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#541962 12/05/21 11:46 AM
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Joined: Feb 2021
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Tilapia catching season

Well, the tilapia did a damn fine job of devastating the aquatic grasses.
Not sure if they could or wold rebound as hard next year now that the pond will be getting regular maintenance (will be my in front yard in 3 months)

I will be hard pressed not to restock them next year if they do all die though.

They grew for sure!

Granddaughter's first fish (and they made a fine dinner!)
Last edited by Quixotic; 12/11/21 07:55 PM. Reason: Added pics from 12/7
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J
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Now that's a dandy fish. Looks longer than 12" to me ... may 13". It looks like a Nile TP. How big was it when stocked?


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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How did you catch them? I’ve not had much luck as the CNBG always get the bait.

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Mozambique is what Tyler fish farms said they were when purchased in march.
I started with 10# of stock, the largest of which was maybe slightly smaller than hand sized, most smaller than a pack of cigarettes. 1/2 acre pond, about 10' at center.
(Currently 3 feet low because it stopped raining for the most part in this part of Texas in august).
I have seen at least 5 generations this summer, ranging from bigger than I caught to schools of tiny ones.
They move entirely different and in schools, rapidly changing directions like bait fish if startled. so easy to tell apart from small to large even at a distance.

I would say live bait was the key, they definitely like things with legs. The first time I fished it at the end of this season, I came with white cheddar, which the green lepomis hybrids love and eat like candy. (we called these bream growing up, so forgive me if this is incorrect.) After catching about 20 of them while watching those monster tilapia swim by, I tried night crawlers the next day with no success either (at least with tilapia, the bream eat about anything I throw in). Since the tilapia will top feed pellets, and *will* take a grasshopper tossed on the water, I went scrounging for crickets and grasshoppers, first thing I found, I kid you not was a black widow, and it landed the first tilapia jst about before the bobber hit the water. Was not expecting that for sure! So I then tried some black crickets that live around there, to no avail the first time (bream eat those too....)

Next trip out while scrounging for bugs, found daddy long legs, and thought, WTH, lets see, and boom, that was the next one.

Since then I have landed four on the black crickets, but today all I could find was some grubs.
After feeding most of them to what I am now calling piranhas vs bream because they will just about take a shiny hook without bait...
I said "one more time" with the last grub, and then that beauty above came home with me. 1.78#!
Man that was a fun fish to catch and eat.

So now, I have caught them on:
Black widow/Daddy Longlegs
Black Cricket's
Grubs

I believe I will try some brown crickets from bait store this weekend and see how they do.
Or see if I can drag out some hellgrammites and or mayfly nymphs as they seem proliferate in the grasses as well.

Hardest thing is keeping the hook in the water before a bream snatches it!

I took a little time to check out the digestive track of this one as I filleted it, it was certainly green through and through, they seem to have a rather long digestive tract, and from stomach to exit it was full of what I first assumed to be FA, but now think is sago pondweed? (Green horsehair looking stuff, dries fibrous, and even sprouts above water on mats or on land at edges when the water recedes...)

Which BTW, they absolutely destroyed this season, i am a way ahead of where I thought I would be in cleaning.

So they are definitely eating vegetation as a primary food source, but seem to be opportunistic, and seem to favor things with legs :-)
I have supplemented some protein, but first bag was 40# second was 50# and I still have half of it left.


Very very much worth $120 in march!

Last edited by Quixotic; 12/08/21 08:10 AM. Reason: Smelling pistakes
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You're a braver man than I for putting a Black Widow on the hook.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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I have fished with spiders for as long as I can remember. can almost always find them in or under something, Especially around lights or water, and if you have both... Abundant fish bait.
Not all spiders are dangerous, in fact in Texas, Black or Brown widows and Brown recluse are really the only ones that will hurt you bad in this part of Texas, tarantula are rare up here, but I have been told they make excellent bait as well. However do not let that make you believe they are the only ones that will bite you, or hurt when they do!

Spiders are tough, they do not drown easy, and they stay on a hook well.

Now I am not saying I would load them up like a box of crickets and just reach for one...
But I do gather them in a soda bottle, most of the time I wear gloves, shake one out, pin it with a stick and hold it with the legs back.
Like holding a snake by the head, not much they can do to you from that position.

IF six legs on any other bug is good, eight must be better!

Daddy longlegs... around here the right time of year, you can catch a hundred in ten minutes.
They actually have an advantage, the bait snatchers will take a leg generally before a hook, bigger fish will take the whole thing.
They make excellent bait for fishing with light tackle and a weighted bobber.

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Thanks!

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Ok, not going to say I figured out *the* way, but I found *a* way for sure. (See stringer in pic added)

I went experimenting, and this combination landed all six of these in 45 minutes....
Would have likely landed more had I not run out of crickets and daylight.

I had gotten a couple dozen brown crickets, and was steadily feeding them to the green perch.
Using weighted bobber, a #1 hook, an some spectra, light rod, and a shot to sink the cricket.

Not much weight there to get it out to the deep ends, so I was slinging it hard, and did not notice I had slung the shot off....
After another sinking the bobber, but did not take the hook, perch attempt. I was reeling back in to see if it got the cricket, and wham....

So I thought, it took that while it was moving, pretty fast actually.

SO I tried it again, popped it out there, let it sit till the ripples went away, and started a steady clip back to me.
NEXT! Wash rinse repeat, caught three perch in the process, but even they were bigger. The ratio certainly changes vastly.

I know they are omnivorous, but they are primarily herbivores, and their digestive tracts prove it.

However these guys were aggressive (Actually girls, most were full of eggs even this late), and damn sure being predators. Not sure if it is low water levels or cold weather, but certain it was fun!

Word of advise though, they fight hard, I was using spectra, those fish on light tackle what a joy... I LOVE spectra, but it will cut you! (Wear gloves) :-)

Last edited by Quixotic; 12/12/21 10:50 AM.
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Very cool! 'm gonna start collecting bugs to fish with more often on my new light set up.
The other day I tried a bright green caterpillar but somehow nothing wanted it.


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
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Not sure if this is common practice, but some 30+ years ago fishing with my grandfather, he used to tell me to gut one before tossing it in the cooler, see what was in its belly, *that* what they are eating right now. Seasonal bugs, worms, minnows, crawdads, hellgrammites, etc... IF you can find more of what they are eating right now, it works. I can personally vouch for that. But it is not foolproof, thee things were stuffed tot he gills with grass not crickets! If I had to guess they were seeking higher calorie food because the water temps are dropping slowly. mid 70s last week, predicted 77 for Christmas! None None dead I know of yet other than the ones I ate, if they make it 2 more months they should be clear for surviving winter.


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