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skeet3t

Flordia tilapia flies?

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Just got an email from a grandson who is going to Florida in a couple of weeks. It seems where he will be staying has ponds stocked with tilapia. He wants to know what flies to use. He has a 9 ft. 5 wt. rod. This should give me some time to tie some flies. Can't remember what he has in his fly box at the present. Would love to be there. Broiled tilapia is good, IMHO. Thanks.

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Every pond in Florida is stocked with talapia AND bass and alligators.  Actually I don’t know if they stock alligators but every pond I saw in Florida had alligators. I’d recommend bass flies and to watch out for alligators. Remember my video of the alligator eating my buddies bass? 

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18 minutes ago, Poopdeck said:

Every pond in Florida is stocked with talapia AND bass and alligators.  Actually I don’t know if they stock alligators but every pond I saw in Florida had alligators. I’d recommend bass flies and to watch out for alligators. Remember my video of the alligator eating my buddies bass? 

Thanks. His mother will be uptight about the gators.

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wooly buggers catch just about anything even trees and fishermen

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Don't worry about the alligators.  I've been here since '92 and waded many bodies of water without incident.  The only ones that are a danger to people are those that have been fed and "acclimated" to people.  It's a rare occasion.

Second:  Tilapia are, generally, vegetarians.  They eat small pieces of plant material, and occasionally, small insects.  I've caught them, rarely, on both top water and subsurface flies ... but I don't know why they hit.

4 pound 7 ounce tilapia 2-25-17.jpg

They are a lot of fun when you can get one to bite.  If he's lucky, they'll be on their "love nests".  They aren't beds, as they do not lay eggs in them.  They are displays the males use to attract females.  They keep them VERY clean.  If he can put a sinking fly IN the nest, it will likely spook the male away.  But then wait until the male comes back and it will will move the fly out.  He can set the hook then.  That's the only way I know to actually get a tilapia.  As I said, they will take a fly once in a while, but I don't know what the trigger is.

Good luck to him.

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Mike, thanks for the info. Need to check his fly inventory

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Here’s the only Talapia I ever caught. Caught this past  March at a Florida pond. Pretty much how Mike described it is how I caught it. I drug a 6” purple culprit worm into the bed and he came to “clean” it out. I thought he was protecting his young in’s, didn’t know it was a love shack. My buddy also caught one on a spoon retrieved through the bed. Again, I only caught one talapia but I caught a lot of LMB in the same pond. 

DC400261-E34E-4335-8B4E-14071D366929.jpeg

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I do well with tilapia here in SW Florida, I usually pick up at least a few fish in the small ponds I hit here at the house and in neighborhood.  I tie a small black bugger on a barbless  60* jig hook.  I fish it slow to very slow on most days.  Every once in a while the fish want a little more movement so play with the retrieve.  I recently switched to a 60* hook and my hook up rate has improved dramatically.  I don't know if it is because of the way that the fly rides point up or the hook point configuration itself (point is longer).  Most fish are barely hooked in the lips and can come unbuttoned if horsed.  The take can be very subtle some days and most fish are just barley hook one way or another.  This fly will catch pretty much anything in freshwater around here and it is my goto/search pattern.  The flashabou is important, my grabs drop dramatically if it is not there, the fish like just a little bit of sparkle.

As far as Gators are concerned, I use the don't be dumb rule.  Gators are ambush predators they like hiding in heavy cover next to areas where small animals (raccoons, possums, egrets, small dogs) will come to drink/forage.  Just use common sense.  This time of year the boar gators aren't overly territorial.  If he sees a bunch of <18" gators (hatchlings) close by, move on.  Mamma can get protective.  If a gator is swimming towards him especially if he has a fish on or "being stubborn", move on.  Paying attention should keep him out of trouble.  It's just like being in the woods with bears or mountain lions.

Where about is your grandson going to be?

 

Hook: WFC #20 size 10-8

Bead: Gold 3.8 mm (~5/32")

Thread: Black

Tail: Black marabou

Flash: 3-4 strands of pearl flashabou per side

Rib: Extra small gold wire

Body : Black dubbing

Hackle: Black

Collar: Olive Ice dubbing (I've used peacock, pearl, or Chartreuse as well)

 

Tillapia Bugger.jpg

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@ Mike

Nice Tilapia!

You wear a glove to lip tilapia?!!  LOL

Swamp

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4 hours ago, DarrellP said:

You better tie up some of Mike's flies

I have fly box with WBs. Will give it to my grandson. He should have some.

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21 hours ago, mikechell said:

Don't worry about the alligators.  I've been here since '92 and waded many bodies of water without incident.  The only ones that are a danger to people are those that have been fed and "acclimated" to people.  It's a rare occasion.

 

Sure, you've waded those waters for years but just look at that picture. The alligators are afraid of you. They'd see me and think, "Now there's a season's worth of food for the family". I don't fish where there's gators, crocs, sharks, grizzlies, or Bigfoot. I don't think eating a fish is worth risking fishing where there are things that can eat me. 

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3 hours ago, vicrider said:

Sure, you've waded those waters for years but just look at that picture. The alligators are afraid of you. They'd see me and think, "Now there's a season's worth of food for the family". I don't fish where there's gators, crocs, sharks, grizzlies, or Bigfoot. I don't think eating a fish is worth risking fishing where there are things that can eat me. 

Ha! See that's one thing I won't do, keep fish when I wade.  That is called chumming...

Seriously no way.

That said I love being in the water in the swamp, you become part of the environment.  All of the animals stop running away and just start doing animal "things".  I used to duck hunt when I lived on the other side of the state. I used a 12' jon boat to get to where I wanted to hunt.  I'd get there before any light was coming from the east and set up. I'd be able to watch the swamp wake up.  All of the coots, egrets, and other critters would start their day looking for breakfast but still stay a good distance away.  I was still a source of concern. One day I was In a spot where the boat was just going to stick out regardless of netting and attached foliage to camouflage it.  I hid the boat around the corner and backed myself flush into the cattails.  Next thing I know coots were doing their thing about 5' in front of me, could have about poked one with my shotgun.  They would stop look right at me and then continue on at the same pace. It was the darnedest thing. Ever since that day I try to ditch the boat whenever I can.

For the record I don't recommend anyone wade down here until they have spent some time "out there".  Frankly I'm often more concerned about getting creamed by traffic on the way to where I'm going rather than any critter I'm likely to encounter once there.

Sorry for the tangent Skeet. Tell mom he will be just fine, especially if he is just fishing local ponds in town.

Swamp

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The original post mentioned "grandson" (and I have a few of those myself...).  Unless he's fully grown keep him away from 'gators... women and kids are just about the right size for a big bull 'gator... Nuff said... Last week down at Flamingo I was putting my skiff in at the inside ramp - a good thirty minutes before sunup and realized I'd completely missed a big crocodile laying about ten feet from where I was standing with his head up on the ramp.  Fortunately for me our saltwater crocs are fish eaters - if that had been a big 'gator I might have had a problem.... Seriously the way they kill is primitive but terribly effective - when the right sized prey is within range they dash forward, grab, and then pull the food into the water and drown it... If the prey is big enough to put up a fight they're fully capable of twisting off an arm or a leg and making do with that... Not much a bystander can do once it starts - without risking it all.... Here's a pic of that croc (there's a few of them arournd that ramp daily...) just to show the size.... That's my skiff he's next to... and me, busy ignoring him.

bPui8rF.jpg

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I just won't tell his mother. She gets uptight when he pitches baseball.

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