HIALEAH, Fla. — Everyone who has cast a line into the water dreams of the 'Big One.'
Felipe Prieto of Hialeah was fishing in a Broward County lake with live bait. When he finally got a bite, it turned out to be the catch of a lifetime.
Prieto brought in a butterfly peacock bass weighing an astounding 9.11 pounds and measuring more than 23 inches long, breaking a record that stood for almost three decades., according to the Florida Wildlife Commission.
The previous record, set in 1993, was 9.08 pounds.
Peacock bass are not native to Florida but rather South America. The FWC introduced the fish into coastal southeast Florida canals in the mid-1980s to help cut down on the population of undesirable fishes, including spotted tilapia.
Peacock bass are typically only found in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, though they can move as far north as Palm Beach County, according to the FWC.
“The butterfly peacock bass is colorful, a lightning-fast striker and a hard fighter,” said FWC Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto. “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 makes Florida, truly, the Fishing and Boating Capital of the World.”
For a fish to be certified as a state record, an FWC biologist must identify the species and another FWC employee must witness its weighing on a certified scale.
“A state record catch is an amazing angling accomplishment,” said Aleen Martin of FWC. “However, if the fish isn’t certified in person by an FWC biologist, the angler won’t get credit for a new state record.”
Anglers should be able to provide a picture of the fish on a scale with the weight legible for initial verification.