Review of Urban Legends Fishing Charters
Miami Peacock Bass Fishing
When most anglers think of Peacock Bass, a large majority picture the jungles surrounding the banks of the Amazon River. It is here that the Peacock Bass grow to 3 feet long and 30 pounds. When Floridians think of Peacock Bass they think of Miami and the freshwater canal systems throughout the city. The coral bed rock canal systems are home to many of Florida’s exotic and invasive fish species. The constant warm temperatures and miles of flowing canals create a breeding ground for both prized and unwanted fish. It has certainly created a unique fishery, where fish from around the world can thrive. Natives like Largemouth Bass, Blue Gill and Florida Gar share these waters with FWC introduced species like the Peacock Bass and Grass Carp. These waters are also shared with the villains of the invasive and non-native worlds like Snakeheads, Clown Knifefish, Midas Cichlids and Jaguar Guapote to name a few. Anyway you look at it, it is as close to replicating an offshore fishing experience as a freshwater angler can get. You just never know what you are going to catch.
As an angler with an affinity for multispecies fishing, I had to go. In February of 2020 I found Urban Legends Fishing Charters and decided on taking a trip with them based on the fact they had ground based guiding trips. I was in Kendall for other business and only had a short amount of time to spare, so the 4-hour trip was perfect for my time slot.
I met with Captain Tony Todjowski the morning of the trip and he took me to an undisclosed restricted access area to fish. Within minutes of getting my Golden Shiner into the water I landed my first Peacock Bass. I was hooked. I’ve been fishing since I was old enough to hold a pole, Largemouth Bass just don’t excite me in the same way as they used to. But these Peacock bass, they hit hard and are supremely aggressive when under little fishing pressure. It’s was fun to fish freshwater again!
We worked the edges of the retention pond and around the drainage pipes. It seemed like every bait was getting a strike and I managed to reel in a total of 10 Peacock Bass. That wasn’t the only fish prowling the pond either, a few good size Largemouth Bass were landed and a Jaguar Guapote. All in all my time and money were well spent on this trip. Captain Tony wasted no time in getting me on the fish. He understood their behavior and where the would be based on conditions and time of year. He knew his fishery like a good guide should. After that experience I knew, I would be booking another trip with them soon.
Lake Ida Clown Knifefish and Peacock Bass Fishing
After my first solo kayak trip to Lake Ida to target Clown Knifefish, and catching a rare goose egg. I decided to reach out for some help from the guys at Urban Legends. They gave me instruction on how to fish for the Clown Knifefish and where to find them. After a quick look at my map I decided that a boat was needed and asked if they would go up to Lake Ida to fish. Captain Mike Todjowski agreed to drive the hour to Lake Ida and we set the date.
The December morning was cool but not cold. In that sweet spot right before the cold fronts push through and the fish bed down and wait for warmer water. The sky was slightly overcast with some patches of clouds. Every once in awhile the sun would peak through the clouds and heat us up again.
After leaving the boat ramp at lake Ida proper we headed to our first location. We traveled for about 30 minutes through the canals of Delray Beach, until we came across an unsuspecting stretch of water. I baited up my hook with a live Golden Shiner and cast near the banks where I could see structure. Captain Mike putting out some baits to drift further behind the boat and Captain Tony was watching the horizon to look for the tell tale signs of Clown Knifefish being present, rolling at the surface. It is the one weak spot in the fishes arsenal of stealth. Clown Knifefish can breath air when their isn’t enough oxygen in the water, and like with most fish with this adaptability they have to use it periodically.
After no more than 10 minutes I hooked up with the first Peacock Bass of the trip, a nice 3 pound specimen with intensely red eyes.
We continued fishing locations that we could see rolling at the top of the water. Making cast after cast at the ripples with no takers. Then suddenly one of the drifting lines take off, the drag screaming and surging. “Whatever this is” I thought “it’s a big fish.” I grabbed the rod out of the holder and began the fight to get line back. Surge after surge it kept leading me back towards the banks, like a Snook searching for something to tangle up on so it could free itself. After a 5 minute tussle It surfaced. “Clown Knife!” I yelled. Captain Mike grabbed the net as I wrestled it to the boat.
There is a simple but very satisfactory moment when you see your quarry fall over the lip of the net and in. The moment of ease that accompanies it, knowing you have caught what your looking for and it isn’t getting away. I lived in that moment of accomplishment for a little while. The Lake had beaten me the last time I was there, today I was getting the upper hand.
No exact measurements were taken of the Clown Knifefish but my best guess is it was around 10 pounds and close to 30 inches long. Typically I like to catch and release about 90% of the fish I catch, but being that it is an invasive species, it got put into the live well for later consumption.
After that catch, it was like the fish started coming out of the woodwork, I caught 30 plus fish that day. Peacock Bass primarily but there were two Largemouths, and a big Florida Gar in the mix for this trip.
The Todjowski Brothers have been fishing their entire lives and their expertise shows. If you want to catch a fish of a lifetime or hunt down exotics in Miami these are the guys you want leading the way. It was like fishing with friends. Next time your are in Miami or better yet, make a trip to Miami just to do this, contact Urban Legends Fishing charters to get on the fish.
Some of the things I look at when I go on any type of charter trips is the condition and intended application of the boat. It doesn’t have to be a new boat, it just has to be in good condition. I’ve been on charters before where we had to be towed back because the engine gave out, or we are on a 20’ bay boat in 3 foot swells in the Gulf of Mexico. I understand that things happen on the water that are sometimes out of the Captains control, but there are those times when you know things are in disrepair because of neglect.
I also listen to the Captain to see how knowledgeable they are. Check timeliness of arrival and time on water. What equipment they are using and note any small details that made the trip better.
18’ G3 DLX Bay Boat Center Console with Yamaha Outboard:
The boat was in great condition, well used but very well maintained. The Yamaha Outboard was a newer model and didn’t have a single issue the entire day. The boat was built for this kind of fishing. It was also equipped a Garmin Fish Finder, Minn Kota Power Drive trolling motor with Spot Lock and remote functions, and two live wells one for bait and one for catches.
Rods and Reels:
The Rods and Reels were not skimped on at all. They use some of the best available equipment.
7’6” St. Croix Medium Light Power, Extra Fast Action paired with Shimano Stradic 2000 size spinning reels.
Mike and Tony Todjowski both have a great deal of expertise, when it comes to fish behavior based on conditions. I would consider them expert level Captains with a pension for being good hosts to their clients and maintaining safety of everyone aboard. Even driving up the hour, from Miami, they were on time to the ramp and we fished the time specified for the trip.