​Peacock Bass are an exhilarating catch. There’s nothing that induces peace of mind like reeling-in one of these exotic fish. Many anglers suggest that this fish, like most bass, can make for a savory dish, however, catch and release fishing, of the Peacock Bass, assists in maintaining Florida’s ecosystem. 


Undoubtedly, one of the most sought after fishing trips in Florida is for the exotic Peacock Bass. Swamp to Sea Guide Service offers Peacock Bass fishing charters here in the Palm Beach Florida area. Capt. Patrick Smith guides these trips several days per week and has the local knowledge, equipment, and expertise to make your Florida Peacock Bass fishing adventure one you will not forget.

Florida Peacock Bass Fishing: A History

The Peacock Bass was introduced to Florida’s lakes and canals during 1984. This non-native member of the cichlid family is revered for their golden hue and black spots. Moreover, these fish are considered a rare catch for most, but worth scouring Florida’s banks to reel-in.  Peacock Bass are most likely to be caught in canals and lakes throughout South Florida.

Peacock Bass are easily identified by their exotic pattern. According to Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), this spotted, large cichlid possess  “a yellow-gold halo on the caudal fin.” The caudal fin, also known as the tailfin, is a fish’s primary means of locomotion. When reeling-in a green, yellow, and black bass like creature from South Florida canals, examine the tailfin for a yellow-gold halo around a black spot. If this halo is present, you’ve caught a Peacock Bass!

These fish are a non-invasive, but also a non-native species of cichlids. According to the FWC,  Peacock Bass are native to the Amazon but were introduced to Florida by the wildlife commission during 1984. Moreover, according to Bassonline.com, Peacock Bass were imported from Brazil, Guyana, and Peru. The fish spawned at the FWC’s  Non-Native Fish Research Lab. ”Using three stocks increased genetic variability, and fish were stocked only after being tested by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Auburn University to ensure they were disease and parasite free.” Peacock Bass are edible, however, their real value is in  “controlling over-abundant exotic forage fish” and providing an exciting catch.

It’s encouraged to practice catch and release fishing while reeling-in Peacock Bass, especially for those fish that exceed 14 inches in length. It’s the low water temperature intolerance and intolerance to (brackish) saltwater that prevents this species from becoming prominent.

Live bait is best for attracting the, at times allusive, Peacock Bass. According to Bassonline.com, Peacock Bass are lured-in with a variety of tackle and bait: artificial lures, live Shiners, and flies attract this golden haloed fish. These fish bite most readily for live bait and you can increase the level of difficulty by choosing artificial baits. Peacock Bass may be elusive, but the angler who searches South Florida waters is rewarded with one of the World’s most exotic species of large cichlids.