchy teeth and a muscular jaw. As is the case with many fish and their largemouth counterpart, they only have a downward bite, which means that once clamped down, the teeth keep it in place. They're more difficult to catch, since they often grasp the line, cutting it, and swimming away with your bait.

How can you determine the gender of a peacock bass?

A typical identifying characteristic of many cichlid fish species is a bulging hump on the top of their heads. Testing has shown that there is a visual difference between male and female peacock bass. Numerous ideas imply that it is used as a symbol of mating in order to attract females during spawning and scare off rival males.

Is Lake Okeechobee home to peacock bass?

Visitors to Lake Okeechobee come in the hope of catching peacock bass. Unfortunately, these exotic species are restricted to South Florida's coastal areas, and there is no peacock bass in Lake Okeechobee.

Why is Lake Okeechobee devoid of peacock bass?

Numerous anglers inquire, "Are Peacock Bass found in Lake Okeechobee, Florida?" Lake Okeechobee has NO peacock bass. Peacock bass are found in South Florida, where the lake is shallow and the water temperatures drop significantly during the winter. Lake Okeechobee is ideal for monster largemouth bass fishing. Within a 40-minute drive, you can reach the TOP lakes for Florida peacock bass.

Peacock bass are quite sensitive to decreased water temperatures. Due to their origins in South America, they perish when water temperatures get too chilly. As a consequence, this very explosive, aggressive, and vibrant species is prohibited from residing in Lake Okeechobee.

Is it possible to find peacock bass in Orlando?

Apart from largemouth bass, the peacock bass is one of the most intriguing and thrilling fish to catch. Visitors to Central Florida come with the hope of catching peacock bass. Regrettably, these unique qualities limit it to South Florida, and there is no peacock bass in Orlando.

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