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Tilapia

I never thought this would be a question I would ask. i don't eat them. I don't even really like saying the word. But there are a bunch of tilapia bedding in the pond at the end of my street. Just to knock them off my list, how in the hell do you get them to bite something? I've used worms on the beds. No reaction. Any idea what a good bait is. Then I can go back to ignoring them!

Replies

  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,222 Moderator
    Treble hook. ?
    "You'll get your weather"
  • SizuperSizuper Posts: 293 Deckhand
    They'll hit crawlers but doubtful they'll hit anything while bedding. Other things on their mind.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,925 Captain
    I used to reel a crank bait really fast and stop it when it gets to the bed. They hate stuff in their beds and will try and mouth and move it. Hooked many doing this technique. It's is erratic and the bite window is like 1 second but it can work.

    Otherwise just shoot em with a bow lol

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
  • SizuperSizuper Posts: 293 Deckhand
    Oh and just a few words on the potability of tilapia, since there has been a lot of social media hysteria about them.

    There is nothing inherently unhealthy about eating tilapia. They're actually one of the least toxic you can eat, all other things being equal - which is the key. Yeah they eat the muck and detritus on the bottom, some of which is at one time or another waste product from other fish, water birds, etc. But the tilapia processes it and it becomes healthy fish muscle like any other fish does. It's not like they eat poop, so if we eat them, we're eating poop. Because mullet eat poop and every gamefish we catch and eat feeds on mullet, so we're not eating poop twice removed.

    Fact is, tilapia is usually less toxic than the fish we all catch and eat in the surf or on the reef on a regular basis. Because the tilapia has a short life span (especially farmed fish that are harvested as quickly as possible), and eat lower on the food chain that game fish or even most panfish, so they are likely to have the least amount of contamination from mercury, lead, PCBs and the like.

    The reason all the bad press *started* was that a lot of poor Chinese farms started using livestock feces as feed. And the reason this is bad is not actually because the tilapia eat it (for reasons explained above). The danger comes from the fact that when feces is put in the water as food, a lot of it disperses and doesn't get eaten. This contaminates the water and creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and diseases - bactieria and diseases that DO find themselves into the tilapia's systems and into the filets we eat.

    So there's really nothing wrong with eating tilapia that isn't wrong with all fish we eat - and the only real precaution you need to take is the same precaution #1 we take with all fish: ALWAYS know EXACTLY where your fish was caught or farmed. If you only eat wild-caught tilapia and farm-raised tilapia that do NOT come from China (or other countries implicated by the FDA as failing sanitary and other safety standards), you're good to eat as much tilapia as you want.

    As for the fish in your pond, you'd know about the health of the water there. I catch tilapia as by-catch in canals and ponds where I know the water is clean and they can be eaten, and some are caught in waters that take tons of toxic lawn care runoff and/or are pounded with mosquito spray, etc., and you'd obviously never want to eat anything caught in those waters.
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 11,176 AG
    :Agree

    It's funny that people don't know the basics of biology. Every fish we eat eats other things, be it fish, insects, crustaceans, etc that have poop in them. And the fish swim in their own toilet no matter where you catch them.

    Captain Todd Approves

  • greenie-slayergreenie-slayer Posts: 850 Officer
    Use a black marabou crappie jig. Throw it just past the bed and drag it into the bed. They will pick it up once in the bed and try to bring it outside the bed, This gives you a short window to hook them.

    You can also chum them with french fries. A local restaurant near me does and we catch 4lb fish there pretty easily.
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 825 Officer
    I will admit that tilapia have gotten a bad rap thanks to the Vietnamese and Chinese and they way they raise them. That said, the whole thing has just put a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). They seem very flaky, white meat and tasty if done right.

    I really don't want to eat one. I just want to catch it, take a photo and let it go. Maybe french fries and a crappie jig or crankbait or something along those lines is the way to go...
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 11,176 AG
    I liked tilapia briefly for the table thinking it was a cheap (when bought from a store) source of healthy fish meat. Then I learned that they aren't as healthy as other fish because they are vegetarians and don't have the same good fat vs bad fat make up that other fish do.

    Captain Todd Approves

  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 583 Officer
    The deal on Tilapia in the St Johns River is a secret but I'll share..:) They are early on the beds this year, typically later in April. They take over Bass beds and enlarge them for their own. Prior to bedding Tilapia become ferocious Bait Fish Eaters every year around Feb through Mid March and can be caught relatively easily on a rattle trap. In the Fishing Club that I belong to we have taken to calling them Freshwater Tripletail with almost as good a filet as the real 3tail. You can literally catch them until you have had enough. Of note this year, I have surveyed the Tilapia via their beds and I can tell you that these are the largest I have ever seen and I mean BIG. I am really familiar with 5-7 pound Tilapia and the ones I'm seeing are 10+ if they are 1 pound.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 825 Officer
    RealSeabee wrote: »
    The deal on Tilapia in the St Johns River is a secret but I'll share..:) They are early on the beds this year, typically later in April. They take over Bass beds and enlarge them for their own. Prior to bedding Tilapia become ferocious Bait Fish Eaters every year around Feb through Mid March and can be caught relatively easily on a rattle trap. In the Fishing Club that I belong to we have taken to calling them Freshwater Tripletail with almost as good a filet as the real 3tail. You can literally catch them until you have had enough. Of note this year, I have surveyed the Tilapia via their beds and I can tell you that these are the largest I have ever seen and I mean BIG. I am really familiar with 5-7 pound Tilapia and the ones I'm seeing are 10+ if they are 1 pound.

    Wow! And i would imagine those taste better than the store-bought, imported ones. Very nice.

    When they take over the bass beds, does that affect the bass population, do you think? Or do the bass just move to another spot?

    I'll be going back this weekend, just to see if I can get one on.
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 11,176 AG
    I think he means abandoned bass beds where the bass are done spawning.

    Captain Todd Approves

  • former bluefishinnyformer bluefishinny Posts: 1,492 Officer
    i dunno man lol..... Cut my teeth freshwater fishing the South Florida Water Management District... All connected. The lakes/ponds/pits/canals in Broward/Palm Beach Counties. Pretty nasty water for most part... Ive always left the freshwater fish - for catch and release. Even the slab crappie we caught from time to time in the winter.....That's just me..... Now I am in Sarasota. I fish Celery Fields for bass and I do get tilapia on rattletraps etc.... Throw them right back. Again, this is me..... With a saltwater flat actually closer than say Celery Fields, Id rather consume the speckled trout or flounder than the freshwater fish. If I really want good eats. Ill pick up a couple dozen shrimp and do some night fishing under one of the bridges.

    Now with all that said.... If I was to fish "pristine" waters - freshwater... that I knew was free from lawn runoff, insecticides etc etc - I would try it.
  • dnelsondnelson Posts: 246 Deckhand
    Try a bread ball. That is what I used to remove some from my pond, the ones I have are in the 8-10 lb range
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 583 Officer
    Yes. I see I could've been more clear.
    mplspug wrote: »
    I think he means abandoned bass beds where the bass are done spawning.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • Austins26Austins26 Posts: 1,989 Captain
    Good Info Swift Mud can somehow drain lakes an ponds that don't appear to be connected at all

    I agree In my experience all lakes an pond have runoff I'm stictly a CPR (catch photo release) freshwater fishermen

    i dunno man lol..... Cut my teeth freshwater fishing the South Florida Water Management District... All connected. The lakes/ponds/pits/canals in Broward/Palm Beach Counties. Pretty nasty water for most part... Ive always left the freshwater fish - for catch and release. Even the slab crappie we caught from time to time in the winter.....That's just me..... Now I am in Sarasota. I fish Celery Fields for bass and I do get tilapia on rattletraps etc.... Throw them right back. Again, this is me..... With a saltwater flat actually closer than say Celery Fields, Id rather consume the speckled trout or flounder than the freshwater fish. If I really want good eats. Ill pick up a couple dozen shrimp and do some night fishing under one of the bridges.

    Now with all that said.... If I was to fish "pristine" waters - freshwater... that I knew was free from lawn runoff, insecticides etc etc - I would try it.
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  • DES51DES51 Posts: 205 Deckhand
    Being new to SW FL and from up north, I have only caught a few of these. I find them to be quite feisty and pull pretty well. They kind of remind me of the northern crappie but are much stronger. Don't mind catching these in the mix. :cool:
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 825 Officer
    My fault, I misread the comments about them taking over the bass beds. I know they are considered a non-native and thought maybe they were going to the way of other non-natives around here and moving things out. Good to hear!!

    I can honestly say I learned more about tilapia in this thread than I ever thought I would care about.
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 11,176 AG
    I think when it comes to invasive fish, tilapia might be the most benign, although when they get into a system, their population explodes.

    Captain Todd Approves

  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    bikinis, bows and tilapia.
  • gnappignappi Posts: 55 Deckhand
    mplspug wrote: »
    :Agree

    It's funny that people don't know the basics of biology. Every fish we eat eats other things, be it fish, insects, crustaceans, etc that have poop in them. And the fish swim in their own toilet no matter where you catch them.

    +1 :-)

    We also feed our fruits and Veg animal waste matter (manure) and it doesn't mean WE are eating it.
    Regards,

    Gary
  • WaVeCrAzEdWaVeCrAzEd Posts: 594 Officer
    Just use a cast net. I caught 50 lbs in one throw one day
  • BBRBBR Posts: 63 Greenhorn
    My suspicion is they are actually defending the breeding area and hitting the intruding lure rather than actually trying to eat it. Are the ones you are catching predominantly males?
  • Bottom KnockerBottom Knocker PUNTA GORDAPosts: 28 Greenhorn
    Yup caught them on yellow roostertail and heddon tiny torpedo.

    They are delicious and easy to fillet.
  • SizuperSizuper Posts: 293 Deckhand
    Caught a 6-pounder today on a crawler that she just wanted out of the bed. Took 3 tries before the hook was in place. But saw many more and they were not bothered by the crawler in their bed. So you may have to try different stuff and different beds to find the right combo.
  • BackyardAnglerBackyardAngler Posts: 356 Deckhand
    Have a rotisserie chicken for dinner one night, keep that fatty well done skin from the lower part of the chicken. Just throw it in their nest and wait. They cannot resist it. Works even better on snakeheads, Snakeheads LOVE Publix chicken.
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 825 Officer
    Have a rotisserie chicken for dinner one night, keep that fatty well done skin from the lower part of the chicken. Just throw it in their nest and wait. They cannot resist it. Works even better on snakeheads, Snakeheads LOVE Publix chicken.

    That's awesome!
  • Rookie77Rookie77 Posts: 95 Deckhand
    I had someone tell me one time they caught them on cooked elbow macaroni. Haven't tried it myself, but might be worth a shot.
  • LurchyLurchy Posts: 415 Deckhand
    I got a lunker the other day on a wacky rigged senko
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