During July of 2018 Michael Donvito caught a 14.8lb Clownknife Fish in Lake Ida while fishing with Capt Patrick Smith here at Swamp to Sea Guide Service.
Clown Knifefish are an invasive Florida freshwater species. They were first discovered in Palm Beach County during the 1990's, but have since expanded throughout Broward and parts of Dade County. They are native to the Indochina region and are a popular food source in their native waters. Clown knifefish are popular aquarium fish as well so their introduction to South Florida is still unknown. They have a very flat silver body with black spots which run down their rear lower body to imitate a fish eye for potential predators. When hooked, they can be acrobatic and pull some serious drag. Clown knifefish can also swim backwards almost as well as forwards.
Clown knifefish are mostly nocturnal but can be caught during the daytime. The best time to fish for clown knifefish is during early morning or late evening. They will be in the canals and deeper parts of Lake Ida where you can see them rolling. The rolling looks very similar to a tarpon's roll, which they are often mistaken for. The best baits for clown knifefish are live shad, small cichlids, and shiners. Drifting your bait in the area of rolling fish is a sure way to get bit.