The Best Summer Fishing For Bass
Summertime fishing can vary greatly depending on where you are, leaving you feeling hopeless as the fish move to deeper water and wait until the weather cools down. But a few anglers are out there still catching big bass while many anglers wait until the fall or spring. The warmer months make for dramatic changes in the bass behavior; some lakes are on fire while others are ghost towns. So in order to catch bass in the summer, it all comes down to where to go.
The Best Summer Bass Fishing Lakes
Florida: Lake Toho, Headwaters Lake, The Everglades, The Golden Gate Canal, and The Falls Canal System
Pennsylvania: Lake Erie
The late summer is an excellent time to gather the family and travel to some of the best bass fishing destinations because you’ll get the ultimate fishing experience without the crowd!
Where To Catch Bass In Summer
Almost every angler has found themselves asking where are the bass in the summer? Despite the number of big baits or reaction baits you have or how long you keep the bait in a suspected strike zone, some lakes are going to be better than others during the summer season.
The main factor that tends to affect the consistency of a fishery throughout the year, even during the hot times, is vegetation. Of course, many factors can supplement whether a waterway will produce during the summer. Still, it seems to always come back to the quality and quantity of vegetation and the presence of non-deep structures.
If the fish have to rely on going into deep water to find comfort, it is challenging for anglers to know where to cast as the open water is harder to read. But the fisheries that have a lot of structure, whether it be floating vegetation, grass, stumps, or submerged trees, will provide excellent insight on how to spend your day. These structures provide adequate shade and a comfortable ambush point for bass to hide and wait for bait regardless of the outside heat. Below is a list of all the best summer bass fishing spots for anglers of all ages and skill levels to experience.
Best Summer Fishing Spots
The best summertime bass fishing in Florida from north to south is at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Headwaters Lake in Fellsmere, The Everglades, The Goldengate Canal in Naples, and The Falls Canal System in Miami.
Lake Tohopekaliga, commonly known as Lake Toho, is located in Kissimme, about 30 minutes from the theme parks. Its central location makes it perfect for the ultimate summer family vacation to experience the best of Central Florida fishing and other tourist attractions. The fishery itself is also very family and child-friendly as it has walking trails, grills, picnic areas, restrooms, and a splash pad with a playground.
When it comes to catching big fish, Lake Toho is always one of the lakes that comes to mind for our professional guides. This spot is known for constantly producing more big bass than any other fishing lake. It’s no mistake that pro Dean Rojas names Lake Toho “the most consistent lake in the country for producing both numbers and trophy bass” in Bassmaster magazine’s issue of top 100 lakes.
Tips and Techniques
Lake Toho has relatively shallow water, with a max depth of about 13 feet. It is filled with vegetation and holding spots to catch big bass or numbers throughout the year. The area has all the essentials, including shallow grass flats, maidencane, natural bullrush, and hydrilla.
It’s always a good time for a bass fishing trip here; however, it’s essential to know where to go as the summer bass are usually in different spots than other times of the year. Some of the best summer bass fishing areas are Browns Point, Big Grassy, and Lanier Point. The north shore is another excellent spot to catch fish as it’s packed with tall grasses that often conceal big bass.
Headwaters Lake (Fellsmere Reservoir)
Whether you call it Fellsmere Reservoir, Headwaters Lake, Lake Eden, or Lake Headwaters, it all means hot summer bass fishing for big largemouths! This fishery is a 10,000-acre man-made lake in Indian River county that borders Stick Marsh, Farm 13, Blue Cypress, and Lake Garcia. Its numerous underwater features create ideal spots for summertime bass to hide, which means more fish in arms reach for summer anglers!
The average depth of this reservoir is about 6 feet deep, with some parts reaching over 30 feet deep. However, since these aggressive bass have so many spots that provide shade and shelter, they don’t have as much need to hide in deep water where they are hard to find or get to eat.
Tips and Techniques
The thousands of acres of submerged trees, underwater vegetation, and quality hydrilla make it optimal to find bass in the summer. However, this fishery looks so good that it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Typically it’s best to find an area with healthy-looking emerging vegetation, such as spatterdock pads or cattails, and cast near those.
There’s a spot for every type of angler to use their favorite bait, whether your preference is hitting the shoreline, casting under lily pads, targeting submerged trees, or slow-rolling swimbaits through the grass. There are so many fishy-looking spots that this is one of those destinations that needs multiple days to be adequately fished and experienced.
Headwaters has continued to prove to be one of the most consistent bass fishing lakes around. While most spots have strong highs and lows, Fellsmere has continued to produce. Even on the days where there aren’t trophies, there are still good numbers and decent-sized fish around to catch throughout the year.
Summer bass fishing in the Everglades is the ultimate Florida experience. This fishery, located in southeast Florida, has not slowed down as the warmer months have approached. Instead, the bite has been on fire since early summer and has continued through late summer, likely because of the beautiful area’s heavy cover and thriving ecosystem.
The Everglades covers a large area. Your fishing guide will always recommend the best location to launch based on conditions; however, the most popular spots for summer bass fishing trips are Holiday Park, Sawgrass, and Alligator Alley. Summertime fishing in the Everglades means incredible sightseeing and wildlife viewing by boat while catching Florida’s favorite species, including largemouth and peacock bass.
This fishery is not as much known for having big bass, but it is undoubtedly known for its numbers with many quality-sized fish to hook. An 8-pounder is relatively common while fishing here and considered large for this spot.
Tips and Techniques
An effective fishing method is to use floating lures with braided lines near vegetation or structure such as sunken trees or lily pads. Plastic lures are usually the most effective to catch fish here, especially in the form of a lizard, Senko, or swimbait. The experts generally suggest starting the early morning off with a topwater frog, spinnerbaits, or chatter baits when the wind is blowing harder. Plastic worms will always be a go-to, especially on the hot, calm summer days.
The Golden Gate Canal
The Golden Gate Canal in Southwest Florida is conveniently located between Naples and Marco Island, near its pristine beaches and Everglades National Park. It’s a top-notch fishery that provides excellent fishing opportunities to catch largemouth bass, peacocks, and panfish all in one trip. The summertime fishing here has not disappointed; anglers are catching numerous summer bass on every trip, even in the middle of the hottest months. In fact, the summer heat is precisely what the peacock bass love. Some popular saltwater species like snook and tarpon also commonly make their way into this canal system to add to the excitement.
Tips and Techniques
The summer bass fishing is consistent for all species, with peacock bass being the most active and commonly caught during this time. The spring and winter seasons are generally when bigger largemouths will be caught. In general, this fishery is best for its consistency and constant action rather than size, with 5 to 6 pounds being typical for the largemouth bass.
If going after the panfish like bluegills and redear sunfish, anglers can almost always get a bite on a cricket, earthworm, or small minnow throughout the year. A mix of live baits and artificial lures is used on the Gold Gate, with shiners usually the most successful bait for summer fishing, especially for the peacocks.
The Falls Canal
The Falls Canal System in Miami is the most productive peacock bass fishery in the state. It totals 13.5 miles of navigatable waters, comprising of four sections. The system is home to lots of South Florida wildlife and is the best place to go if your goal is to hook a trophy peacock bass fish. On your summer bass fishing trip at the Falls, you can expect to catch peacocks of good size, along with largemouth bass, the Mayan cichlid, snook, and tarpon. In addition, the various types of fish and other wildlife that call this topical area home dramatically adds to the adventure of being on this scenic waterway.
Tips and Techniques
The Falls is full of coral rocks, which is where the peacock bass usually hold to. The average depth is 12 feet, with many canals having vertical drops and edges reaching up to 30 feet. Many of the lakes found in the system have sand bottoms about 10 feet deep. The thriving environment here makes for a happy, healthy fishery throughout the year.
Live bait is usually the most way to hook a peacock, especially shiners. However, crankbaits, spoons, and topwater plugs are generally the best artificial lures to land a feisty peacock. A topwater lure or hard jerk bait will often produce a solid reaction strike from these colorful fish. It’s best to focus on rocky areas near structures using topwaters, minnow-like crankbaits, or small shiners.
Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, is a breathtaking fishery covering 57 miles at its widest point. Erie contains an abundance of our favorite gamefish, allowing anglers to catch over 15 million fish every year. In addition, the warmer temperatures and shallow water of Erie make it the most biologically productive of all other Great Lakes. As a result, field and Stream chose Erie as one of the top-20 family fishing spots in the nation.
The northern shore of Erie is the international border with Canada, its eastern shores are in New York, and the southern and western boundaries are in Michigan and Ohio. However, its become apparent that the most productive fishing spots are on the Pennsylvania side of Erie.
The fishery is famous for its quality-sized sport fish species like walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill, and steelhead. Because of its relatively shallow water, the lake warms up quickly in the spring and summer for its prime fishing season.
Tips and Techniques
While summer fishing in PA, anglers can troll the open water to hook walleye or stick to fishing spots closer to shore. Our favorite spot is Presque Isle, where its warm waters are filled with game fish. The western and central basins often hold some of the larger fish. The baits that attract the most strikes are trolling crankbaits or spinnerbaits with bottom bouncers. This Pennsylvania area really comes alive in the summer, providing anglers with the ultimate summer bass fishing adventure.
Planning Your Summer Bass Fishing Adventure
Almost every bass angler longs for the perfect summer vacation that mixes a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience with memorable visits to new places with their loved ones. There is no better summer vacation spot than almost any part of Florida or Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania. These spots all offer something unique and are producing quality summertime fishing trips. These fisheries can be challenging to navigate or know where to start and best practices to use, but your professional guide is here to support you the whole way while on your private charter. Targeting summertime bass is a challenge that will improve any angler’s ability to read the water and learn where and how to land game fish during any time of the year.
Explore Your Bass Fishing Opportunities here, or check out our pontoon fishing trips for your big group!
Message us or call 888-629-2277 to plan the ultimate summer bass fishing adventure in the world’s top destinations!
Top Florida Bass Destinations
Florida has hundreds of lakes and rivers full of fish, but some consistently produce good quality and quantities of bass, earning them a spot on the list of best bass fishing lakes in Florida.
- Considered the best bass fishing lakes in North Florida are Rodman Reservoir, Orange Lake, The St John’s River, Lake George, and The Harris Chain of Lakes.
- The best bass fishing lakes in Central Florida are Lake Tarpon, Stick Marsh, Fellsmere Reservoir, Lake Toho, The Butler Chain, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Istokpoga, and Lake Okeechobee.
- Look at as best bass fishing lakes in South Florida are The Golden Gate Canal, Lake Ida an Osborne, The Everglades, and Miami Airport Lakes.
All of these offer incredible fishing opportunities but also have something unique to offer.
Florida weather and healthy vegetation have promoted incredible fisheries throughout Florida all year. They range from North to South with exceptional bass fishing that is worthwhile to experience. Our adventure through the state will start in the North and move further South. Each stop along the way will provide you with a new perspective of what the sunshine state can offer you.
Whether your goals are to catch big bass or large quantities, there is a Florida fishery for you.
Here are the details on your Top Florida Bass Destinations to experience and explore while visiting the tropical state of Florida.
The Rodman Reservoir
If you are coming to Florida and are looking strictly for a trophy largemouth bass, North Florida is the place to visit. Cooler water temperatures promote a slower metabolism for the bass, allowing them to grow larger. The Rodman Reservoir in Putnam County covers 9,500 acres and has been one of the most productive fishing destinations in the state for big bass. It is a consistent fishery that promotes daily catches of over 8 pounds.
Rodman has registered 348 trophycatch fish to date. If you are looking to fish a top-ranked lake in the country, the Rodman Reservoir would be an excellent choice. Experience this 19 miles long lake while enjoying the wild nature of North Florida near Gainesville with high chances of landing your dream largemouth bass.
Orange Lake is in the southeast of Gainesville designated fish management area with 20 miles of shoreline. Orange Lake has extensive aquatic vegetation of lily pads and hydrilla, providing prime bass habitats. The thriving habitat allowed Orange Lake to get on the list of many bass anglers for having the best trophy largemouth bass fishing in Florida. Along with its big bass, Orange Lake holds black crappie, redear sunfish, and bluegill in good size and numbers.
The only public boat ramps are located at Heagy-Burry.
The St John’s River
The St. Johns River is a unique waterway with some of the best largemouth bass fishing in Florida. The river begins in Vero beach and winds through 12 Central Florida counties before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Johns River is known for consistently holding trophy largemouth bass. The best big bass fishing here is done by wild shiner fishing. Along with its big bass, the St. Johns River is also known for its top-notch pan fishing for crappie and bluegill. The river consists of three basins that all offer some unique angling opportunities.
The upper basin of the river is the most unpredictable and becomes best after widening up near Titusville. The middle basin is the shortest and is more navigable. This basin has access to Lakes Monroe, Harney, and Jesup, which all thrive as excellent bass fishing lakes. The lower basin starts before Lake George and runs north through Jacksonville before reaching the Atlantic. This basin is home to both freshwater and saltwater fish species.
Lake George is the second largest lake in Florida after Lake Okeechobee. The lake spans 46,000 acres and stretches 6 miles at its widest point. This fishery is relatively shallow with an average depth of eight feet and is very brackish for a lake in this part of Florida. The lake is best known for its big bass, striped bass, and sunfish.
Lake George does not have vegetation along its shoreline or on the bottom, making it more difficult to find fish than the other heavily vegetated Florida lakes. Despite the lack of foliage, there are still plenty of spots to catch big Florida bass, including the remnants of an old bombing range throughout the lake. There is also a sunken ship in the middle of the water that will be the home of a large panfish population.
The Harris Chain of Lakes
The Harris Chain of Lakes is one of the most prolific bass lakes in the state. The Harris Chain is nutrient-rich and filled with large shad, bluegills, and golden shiners to feed the enormous trophy fish. The Chain of Lakes consists of nine lakes and covers about 76,000 acres. The Chain of Lakes used to host several bass tournaments twenty years ago. The bass fishing declined and got a bad reputation for several years; however, the fishing is back and stronger than ever. Numerous big bass are caught on the Chain of lakes every day while on a fishing charter.
Today, the Harris Chain of lakes is exceptionally fertile with mostly dark stained water. This freshwater lake is primarily covered in Kissimmee grass, lily pads, eelgrass, and bulrushes. Fishing the Chain requires stout tackle and power techniques for its robust and healthy bass population.
Lake Tarpon is located about 10 miles west of Tampa in Tarpon Springs, Florida, United States. The lake covers 2,500 acres and stretches almost nine miles long. Its surrounded by houses and resorts with tons of fishing opportunities.
This fishery offers some of the best big bass fishing in Florida on the west coast. Lake Tarpon is renowned for its trophy-size bass and supports a healthy population of crappie, bluegill, blue tilapia, sunfish, and catfish.
The lake’s bottom has deep-water holes and shallow edges with grass beds for the thriving populations of various fish species. Two county parks border the lake with boat ramps, east John Chestnut Park and west A.L Anderson Park. Because of its location, Lake Tarpon hosts numerous bass tournaments.
Stick Marsh (Farm 13)
Stick Marsh, also known as Farm 13, is a 6,500-acre impoundment a part of the St Johns Water Management Area. Stick Marsh lies near the Treasure Coast of Florida and is one of the nation’s most abundant and natural big bass fisheries.
The Farm 13 water depths average 4 to 8 feet, but navigating the area can be difficult with its numerous underwater stumps. Stick Marsh holds prime waters for trophy bass, with many catches being in close to double digits. Live bait is the most effective method for catching trophies, but artificial lures can often produce as well. It’s best for an angler new to the area to fish with an experienced local captain to safely and efficiently get the full experience of this trophy bass lake.
Fellsmere Reservoir, also known as Lake Eden, Headwaters Lake, and Lake Headwaters, is a world-class human-made lake in Indian River County, covering 10,000 acres. Fellsmere borders Stick Marsh, Blue Cypress, and Lake Garcia.
The underwater features and structural habitat of Fellsmere lake provide an exceptional experience for a visiting bass fisherman. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation stocked nearly 1,000,000 sport fish in the reservoir along with bluegill, crappie, and redear sunfish. Fellsmere is one of the lakes a visiting angler must experience when freshwater fishing in Florida.
Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho)
Lake Toho in Central Florida is an 18,810-acre bass fishery southeast of Kissimmee and is the uppermost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
Lake Toho is full of vegetation, including lily pads, cattails, weed mats, bulrush, and Kissimmee grass, all supporting a healthy bass population. In addition to its vegetation, Fish management practices improved the bottom of Lake Toho by allowing extreme drawdowns to its water level. During the drawdowns, deposits of muck are removed by bulldozers from the shoreline areas imitating a natural drought, making the shoreline of Lake Toho prime for bass spawning success.
Lake Toho is home to numerous annual bass fishing tournaments, including Bassmaster opens. Lake Toho also supports healthy populations of bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish, pickerel, gar, and catfish.
The Butler Chain
As we travel further south into Central Florida, you land yourself through a maze of a chain of lakes. There is one particular Chain that stands out from the rest: The Butler Chain of Lakes. This interconnected Chain of 11 lakes promotes one of the most unique Florida bass experiences. It is considered relatively deep for a Florida lake with 20 to 40-foot holes. One of the most incredible aspects is its deep vegetation structures in some of the clearest fresh water in Florida that the bass love.
Bass fishing on this lake can get very exciting. It has a large quantity of largemouth bass that causes them to school regularly, making Butler Chain of lakes fishing guides best known for catching numbers, but the place has size as well. This allows for some of the best action you can explore here in Florida. As you are fishing these schools, enjoy catching quality 4 to 5-pound bass throwing artificial topwater baitfish. Springtime is when the bass truly begins to school up and produce what you are searching for. Explore the R.D. Keene Park for a great trophy bass adventure.
Lake Kissimmee is the southernmost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. It covers 34,948 acres and is located 18 miles east of Lake Wales and 40 miles south of Orlando. Lake Kissimmee is a fertile environment making it a top trophy bass fishery. Lake Kissimmee has produced over 497 TrophyCatch fish, including 1 Hall of Famer, 87 Trophy Club, and 409 Lunker Club.
The fertile soil of Lake Kissimmee creates a healthy abundance of food sources such as zooplankton, insects, and forage fish. The rich food sources allow the Lake Kissimmee bass to grow fast. Along with the food abundance, Lake Kissimmee has an excellent habitat consisting of a diverse combination of emergent and submerged vegetation ideal for bass spawning.
Lake Istokpoga in Highlands County is located five miles northeast of Lake Placid and is the fifth-largest natural lake in Florida, covering 27,692 acres. It has numerous boat ramps on the North, Northeast, and Southwest sides of the lake.
Since a significant restoration effort in the 2000’s, Lake Istokpoga has consistently cranked out quality-sized bass. Lake Istokpoga had 329 trophycatch fish.
Lake Istokpoga has an average depth of 6 feet, offering a vast amount of shallow vegetation, including spatterdock, hydrilla, Kissimmee grass, bulrush, lily pads, eelgrass, and cattails. According to Bassmaster Elite Bobby Lane, bass anglers will likely get 10-15 quality bites a day any time of year when fishing on Lake Istokpoga.
Moving further on our Florida Bass Fishing Tour, Lake Okeechobee is our next stop. Okeechobee is an enormous 730 plus square-mile freshwater lake in Florida known for its legendary largemouth fishing throughout the year. Spring Bass Fishing has been truly heating up every year, especially in the southern destinations on the lake. You can experience fantastic fishing across the whole lake, but the South has been producing the best. Clewiston and Belle Glade will be the best locations to fish this spring. Anglers can experience big numbers and great-quality largemouth bass this time of year as the bass are still in their spawning process.
Lake Okeechobee has one of the most vibrant and abundant largemouth bass populations in the state of Florida. You can fish there your whole life and never see the same fish twice. One of the best parts about fishing Lake Okeechobee is that wherever you are traveling from, there is a destination near you. If you are coming from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Belle Glade or the southeast side of the lake would be your best bet. If Fort Myers or Naples is the vacation or home destination, Clewiston would be the best location. When coming from Central Florida, make sure you experience Okeechobee City to provide you with a truly unique perspective on the lake.
The Golden Gate Canal is centrally located between Naples-Marco Island’s beaches and The Everglades National Park, Big Cypress Preserve, and Collier-Seminole State Park.
Popular exotic fish such as the peacock bass and Oscars have found their way into southwest Florida from Miami. These fish are now extremely abundant here, making the Golden Gate a top peacock fishing lake in the state. The fishing is excellent year-round for peacock bass, largemouth bass, and panfish. The big bass are most often caught during the colder months when they are actively feeding during their peak spawning time. In addition to these popular freshwater fish, anglers can also catch snook and tarpon in these canals.
Lake Ida and Lake Osborne
The Lake Ida Chain of Lakes starts in Boynton Beach and ends in Delray Beach. The lake to the North in Boynton is Lake Osborne, while to the South in Delray is Lake Ida. Lake Ida and Osborne both offer some of the best south Florida lakes for largemouth and peacock fishing. The lakes have some good-size largemouth and peacock bass, sunshine bass, bluegills, Mayan cichlids, and other exotic fish species like the clown knife fish.
These Florida lakes in Palm Beach are the furthest North in the sunshine state that an angler can experience a peacock bass fishing charter. The Chain of Lakes has convenient access points allowing anglers to start searching for big bad and beautiful peacock bass within minutes.
The endless canals of the Chain of lakes provide the high opportunity to catch peacock bass in good numbers. The numerous structures, including docks, bridges, cuts, and seawalls, are good focus points for largemouth and peacock bass.
The Florida Everglades
When you think of Florida Bass Fishing, the Florida Everglades or “the river of grass” should hopefully ring clear. Cruise through the miles of canal systems that dominate South Florida while uncovering untouched waters pristine for largemouth fishing. If you are looking for extreme numbers of largemouth bass and some peacock bass, the Florida Everglades is the place to explore. The Everglades covers a large area with many access points; some of the more popular areas are Everglades Holiday Park, Sawgrass Rec Center, and Mile Marker 35 and 41. Every cast can yield a fish during these fantastic spring conditions. Another unbelievable feature of this incredible fishing destination is the abundance of wildlife.
Enjoy your fishing experience while listening to the birds, alligators and many other inhabitants create a song before you. We would also recommend this location for young kids and family members that love to be in the outdoors and have not yet experienced what Florida fishing is all about. Come enjoy catching 100-200 largemouth bass in a trip for memories we genuinely believe you will not forget.
Miami Airport Lakes
This Miami destination stands out from the rest. It is a location that you can experience the total abundance of Florida exotics and largemouth fishing to its fullest. The Miami Airport Lakes is an excellent location to catch the hardest fighting bass in the state, the peacock bass. Blue Lagoon or Airport Lakes is home to the Florida Peacock Bass and some quality largemouth bass fish. It was one of the first locations they stocked this incredible species of bass. When it comes to fishing for peacock bass, domestic shiners are most productive, however artificial lures especially topwater lures can often produce. Your Bassonline fishing guide comes with all artificial fishing tackle needed for success. One of the significant aspects of fishing the Miami Airport system is the ability to catch saltwater species.
When the locks open to release water, many species, including snook, tarpon, and jack crevalle, travel through and get trapped in when they close them. These species can live in this water which provides you ample opportunities to hook one as well. Don’t count out catching some quality largemouth bass along with your adventures in the heart of Miami.
Best Time For Bass Fishing
Bass fishing in Florida is incredible throughout the year, contributing to it being the “Fishing Capital of the World.” However, the springtime is when largemouths spawn and provide anglers with their best opportunity to catch a double-digit trophy. Typically the spawn starts when water temperature becomes optimal as early as December and goes into June, varying slightly throughout the state.
Springtime here in Florida is the perfect time to take a vacation. As the northern states are still experiencing cold fronts, Florida is beginning to warm up. The characteristics of this spring have been considerably different than the many before it. Colder weather throughout the whole United States has made for exciting fishing conditions.
Freshwater fishing in Florida often gets overlooked, but has really heated up with the warming trends.
Late Spawns at our Top Florida Bass Destinations
One of the main reasons our fishing has been so fantastic here in Florida is the extreme weather. The cold fronts that have pushed through changed the water temperatures dramatically throughout our season. As temperatures change, the Florida largemouths pushed off spawns that they are now engaging in. During these new moon phases, our professional captains and experts have been catching largemouth bass filled with eggs and preparing for their spawning process. April will most likely be the last time they spawn, but it will also be one of the best months to catch excellent bass at all our top Florida bass destinations.
Florida Fishing Experience
Don’t miss out on our Top Florida largemouth Fishing Destinations across the whole state. Action will be consistent all year long. Each month will provide new challenges, different techniques, and great fishing. Florida is the best destination to catch that big largemouth bass or peacock you are looking for. We would love to create a memory worth a lifetime while you reel in that fish that will make you smile!
If you enjoyed this post about our Top Florida Bass Destinations, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.
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Every location has that one fish that brings tons of people to the area and for South Florida, it’s peacock bass. Peacock bass fishing is attractive because of the eye-catching color of the fish and the brash and aggressive nature of the fish.
If you’re traveling to Miami, Naples, or anywhere in South Florida, you’ll want to continue reading to learn more about peacock bass and why they should be on your list of “fish to catch in my lifetime.”
Understanding Peacock Bass
The first thing you should understand is that peacock bass aren’t actually bass, they’re Cichlids. In fact, there are a ton of huge differences between these guys and bass. This is the reason why a lot of anglers come to Florida confused by the fact that they don’t behave the same way as largemouth bass.
First of all, there are actually 16 different species of peacock bass. The problem is you can’t catch most of them off the coast of the United States. The fish originated in the Amazon and that’s where most of the species still live.
So, that begs the question; how did they get here? According to the FWC, they were brought into Florida by the WC in 1984 and it’s also believed that they were imported from Guyana, Peru, and Brazil as well.
Why Target Peacock Bass
Another question is why would we come to Florida to fish canals and waterways when there are so many brilliant opportunities in offshore fishing? You can catch things like sailfish, snapper, group, and tarpon; why would we go after these?
While there’s no right or wrong answer to this, we think it has a lot to do with their appearance and the fight they give for a smaller canal fish. They’re finicky about what they eat but once they decide on something, they’re highly aggressive and will not give in easily. You better be prepared for a fight if getting a picture with a peacock bass is on your bucket list.
When you’re traveling and fishing the urban canals, portability is key so you’ll want to make sure you’re only traveling with the amount of gear necessary to get the job done. Telescopic rods are nice but I don’t recommend them due to the lack of durability and strength.
Where you can save a little space and weight is through using an inflatable kayak. These are highly portable and you’d be surprised by how much abuse they can take.
Best Lures for Peacock Bass Fishing
Peacock bass are a bit finicky so you want to choose the right lures and stick to them. Once you understand what lures to use you’ll have no problem bringing in a lot of peacock bass and when they bite, get ready because it’s like someone dropped a 20 lb rock on top of your hook.
Here are some of my top choices for peacock bass lures:
Rip Roller Stick Baits
Rip Rollers are some of the most popular lures for peacock bass because of their noisy presentation and larger size. You don’t have to get this specific type but you want something with a few treble hooks and the propellor on the back. 5.5-inches is around the size you’ll find most of these and they’re usually made of solid wood to create topwater buoyancy.
When it comes to color, you want to mimic something that the peacock bass are used to eating so I’d go with a perch color or something else that’s orange and bright. These are deadly in the warm water months.
Next, we have a 5-inch crankbait that creates a little less noise for the days when the fish aren’t biting. Keep in mind that if you’re fishing in South Florida, you’re fishing highly trekked waters. Peacock bass are used to people fishing this area to death so sometimes a bit loud presentation doesn’t work.
This is a spook type crankbait, it’s big, durable, and comes with heavy treble hooks that can handle this type of power. It also has an internal rattle so it’s not completely silent. Go with the redhead on overcast days and a brighter bronze color on sunny days.
Bear in mind that a lot of peacock bass feed below the surface so topwaters won’t always work. Yo-Zuri is a great saltwater lure brand and their minnows allow you to walk the dog, jerk erratically, and create the presentation of a wounded baitfish.
This is especially helpful if you’re not having any luck. The area you’re fishing may simply be overdone and the bass are very timid. This method is a great way to get them biting again.
Bucktail Extended Jigs
The last piece of peacock bass fishing tackle I’ll give you are extended tail jigs. These are growing in popularity amongst peacock bass anglers for a few reasons.
One, you can work them in heavily vegetated areas because the tail helps you cruise over stumps and dense brush.
Second, you can troll with them if you’re trying to cover a lot of water. You can fish them by working through the vegetation with erratic short jerks followed by lull periods of trolling but make sure to keep it moving quickly. If you slow down the presentation too much you’ll attract black bass.
Third, they’re a dime a dozen and you’ll lose a lot in the water because most fish take a liking to these. You don’t have to spend $25 on one lure and you can pair up a variety of color combinations.
Lures To Stay Away From
It’s not often that we tell you lures to avoid but as mentioned, peacock bass are finicky so you want to stick to what works and avoid what doesn’t like the plague. Soft plastics are generally the worst-performing lures for peacock bass fish. They just don’t like them.
Another reason we don’t recommend soft plastics are because every other fish in the water will chew up all your time. You’re not out here targeting black bass and panfish right now, we’re looking for the bright and beautiful peacock so let’s not waste any time. It’s like they say in business, “if you try to win everyone, you win no one.” Focus on the species you’re targeting and leave the rest for another day.
We also highly suggest against using live bait. A lot of people will tell you that live bait is the best way to go for peacock bass but as local guides and experts, we recommend you don’t use lie bait, and here’s why.
Peacock bass like to swallow live bait which will result in a deep hook down in the throat or gills. These are a pain to remove and almost always ends with a dead fish. We practice catch and release with peacock bass and we suggest you do the same. Fishing live bait is frowned upon for this reason.
Top Peacock Bass Fishing Locations
We’re separating this part of the guide into three sections. These are the “big 3” when it comes to peacock bass fishing in Florida. If you’re tracking peacock, you want to catch some, and you’re on your own without a guide. These are the three places you’ll want to go.
Best Peacock Bass Fishing in West Palm Beach
Urban canal fishing in Palm Beach county is incredibly popular and it brings a lot of people to the area. If you’re looking in this area, expect to fish around Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Lake Osborne and Lake Ida Park are part of the Lake Ida chain of lakes and they house some of the best peacock bass fishing in the world.
Best Peacock Bass Fishing in Miami
There are many different locations in Miami and Dade county but there’s one that always seems to exceed expectations. Miami Airport Lakes is the number one destination for peacock bass so you’ll want to check it out especially around Anthony Marcelo Park. Falls Mall Canal is another big one and it’s located near 13145 SW 89 PL. It’s a canal that runs behind the “Falls Mall” in Miami but this is a convenient access point with plenty of parking.
Best Peacock Bass Fishing in Naples
They don’t call Naples, “Paradise Coast” for nothing. There are a ton of things to do here for the whole family and some of the greatest peacock bass fishing you could imagine. The urban canal systems bring about a great population of peacocks and the fight that they put up is next to nothing.
The Golden Gate canal system is where you’ll find the most peacock bass as well as plenty of other saltwater species. Warm water fishing is the best way to go here and as mentioned, the fun doesn’t have to stop once you get off the boat.
Peacock Bass Fishing Charters in Florida
There are great fishing charters all over South Florida and each of them specializes in a specific area and species so be sure to choose wisely.
For example, Captain Mark Rogers has the biggest boat in the fleet that they call the “Big O” on Lake Okeechobee. He does most of his fishing near his home in Naples, Florida so if you have a larger party and want to fish Naples for peacock bass, you might want to talk to Captain Mark.
Either way, we highly recommend fishing with a charter if you come to Florida. Of course, fishing inshore canals and waterways is easy to do on your own compared to braving the offshore waters but to get the full experience, a charter is the way to go.
March Trophy Peacock Bass Fishing
Simply put, if you are looking to catch a trophy Florida peacock bass, Miami is the destination to visit. Almost all year long, you can land some big beautiful exotic fish here in South Florida! The endless beauty of not only the fishing experience but also the destination creates a magical combination of the perfect outdoor adventure. March Trophy Peacock Fishing is one fantastic way to get outdoors and enjoy the South Florida sunshine!
Miami, Florida is one of the most unique places to travel to. Whether it is the culture, beaches, nightlife, or outdoor experiences, this destination has it all. Freshwater fishing is a hidden gem most travelers overlook. We are here to be your guide to showing you why we love freshwater fishing here in Miami.
You can’t go wrong with hopping on board with a local expert and allowing him to show you around. When it comes to fishing, especially peacock bass, a local expert is essential. Years of experience and knowledge has allowed them to dial in on the action every day. You are in good hands when going out on a bass fishing trip here in Miami when picking our local experts.
Check out this March Peacock Bass Fishing Update from our local experts:
Fishing with Captain Robert Miley
“I had the pleasure of fishing with Don and his wife Julie, who was a Florida native looking to cash in on some peacock bass. They are repeat clients of mine hoping to explore what Miami had to offer one more time. We adventured out onto Miami’s Airport Lakes and had a blast catching bass all trip long.
It was a quick 4-hour fishing trip in the morning. Cool temperatures had the bite light until the sun came out. After moving around and finding some deeper warm water, Don and Julie started landing some quality peacock bass.
Altogether, they caught 10 peacock bass on live domestic shiners. When it comes to catching peacock bass, live bait is the way to go. We can catch them on artificial baits, but it becomes increasingly more difficult especially when the water cools. The biggest bass weighed about 3 pounds and everyone on board had a great time!
I am looking forward to catching more peacock bass with them in the near future!”
Second trip of this Report:
“What a day on the water for Greg. I had the great opportunity to fish with Greg, who was traveling from Kentucky looking to try his hand at some peacock bass fishing. He owns a Dairy Queen back home and was enjoying the Florida sunshine and vacation here in South Florida.
While doing so, he adventures out on Miami’s Airport Lakes for an awesome peacock bass fishing adventure he will never forget. It was a quick 4-hour bass fishing trip that highlighted the true magnitude of this destination.
Greg was in search of some trophy Florida peacock bass and he got them. He caught 4 peacock bass over 5 pounds, making it an incredible day on the water. It is always nice to come to a destination and get what you are looking for. Greg also landed 10 other fish that were quality and healthy in size.
It was an awesome day of fishing for Greg and one we will both not forget! I am looking forward to fishing with Greg again soon!” – Captain Robert Miley
Come Visit Miami and Catch Yours TODAY!!
One of the great things about all our peacock bass fisheries here in South Florida is that they have deeper water. During the month of March, the weather conditions will vary. Cooler temperatures will push the peacock bass into deeper water and our local experts will know where to find them. Enjoy the warm sunshine though and a day on the water landing these hard-fighting peacock bass.
We hope we get the chance to show you around this amazing fishery here in Miami. March Trophy peacock bass fishing is just getting started. See you on the water next time!
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February Everglades Bass Fishing
February has been a strong month for Everglades bass fishing here in South Florida. The remoteness and constant action from a wide range of species make this destination one of the most attractive for travelers. Get outdoors, soak up the Florida sunshine, and enjoy catching big numbers of bass all trip long. A February Everglades bass fishing charter can really transform your vacation experience and make you want to come back for more.
The Florida Everglades is a long stretch of canal systems that help water flow throughout Florida as it heads south. Throughout time, it has become a sanctuary for wildlife, nature, plants, and most importantly fish. As a result, you can go out and explore these waters catching largemouth bass, peacock bass, cichlids, oscars, bowfin, and so much more. Fishing is endless here which makes it a top fishery to experience when visiting South Florida.
Our local experts are essential when it comes to fishing in Florida. Years of knowledge and experience will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors and catch more fish than your arms can handle. Whether you want to throw artificial baits or live bait, you can have a blast when it comes to fishing here in the Florida Everglades. Let our local experts show you the way and put you on a trip to experience again.
Check out this Everglades Bass Fishing Report with our Local Experts:
Fishing with Captain Mark Rogers
“Water levels continue to fluctuate as Florida experiences rain throughout the state. When this happens, the fish have either the ability to either stack up in the canal when the water is low or get back in the flats when it is high. During these conditions, the bite can be slower but we or I will always find some nice quality fish for you.
I had the pleasure of fishing with Ryan, who was traveling from Missouri looking to explore some Florida Bass Fishing. The Everglades along Alligator Alley at MM41 was the perfect place to get it done. It was a quick 4-hour fishing charter with some heavy fog in the morning.
As we cruised slowly out to our spot, we started to pick away at the bass slowly. Ryan caught both peacock bass and largemouth bass with live bait. Domestic shiners are a sure way to put numbers of fish in the boat.
He did not catch any giant fish but some solid fish in the 2-3 pound range. Peacock bass and largemouth bass will begin to spawn through these next couple of months with some stable weather and water conditions.
Ryan had a great time on the water. I am looking forward to getting him back out soon!” – Captain Mark Rogers
Fishing with Captain Nick Pasquarello
First Trip out in the Florida Everglades
“I had the great joy of fishing with Mike. He was traveling from Ohio looking to catch a Florida peacock bass. While visiting friends and family on the west coast of Florida, the Everglades was a great choice for him. This fishery at Mile Marker 41 is the best place to catch both peacock bass and largemouth bass in one trip, especially when staying near Naples, FL.
Sunny and Breezy weather made for a great day on the water. Mike caught over 35 fish on this trip with a mix from both peacock and largemouth bass. Both live bait and artificial baits from soft plastic worms to hard baits were used to catch fish on this trip.
It was a productive day for Mike and I am glad that I got to put him on some quality fish. Some days you can find some bigger fish but on this trip, Mike caught just numbers of bass with no giants in the boat. It was a fun day for him and he will be back for more action here in the Everglades.
I am looking forward to our next adventure!”
Second Trip along Alligator Alley
“I had the ultimate pleasure of fishing with Ron on a quick bass fishing adventure out in the Florida Everglades. Alligator Alley fishing is starting to heat up as the days roll on. Ron was traveling from Texas to enjoy some Florida weather along with some Everglades fishing in the mix.
Ron had a great day enjoying sunny and breezy weather catching bass all trip long. The numbers were not as high as the last trip but Ron caught some quality bass. The biggest peacock bass weighed 3 pounds along with largemouth bass in the same weight range.
Both live bait and artificial baits were used to land the fish on this trip. Ron will definitely be back for more action here in South Florida. I am looking forward to our next trip in the glades!” – Captain Nick Pasquarello
Fishing with Captain Mark Rose
“I had the pleasure of getting the chance to fish with John and his brother Tom. They were Florida locals looking to get out on the water. While doing so, they picked a bass fishing trip in the Florida Everglades. One of their main goals was to catch peacock bass and the Everglades showed them a great time.
Live bait is the most productive method to catch peacock bass in South Florida. We went out and searched hard to get them on some quality fish. John and Tom ended up landing 6 nice peacock bass on their fishing trip. They also caught 70 largemouth bass on their fishing trip in addition to the peacock bass.
The action is red hot here in the Everglades and you just can’t be the action. John and Tom were ecstatic with the results of their fishing trip. I am glad to have had the opportunity to spend the day on the water with them.
I am looking forward to fishing with them again soon!” – Captain Mark Rose
Fishing with Rick Mitchell
“The Florida Everglades strikes again with some amazing and active fishing. I had the honor of fishing with CT who was traveling from Michigan looking to explore the great outdoors. There is no better place to do it then in the Everglades.
We went out on Alligator Alley near Naples, FL on a quick bass fishing trip. It was an absolute blast for CT with constant action all trip long. He caught over 30 fish on his bass fishing trip which was mostly largemouth bass and peacock bass. In the mix as well were Mayan cichlids and Oscars.
Live bait was a great way to keep his line bent on this fishing trip. Breezy conditions kept us moving down the canal system in search of more fish. Nothing beats this time of year and the action you can get in the glades.
CT had a great time and I am looking forward to our next adventure!” – Captain Rick Mitchell
Come Explore the Florida Everglades and Catch Yours TODAY!
The Florida Everglades happens to be one of the BEST places to just explore. Running down the canal systems with birds flying over your head is something that you just don’t forget. The fishing is just the additional cherry on top. From largemouth bass to peacock bass, you can catch a wide variety of species here.
Bring along the whole family for a fishing adventure of a lifetime with our local experts. We hope to see you on the water next time! February Everglades Bass Fishing is only getting better
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February Lake Ida Fishing
Peacock bass are one of the most exciting species to catch in South Florida. A short drive to the Lake Ida Chain of Lakes can provide an urban experience like no other. Every adventure you embark on is unique and tailored to your experience. A February Lake Ida Fishing Charter is all you need for a great day on the water.
Warm sunny weather with light winds has created the perfect match for urban peacock bass fishing. Our local experts will take you on a tour through the endless canals of this beautiful fishery. When embarking on a Lake Ida fishing trip, you will get the chance at catching peacock bass, largemouth bass, and even clown knife fish.
The Lake Ida Chain of Lakes is alive and well with some big beautiful fish being caught. Stable South Florida weather has fired the fish up putting them in a feeding frenzy. Enjoy sitting back and enjoying this urban canal system while reeling in hard-fighting exotics.
Check out this February Lake Ida Fishing Report with our Local Experts:
Lake Ida Fishing with Captain Robert Miley
“I had the pleasure of fishing with Sandy and Jay. They are long-time repeats of mine but also great golfing buddies. Being South Florida natives, getting out fishing on the Lake Ida Chain is one of their past times. The peacock bass fishing has been fantastic this time of year.
After several cooler days here in Delray Beach, the water temperature on the chain dropped to 81 degrees. Fortunately enough that did not stop the bass from biting. Once the sun peeked through the clouds, it was game on.
Sandy and Jay had a blast catching peacock bass all trip long. They caught over 20 bass on this trip with a mix of both peacock and largemouth bass. Most of the bass caught were in the weight range of 4-5 pounds.
Truly can’t beat it when the action is red hot like that. Sandy and Jay had a great time on the water and I am looking forward to seeing them out soon!” – Captain Robert Miley
Fishing with Captain John Larsen on the Lake Ida Chain of Lakes
“I had an afternoon fishing trip with some awesome clients, John and Decker. They were traveling from California looking to cash in on some peacock bass here in South Florida. The Lake Ida Chain of Lakes was a great match for them and it was on fire.
When fishing Lake Ida, the target species is always going to be peacock bass. One of the blessings about this fishery is that you can also catch largemouth bass, clown knife fish, cichlids, and tilapia to name a few.
John and Decker started out the day catching largemouth bass in the early afternoon hours. As the sun lowered in the sky, the peacock bass started to aggressively bite. They caught about 7-10 largemouth bass, 6 peacock bass, and a handful of cichlids, and a tilapia.
Most of the fish were caught free-lining live baits along with the canal systems. The best tackle to get this job done was using a 10-pound braided line with a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 owner mosquito hook.
John and Decker had a great time landing fish after fish. I am surely looking forward to our next adventure soon!” – Capt John Larsen
Now is the time to explore what South Florida is all about. Warm weather has made for truly perfect conditions to get out on the water. Late February has been a productive time to not only go fishing but also enjoy the sunshine here in Florida. Lake Ida is a fantastic fishery for all those looking to explore something magical.
Bring your whole family along for a fishing adventure of a lifetime along with this urban canal system. Our local experts will get you on some quality fish and show you an amazing time. We hope to share an experience with you on your next visit to South Florida!
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