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  • Writer's pictureScale Lily

Tilapia, the Other, Other White Meat

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Well a few weeks ago I taught Lily how to use a cast net, and this was at the beach which was not the easiest place to learn. The water was choppy and undertow was strong, apparently we missed the spring run, but she did get down the mechanics. I was taught the way where you hold part of the net in your teeth, and Drew upon seeing this, did not want to cast net. It's not for everyone. 

Fast forward to the hunt for Red Tail catfish, and Lily having an attention span similar to my own, but not curbed even by the most sacred of acts that is fishing. Her mind begins to wander, she can no longer wait for the fish to come to her, and she has just witnessed me catching Tilapia, bluegill and a channel catfish in the net. Lily wants this direct, more active approach, and for about 2 hours she cast the net. I can throw it about twenty times and my back hurts, but not Lily, she keeps pulling in the giant Tilapia. Even though she's getting tired her technique is progressing and the circle is opening wider. She catches at least twenty giants and an assortment of bait sized Tilapia. I am impressed, but am also wishing that I would have grabbed that bag of tortillas on the way out. This could have had a great and very appropriate fish taco ending. Oh well, I will be more prepared next time. 

This was in a pond in Kissimmee, Florida. Sometimes neighborhood ponds are interconnected sown here and hold a variety of both local and introduced species like this Tilapia, carp or even RedTail Catfish. The thing is if its close to where you live, take the kids over, bring a variety of baits and have some fun. You never know what you might find, and its a common misconception that Tilapia can't be caught on hooks. If they"re on their beds you can drop in a small lure or a grass shrimp and though they might not attack it for food you can set the hook when they go to clean it out with their mouths. There are also lakes where people throw food to the fish and the Tilapia will eat a variety of these preparations along with the occasional bread ball. Here's a pick of the business end of a grazer.

And...Some bossy narrator and almost 60 pounds of raw, little girl rage against some of the most hostile retention pond monsters. Who will win, and will he ever shut up? From the lost archives.


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