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Flies for tilapia?
Post 02 Jul 2022, 09:46 • #1 
Guide
Joined: 07/22/20
Posts: 106
Location: US-CA
I’m headed to Florida for a few weeks and the local freshwater ponds/lakes where I’m going are full of tilapia.

What fly patterns have folks had success with tilapia?


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 02 Jul 2022, 11:36 • #2 
Guide
Joined: 08/14/16
Posts: 153
Location: Charlestonish, SC
I don't have any experience with trying, but just yesterday I was reading an article about tilapia;
they feed for the most part on algae, so tiny hooks dubbed with simple olive or brown bodies are recommended. Think aquarium fish food.
There is also anecdotal evidence that they will feed on large insect and worm hatches, and when farmed they are fed corn and feed pellets. I would guess that a tailwater trout selection of nymphs could be helpful in the right situation.
I'm sure someone with actual experience will chime in, but I hope this helps.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 02 Jul 2022, 12:17 • #3 
Guide
Joined: 08/11/21
Posts: 160
Location: Tucson, AZ
I have limited experience..but have caught a few in freshwater ponds in the Phoenix area.

A small, size 8-10 leech pattern fly with a #12-14 dropper nymph hooked a few in the 2-3 lb range..floating line, 3x, 4x leader

They love really warm water, hate the cold...water temps 80+ deg had them frisky while bass/sunfish barely moved. They are a bit spooky from what I observed.

In one pond I saw a small school follow us around, so I suspect local homeowners fed them from shore of the ponds in the big subdivision.

They are fun, guess there are tons of cichlids in FL these days


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 03 Jul 2022, 16:29 • #4 
Guide
Joined: 04/29/16
Posts: 151
Location: Hoot Owl Yards, ATX
BrianN wrote:
I’m headed to Florida for a few weeks and the local freshwater ponds/lakes where I’m going are full of tilapia.

What fly patterns have folks had success with tilapia?


I have only caught one using traditional fly rod methods, however if you have no shame like me, they are easily caught by chumming, If people are feeding ducks, the fish are conditioned to the free meal. A old loaf of bread & some small flies that suggest the same & you're in business. Low hanging fruit I know, but they tug good on light tackle. Plus you ain't exactly fishing an English chalk stream so it's all good 8o

Whereabouts are you going to be in FL? Lived there for a spell, lots of interesting fishing there.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 03 Jul 2022, 18:49 • #5 
Guide
Joined: 07/22/20
Posts: 106
Location: US-CA
Headed to a small town near Clearwater that’s on the upper part of Tampa Bay. I might fish the Bay also but I’m not really equipped for it and would be limited to wade fishing. Pretty much any body of freshwater, no matter how small, has fish in it around there. I’m from the West Coast so this will be an interesting change of pace.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 06 Jul 2022, 06:29 • #6 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 08/25/08
Posts: 1523
Location: Delton, MI
Next thing you’ll know, we’ll be fishing for Koi in Hotel water fountains. :)


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 06 Jul 2022, 07:26 • #7 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/27/16
Posts: 2106
Location: US-IL
CB- I have a pond 10 minutes away.Suburban retention pond that is C&R only .Lots of 6 inch bluegill bulkhead a few fat bass and some 2 foot long koi.An elderly woman that lives nearby feeds them and sternly advises everyone not to fish for the koi.So far they have not reproduced .I have had thoughts of pellet flies but have not given in yet.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 07 Jul 2022, 20:01 • #8 
Guide
Joined: 07/21/21
Posts: 309
Location: Florida
They always enjoy a nice San Juan worm over here in Tampa. I’ve caught a few on a wooly bugger also.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 07 Jul 2022, 20:25 • #9 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/19/14
Posts: 3861
Location: USA - Illinois
Phil-a-Flex wrote:
I have limited experience..but have caught a few in freshwater ponds in the Phoenix area.

A small, size 8-10 leech pattern fly with a #12-14 dropper nymph hooked a few in the 2-3 lb range..floating line, 3x, 4x leader

“They love really warm water, hate the cold...water temps 80+ deg had them frisky while bass/sunfish barely moved. They are a bit spooky from what I observed.

In one pond I saw a small school follow us around, so I suspect local homeowners fed them from shore of the ponds in the big subdivision.

They are fun, guess there are tons of cichlids in FL these days”

2-3 lb. range, man count me in on that action! We’ve got mucho waters here in Illinois that would welcome those cichlids, our Winters, not so much.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 07 Jul 2022, 21:39 • #10 
Guide
Joined: 08/11/21
Posts: 160
Location: Tucson, AZ
Maybe some warm water downstream from a nuke plant..but they cannot take the cold water in midwestern waters, of that I am certain.

My guide friend in FL uses small white poppers in the canals for oscars, cichlids, etc and catches a ton of them evidently.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 08 Jul 2022, 09:53 • #11 
Guide
Joined: 01/25/13
Posts: 321
Location: Avondale Az
We definitely have some nice Talapia in these ponds.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 08 Jul 2022, 11:20 • #12 
Guide
Joined: 08/11/21
Posts: 160
Location: Tucson, AZ
Yup..that is the spot. We drive up from Tucson to fish the ponds on occasion, all sight fishing, tough but fun. How many are there...20, 30?
\
One fellow said he used tan/cream globugs (yarn egg patterns) to mimic chinaberry blossoms for the carp. Have not tried that technique, but sounds like fun.


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Re: Flies for tilapia?
Post 08 Jul 2022, 14:07 • #13 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/19/14
Posts: 3861
Location: USA - Illinois
SWCR wrote:
We definitely have some nice Talapia in these ponds.


A beast!


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