Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tilapia -- never caught one

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These look like they would make a good fillet.

For quite some time, I have been getting reliable reports of folks catching coolers full of Tilapia.

The hot spot, pun intended, has been the waters of the Gallatin Steam Plant. That is logical since they, the Tilapia, do not survive well in waters below 70 degrees.

Cold weather is the best time to catch them in numbers. Mike Dial, a Mid-TN angler and a friend, caught 60 keepers in just a three hours, one morning a week or so ago.

I have eaten a lot of Tilapia. I have never caught one.

My wife buys the frozen fillets at the store and makes me eat one now and again. She broils them in the oven, says they are healthy eating. May be, I'm not sure.

They taste okay, bout like sole. Shoe sole, that is.

Friend of mine says, "You can make them taste like anything you want because they have no flavor at all." He use to raise them, reckon he should know.

But see, I keep hearing about folks catching 90 in 90 minutes on O.H., and such.

Since they are about like a big bream, I started thinking, at least they would be fun to catch.

Word I got was, the best way to catch them is on a small piece of night crawler in a bream hook, under a cork-just like bream. I heard they were also catching them on raisins. I figure a small bream jig under a float would work. Maybe a trout magnet would work. I think that is what Mike Dial uses a lot.

So I broached the subject to Judge David Earl Durham. My timing was terrible. He was about to leave for HiWhyYa where he was going to go snorkeling or some such foolishness.

Pretty hard to get him interested in shivering the rivets out of a boat fishing for Biblical perch. I knew there was no sense in trying to talk Mark Campbell into going. He was all tied up either fixing computers or trying to kill a deer from the cabin he built on stilts and calls a deer blind.

Let me tell you what little I know about Tilapia.

First, it is the kind of fish Larry Woody or Mike Organ would go after. That right there should be enough to wean me off the idea. I took Woody to White Oak and all he wanted to do was eat and talk about NASCAR.

But second, there has been a lot of negative publicity about Tilapia -- the ones from the store -- such as worse for you than bacon and pond raised in China eating animal waste.

Now, I don't know what if any impact they have on our local fishery. I would assume the have to be in competition with bream and crappie for something to eat but I think mostly, they are moss eaters.

I don't know for sure. But then, I would also assume the cold water would limit their reproduction and numbers.

I heard some crappie fisherman out of Mt. Juliet caught one over two pounds. That would be fun.

But my thinking is, a bream perch-looking thing should be filleted and fried. That is the way a true son-of-the-South would eat it. I don't know how good they are fried. My current wife won't let me cook one that way.

I was told, they were the main fish that they caught in nets, back during Biblical times.

Supposed to be the main fish in the waters of Ethiopia and Egypt. I wasn't there, so I don't know. Also have no idea how they got to Ecuador, supposedly, the best place to get frozen fillets.

How they got into Old Hickory is beyond me and really beyond my field of interest.

I am still somewhat interested in going and trying to catch one if anyone is interested.

I guess, I might could take Larry Woody. He probably needs an early spring column before he gets all worked up over turkey season.

Now, I am going to go see if I can get some pictures. If not, I'll just use bream pictures and stuff. I sure hope we are having liver and onions for supper.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com.

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Gallatin Steam Plant, John L. Sloan, Old Hickory Lake, Outdoors, Sloan, Tilapia
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