Miami is a beautiful and diverse city. There are endless activities for all ages and interests. For those of us who love the water and live by the kayak, there are endless bodies of waters to drop our boats into, and just about every single one of them holds a wide range of species.
Amongst them is the favorite freshwater species to fish for down here: the butterfly peacock bass, but honestly, most people just call them peacocks or pea’s.
Plush Peacock Waters
It’s also interesting to know that the only place in the Continental U.S. where you can find them is here in South Florida. That being said, I’m not entirely certain on what is the most northern point you can find them, but I know for a fact that friends of mine have caught pea’s as north as Lake Worth, and as south as Homestead, FL. I would however, recommend my stomping grounds, as this is where I fish weekly.
All you need to do is find a canal with vegetation and clear water, and you are potentially in a peacock heaven! Anywhere south of NW 36thth Street in Miami, really. This can be reached by driving south on the Palmetto Expressway a.k.a. the Florida 826. Park your car just about anywhere there isn’t a tow-away sign and drop your kayak!
Plan Your Trip
When to Go: March through July
Where to Stay: There’s a plethora of cheap hotels in Miami, so make sure you shop around, but you won’t spend more than $100 a night if you shop wisely. I would not recommend camping on this trip, as it will be very warm and mosquitoes will be very active, plus these canals are best accessed near urban areas.
Where to Eat: The Rusty Pelican is a great place to visit, with a great view and great food.
Don’t Miss: The Wynwood Brewing Company. Most days, best to call ahead though: 305.982.8732
Who to Call: Call me! My name is Sam De La Torre, 305.510.9484, [email protected]. My friends and I often go out for peacock bass on topwater and would be happy to show you around if we can!
If you’re interested in a formal guide, my good friend Rob Valderrey (floridakayakangler.com) is the guy to talk to for Peacock. His prices will beat the competition, plus he has some awesome peacock decals and t-shirts for sale!
Anglers down here fish for them with a plethora of techniques, all the way from live bait to artificial lures such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, rattletraps, bucktail jigs and even fly!
However, most fishermen I know would quickly trade up to a topwater bait whenever possible.
Let’s be honest, watching any fish attack a surface lure is absolutely exhilarating, but experiencing an aggressive peacock topwater strike is to die for!
My first time using this technique I was a bit skeptical, but it only took one hit to change my opinion. I haven’t fished for them any other way since.
Lure selection is paramount for this style of fishing because South Florida canals are often stirred up by city crews working nearby or even cleaning the canals themselves, therefore a loud, obnoxious lure is very necessary.
Bass fishermen may be familiar with the surface popper, so you will feel right at home if you’ve fished for bass before!
This allows for a hungry peacock to locate your lure even with less-than-clear water.
Our terminal tackle is fairly simple; we use a 20-30# monofilament leader (for it’s buoyant nature) attached via uni-knot to 45-50# braided line, though lighter braid can help for tougher fish.
We typically cast 40-50 feet ahead of our kayaks and between 2-4 feet from the bank since peacock love to hunt the shallow waters.
Once the cast is out, simply rip the lure hard (make sure to kick up lots of water) towards your boat and pause. Continue until you generate a strike.
Remember, the harder you rip the lure and longer you pause, the more ferocious the strikes will be, change the cadence if you have to, but always allow for a pause, because these fish are opportunistic by nature and will likely strike on the pause.
You’ve got all it takes now, come explore our South Florida’s canals and lakes!