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Love Em Or Hate Em...They're Here To Stay...

What's your view on Bullseyesnakeheads? Some say they are tearing up our natural ecosystems and others, like myself, say they have added valuable freshwater sport fishing opportunities and they are coexisting rather peacefully, alongside our resident Bass populations. I have personally caught a few Bass with fingerling snakehead, right in their mouths. So, Bass will eat snakeheads and snakeheads will eat the Bass also. A harmoniously balanced ecosystem. Their food value is sought after by many, NOT ME BTW, and hard fighting acrobatic leaps and bounds, makes this one of the ultimate freshwater fish to target.  If you like explosive topwater explosions and have never battled the mighty snakehead...what are you waiting for?
Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.

Replies

  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 471 Deckhand
    I agree totally with you Frank! I actually am a marine biologist student at UF and have been told that snakeheads in Florida are not considered an Invasive species but instead an exotic (invasive means they cause detrimental damage to the native ecosystem) and this was by a professor who studies freshwater invasive species. I think the media hype about "frankenfish" and "fish that can walk on land" blew them way out of proportion. And although introducing non-native species is never good, as you said they are well established now and not going anywhere. Plus, I agree that they provide a great sport fishery and resource to the area. I much prefer catching them and peacocks over regular bass! Also should note that I often catch my biggest largies in areas I catch my biggest snakeheads. It's entirely possible that their introduction has actually had a positive effect on bass populations.

    Now it should be noted that the northern snakehead found in Maryland (and now recently Georgia) may be more troublesome for those area, theres still lots of research that needs to be done. But once again the media way over hypes these fish as monsters when unreality they aren't much different than native pike.

    PS - thats a stud you caught there what was the weight
  • L8RBRAL8RBRA Posts: 792 Officer
    So with that being said, Do you release them or kill them? 

    Their existence in Florida waters is certainly not helping more than hurting. 
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    I agree totally with you Frank! I actually am a marine biologist student at UF and have been told that snakeheads in Florida are not considered an Invasive species but instead an exotic (invasive means they cause detrimental damage to the native ecosystem) and this was by a professor who studies freshwater invasive species. I think the media hype about "frankenfish" and "fish that can walk on land" blew them way out of proportion. And although introducing non-native species is never good, as you said they are well established now and not going anywhere. Plus, I agree that they provide a great sport fishery and resource to the area. I much prefer catching them and peacocks over regular bass! Also should note that I often catch my biggest largies in areas I catch my biggest snakeheads. It's entirely possible that their introduction has actually had a positive effect on bass populations.

    Now it should be noted that the northern snakehead found in Maryland (and now recently Georgia) may be more troublesome for those area, theres still lots of research that needs to be done. But once again the media way over hypes these fish as monsters when unreality they aren't much different than native pike.

    PS - thats a stud you caught there what was the weight


    The weight was 9 1/2 pounds Thanks for the positive feedback
    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    L8RBRA said:
    So with that being said, Do you release them or kill them? 

    Their existence in Florida waters is certainly not helping more than hurting. 
    I used to be part of a group that totally believed in eliminating them. But the more our group fished for them, which is now going into the several hundreds of bullseyesnakehead fishermen, we have realized that even though they are nonnative, they are actually adding to our Florida waters, rather than hurting our systems. As mentioned by @tarponhunter in the top response, they appear to have had a positive effect on our bass populations.

    The areas that I particularly fish for bullseyesnakeheads, are loaded with both Peacock Bass and Largies. I always laugh to myself, when I go fishing for "SNAKES", as we call them , because I have to go thru a handful of Bass, before I can even get to my first SNAKE.

    BTW, There is a particular FWC Officer, which loves kayak fishing for them and shares my views on their coexistence with our resident population. Remember the Peacock Bass is nonnative also and was first introduced into our waterways to control other fish we thought to be detrimental to our ecosystems. In this scenario, by introducing the Peacock Bass to our waters, all we have done is create another species into our systems. Those Peacock Bass only add to our sport fisheries and have yet to actually do major control on the detrimental fishes. The circle of life, in full effect.

    So yes, I stand my ground on this. As I referred to this Posts title... Love Em Or Hate Em, They Are Here To Stay.


    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    Snakehead fishermen will refer to them as Coconut Heads, especially when their heads are way outta proportion, as is the case of this Snakehead. They will put all your fishing gear to the test. This particular one, broke my rod in two pieces. I had to handline this fat one in. 
    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • carvedtonescarvedtones ncPosts: 34 Deckhand
    The US government recommends killing them:
    https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-should-be-done-a-captured-snakehead-fish?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products

    In FL, it is illegal to possess live ones and it's illegal to release them alive though it is a gray area if you caught it. Until it's dead, it's illegal to possess it. While it's alive, it's illegal to release it. That really doesn't leave you with a good option.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,343 Moderator
    Great post Frank! Been a long time since I've fished with you man. Message me your phone number, I think I lost it when I switched phones.
    Cheers,
    Chris
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 3,376 Captain
    Nice Snakeheads Frank!  -- gotta love em! 
  • Wra22Wra22 Posts: 228 Deckhand
    Do you guys eat them?
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    The US government recommends killing them:
    https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-should-be-done-a-captured-snakehead-fish?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products

    In FL, it is illegal to possess live ones and it's illegal to release them alive though it is a gray area if you caught it. Until it's dead, it's illegal to possess it. While it's alive, it's illegal to release it. That really doesn't leave you with a good option.
    Regulations are quite different for FLORIDA'S bullseyesnakehead, compared to the Northern varieties. You do not have to kill them and you can release them back alive, in the same waters they were caught in. The beat and bash regulations, have changed. We were very misinformed in the early 90's when they were first accidentally introduced into our waters. The media got a hold of this and blew it way outta proportion.

    Like I stated previously, I do fish at times with an officer of the fish and wildlife which states the fact that what we can't do is transport alive. This means no transporting to another body of water, or if your intentions are to harvest the BullsEyeSnakeHead, then it must be killed, "BEFORE" placing them into the icebag. Snakeheads can live for many hours, if not killed, but rather placed in ice. They are quite the resilient freshwater sport-fish variety.

    So yes, in Florida, you can release them safely back into the same waters it was caught. Look up The FWC regulations, not illegal to release them back alive.

    This post is meant to inform the general public, not to cause any misinformation. Thanks........
    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    jcanracer said:
    Great post Frank! Been a long time since I've fished with you man. Message me your phone number, I think I lost it when I switched phones.
    Cheers,
    Chris
     HEY Chris!! Been too long man. We got some serious catching up to do. Lots of changes in the way we offshore fish currently. We are in the water by 4:00 am now catching our own bait. Yes, most of us, including myself, have gotten pretty good at catching Gogs and blue-runners for bait. We are heading offshore "before" first light and even jigging in the dark. The jigs are getting whacked in the dark!! Amazing senses these fish have. I say senses, because how can they even see well in the dark...who knows.
    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    Wra22 said:
    Do you guys eat them?
    Some guys eat them, BUT i am strictly catch and release myself. I really don't enjoy eating the freshwater varieties. Their waters are quite questionable. Thanks  :)
    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    Nice Snakeheads Frank!  -- gotta love em! 
    I really do love fishing them John. They can be caught both subsurface and my favorite way, top-water. There hard hitting, explosive top-water strikes, makes them an excellent freshwater sport-fish. They will roll and make wakes, giving away their nests. Yes, they nest within a specified area. Also the make boils and bubbles, within the areas. Quite the addictive fisheries.

    But the question arises as always. Where are they? How can I find them? Well, they are all over our Broward Canal Systems and even into the Palm Beaches. Best way to locate them, is just as I did. Stay on top of  Social Media and follow other snakehead anglers.  Also, you can follow FWC website and type in the word Bullseye Snakehead. There are many sources available for the angler. This is all about the searching and hunting for them. Most anglers are quite protective of their fishing spots, including myself.

    After fishing for them, for about 3 years, I have found some common grounds locations. I am thinking about a possible meetup on this. This might help the anglers in understanding how they move around, within our freshwater systems.



    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • carvedtonescarvedtones ncPosts: 34 Deckhand
    Wra22 said:
    Do you guys eat them?
    Some guys eat them, BUT i am strictly catch and release myself. I really don't enjoy eating the freshwater varieties. Their waters are quite questionable. Thanks  :)
    My full time residence is in NC, near Raleigh. There is one lake near me I feel pretty good about, but a lot of water is very questionable. Down east, the fishing can be really good and I see lots of guys loading up coolers inland. Eastern NC has large corporate hog farms and frequent flooding. No shellfish can be harvested for a few miles from the mouths of some of the rivers. 
  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 471 Deckhand
    Found this article shortly after posting my first post which backs up more or less what I was saying:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/11/snakehead-fish-land/600850/

    I did find it really interesting they they do appear to attempt to move water bodies when conditions get less than ideal.
  • kayakfrankkayakfrank Posts: 813 Officer
    Found this article shortly after posting my first post which backs up more or less what I was saying:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/11/snakehead-fish-land/600850/

    I did find it really interesting they they do appear to attempt to move water bodies when conditions get less than ideal.
    Great article. Definitely, thanks for sharing this.
    Fish Hard...Or Don't Fish At All.
  • carvedtonescarvedtones ncPosts: 34 Deckhand
    That is an interesting article. Snakehead and grits? That gives me an entirely different perspective.  ;)

  • bostonsox2904bostonsox2904 Posts: 134 Deckhand
    Anyone have any experience fishing them in the dark with flashlights? I've heard of this method but haven't heard anything first hand
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