Tilapias are popular for their delicious white meat. Although the fish is native to the Middle East and Africa, it has already been introduced in various states in the US which feature warm waters. If you intend to go after the tilapia fish after wearing your fishing shirt, you will need to visit fishing spots featuring freshwater or brackish waters.
Catching tilapia via angling does require knowledge, skills, and in most instances, patience. Patience is necessary since the fish is generally shy. While we cannot teach you patience, we can equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for tilapia fishing to be easier for you. In this article, you will learn how to catch tilapia.
Top Tilapia Fishing Tips
1. Go Tilapia Fishing During the Spawning Season
Irrespective of whether you are an expert or a beginning fisherman, you would probably want to go after your target fish when the chances of landing the fish are high. Tilapias are attracted to the bait for 2 main reasons:
- Territory protection
During the spawning period, tilapias are usually very territorial. The fish will attack anything that comes close to its spawning beds. This increases your chances of reeling in a catch.
Tilapias spawn until the water temperatures drop to below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This gives you ample time to use your fishing rod and reel to land as many tilapias as you possibly can. The chances to land tilapia with your spinning reel and the fishing line usually plummet after the spawning period is over.
When it comes to the ideal time of the day when you can go after the tilapia, you should consider visiting your fishing spot during the following times:
- Mornings during the sunrise
- Evenings during the sunset
2. Go Tilapia Fishing in the Shallow Waters
For your knowledge on how to catch tilapia to help you, you need to know the ideal place to cast your spinning rod during your fishing trip. The majority of tilapias will prefer to spawn in shallow waters featuring a lot of vegetation. This offers protection from both predators and other fish.
You should look for the tilapias in the slow-moving waters found in the southern and sub-tropical regions. Other ideal places where you can land the tilapia are near the banks. Also, slow trolling along the beach shores is a good idea.
Going deep into the water could reduce your chances of succeeding. You should focus on casting in areas featuring a large number of sea structures, such as rock formations, immersed branches, and dead shrubbery. You can use the bobber float to mark your position. If your current position fails to produce after several casts, you can always move on to a different spot.
3. Don’t Get Too Close to the Spawning Beds
As we had mentioned earlier, the tilapia fish is incredibly shy. Once you locate the fish’s spawning bed, you should avoid getting too close. Otherwise, you could end up spooking the fish and hence missing your chance of landing your tilapia. If possible, tilapia fishing from along the shoreline is always an ideal option.
4. Use the Ideal Tilapia Bait
Tilapias are generally herbivores. They usually feed on plants like peas and corn. If you cannot find corn and peas, you can use bread balls.
If you are finding it difficult to use bread balls with your fishing hook, freezing the bread balls may be a good idea. This could make the bread balls hard enough to allow the hook to penetrate easily.
As mentioned earlier, tilapias are very territorial when they are spawning. If you take advantage of the fish’s territorial instincts, you may increase your chances of landing the tilapia. If you fish small fish and invertebrates, the tilapia will be willing to attack just to protect its territory.
It is important to note that the tilapia diet may differ in varying fishing spots. To increase the chances of landing the tilapia, you should take your time to determine what the fish finds tasty in the fishing spot you intend to visit. By presenting what your target fish loves, you shouldn’t complain that you can’t catch fish.
The tilapia fish is very fond of tasty meals. To increase your odds of landing the fish, you should consider making your chosen bait tastier. The majority of anglers who are familiar with how to catch tilapia recommend the use of cheese with the baits.
5. Hook the Bait Properly
You must use short lures. If you use bigger lures, you may not be able to get a strong hook set. You can make use of small earthworm pieces on small hook sizes to catch the tilapia.
It is not uncommon for tilapia anglers to notice that their baits are getting taken by the tilapia fish without them landing the fish. What this tells you is that you have not hooked your bait properly.
When learning how to catch tilapia, you should invest your time in practicing how to hook different types of tilapia lures and baits. The ideal way to hook the lures and baits is to ensure that the hook tip is exposed. When using baits like worms and nightcrawlers, be sure to hook the bait through the center. This way, the tilapia fish will get hooked when it tries to steal your lure.
6. A Light Tackle Should Work for You
Tilapia fish is generally small. This makes a light tackle ideal when you are going after the fish. You can use 6 feet to 7 feet rods featuring a spinning reel. Spool your reel with a 4-pound to 8-pound test monofilament fishing line. You can use a number 4 hook.
If you plan to suspend your baits over the tilapia spawning depressions, you should consider bringing small floats. If you would like to keep your bait on the spawning bed bottom, you should pack some light split shot.
7. Get a Fishing Permit or License
In the US and other parts of the world, not all the fishing spots feature free public access. Before grabbing your fishing hat and heading to a particular fishing spot, take your time to figure out whether the spot does require a permit or a license.
If you get caught tilapia fishing in a spot that requires a license without the license, you will end up with lawsuits. Fines and penalties can be incredibly expensive. Therefore, obtaining a license, if one is necessary, is always the ideal option.
8. Use the Right Posture
The majority of tilapia anglers usually hold the rod horizontally and vertically. While this can be effective, it may not be the best posture when you are trying to hook a tilapia.
According to experts who understand how to catch tilapia, downward sweeps are generally more effective. You can achieve this if you focus on moving the fishing rod between the 3:00 o’clock and 5:00 o’clock positions.
Tilapia fishing generally involves a lot of sitting and standing. While it is possible to reduce fatigue when sitting by making use of a fishing chair, you will need to invest some time in understanding the ideal posture for standing. If you suffer from back pain after standing for a long time, you can get rid of this issue by exercising.
9. Handle the Hooked Tilapia with Care
When you hook a tilapia, you should be able to feel the fish fighting. When this happens, you should wait for approximately 3 to 5 seconds before raising the fishing rod straight up. This should set your hook.
It is worth noting that the tilapia fish has a tiny and soft mouth. For this reason, you should focus on being gentle with both your fishing rod and reel. If you get too aggressive, you could end up tearing the hook of the tilapia’s mouth.
10. Keep What You Catch
If you consult someone who focuses on catching bass and other game fish, he or she would recommend releasing game fish after landing it. Tilapia is not considered to be game fish. Keeping and cooking all the tilapias you can land is highly recommended.
On top of being territorial, tilapias can easily colonize their habitats. They are known to eliminate other fish species and hence causing imbalances in the ecosystem. The fish is famous for destroying vegetation in ponds and rivers where they live. To keep the tilapia population in check, releasing the fish after landing is not recommended.
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The best way to land the tilapia fish is to visit your favorite fishing spot when the tilapia is spawning. If you already know how to catch tilapia, tilapia fishing should be easy for you during this period considering that the fish will be incredibly aggressive.
You have to keep in mind that the tilapia fish is very shy. Hence, if you get too close to the fish’s spawning bed, you could reduce the chances of landing the fish to zero. Apart from not being too close to the tilapia when going after the fish, you can increase your chances of landing the tilapias by using baits that the fish is fond of.