Fishing for peacock bass

Chief57Chief57 DelawarePosts: 3 Greenhorn
I'm a fairly new fly angler, and I'll be visiting South Florida in mid-February to do some fishing.  I plan on fishing the C-4 (Tamiami) Canal, as well as a couple of others in the Miami/Homestead area.  I could use some guidance on fishing the sweetwater and brackish water in the winter, especially for peacock bass and snook.  I've never caught either species...would be a thrill for me.  Thanks.


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,359 Captain
    Since no one else has chimed in... 

    The peacocks are in freshwater - the snook, tarpon, etc. are mostly in tidal creeks or canals (although you can occasionally find them all the way up in pure freshwater as well... 

    Every canal, pond, or lake in south Florida holds peacocks - but get north of Broward county and you'll hardly find them at all.  The best known local peacock guide is probably Alan Zaremba - here's his website...

    Some of the best peacocks can be found in trashy urban areas (behind shopping centers, and similar places - anywhere with a canal and some access to other canals...).  If you fish peacocks you'll definitely need a freshwater license (go to for licensing info - and you can purchase right there, on-line...).  Peacocks love warm waters (and a serious cold snap can pretty much shut them down... for a few days).  That's one of the reasons that they were picked to be stocked in the south Florida waterways all those years ago.  They can't survive very well out in the Everglades since they have to have deepwater canals when it gets cold or they die...

    Those Homestead area canals can hold some great snook and tarpon action at times - but also consider a run down the Tamiami Trail (US 41) towards Naples... the last thirty miles of that road east of Naples has roadside canals that are perfect for fly rodding and hold a bunch of fish (partiuclarly around the small bridges that allow water to flow from north to south).  Fishing along those canals is not without risk since they're home to a bunch of 'Gators and you're also fishing really close to the roadway... No one has strong enough tackle if your backcast hooks a passing car or truck...

    For some very good info on fishing the trail with a fly rod.. go to and do a search on the Tamiami Trail... 
    Here's one of them (it runs four pages so crack yourself a cold one first...).

    Hope this helps...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Chief57Chief57 DelawarePosts: 3 Greenhorn
    Bob, thanks for responding to my post.  I'm now 1 week out from my trip to Florida...and am getting excited.  I'm definitely fishing along the Tamiami Trail....probably at least 2 or 3 spots as I travel from Naples eastward.  I also plan to fish the Aerojet canal and the C-1 on the east side of Florida, and I hope to find 1 or 2 spots to fish on the west side around Marco Island.   I've been on the fence about whether to get the Florida 7-day tourist fishing license or just bite the bullet and get a 1-year non-resident leaning toward the latter.  

    If you or anyone else would kindly comment on the best fly to use for peacocks this time of year, that would be great.  Otherwise, I'll use small clousers, woolly buggers and maybe some topwater stuff to get started.    Jim

  • Chief57Chief57 DelawarePosts: 3 Greenhorn
    Two other things that just came to mind.....

    - For my freshwater fishing, I plan to use 12 pound fluorocarbon tippet.  Is that sufficient?  Too much?
    - I tie my flies on using an improved clinch knot.  Is it really that much better to use a mono loop knot?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,359 Captain
    Yes, use a mono loop (a seven turn uni knot is pretty good...).... And 12lb is a bit light but use it until you start losing fish then up it to 20lb fluoro.. If there's any decent sized snook or tarpon around you'll want a short bite tippet as well (30lb - go up to 40lb if you're getting worn through on the 30lb...).

    Here's two clousers I used to deliver to the local fly shops - they sold a bunch of them for peacocks one has a natural bucktail wing -the other synthetic....
    These were done up on #4 hooks but you might want a few just a bit bigger - in case... 

    Any fish you encounter might eat one of these small bugs - but not tarpon -- just never had any success with tarpon of any size on clousers - and don't have a clue why....

    Any time you see fish eating small glass minnows give this a try - it's my version of Norm Zeigler's Crystal Schminnow and we've taken lots of different fish (particularly baby tarpon) on #4's or slightly larger up to #1's... All of mine sport wire weedguards because of where we're fishing them in the backcountry of Everglades National Park...

    by the way Norm's fly shop is located on Sanibel Island if you're over that way - I've never met him but he has a good reputation...

    Hope this helps and please post up a report on how your trip goes... folks here will be glad to read it...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • JP <><JP <>< Posts: 54 Greenhorn
    My son caught a nice Peacock Bass up in a small Lake in Palm Beach county
  • rule303rule303 Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    The canal along Krome ave has a bunch of peacocks too. Pretty much any canal or man made lake will hold them and as Capt Lemay says the hotter the better!

    good luck!
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 221 Deckhand
    Ok, since I don't live in Homestead (or Flamingo ) any more I'll give you my top canal spot of all. It's got nice peacocks, bass and other freshwater species. It also has  nice population of tarpon and snook. Can you guess the canal? I'll give you it's name and where I used to fish in another post... B)
  • Paucan6005Paucan6005 Port of the islandsPosts: 34 Greenhorn
    Peacocks will attack a small clouser (chartreuse) if you let it sink right into the spot and just twitch it. Might have to do that several times but eventually they will slam it. Very strong and they are not leader shy so don’t go light least 20# flouro . A 7wt is minimum prefer a 9. Have caught a bunch on the long rod and they are a blast.Tarpon in those same canals and they will hit a clouser ... they seem to like short strips. The Florida fish and game web site has a great map of locations for peacocks.
    Bridges are low in some of those canals around Miami be careful running. For a guide Captain Shane really knows the area. 
  • Paucan6005Paucan6005 Port of the islandsPosts: 34 Greenhorn
    And hey t
  • johns986johns986 Evergreen CO and Ruskin FL.Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    Captian Lemay
    "Since no one else has chimed in", then I will.
    I just wanted to say much respect to you Captain for always responding to anglers questions and helping with good advice. I just could not let this one go without saying it is very much appreciated.
    1998 Hewes Bayfisher 16 with Tohatsu 90. Ascend H12 Kayak.
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