Going to school in Miami comes with its benefits and Flylords intern Jake Wood recently completed his first semester at Miami University. In our latest blog post,Jake weighs in on learning his new backyard fishery.

Urban Miami, FL boasts, in my opinion, one of the best Do-It-Yourself Fisheries in the Southern United States. And starting in Late February, it really starts to heat up. The canal system and lakes all connect, giving any angler an opportunity to target exotic fish from all over the world, including Peacock Bass. In this city, there is water everywhere you look, so, it’s important to know where, when, and how to fish this phenomenal and challenging fishery.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Throw Meat!
Peacock Bass were introduced, along with a large number of other species to Florida in the 80’s for sport. Most of the fish average 10-14 inches, but the pride is in the fish over 3 pounds; those are the real bruisers. but all Peacock Bass are aggressive and fight like crazy. They are ambush predators who will show off with jumping and some vicious eats.

2. Strip Fast and throw Shiny Flies
Peacock bass are crazy aggressive hunters. Don’t be afraid to get some burns on your fingers from stripping your flies extremely FAST as these fish aren’t picky, anything shiny will get their attention. Keep in mind the man-made canals are often pretty deep, so something with a little bit of weight will give best results.  (Clouser Minnows, Deceivers, 239 Flies Legtastic Minnow with dumbbell eyes, or anything that will sink into the strike zone. You can also always use a sink tip or sinking fly line). If you choose to tie your own flies, anything with dumbbell eyes that looks like a fish will get eaten as long as you move it fast. As for gear: 6-8 weight rods, 12-20 lb tippet will get the job done. These fish fight hard for their size.

3. Target Structure In Canals
Focus on Structure, Bridges, and Pipes: Peacock Bass key in on natural and artificial structures for cover so they can ambush prey. Often times these structures will hold fish, so always throw a few casts around it. On a side note—Peacocks prefer rocks and down trees over grass

4. Use Google Maps
Google Maps/Google Earth is your Best Friend: It can be extremely hard to find access to the best looking spots, so using Google Earth and Maps is vital to finding fishable areas. Look for canals near malls, industrial areas, restaurants, etc in order to find easy parking and avoid driving all day looking for a pond with public parking (in general, the canals surrounding Miami International Airport have more parking than areas in South Miami). Google Maps/Earth will also help you find places with good bank access (look for grass), sidewalks or bridges

5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Make sure to always wear shoes around the canals, and keep an eye on your surroundings snakes and crocs like to hang around canals.

6. Be prepared
Be Prepared for Anything: My favorite part about the canals in South Florida is the species diversity. Along with Peacock Bass, you have chances at catching numerous types of Cichlids and Tilapia as well as Snakeheads, Largemouth, Arowana, even snook and tarpon.

This post was contributed by Flylords Intern Jake Wood, you can find Jake on Instagram @JakeWood14