Florida Exotic Fish

No question that our native gamefish are the basis of our fisheries, across the country. Some exotic species are unwanted and cause major environmental problems. But others, either stocked intentionally or having made their way into wild habitats from elsewhere, have taken their place as exciting additions to the fishing scene.

Florida exotic fish are plentiful, with its mild climate and countless waterways. A hallmark of In-Fisherman is that all fish species are interesting in their own right and worth study and pursuit.

The canals that radiate around Lake Ida, located about 40 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, house some spectacular species, in addition to bass, bream, and catfish. Sunshine peacock bass, introduced from the Amazon basin by Florida biologists, have thrived and reproduced throughout the system. These spectacular members of the cichlid family feature intense coloration and bring wild battles after biting on livebait or a variety of artificials.

The bizarre-looking clown knifefish is king of the exotics, commonly exceeding 10 pounds. Commonly imported for aquariums, these escapees have found success in Florida's warm, weedy waters. This colorful fish leaps like a tarpon and has a reverse gear—it can back up and does so speedily when you reach to net one. Bluegill-like Mayan cichlids add to the array, building nests like a sunfish.

Contact: Capt. Butch Moser, 561/732-5996; The Inn at Boynton Beach, 561/734-9100, innatboyntonbeach.com.

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