Catching Peacock Bass In The South Florida Heat
July weather is often some of the hottest of the season and with this heat comes a major increase in water temperature. This is the time of year where the canals are at their warmest - some bodies of water are actually north of 90 degrees Fahrenheit! Not only can these conditions change the bite, they can even put the fish in a sluggish state and stop them from biting all together. Despite all that, it is still very doable to put together a nice day this time of year.
With extreme conditions, fish are always going to seek deeper water. This is because the deeper you go, the less the weather will effect the water temperature. In the summer, the warmest water is always going to be on the edges, where the sun has to heat a smaller volume of water and can do so much faster. The techniques that were working great just a month or two ago will no longer be effective. These peacocks are not actively cruising the banks looking for their next meal but instead staged deep, conserving energy and taking a more ambush style approach.
With all that in mind, this is actually one of my preferred times of the year to throw artificial lures at the peacocks. Topwater baits such as skitter props, chug bugs, skitter walks, and whopper ploppers will all pull a sluggish peacock out of deeper water right now. I am also a very big fan of throwing small glide baits at peacocks and right now is also an excellent time to do so. The trick with these will be to throw a bait that is able to get down fast, and then working it with erratic action.
Like most of the rest of the year, live bait is still a very reliable option for targeting peacocks in the summer. Instead of sight casting fish, I am looking for structure points and using a weight to put my live bait near or into it. More often than not the right downed tree or deep rock will be holding a fish. Be ready to yank him out of there; he will utilize that structure to get himself unpinned. This technique, although extremely effective, will definitely result in a lot of lost terminal gear so be prepared with plenty of hooks.
One final thing to think about right now is the health of these fish!! Typically, fish are at their most vulnerable when water temps are at their highest. Peacocks fare much better than many fish in this regard but not is a particularly important time to get a quick and healthy release on these fish. I try to keep peacocks in the boat no longer than 20 seconds max. If it needs to be longer than that, for whatever reason, I will return him to the water in a large landing net and give him ample time to recover again before lifting them back out of the water for a final photo.
With all that in mind, you’re all set to chase some summertime peacocks!! Utilize some new lures, tactics, and conditions to ensure another successful day targeting Florida’s most beautiful freshwater fish species.
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