Felipe Prieto’s just set a new Florida state record with the 9.11-pound butterfly peacock bass he reeled in from the shores of a Broward County lake. The prior state record was caught in 1993 and weighed 9.08 lbs, which is roughly one bluegill smaller than Felipe’s new record fish.
As anglers do, Felipe stopped on his way home at a local lake to make a few casts. For bait, he went with the classic, tried, and true live bait. Peacock bass are absolutely apex predators capable of devouring bass lures like topwaters, jerkbaits, and swimbaits. But sometimes, a live shiner dangled under a bobber will do the most damage.
South Florida Stockers
Native to South America, the peacock bass was first introduced to Florida in 1984 when they were stocked in canals in its southeastern tip. Known for their hefty appetite, peacock bass were brought in to help control the growing population of non-native species like tilapia.
The plan worked, and for the first time ever, a catchable peacock population was swimming in the United States. This growing fishery sparked interest among local and out-of-state anglers who became fascinated with catching this “bucket list fish” closer to home than ever before imagined.
Peacock bass require a warm climate to survive which means in Florida, they mostly reside in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. However, the Florida Wildlife Commission has stated that the recent trend in mild winters has allowed fish to find suitable homes as far north as Palm Beach county.
Why Do People Love Peacocks?
Pound for pound, the peacock bass might be the sportiest freshwater fish that swims. Their looks, personality, eating habits, and bulldog-like fighting power is what makes them so revered. A five-pound peacock might feel like a ten-pound everything else, and their willingness to inhale baits gives anglers strike indications easier to interpret than street signs. Add in the amazonian paint job and the pronounced forehead hump you find on mature fish like Felipe’s, and you get one special specimen.
Fun Fact: Peacock bass are the only nonnative fish recognized as gamefish in Florida.
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