Miami-Dade County: Butterfly Peacock can often be found schooling in the fall and this should be a great time for some morning topwater bites. Anglers should watch for butterfly peacock breaking the surface then throw a Husky Jerk Bait, Heddon Torpedo, or small (3”) floating, gold or silver Rapala for some fast action. In the afternoon or if you lose the school, try switching to subsurface lures such as Rapalas, Rat’l Traps, and Pro Traps for continued success.
Largemouth bass fishing should improve as the water temperature cools off and they can also be found schooling in the morning. The same lures will catch butterfly peacock and largemouth bass and if anglers see some surface action, they should cast close to the school. If a largemouth doesn’t hit, then reel in quickly with some good rod action and a butterfly peacock may! Soft plastics like Bass Assassin, Flappin Shad, or Flukes in watermelon or salt and pepper are all effective largemouth bass baits this time of year. Live shiners are a top choice for butterfly peacock and largemouth bass no matter what time of year, especially for inexperienced anglers.
Wigglers or pieces of nightcrawler fished under a bobber are an excellent way to catch bluegill, redear sunfish, Mayan cichlid, and oscar in urban Miami-Dade canals. Small Rapalas, Roostertails, and Beetlespins are also effective lures for bream fishing. Anglers may want to try Aerojet (C-111), Cutler Drain (C-100), and Parkline (L-31W) canals for some great fall angling opportunities.
Broward County: Cooling temperatures should improve the largemouth bass bite and make it a more pleasant time to fish. Rapalas in gold/black or silver/black fished early in the morning are a good bet for some fast action. If the bite slows down or you start fishing later in the day, you may want to try 8”-10” rubber worms in black or red shad, 4”-6” lizards in watermelon seed or cotton candy, or watermelon seed colored Flukes.
Butterfly peacock populations in many Broward County canals are still recuperating from the 2010 cold snap. There are butterfly peacock in the southernmost canals and if we continue to have mild winters, their numbers should rebound and eventually move north into other canals. Anglers fishing for butterfly peacock should consider using minnow-imitating lures like Rapalas, Rebels and Torpedoes as well as green and yellow Roostertails late in the morning through the afternoon for some fast action. Live shiners are a very effective bait for largemouth bass and butterfly peacock no matter what time of day.
Many Broward waterways contain good bream populations and wigglers or crickets fished under a bobber is a great way to introduce kids to catching bluegill and redear sunfish as well as the non-native Mayan cichlid. Black, chartreuse, and white Beetle Spins and crappie jigs are also effective lures for bream and small bass. Cypress Creek Canal (C-14), Hillsboro Canal (G-08) and the North New River Canal (G-15) are just a few of the great places available to anglers to wet a line.
Palm Beach County: Largemouth bass action should improve as water temperatures cool. The bass will school up and anglers should be prepared to cast a minnow-imitating lure like a Rapala or Heddon Torpedo into the commotion for some fast action. There is a good but underutilized population of sunshine bass up in the Ida-Osborne chain-of-lakes and good catches should continue into the fall. Trolling a shad or shiner will help you locate the school, then carefully set out an anchor and use cut bait or live shad. Another method is to tie on a crappie jig, tip it with shrimp and drift with the wind until you find the school. Speck (black crappie) fishing should also heat up with the change in the seasons and Missouri minnows or 1/16 or 1/32 oz Beetle Spins in black and yellow or white and yellow, or white or chartreuse crappie jigs are effective baits. Look for specks in deep holes in local lakes and around fish attractors in the Ida-Osborne chain-of lakes. Native and exotic bream (particularly Mayan cichlid) can be caught on a variety of baits and as well as flies. Fly rod enthusiasts should do well using a popper and wiggler worms or night crawlers fished under a bobber with a long shank, fine wire hook is a tried and true method of traditional anglers. There are many waterbodies available to anglers for some fun fall action including the Boynton (C-16), West Palm Beach (C-51), Earman River (C-17) and the extensive Ida-Osborne lake system.
FWC's most recent sampling data remains a good way to pick among the many canals to be found in southeast Florida:
Between October and November 2012, fish in 9 southeast Florida canals were stunned with electricity, netted, weighed, measured, and released unharmed back into the waterway from which they were collected. The overall electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass was 48 fish over ten-inches-long every hour, 50% higher than the 1997-2011 average of 32 fish/hour. This increase is due in large part to exceptionally good catches of bass in the West Palm Beach (C-51; 130 fish/hr), Hillsboro (G-08; 106 fish/hr) and Boynton Beach (C-16; 97 fish/hr) canals. A total of 635 largemouth bass >10 inches were counted from 9 canals.
The populations of butterfly peacock in several well-known-to-angler Miami-Dade canals are doing extremely well despite cold water temperatures in January 2010 and a great deal of fishing pressure, a testament to the good conservation ethic of catch and release practiced by many urban canal anglers for butterfly peacock and largemouth bass. The electrofishing catch rates of butterfly peacock larger than ten-inches-long in six Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue to increase from the 2010 winterkill, and in 2012 they averaged 28 fish every hour, up from 25 fish/hr in 2011 and 22 fish/hr in 2010. A total of 208 butterfly peacock >10 inches were counted and released from these canals.
The electrofishing catch rate of bream (bluegill, redear sunfish, Mayan cichlid, and jaguar guapote) was 27 fish over six-inches-long every hour which is lower than the 1997-2011 average of 37 fish/hr. This catch rate is expected to increase as Mayan cichlid continues to recover from cold water temperatures in 2010.
These results are from an annual electrofishing survey designed to monitor sportfish populations in urban canals in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Each canal is sampled for approximately eight hours and based on these findings, fisheries biologists at the Non-Native Fish Laboratory in Boca Raton predict that anglers will enjoy excellent catches of largemouth bass and butterfly peacock, and good catches of bream this quarter.
The recent survey produced some interesting facts:
--Southeast Florida urban canals produce good numbers of quality largemouth bass but have few “lunkers” over 6 pounds.
--Some of the best canals for largemouth bass were the Tamiami (C-4) and Parkline (L-31W) canals in Miami-Dade County, Hillsboro and Cypress Creek (C-14) canals in Broward County, and West Palm Beach, and Boynton canals in Palm Beach County.
--Some of the best canals for butterfly peacock were the Tamiami, Cutler Drain (C-100), Black Creek (C-1) and Parkline canals.
--The best canals for largemouth bass and butterfly peacock combined were Snake Creek (C-9), and Parkline canals in Miami-Dade County. Low catches of butterfly peacock in north Broward and Palm Beach counties were likely the result of low water temperature related kills experienced early in January 2010. These periodic kills were predicted and expected when butterfly peacock were originally stocked and a few consecutive mild winters will likely enable them to bounce back to historic levels.
--One canal yielded largemouth bass over six pounds, two canals yielded largemouth bass over five pounds, and six canals yielded bass over four pounds. The largest largemouth bass collected this year weighed 8.2 pounds and measured 22.1 inches.
--The highest number of largemouth bass were shocked in the West Palm Beach Canal, and the Tamiami Canal had the most butterfly peacock.
--Three canals yielded butterfly peacock over five pounds, and three canals yielded four pound butterfly peacock. The largest butterfly peacock collected this year weighed 5.2 pounds and measured 20.0 inches.
--Some of the best bream canals were Snake Creek and Tamiami canals in Miami-Dade County, Cypress Creek and Hillsboro canals in Broward Canal, and West Palm Beach and Boynton canals in Palm Beach County.
--Snook and tarpon are found in many southeast Florida canals and the highest numbers of these sportfish were observed in the Tamiami, Snake Creek, and Black Creek canals, all in Miami-Dade County.