Tilapia (Oreochromis)

Tilapia

  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Average
  • Habitats Backcountry, Lake, River

Tilapia fishing means many different things in different parts of the world – the name actually covers over 100 different species. One thing they do have in common is that they’re tasty and feisty freshwater fish that anglers are happy to hook into!

How Big

With over 100 different species, it’s hard to accurately pin down the size. However, the three most commonly fished Tilapia are Nile, Blue, and Mozambique.

Nile Tilapia average in length between 2.5” and 11”. The world record was set in Zimbabwe and weighed in at 13 lb 3 oz.

Blue Tilapia are slightly larger, ranging from 5” to 8”. The largest ever caught was in Florida, a 9 lb 9 oz beast.

Mozambique Tilapia are usually between 2” and 11” long. The all-tackle world record specimen was caught in South Africa and the fish weighed 6 lb and 13 oz.

Where to Find

Most Tilapia species prefer fresh water, though some can be found in brackish waters. They generally stay in tropical and subtropical zones since the vast majority of species can’t handle temperatures below 50 F. You’ll find them in shallow, slow-moving rivers and estuaries.

How to Catch

If you’re going Tilapia fishing you should bring a medium weight rod and 12-15 lb test line. They like to hang around underwater structures, reed beds, and sunken trees – make a couple of casts when you suspect they’re there but move on if it doesn’t work. Nightcrawlers and worms work well as bait, while jigs and deep-diving crankbaits are good artificials. When you get a bite, make sure to set the hook gently as their lips are gentle and can break easily.

Good to Eat?

Tilapia is the 4th most consumed fish in the US since 2016. Though most of this is from farmed fish, Tilapia caught in the wild is a delicious mild-flavored treat perfect for many dishes. It has a low to medium fat content and tastes well when baked and seasoned or grilled with lemon and spices.
 


Top Tilapia Fishing Charters