Catching Peacock Bass in the Winter
Peacock Bass are the new hot species in Florida, and their spread over the southern part of the State has been rapid and there are a good number of anglers that specifically target them. This short article about Catching Peacock Bass in the Wintertime is part of our Portal Pages, featuring how to fish, when and where to fish for many of the nation's top sports fish.
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The ultimate result of all these residential canals is a list of fish that include:
Peacock Bass act like the black Largemouth Bass sought all over the world, and in fact the first talk of peacocks came out of Panama. Because they are closely related to largemouth, they act in much the same way, albeit much more colorfully. They are caught in south Florida, and winter regularly (5-7 days on average) brings cold fronts all the way down to the species' location around places like Fort Lauderdale and into the southeastern fresh waterways. Peacock bass respond to cold water by being more slow-moving and slower eating. This lethargic nature goes away a bit just before and during a passing front, so watch both solunars and weather patterns to select the most productive winter days. And dress appropriately. The basic rule of thumb for catching the fish in the wintertime is that if you think you are moving your bait or lure too slowly, slow it down.
Where the Fish are in the Winter Months
While surface temperatures drop in the wintertime, Peacock bass move into deeper spots. Cooler in hot months then the surface and warmer in the coldest times of the year, depths determine water temperature. This water column tells you where you will find Peacock bass in the winter. If the water's cold, they are going to be in deeper spots. Try edges of the channels you fish in the summer and places the bottom drops from shallow to deep. They might not be in the deepest holes but they will be closer to the bottom then they will be to the coldest – and changing – surfaces. Once the water temps drop below about 60F., they pretty much stop eating, and there are days that no baits or lures will produce.
Catching Peacock bass in Deeper water
Peacock bass start acting differently when the water temps fall below about 68F. - five full degrees warmer than those that slow down Largemouth bass. Although they act much the same, remember that these are from tropical waters. Seasonal (not political) climate changes in Guatemala or Belize or Panama where you can find these things in their natural elements are not like they are in Southern and Southeastern Florida; to the contrary. Northerners might think we don't have seasons here, but Peacock bass know, in fact, when winter arrives. Slow-moving lures are the key to your success, with the same Crank baits with lips that make them swim deep and slow will produce hits from these incredible golden and blue fish. BassPro Crayfish baits are another winner, stopped and let sit as often as you move them and baits rigged weedless, like a plastic lizard or dark worm. Fish hit very softly sometimes in the winter, and other times barely tap the lure. Set the hook hard and set it fast. This is not bottom fishing with circle hooks. Set them and set them hard in the winter months.
Bass start their winter feeding patterns as the water temperatures hit 62 degrees and falls into the extreme lower fifties. If the water in Florida falls into the forties, a landing net is all that would be needed, assuming it were legal! Finding underwater structure in deeper water is the key to finding Wintertime Largemouth Florida Bass. Crank baits such as a lipped type lure, Bass Pro crayfish (in its red patterns), retrieved slowly with periodic stops, works well. Zoom four inch lizards on a wide gap weighted 1/8 ounce hook inserted weedless style, will entice all bass in the area as lizards are still everywhere right now. Remember to use subtle jerks and watch your line for the same coming back; as this represents a strike. Do not wait as you might in summer months, set that hook!
Catching Peacock bass in Colder Shallow Water
Fish like moderate temperatures, and the shallow spots on your favorite Peacock bass lake or river will show fish on days the sun warms that water a little. Shallow water changes temps fast – when it is cold it gets cold fast, and when it warms it does that fast, too. Fish know that and follow the temps so they're feeding under ideal conditions. Dawn is great because the water is starting to warm; ditto sunset when the temps reach an ideal range on their way down. The fish are in deeper water most of the day; but at dawn and dusk when the water is shifting the fish come out to eat. Topwater lures work best, with frogs and popping corks in open water between the lilly pads often producing memorable strikes from equally memorable Peacock bass. Cast the lure, let the rings it creates settle down and vanish. Pop, Splash, Jump, or snap that lure so the rings form again. Let them settle again. Fish it slowly with disturbance happening in rhythms. The fish will hit.
An Overview of Catching Peacock bass in the Winter
Most of the Peacock bass you catch in really cold weather will happen just before or while fronts are passing. Solunar tables and local knowledge, combined with sunrise and sunset fishing will make you better at Peacock bass every time you get on the water in the winter. But do not limit your fishing time to sunrise and sunset – solunars often tell us that the best time of the day to fish is mid-day. And temps, and cold fronts often cooperate with those important data tables. Enjoy, and stay warm. Tight lines from the gang at TheOnlineFisherman.com. Fish the edges of shallow water and try deeper and slower presentations if the fish are not cooperating. Wintertime puts those fish deeper 90% of the day.
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