The Florida state record for butterfly peacock bass had been on the books for almost 30-years until a Florida man broke the record earlier this week.
The record-breaking fish caught by Felipe Prieto weighed 9-pounds and 11-ounces and measured more than 23-inches long. The previous record dated back to 1993 and weighed just a shade over 9-pounds.
While Florida is grappling to combat several other aquatic invasive species, the peacock bass is an outlier amongst non-native species. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission purposefully introduced the peacock bass to control more undesirable exotic species like spotted tilapia. An unintended benefit of stocking the bass has been the establishment of a world-class fishery.
Peacock bass are native to the Amazon river basin and other tropical waters of South America, and their low tolerance for cold waters have historically limited them to the southernmost counties of the state, but more mild winters in recent years have allowed their range in Florida to start expanding northwards.
Though this fish is the largest one ever hooked by an angler, fisheries biologists in the state have documented even larger specimens during research studies. That information should encourage even more folks to get out there and try to break this record.
Rodney Barreto, chairman of the state fish and wildlife commission, celebrated the heavy-weight fish and the impact the species has had on fishing-related tourism in the Sunshine State.
“The butterfly peacock bass is colorful, a lightning-fast striker and a hard fighter.
Anglers from across the country travel here to catch a peacock bass, which only adds to the tremendous economic impact fishing has in Florida. This unique game fish is just one of the features that make Florida, truly, the Fishing and Boating Capital of the World.”
If you want to do some fishing in Florida, step one should always be purchasing a fishing license.
Please keep in mind that you do need to purchase separate licenses for fishing fresh and saltwater.
Oftentimes you do not need to purchase a license when fishing with a professionally licensed saltwater guide, though, as most of the time, they have their entire boats licensed for chartered trips like this. It’s best to check with the captain directly.
The sale of fishing licenses directly funds the protection and enhancement of public boat ramps, aquatic environments, and fish populations in all 50 states.
It also protects you from potentially being fined, having your gear confiscated, or losing your fishing privileges. It’s important to remember that just because you have a fishing license in one state, that does not mean it is valid in another state.
For a more detailed look at what a peacock bass fishing adventure in Florida looks like, check out this video from Lunkers TV.