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Peacock Bass Explosions!


Biscayne Aquifer Influence

The primary peacock bass study area was restricted to the coastal, man-made canal system of eastern (urban) Dade County. Peacock bass are incapable of tolerating water temperatures less than 60 degrees F, and the deep canals that were primarily constructed for drainage and flood control purposes seldom fall below 70 degrees. These canals are cut into the Biscayne Aquifer which is a shallow water table aquifer that offers spring influence.

Winter temperatures in natural Florida waters nearly always drop below 60 degrees F, except in ground water springs. In the eight years that Shafland has monitored water temperatures in the canal system, the coldest he's seen was 66 degrees. The warm waters are vital to the peacock bass over-wintering in the expansive waterway.

"The box-cut canals expose relatively small amounts of the waters to the weather," explains Shafland. "Probably just as important is the surficial aquifer, which allows underground water to flow from west to east. During the winter, storm water is stored in the East Everglades and that puts more head pressure. which causes a little underground flow into the canals."

If you swim in the canals, you can feel places where the warm water is coming in during the winter, according to the biologist. During cold fronts, some movement of the peacock bass is associated with water temperature. During a critical point when they begin to become stressed, they will seek out warmer water nearby.

The temperature limits their distribution in Florida, but it is also a safety factor, which prevents them from spreading to all waters around the state. The salinity tolerance limitations are similar to that of the largemouth bass. That gave the Commission assurance that the fish was safe and would be limited to the target area, the Southeast Florida canals only.

Peacock Bass Explosions!


Prime Dade/Broward Areas

Several canals along the so-called Gold Coast area have potential value for such recreation, currently largely ignored. The Mowry Canal in South Dade County and Snake Creek at the Dade-Broward County line are just a couple of waterways with excellent peacock bass fishing. Some others without names are even better.

Shafland notes that many of the better areas are found between the C-103 Canal at Homestead north to Snake Creek. Some small lakes connecting with the canal system offer good peacock bass fishing as well. The lakes near the Miami International Airport are good examples.

The Tamiami Canal (C-4) Airport Lakes system consists of Blue Lagoon Lake and Lake Mahar, among others. Both are excellent peacock spots. The Maceo Park boat ramp off NW 7th Street provides access to the system at Blue Lagoon. You'll find the area near the launch is designated a manatee zone, so slow boat speeds are necessary.

The shallows and shoreline of Blue Lagoon are productive early in the day. On the northern side of the lake is an area full of submerged debris, such as trees and barges, that is called the "Sunken Forest." The area all along the Dolphin Expressway (Route 836) shoreline is very productive for peacock bass.

Lake Mahar, also called "Second Late" is located about a mile west of Blue Lagoon along the canal. It offers good action early and late in the day along a residential shoreline on the southern end and along the shallow obstructions on the western side. Tiny Hidden Lake lies further west along C-4 and harbors numerous peacocks as well. So do several side canals with docks, piers and bridges off the Tamiami Canal.

Carlos Hidalgo's South Florida's Peacock Bass

Chapter 14, Fishing Spots, Pg. 141

C-4 Miami International Airport Lakes


The Miami International Airport Lake system consists of six lakes and the eastern section of the Tamiami Canal. C-4 connects three of these lakes. This area is located between 826 and LeJeune Road just south of the airport.


To reach this destination, take 826 or 1-95 to 836. Take 836 (east form 826 or west from 1-95) to NW 57th Avenue (Red Road). Go south on Red Road to NW 7th Avenue. This road takes you to the only two spots that can be fished from shore and to the boat ramp that services the lake system.


The Miami International Airport Lakes are the best-known peacock waters in South Florida, and many guides consider them to be the most productive in the area. From 826, the Tamiami Canal runs northeast for about one and one-half miles and intersects Lake Mahar. The canal continues for about another one and one-half miles into Blue Lagoon Lake, and from there it runs northeast through Glide Angle Lake on the north side of 836. It continues in this direction until just east of LeJeune Road where there is a spillway which separates the fresh- and saltwater sections of the canal. Peacock bass swim the entire system west of the spillway. There are three other lakes located between C-J and 836 west of Blue Lagoon Lake.

The MIA Lakes are very difficult to fish from shore. The land between C-4 and 83h is Owned by Waterford at Blue Lagoon Corporate Park, and if you attempt to park and fish anywhere in this area security guards will run you off in a hurry. The southern banks of C-4 and Lake Mahar are residential, as is the southern side of Blue Lagoon Lake, which is bordered by apartment buildings with fenced parking lots. There are two spots, however, where shore fishing is possible: >NW 57th Avenue (Red Road) and NW 7th Street--Park at the north-west corner of this intersection at the Air Park Plaza strip mall. The banks behind the mall are low and easy to fish.

>NW 58th Court and NW 7th Street --You can fish here by parking in the St. Dominic Church parking lot, which is located just east of Pan American Hospital on NW 7th Street. This is a nice spot with lots of shade trees and low banks. Don't try this on Sundays, the lot gets a bit full.

Carlos Hidalgo's South Florida's Peacock Bass

Chapter 5, Fishing Gear, Page 44

Many types of conventional fishing gear can be used to catch peacock bass, but some are obviously better than others Peacocks are sometimes caught on canepoles by people fishing for bream, but I would not consider this a viable option. Spincast gear is also not a good choice. The simple push-button design of these reels is a plus for kids to use, but the reels are usually not rugged enough to handle the rigors of peacock fishing, Baitcasters are a good choice when fishing with live bait, but it is sometimes difficult to cast the small lures that peacocks prefer with them.

Spinning gear is the clear choice of conventional tackle used For butterfly peacock bass fishing in South Florida. This type of tackle offers many advantages. Spinning gear is easy and quick to use, dependable, tough, and versatile. Basically any lightweight spinning outfit will suffice, but I like a six-foot-long, medium action rod rated for six-to twelve-pound-test lines. Shorter rods will decrease the accuracy and distance of casts, which is a consideration when using small lures. Although a fast action rod will increase casting distance, I prefer the extra backbone of a medium action rod when handling a big fish. Make sure that the rod has an adequate number of guides. This ensures that the line follows the contour of a bent rod and flows evenly through the guides when a large fish pulls against the drag. Two-piece rods are desirable since they are easier to transport and many peacock holes can be reached by automobile. To ensure that you will be happy with the rod make sure to cast it before purchasing it.



End of expert fishing tips

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Last modified on 02/01/05.