Striped bass are native to the Atlantic Ocean. Peacock bass belong in the Amazon River. Snakehead come all the way from China.
Somehow these foreigners have found a home in North America’s rivers and lakes.
Now local anglers love the newcomers more than the resident species.
Here are three experts on making contact with alien invaders.
Rod and Reel A medium-action, spinning or conventional set up will handle any size striper. I carry three rods: one is a sight-casting rod and the other two can pitch a bait or cast a lure.
Line and Leader I use 50-pound braided line and 40-pound fluorocarbon leader so I can apply heavy drag.
Lures and Rigs Bucktails, swimbaits and topwater. Or, natural bait on a Carolina rig.
Angler River Wolf
Location Acworth, Georgia
Background My relationship with striped bass goes way back. My father was an avid striper fisherman.
I’ve been fishing striped bass since I was a kid in California.
Find the fish In late summer, I fish rivers. Dawn and dusk are the best time of day.
Fish below dams, deep pools, deadfalls, springs or discharge tubes.
When the water is muddy, look to rocky areas at a creek mouth. When I catch one fish, I’ll drop anchor and pick the place apart.
Perfect Conditions Overcast skies. Striped bass like swift-moving water. I often catch them when water is released from the dam. They’ll bite after a good rain, as long as the water isn’t too muddy.
Rod and Reel Medium-light, fast-action spinning with 2500 series reel.
Line and Leader 30-pound braided line with 20- to 40-pound fluorocarbon leader.
Lures and Rigs Yozuri 3DB propeller topwater lures. Lipless crankbaits like Rapala or Rat-L-Trap.
Angler Robwil Valderry
Location Miami, Florida
Background My first fish was a seven-pound peacock bass I caught at 12 years old in my hometown in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela.
When I moved to Miami, I was pleasantly surprised to find peacock bass. I credit the aggressive, beautiful fish for my passion.
Find the Fish Peacock bass are cichlids making them territorial and aggressive, a perfect combination. They live in almost every neighborhood canal or lake from Homestead to West Palm. Cast to docks, overhanging vegetation and drain pipes.
Perfect Conditions Available year-round, the best bite is May to September when the water is warmest. Morning and evening with calm water is best for topwater. During the day, use diving plugs.
Rod and Reel To pull snakehead out of heavy cover, use a heavy-action, seven-foot casting rod and a high-speed 7.3:1 reel to work the lure fast.
Line and Leader 50-pound braid tied straight to the lure with a Bangkok hooker twist knot doubles the line against the snakehead’s teeth.
Lures and Rigs Hollow-body frogs and rats on top or ChatterBaits and paddle tails to work the middle water column. If I miss a bite on the frog, I follow up with the subsurface lure.
Angler Neaven Reevey
Location Southern New Jersey
Background After I caught my first snakehead, I knew I was going to target these fish for life.
I had heard bad stories about invasive species, but they are a great fish deserving respect. Everyone loves an aggressive, hard-fighting fish.
Find the Fish Snakehead live in shallow, vegetation-choked areas. I look for fish blowing up on dragonflies, frogs or baitfish.
Sometimes I’ll see them moving through the lily pads. In fast water, they will move to deeper structure or outside the current.
Perfect Conditions Best days are hot and humid with no wind and calm water. Snakehead can live in dark, stagnant water.
Anglers are happy to catch non-native species. | Photo: Denes Szakacs
Great snakehead comments, I too got hooked on them after seeing them tear up my spinnerbaits. Now that I live out of state I can say I caught a lot in Mallows Bay, Maryland. good luck they are a hoot.