4 Best Tips on How to Catch Tilapia

Mark Johnson
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About Tilapia

Tilapia is a very popular form of fish for ponds, lakes, and streams. This omega-3 rich fish is easy to keep alive and thriving.

The average size of a Tilapia is about 5– long and their eggs will hatch after as little as two days if the water temperature is between sixty and seventy degrees.

As far as the temperature of the water is concerned, the warmer the water the more active they are.

When they eat they swallow their food whole, but they can take in a great amount of water as well, so you want to be sure to have plenty of aeration if there is no current in the water.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that Tilapia can get quite large, as long as twelve inches, without stopping to grow. That is why you need to ensure that there is sufficient space in your pond for the fish to potentially grow to adulthood.

You also should have a place for them to get away from the main group when they are feeling aggressive, or you will have a lot of dead fish.

How To Target and Catch Tilapia

Tilapia are the number one source of protein and the most populous species of fish in the world. Due to this overpopulation, tilapia are also one of the most invasive species on the planet. They have spread to the waters of nearly every other continent and are one of the few species that have been contained by no man-made borders. This makes tilapia a staple of the diet and an abundant source of protein in many third world countries.

The biggest species of tilapia are Africa’s Nile Perch though. These massive predators can grow up to 4.5 meters and weigh up to 200 kilograms. They are what that are primarily targeted in Africa for big game fishing. They are also what gave Nile Perch their name as the largest predators in the Nile river. Not without cause however, the Nile Perch are still considered invasive predators of young fish.

The Best Baits to Use

According to the National Aquaculture Association, Tilapia can be caught with small-mouthed baits such as nightcrawlers, banana worms, maggots, leeches, shrimp, canned chicken or canned catfish.

If you're planning on catching Tilapia with bait or a fishing line, keep in mind that they are too smart to take a bait that's laying on the bottom of the lake because they already know that it's not going to be alive. So, if you're going to use dead bait, use very small chunks of bait that are no bigger than the size of your two fingers put together.

Another important thing to keep in mind when fishing for Tilapia in lakes is that they can be very unpredictable. There have been times when I caught a Tilapia with the first two baits I threw out, but there have also been times when I've thrown out over a hundred baits before I caught one! So, keep your hands busy, never quit, and don't be surprised if it takes a while before you capture that first fish.

If you're looking to catch Tilapia locally, then you have a couple of options: you can either buy them or use a dip net and catch them from the shoreline. However, if you're planning on catching them out of a nearby lake, then you'll need to use live or dead baiting.

Use The Right Tackle


Utilize the best tackle and bait for the type of fish you are trying to catch. You should use a bobber and retrieve a combination spoon or blade bait which can attract any fish. Retrieve it either fast or slow; depending on the fish’s size.

For catching small fish, you can use a piece of shrimp or minnow. Tie it to a one-quarter-ounce jighead, using a split shot as a sinker.

The next step is to lower your fishing line about eight inches from the water line, allow it to sink for a few seconds, then start retrieving it slowly. When the bobber sinks to the bottom of the lake, stop retrieving it until you pull the bobber five to six inches up. Then repeat the process.

Continue doing this until you feel a sudden tug, which indicates that you have caught a fish. Pull on the fishing line to bring the fish to the surface.

Focus On Shallow Waters

Beach fishing is probably the ideal setting for catching tilapia. The shallower waters are perfect for fishing with lures and bait. As you get into deeper waters, the fish tend to become more timid, harder to catch and usually avoid shallow waters.

From the beach, cast your line towards the shore/shoreline and drag the line along the water surface.

If you want to get more adventurous, you can try fishing from a boat, or even a kayak. Fishing from a boat will allow you to find deeper waters and more areas to fish along the shore.

Also, by standing/sitting near the edge of the boat, you can offer your bait or lure more opportunity to attract larger fish.

If you're not interested in fishing, and want to go for a boat cruise or a good view of the shoreline, look for a tour boat with an angler on board. There's nothing better than finding a local tour operator that can provide you with a knowledgeable guide that knows what he or she is doing.

That way, you can simply relax and enjoy the awesome views as your guide does all of the work!

Fish During Spawning Season

Bass , Sunfish and Walleye are the most popular fish found in the wild. But you will also notice… 20-30 pound Tilapia in the crystal clear waters. A lot of fishermen avoid tilapia because of the iffy white meat that you can find in the supermarket. Sadly, some people have even tried to make an entire barbecue of their catch, little to their surprise… It’s not a fish you want to eat…

The secret is to find out when they spawn. Tilapia spawn in schools and the males do the dancing. When you find a school of them, cast your bait close enough so that the male will see it. (Anything that moves will stimulate the fish to bite.) Most of them will follow, and you will get a chance to catch a few.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a fish you can eat, just go fishing at any time of the year. Tilapia have many fans and you can find many recipes online that include it.