We’re quickly approaching the holiday season. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time for shopping, over-eating, holiday jingles, crowded malls, and visits from relatives we may or may not be happy about. Like it or hate it, fall quickly turns into winter. The days are shorter, the temperature drops. But, as anglers, there is one thing we absolutely cherish and must take advantage of this time of year. That’s the spectacular bite in the backcountry Flamingo area of The Everglades. Snook, Redfish, Juvenile Tarpon, Trout, and on the freshwater side, Peacock Bass are all on our fisherman’s checklist. Peacock Bass? Without having to travel to the Amazon? One of the best-kept secrets in recent years has been our growing population of Peacock Bass in South Florida and the outskirts of the Everglades.
Even though not native to the area, Peacock Bass have found their way into canal systems and ponds in the warm tropical waters of South Florida. Many believe they were unintentionally released by local fish farms into the water system by ways of hurricanes. These fish have been caught over 10 pounds and can be seen swarming in schools similar to Jack Crevalles in Saltwater. When conditions are right, normally during the warmer hours of the day, Peacock Bass can be an absolute riot with the fly rod. They have a very distinct bite and are very territorial. They behave like a bully in a schoolyard, the way they circle the bait before they explode on it. It’s as if they are offended that anything swam into their domain. Not to mention what they end up doing to the fly or lure in the aftermath. They often force anglers to retie new fly or artificial bait before they can fish again. Normal outfits for fly anglers would be a 5 to 8 weight fly rod using a wide array of fly patterns and for spin fisherman an 8-12lb setup is more than suffice. White, red, and chartreuse flies and lures all seem to be common color patterns for the area. As to size your best option is not too big. The South Florida Peacocks don’t like baits as large as their South American cousins. For any angler trying to do something a little different, this is a great experience.
A new option we have started is offering anglers here at Miami fishing would be the ability to fish a half day in Flamingo for Snook, Tarpon, and Redfish, and then on our way back to Miami, launching the boat in a freshwater canal and fishing for Peacock Bass and even Large Mouth Bass in the early afternoon for the other half of the day. The trip is still a standard 8-hour full day trip, just divided to obtain the best of both worlds. The other benefit of doing this type of trip during the cooler months is the lack of nagging mosquitoes. You can choose from any one of our experienced native fishing guides and catch a saltwater and freshwater trophy all in the same day.