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Updated: 05/08/2014 08:00:01AM

The most fun you can have in fresh water

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By Capt. Josh Greer

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Once upon a time, if you wanted to take on a peacock bass, you had to learn Spanish or Portuguese and book a flight to South America. If that sounds expensive, it was. Peacock fishing was a treat for the few wealthy enough to afford it.

Then, in 1984, the Florida Fish and Game Commission decided to stock two of the dozen or so peacock bass species in the waters of South Florida. They had a couple of fairly good reasons: First, they needed a predator to help control the large numbers of other non-native cichlids that were taking over in the Everglades; second, they figured if you’re going to do that you might as well create a new sport fishery. Speckled peacock bass, which grow up to 20 pounds, didn’t become established. Even the mild winters were too cold for them. But butterfly peacock bass survived and thrived, and can now be found throughout South Florida.

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