March through early May are very special transition months in South Florida's fishing scene. And this is especially so on the freshwater front. This is a time when the wintertime chills shake off; cold fronts weaken and give rise to constant warming weather days with delightful breezes. Because of South Florida's sub-tropical nature, it rarely gets so cold that the largemouth bass cannot be pursued, caught and released. What the warmth of spring "wakes up" are the peacock bass that were lethargic in cooler waters. The hotter days gets them biting throughout the day.
It was definitely time to call Captain Butch Moser (561-254-2790) of Delray Beach to sample the lakes and canals of western Palm Beach County. When we spoke, Butch confirmed that the recent days of chumming and fishing with live shad had produced half-day charters of over 50 fish. I was quick to seize the first weekday he had available, since Saturdays and Sundays simply had the kind of increased angling and boating pressure that would lower our potential action on the largemouth and the peacocks.
Though I knew Butch would have plenty of shad, I challenged myself by bringing two ultralight 4-pound spinning rods. I rigged one of them with a small white SPRO Prime bucktail which would resemble the profile and color of the "whitebait" Butch employed. I rigged the second rod with a small sharp Aberdeen hook in case we saw any (lure-avoidant) clown knifefish rolling in the area.
I made the trip up from Miami with friend Don Eichin in about an hour, which gave us time for a pre-dawn breakfast. Butch was waiting for us at the dock. We got in, loaded our gear and were fishing after a half hour run to a canal intersection. As soon as the first baits were either tossed or casted, it was game on! In a morning that was the stuff of dreams, we caught and released over 100 largemouth bass and peacock bass. The heaviest bass was about 9 pounds and the biggest "pea" was around 5 pounds. I was very happy to have hooked and released some nice largemouths on the SPRO bucktail.
The ride back to Miami was indeed satisfying and full of conversation about a day that would live on in our memories.