Kayak fishing the urban canals and lakes in South Florida put you in the center of some of the best fishing in the country. There are so many different exotic species in these waterways it’s mind boggling . Most of these fish can only be found in these few bodies of water.
The Butterfly Peacock Bass was introduced to the South Florida canal systems in 1984 with the idea they would help control other exotic fish species. Since 1987 these fish have thrived in their new South Florida home.
The Peacock Bass like to stage in shaded areas like bridges, docks and other structures. Mid morning through mid evening is the best time to target them. Peacock bass love live bait and is an easy way to bring a few to the kayak.
Live shiners fished free lined or on a cork is the preferred method. If you prefer to use artificial lures you wont be disappointed. The peacock bass is one of the most aggressive fish in all of South Florida. Poppers, jerk baits and rattle traps will all get the job done.
Average Peacock Bass go from 2 to 4 pounds with a 6 to 7 pound fish being a true trophy. These fish can be caught year round and are a lot of fun to catch in the kayak.
The Clown Knifefish is currently only found in the lakes and canals in the Palm Beach County area. These fish were introduced to the canal system by improper release from household aquariums. First discovered in a wild habitat in 1994, these fish have since exploded in numbers. Clown knifefish is generally found around submerged structure like rocks, concrete and downed trees in lakes or deeper pools of South Florida canals. Clowns can actually breath air just like tarpon. It is not uncommon to see them rolling on the surface to take a gulp of fresh air.
Spawning time is believed to occur from March through July. Females each lay thousands of eggs. The male cares for the eggs by fanning them with his tail to keep them clear of silt and sand. Once hatched the male is believed to protect hatched fry. There is not a lot know on their exact behaviors. Clown Knifefish are a great fight on light tackle. After hook up they will commonly jump and put on a show for their captor. Average size is anywhere from 3-11 pounds. They are a sight to see and an awesome catch in the kayak!
First discovered in the wild in 2000 again by way of releases from household aquariums. They are also an air breathing fish, which allows them to live in stagnant water areas. Kayak fishing for the bullseye snakehead in South Florida is a blast. When targeting these fish, topwater lures like weedless frogs can produce exciting blow ups. Snakeheads spawn primarily from March through May with a secondary peak in August.
They are an ambush predator that feeds primarily on small fish, toads, lizards, snakes, and insects. Average size is anywhere from 3-12 pounds. Snakeheads are actually excellent eating and have no size limit.
The largemouth bass is a Florida staple and a great place to try to catch a trophy size fish. Bass are found along underwater weed lines and structure like docks and bridges. They love to feed on a variety of fish, frogs and other creatures in South Florida. Largemouth bass will also school at certain times of the year in middle of canals and side lakes. These fish will spawn during the spring months just like Peacock Bass.
Among all the exotic species the largemouth bass still thrive. 2-4 pound fish are common and 6-8 pounders are plentiful. Kayak bass fishing is a great experience year round.
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