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How Big Do Peacock Bass Get? (With Average and Record Weights)

How Big Do Peacock Bass Get? (With Average and Record Weights)

Peacock bass are one of Florida’s most popular game fish and a species that can reach impressive sizes.

But just how big does this beautiful and hard-fighting freshwater fish really get? 

While the average size of most peacock bass in Florida is between 12 and 17 inches and 1 to 3 pounds, this fish can reach a maximum size of approximately 28 inches and 15 pounds. Florida peacocks are, however, somewhat smaller. 

Read on and find out how big butterfly peacocks can get in Florida, how much the current world record weighs, and what’s considered a trophy peacock bass. 

What Is the Maximum Size of Peacock Bass?

a Florida bass angler holding a big butterfly peacock bass

The peacock bass found in Florida is the butterfly peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris), one of the largest species of the wider cichlid family.

It can reach a maximum length of about 28 to 30 inches and a maximum weight of approximately 15 pounds. 

However, fish of more than 12 pounds appear to be extremely rare, at least as game fish in sport fishing. 

But as the butterfly peacock bass is so widely distributed in the Amazon basin and across South America, bigger fish of around 15lb (and possibly more) surely exist somewhere out there.

Given its large size and extreme fighting skills on rod and line, the butterfly peacock bass is a popular game fish in Florida, where it was introduced in 1984. 

Down in Florida, the only US state with peacock bass, most fish will reach a maximum weight of 9 to 10lb and a maximum length of about 20 to 23 inches. 

What Is the Average Size of Peacock Bass?

a bass angler on a river holding an average sized peacock bass of about 3 pounds

The average size of the Florida peacock bass is around 12 to 17 inches and 1 to 3 pounds. 

Given that the US record is a fish of just over 21 inches, that average size sounds big. 

Still, as adult butterfly peacocks grow extremely slow and gain significant weight for each inch after they reach a length of about 15 inches, it’s actually very accurate!

Ask most anglers in Florida, and they’ll tell you that most of their peacocks average 1 to 3 pounds.

Of course, there are both waters with higher and lower average-sized populations. 

And so, one Florida peacock bass lake might hold fish with an average size of 8 to 12 inches and 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, while another might hold fish with an average length of 14 to 18 inches and a weight of 2 to 4lb. 

As always, when it comes to fishing, things depend on the fish’s habitat and various other factors! 

These can include the following:

  • Water depth
  • Water clarity
  • Water temperatures
  • Oxygen levels
  • Food abundance
  • Predation
  • Genetics
  • Fishing pressure

Oh, and then there are the South American butterfly peacocks! 

Given the warmer climate and abundance of food sources, peacock bass down here tend to have a larger average size. 

Many river systems across the continent can have average sizes of about 4 to 6lb and 16 to 20 inches.

So if you’re after truly giant peacock bass, it’s probably an excellent idea to head down south!  

What Is the Biggest Peacock Bass Ever Caught?

The world record butterfly peacock bass is an absolute giant of 12lb 9oz.

This fish was caught on the Chiguao River in Venezuela by angler Antonio Campa G. in 2000. 

This is, by far, the biggest butterfly peacock anyone’s ever caught with a rod and reel!

Unfortunately, there is no length for this record catch, but given its weight, I’d say it must have measured at least 24 or 25 inches, which is gigantic!

Given this fish species’ raw and wild strength, the fight must have been one of a kind, wouldn’t you say?

How Big Do Peacock Bass Get in Florida?

A fisher in Florida holding two big butterfly peacock bass

In 2021, Florida angler Felipe Prieto broke the 28-year-old Florida state and US record with a colossal peacock bass fish of 9.11 pounds and 23 5/16 inches. 

The previous record was a fish of 9.08 pounds that was caught in 1993.

The fact that it took 28 years to break this record shows how rare giant peacocks are in south Florida!

On the other hand, thousands of anglers target this game fish every year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone would hook up to a 10-pounder soon!

Time will tell, I guess!

How Big Is a Trophy Peacock Bass?

a young angler on a boat holding a 5-pound peacock bass

This is a very interesting question and one that’s frequently debated among bass anglers in Florida.

According to most, a true trophy peacock bass is a fish of at least 5 pounds.

Such a weight would equal an approximate length of 18 or 19 inches in most Florida waters.

Now, that’s not a small fish if you ask me, and the trophy size of peacocks would, again, have to depend on the target water.

Some lakes don’t hold fish of such a size, and it would be impossible to catch a trophy fish in these waters!

And given that most caught peacock bass in Florida rarely exceed the 3-pound mark, a 5-pound trophy level is not entirely fair for all anglers.

On the other hand, in waters that do have a large and healthy butterfly peacock bass population, a 5-pound trophy fish is definitely realistic and achievable.

You don’t always have to focus on those sizes, though! In the end, they don’t mean much, and if you’ve never caught a 3-pounder, there’s nothing wrong with calling that fish (and achievement) a trophy bass. At least not in my book!

How Fast Do Peacock Bass Grow?

Butterfly peacock bass are extreme growers during their first 18 to 24 months. 

They can grow an average of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch during their first 18 months, resulting in an approximate length of 9 to 14 inches.

That’s a superfast growth rate for a fish species!

DID YOU KNOW: According to a study, a peacock bass population in Guyana could even grow up to 1 inch per month during their first year, thanks to perfect climate conditions during the rainy season. 

Once they reach 14 to 15 inches in length, their growth rate slows considerably to about 1 inch per year.

During that stage of their lives, they can gain an unbelievable 1 pound per inch and year, which is massive.

That results in the following approximate peacock bass length to weight chart:

LengthApprox. Weight
10 inches1 pound
12 inches1 1/2 pounds
14 inches2 pounds
17 inches3 pounds
19 inches5 pounds
20 inches6 pounds
22 inches8 pounds
24 inches10 pounds
25 inches 11 pounds
26 inches12 pounds
27 inches13 pounds
28 inches14 pounds
29 inches 15 pounds

How Old Do Peacock Bass Get?

The average lifespan of butterfly peacock bass is 6 to 10 years. 

However, peacock bass can reach an age of 12 to 15 years under the right conditions.

Such conditions are usually only found in South American habitats, which is where the oldest peacocks live. 

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