The traffic in Miami was terrible. That said, traffic in Miami is always terrible. Still, bumper-bumper vehicles is not something you typically deal with when moving from one waypoint to the next when bass fishing. But alas, that is precisely what was happening, horns sounding alongside unappealing hand signals shared between irritated motorists. The good news, if any good news was to be found in the sea of cars, was that my urban fishing guide was the one behind the wheel.
“I have pinpointed a handful of canals that have both peacock bass and largemouth. But, my favorite ones are about 10 miles apart,” said Hai Truong, who has created a unique niche in the fishing-guide business. He picks up his clients at their hotels and drives them around the city, fishing canals and ponds from the bank. Peacock bass are the fish most anglers want to target, as the Miami area is about the only place in the U.S. that can boast of a fishable population of these cichlids. The by-catch, though, could add another 20 species of exotic fish to your all-time fish list. I can’t remember the proper names of these critters, but most look like they should be in an aquarium. And most importantly, Florida largemouth abound.
“Here we are,” said Truong. “You don’t mind jumping over a small fence, do you?”
Over the fence we went, rods in hand. We were standing at the end of a canal that separated the backyards of middle-class homes in a large subdivision. There was not another angler in sight, although I did notice a giant iguana sunning himself 10 yards distant. The water was tannic but clear, and flush with submerged vegetation and a few limbs that had broken off overhanging trees. So, the fish were easy to see. And there were plenty of fish.
“That’s a nice largemouth!” exclaimed Truong, pointing to the edge of the submerged grass. I made a cast in front of the fish and it ate my bait. The bass weighed about 3 pounds. A couple of peacock bass swam by and ignored my offering. But, I made a long cast parallel to the shoreline and hooked up. It was a beautiful peacock in the 2-pound range.
Once we sore-lipped every fish that would bite in the fishable waters of that canal, we were off to battle the commuters of Miami in search of our next barrel full of fish. It was an odd combination of power fishing and taking an Uber ride. The experience was truly unique, and one that I very much enjoyed.
If you look at the content of the July issue of Bassmaster, you’ll find the 2019 rankings of the best 100 bass lakes in this nation. You’ll also find a feature on a lake in Africa you probably have never heard of, which happens to be loaded with giant bass. These stories, along with my urban fishing trip to Miami, remind me of how incredible our sport really is. Bass fishing transcends socio-economic boundaries and cultures. Natives standing on the water’s edge in the Bushveld share the same passion as Truong casting at the end of a Miami canal and the millions of anglers flipping baits from a casting deck of a bass boat on the best lakes in our country. We live for the chase, even if we have to sit in traffic to be in the race.