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#12471417 - 10/19/17 02:05 PM Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em?
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
I love them. I don't know a single pond owner who hates them.

On a three weight fly rod, they are as sporting a fish as there is anywhere for their size.

Every fall I harvest many before the cold water kills them...and it is an absolute blast on a fly rod.

The largest of the ones pictured went 4 pounds 3.25 ounces and is the pending state record for the fly rod. I've raised/caught them to 5 pounds but not on a fly. The Prince Nymph, my favorite pond fly, was the fly of choice.

Raised in ponds where you know exactly what food is available to them, these are supreme eating ranking up there with the very best tasting fish.


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#12471491 - 10/19/17 03:17 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
ben_beyer Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Bryan, TX
My wife would love this!

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#12471825 - 10/19/17 07:35 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
Linecaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 1162
Loc: Richardson TX
I used to catch these fish in the wild in Zambia and Zimbabwe which was then the Rhodesia's. Best tasting fish with a flavor of thier own. Caought a few on the fly mostly with worms before I learnt to flyfish. Nice specimens you have there.
_________________________
In the beginning God created. Gen. 1:1
All things were made by him and without him was not anything made. John 1:3

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#12473087 - 10/20/17 05:09 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
Fitz® Online   happy
"Nice Guy"

Registered: 08/12/10
Posts: 9127
Loc: Feeding Time
AWESOME!

What size do you stock them at?
_________________________
Don't worry about the mule, just load the cart

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#12473136 - 10/20/17 06:05 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
ZzzKing Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/03/15
Posts: 51
Loc: Dallas
From TP&WD:

It is a violation to:

Possess or transport any exotic aquatic plant or animal listed as harmful or potentially harmful. This includes: plants such as hydrilla, water hyacinth, and giant salvinia; fishes such as tilapia and Asian carps (grass, silver, and bighead carp); and zebra mussels.

Possess tilapia, grass carp or any other fish listed as harmful or potentially harmful, without immediately removing the intestines, except on waters where a valid Triploid Grass Carp Permit is in effect. In those waters, it is illegal to possess grass carp. Any grass carp caught must be immediately returned to the water unharmed. Please see our list of waters with Triploid Grass Carp Permits.
[list]
[*]

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#12473177 - 10/20/17 07:07 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: ZzzKing]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: ZzzKing
From TP&WD:

It is a violation to:

Possess or transport any exotic aquatic plant or animal listed as harmful or potentially harmful. This includes: plants such as hydrilla, water hyacinth, and giant salvinia; fishes such as tilapia and Asian carps (grass, silver, and bighead carp); and zebra mussels.

Possess tilapia, grass carp or any other fish listed as harmful or potentially harmful, without immediately removing the intestines, except on waters where a valid Triploid Grass Carp Permit is in effect. In those waters, it is illegal to possess grass carp. Any grass carp caught must be immediately returned to the water unharmed. Please see our list of waters with Triploid Grass Carp Permits.
[list]
[*]


Thank you, Junior Game Warden.

The sale of Mozambique Tilapia is a multi-million $ cottage industry in Texas where it is perfectly legal for pond owners to purchase, stock, and consume at their pleasure...but thanks anyway for posting.

My grilled Tilapia tonight will taste just that much better, thanks to the Game Warden on patrol.

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#12473190 - 10/20/17 07:17 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Fitz®]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: Fitz®
AWESOME!

What size do you stock them at?


Fitz,

Thanks for the good question. I stock as early in the spring as water temps allow. The stockers are small. I'd guess about 4 ounces. They have a phenomenal growth rate reaching 2 to 4 pounds by fall while producing thousands and thousands of fry that the bass and big bluegills absolutely love. They start reproducing quickly and have a new brood every 28 days or so. Most of the offspring are consumed as forage and the original stockers can get to very good eating and catching size when fall rolls around.

Been doing this for many years...was one of the first to use them seriously for production of trophy bass and bluegills. In the right environment, the Tilapia is darn near a perfect fish

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#12473300 - 10/20/17 09:02 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
Jim Ford Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 1463
Loc: Texas
A friend stocks them in his ponds. The last freeze he lost quite a few; he said he had several well over five pounds that died. I use my half weight in his ponds, but so far I've only caught the dinks. I've only caught them on small streamers; I'll have to try the Prince Nymph. Thanks!

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#12473368 - 10/20/17 09:51 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Jim Ford]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: Jim Ford
... The last freeze he lost quite a few; he said he had several well over five pounds that died. ...


Interesting.

Over 5 pounds must be fish that made it through at least 1 winter. Mine all die each winter so 5 pounds is the upper limit I've seen.

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#12473411 - 10/20/17 10:24 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
karstopo Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 311
Loc: Brazoria County
The lake I live on has a self sustaining population. That's not how it was advertised when they were stocked, but I guess the depth, plus being 13 miles from the coast and several mild winters has made it possible for most of the fish to survive winter. I hooked a big one by accident on a woolly bugger, but lost it messing around with landing it.

My daughter cast nets them and uses the little ones to catch bass and catfish. Her big catch on the catfish was a 22# channel cat on a live tilapia. She had a really big bass take one, but it spit it out at the dock. I haven't eaten a tilapia from the lake yet. The ones we cast net run a up to a couple of pounds.

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#12473545 - 10/21/17 07:55 AM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
Yes, Karstopo, when the State decided, years ago, to allow private stocking of the Mozambique Tilapia, they had concluded that the Tilapia would all die out every winter except in the "extreme" southern parts of Texas or where the water was otherwise warmed.

Recent winters have seen several locations just south of Houston that had survival over the mild winters.

Landowners should carefully consider this factor. Studies have shown that in Mexico where the Tilapia all survive every winter, bass lakes with heavy netting of Tilapia performed better than bass lakes without netting. The implication is that the larger Tilapia, those generally over 5 pounds, may become predatory on bass fry. Something to consider in making stocking decisions.

At my location, there has not been any winter survival for decades.

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#12473633 - 10/21/17 09:47 AM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
bronco71 Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 1399
Loc: Farmers Branch/Sulphur Bluff
What is the temp at which they die off? My place is north of Sulphur Springs so I imagine none would survive to hurt my bass population.

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#12473720 - 10/21/17 11:57 AM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
They start dying at 55 degrees water temp and at 50 degrees all are dead.

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#12473984 - 10/21/17 04:24 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
karstopo Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 311
Loc: Brazoria County
We get some dead ones in the winter that will show up on the bank. It's been several, many years since any have been stocked, but there's all sizes. Sounds like if we get an old fashion winter like when I was a kid they may all die. Lake has a substantial area, acres, that is over 10 feet deep and probably has areas that are closer to 15 feet.

The bass numbers seem to be healthy. Plenty of catfish, too. If anything is suffering, it's the various bluegills and sunfish. Those are much harder to find than before the tilapia got put in the lake.

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#12474047 - 10/21/17 05:56 PM Re: Tilapia...love 'em or hate 'em? [Re: Meadowlark]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
I never see dead ones, ever, in my ponds. They get consumed by the bass and other members of Nature's crew. Before dying, they enter kind of a stupor during which the bass literally gorge themselves on Tilapia. Its something to watch. A LMB will eat whatever it can get in its mouth and that includes some sizable Tilapia.

Saw a bald eagle yesterday looking for stunned Tilapia...but doubt he found any as its too early. He will be back along with a partner in a few weeks eating more than their share...really cool!

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