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Florida Peacock Bass Tackle Tips...???

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Need some general guidelines/tips for peacock bass fishing in Florida...

 

1. The Peacock bass in Florida don't look too big in the videos that I see on Youtube. A lot of the fish seem to be in the 2-3lb range. Seems like occasionally you will get a 4-5lber. Am I ok with a medium power rod...? Or should I upgrade to a medium heavy power rod instead just in case I hook a 4-5lber...? I don't want to be under powered when a big one hits but than again I don't want to be too over powered for the smaller fish. 

 

2. What lures seem to work best for Peacock Bass in Florida...? I see a lot of topwater baits, crankbaits and bucktail jigs being thrown in the videos I see on youtube. Will hollow bodied frogs work for peacock bass as well...? How about glidebaits, swimbaits and jerkbaits...?

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The main species of peacock bass in South Florida is the butterfly peacock bass. They have been caught weighing over 12 pounds in Florida and the official state record is 9.08 pounds. The average size is around one to three pounds. A 4 pound or better peacock bass is a big one and anything over 5 pounds is considered trophy size. Pound for pound a peacock bass is more powerful than a largemouth bass so keep that in mind when fishing light tackle. Most people fish with 8-15 pound test line depending on the conditions. A 6-7 foot medium heavy rod is a good choice. Poppers, propbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, jigs are good choices. 

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22 hours ago, soflabasser said:

Pound for pound a peacock bass is more powerful than a largemouth bass so keep that in mind when fishing light tackle. 

d**n...Seems like I better go with a medium heavy or maybe even a heavy rod than. If that is the case...Can I just use the same tackle that I use for snakeheads; for peacock bass as well...?

 

I see a lot of guys using spinning tackle for peacock bass in Florida. Why is that...? Makes more sense to use baitcasting since the fish fight so much harder than a largemouth bass of the same size. Is baitcasting not as common for peacock bass...?

 

I like using straight braid when fishing topwaters for bass and snakeheads. Is straight braid good for peacock bass as well...? Or should I go braid to a leader...?

 

Which season is best for Peacock Bass...? I take it summer time is the best for peacock bass since they are originally from the Amazon/Brazil where its considered the 'tropics' and the water/weather is pretty much warm all year round. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ITO_ZILLION said:

I see a lot of guys using spinning tackle for peacock bass in Florida. Why is that...? Makes more sense to use baitcasting since the fish fight so much harder than a largemouth bass of the same size. Is baitcasting not as common for peacock bass

It is a common misconception to think spinning gear is not as powerful as baitcasters. In fact many size 4000 spinning reels are more powerful than many bass baitcaster reels. I use size 4000 spinning reels for peacock bass, largemouth bass, snook, tarpon, bullseye snakehead, clown knifefish, etc and do very well for these species.

1 hour ago, ITO_ZILLION said:

I like using straight braid when fishing topwaters for bass and snakeheads. Is straight braid good for peacock bass as well...? Or should I go braid to a leader...?

 

 

I prefer using straight mono for peacock bass in the 8-15 pound test range, depending on the conditions and where I am fishing. You can catch them on straight braid if you want but it would be better to use straight mono or braid with a mono leader.

1 hour ago, ITO_ZILLION said:

Which season is best for Peacock Bass...? I take it summer time is the best for peacock bass since they are originally from the Amazon/Brazil where its considered the 'tropics' and the water/weather is pretty much warm all year round. 

 

 

I catch peacock bass in every month of the year and have caught them during cold fronts. Have caught +6 pound peacock bass in February which is usually the coldest month in South Florida.

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2 hours ago, soflabasser said:

It is a common misconception to think spinning gear is not as powerful as baitcasters.

What does it even mean when someone says that?  Is there "power" in reels?  Is it measured in watts or joules?

 

It's a preference, pure and simple. Spinning are a bit easier to use, and bait casting have a thumb as an extra level of precision.  These days, you can get similar drag and line capacity in both reels. 

 

Personally, I like the compact design of bait casters.  I absolutely hate the fumbly nature of spinning.  That whole "reel forward" design is not for me.  But I have a few, and there are instances where they are useful. (got a 9' spoon rod for the beach in spinning) For catching small fish - and by small, I mean less than the size of a tuna - there's no real reason to pick one over the other, except for your comfort level.  Tell the world that one is better than the other, and somebody will step forward, and show you that they can use your less preferred, far better than you can use what you like.  So use what you like, and catch fish.  They don't care what you're using. 

 

You might have a snakehead/peacock bass crossover with buzzbaits, chatterbait, and spinnerbaits.  But *in general*, each has their own set of baits.  I've fished hundreds of hours since last fall for snakehead, and I've caught exactly 3 LMB and zero PB. (far better numbers on snakehead, luckily)  My kid has fished with me, and he has about 5 LMB, and also zero PB.

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3 hours ago, ITO_ZILLION said:

Seems like I better go with a medium heavy or maybe even a heavy rod than. If that is the case...Can I just use the same tackle that I use for snakeheads; for peacock bass as well...?

 

 

Yes you can use the same rod for snakeheads that you use for peacock bass if you want but I prefer using a heavy action rod for snakehead fishing. A 6-7 foot medium heavy spinning rod with size 4000 reel would be a good choice for most canal fishing in South Florida. Have caught peacock bass on ultralight gear with 4 pound test line for fun but that is not a good idea most of the time, especially since the canals in South Florida have rocky walls that can easily abrade light mono. Besides a long fight can stress a peacock bass and increase the chances of delayed mortality after being released. Better to keep the fight short and release the peacock bass as soon as possible. 

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You use a 4000 size reel for peacock bass??? 😵

 

My son uses a 2000 size spinning reel (Penn Conflict II) for canal fishing. It's more than enough to handle everything that's been thrown at us.  It's his setup for peacock bass, as well... (I don't target peacock bass, but if I did, it would be the same rod and reel that I use for snakehead)

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Are peacock bass good eating...? Whats the size limit and amount that you can keep in Florida...?

 

I have tried largemouth bass before but I hated it. The only freshwater fish I like to eat is Striped Bass and Crappie. I heard snakehead is really good too. 

 

What's the best way to cook snakeheads and peacock bass...?

 

Do you guys get 'bowfin' fish in Florida...? I heard the bowfin can be mistaken for snakeheads. How do you tell the difference between a bowfin and a snakehead...? 

 

 

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Snakeheads and bowfin don't actually look as similar as it's often suggested.  The black spot with an orange ring (like an Oscar) on the tail gives away the Florida Bullseye snakehead.  Bowfin look much more ordinary.

 

Personally, I can't think of a wrong way to cook a snakehead.  Fried, fish tacos, grilled, baked...  Any way you can cook a fish, it's good.  It's fantastic, firm, white meat.  No fish taste whatsoever. (I like fish that taste like fish, but snakehead is just prime protein)

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2 hours ago, ITO_ZILLION said:

Are peacock bass good eating...? Whats the size limit and amount that you can keep in Florida...?

I would not eat any fish from a South Florida freshwater canal knowing well how much methyl mercury and other chemicals are in the meat of fish. It is so bad where the state says pregnant women should not eat any predatory fish (largemouth bass, peacock bass, etc) from South Florida canal systems. You are allowed to keep fish if you have a Florida freshwater fishing license and the law says you can keep 2 peacock bass in 1 day (one peacock over 17 inches and the other under 17 inches).

2 hours ago, ITO_ZILLION said:

Do you guys get 'bowfin' fish in Florida...? I heard the bowfin can be mistaken for snakeheads. How do you tell the difference between a bowfin and a snakehead...? 

You can catch all the bowfin you want in the Everglades. They will hit the same lures a bass will hit. It is easy to tell the difference between a bowfin and a snakehead. I suggest you see pictures online of what a bullseye snakehead and bowfin look like so you can better identify them when you catch them.

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From the videos I see of snakehead and peacock bass fishing on youtube...The canals in south florida go right thru people's backyards. I mean...some people's backyards are 'literally' a couple feet (10' or less) from the canal. 

 

Some questions...

 

1. As long as I am courteous and don't do anything stupid (like trespassing)...I should be 'ok' fishing from the bank just like the people I see on youtube...correct...?

 

2. I am pretty sure most of the homeowners who have a canal in their backyard...Are pretty much used to anglers/fisherman fishing in the canal within a close vicinity/proximity to their property/backyard...Therefore these homeowners are 'ok' and will not disturb or confront an angler...correct...? 

 

3. Any other tips for avoiding any conflicts/arguments or trespassing rules while bank fishing a florida canal that obviously goes thru people's properties/backyards...? 

 

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Your assumptions are not correct.  In fact, many of them are downright ********, even if you ask.  There are some super nice people, also, don't get me wrong.  But fishing friendly won't be the majority. Even then, that's a lot of doors to knock on.

 

If we're in a neighborhood that has a fence set back to the easement, we'll often just fish right at the edge of the bank. If someone asks us to leave, we just oblige them.  We may come back another day, and repeat the process.  But be aware... in many places, there are signs posted, and in other places, cops will sometimes just show up, and do the asking on behalf of the property owner.

 

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