Peacock Bass were introduced into the lakes and canals of Miami-Dade County of Florida in 1984 to control the growing population of exotic fishes, a job they had done admirably. Due to their sensitivity to cold and salinity, this is the only area in the United States that they have been successfully introduced. Peacock Bass are unable survive any further north than Broward County, Florida.
These colorful chiliads are not related to largemouth, but in many ways they have similar habits and habitat preferences. Their body shape is similar black bass, but that’s where the similarity ends. They are extraordinarily colorful, typically golden with three black vertical bars that fade with age. Further they sport distinctive black spot with a yellow halo on the tail fin.
Spawning occurs from April through September. Adults prepare a nest on flat, hard surfaces near shore and guard the young. Reproductively active males have a nuchal hump on their forehead.
Peacocks feed almost exclusively on fish during daylight hours.
Peacock Bass in Florida
The following is courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Appearance: Color is very vivid - generally golden with three black vertical bars that fade with age. A black spot with a yellow halo on the tail fin is distinctive.
Habitat: Butterfly peacock bass were stocked, after research showed temperature would limit their range. Biologists sought to control exotic fishes and to provide a high quality sport fishery. Many miles of canals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties now have self-sustaining peacock fisheries worth millions of dollars locally.
Behavior: They spawn from April through September. Both adults prepare a flat, hard surface near shore and guard the young. Reproductively active males have a nuchal hump on their forehead. Peacocks feed almost exclusively on fish during daylight hours.
State Record: 9.08 lbs. Big Catch: 18 inches or 3.75 lbs.