Catching Peacock Bass in the Fall

If you are reading this article, you’re probably interested in how to catch Peacock Bass in the fall. Peacock Bass are purposeful imports to Florida’s rich freshwater fisheries. Colorful, powerful, willing to smash a topwater as loudly and angrily as any species on the planet, and (relatively) easily located in miles and miles of southern Florida coast canals and connected water management structures, Peacocks are caught alongside Tarpon, Snook, and of course, Largemouth Bass.

juvenile peacock bassThis juvenile Peacock shows the telltale color and distinctive markings even at a few weeks of age. Image From WikiMedia.

Peacock Bass in the Fall

The Peacock Bass bite turns on in the fall. They school up, and there is no better time to catch them when they school up and go for a big surface feed. These are tropical fish; they like warm water. Their primary habitats are the residential and water management canals running like webs throughout all of southeastern Florida. The fish move quickly – if not already moved – across the east-west canal chain that runs along Alligator Alley, and as long as they can stay in water warmer than 78F. In the fall, Peacock Bass are as likely to be near the surface as they are anywhere. They’re known for willingness to eat popping, whistling, and bubbling surface lures, and will quickly hit a spoon moved on the surface. All fish in any water eat more in the spring and fall than they do in cold, or the hottest months. The fish know they are going to be getting chillier, and eat more to prepare. You will find them on points, in small bay pockets, or anywhere water flow is increased because of tight banks.

tamiami trail canal systemOur map system provides extensive places you can catch Peacock Bass – winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Peacock Bass Fall Artificial Lures

Catching Peacock Bass in the fall is perfect if you want a real challenge on a fly rod. They will hit splashy popping bugs and light flies with flashy materials on them that simulate baitfish scales. As we said, they’re hanging and eating from the surface to rocky and structured bottoms, but they are more likely to be in numbers feeding on minnows than Largemouth Bass. Topwater baits with propellers normally used for Largemouth Bass are perfect bubbly attractors if you’re targeting the Peacock that look more like a watermelons hanging in the water than they do anything else. Topwater lures, like Zara Spook Jrs, Tiny Torpedo, and fish lures that float on or near the surface, or suspend fairly highly in the water column, are more likely to draw hits than a jig bouncing on the bottom when fishing open water. That said, you should still always pass lures near the bottom, midway in the water column, and a few making noise on the top. Depending on time, conditions, food, and other factors as yet known, the fish will strike all three at the right time. If you’re sight fishing them in the canals along the coral rock ledges, there is nothing better than a 3/16th to 3/8th jig. Bucktails work as well as any other plastic jig minnow imitation. Any color will do for Peacock Bass; they even attack bright colors like red and orange.

Peacock Bass in the Fall with Live Bait

Any live minnow, shiner, or panfish will draw a strike from a Peacock Bass. You can free line them or place them on a float/cork. A kale hook for the live bait fishing works well.

An Overview of Catching Peacock Bass in the Fall

This is one of the best times for Peacock Bass to school up. When the fall approaches, the temperatures of the water naturally begin to drop. Slowly at first, but consistently, the change in water temperatures at first makes the Peacock Bass school up and feed. They become aggressive and very active. They love to hit fast moving topwater lures at this time of the year. Again if a Peacock strikes your lure, keep it moving. They will come back and hit it again.

  • Grab your rod, let's go fishing!

    Grab your rod, let's go fishing!

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