Skip to main content

The Lure of Peacocks

Summer weather means active peacock bass in South Florida canals. Here's how one local plays the game.

Peacocks are aggressive feeders in hot weather. Knowing a couple of retrieves with artificials gives you a great chance of scoring.


It's hot, a little windy and I have my favorite lures to use today. A gold LiveTarget twitchbait, small Rapala, and Yo-Zuri propbait will be the key to catch Florida's exotic peacock bass. Traveling light will be necessary because this fishing is a run-and-gun sort of thing. Grab a 2000 to 3000 class reel with 6- to 20-pound braided main line. Tip your braided line with 15- or 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, on a 6-foot, 6-inch to 7-foot medium action rod.

Peacock bass are known for their bad attitude and nevergive-up fight. You'll need to work your bait medium to fast to get their attention. Look for sandy bottoms in shallow water. Also look for limestone rocks with a good dropoff, or drain pipes that connect two or more bodies of water. Weather is key.

You don't have to get up super early to target and catch peacocks. The warmer it is the better. You'll just need to bring a lot of water, sunscreen and clothes like AFTCO with UV protection to protect your skin. My best bites are always around late morning or just before the sun starts to set, but you can catch them anytime of the day.

I respect the fish and leave them alone when they're pairing up. When they are spawning or protecting their fry, they become very easy to catch and I never target those. They will bite any and everything to protect their own. No matter how many times you hook them, they will keep coming back to guard their home. I leave those alone to target free-swimming fish so that there will be a future to catch more.

From left: Yo-Zuri 3DB Prop, LiveTarget Glass Minnow Baitball, Rapala X-Rap Countdown 5.


When using the LiveTarget twitchbait (I like the bronze/gold Glass Minnow Baitball model), you want to work it with a fast one, two, stop kind of action. If the fish doesn't respond to that, then you want to do a consistent twitch, twitch action all the way through. The LiveTarget lure is really good for when the peacocks are in shallow water, say 6 to 24 inches deep.

The propbait, such as the 3DB Prop from Yo-Zuri, will work in the same shallow environment. The way you want to work the topwater is a hard twitch, twitch, to make sure that propeller is kicking up water making a lot of noise. Make sure you target the edge of the lakes.

When the fish are deep and aren't biting, pull out the Rapala. The X-Rap Countdown in size 5 is a good one for peacocks. Cast it out in the middle, let it sink, and work it fast back to the shore. Peacocks will come from under the lure and crush it.

By the way, make sure you have a good grip on your rod because the hit is like someone snatching your shirt when you're running as fast as you can. It's just unreal! Even the small fish will make you think you have a big one. When they run, allow them to, but keep pressure on the line. When they go airborne point the tip of the rod in the direction they're in. With these small lures, you do not want to have the drag on your reel too tight. If it is, then you're going to lose a lot of fish because they will straighten out your hooks!



If you're looking for a hard-fighting, beautiful, colorful fish, and don't have the money to travel across the world, South Florida is the place to be. Get out your small plugs and topwater lures and cast away. There's a chance you'll feel that pull that will get you hooked. FS

Published in Florida Sportsman Magazine May 2019

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Store

Refurbished 1987 Alumacraft Jon Boat | One Man's Dreamboat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Learn

New Berkley Finisher: The All-Around Live Sonar Lure

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Gear

New Berkley Power Switch: Powerhouse Lure Designed for Foward-Facing Sonar

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Gear

New Berkley Krej: A Reversed Lip Jerkbait?

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Store

How to Install New Fuel Tanks in an Old Boat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Videos

Testing Out the Latest from Old Town in the Marquesas

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Store

How to Powder Coat: Benefits of Powder Coating Metal Fuel Tanks

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Gear

Father & Son Customize a 20' Center Console | One Man's Dreamboat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Gear

Best Features of the Shallow Sport X3

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Learn

How to Fix an Outboard Motor that was Submerged in Saltwater

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Store

Analyzing a Hurricane Damaged Boat for Restoration

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get started on the finishing touches for the Albury Brothers build with a custom da...
Store

How to Design & Build a Custom Dash Panel for a Boat

Florida Sportsman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now