Tilapia are everywhere in Florida's fresh waters. You can find them in most every pond, river, creek, lake or canal. Most of the time, you see them on large, circular beds along the shoreline.
Although I've caught lots of tilapia, all were incidental. I don't target them; I catch them while fishing for other species.
I catch most on nymphs under a strike indicator or on my Myakka Minnow.
On a recent trip, I landed the largest tilapia I've ever hooked. Took place on Lake Manatee near my home in Sarasota, Fla. The fish hit a No. 12 black, bead-head nymph I was casting on a 2-weight.
Wasn't sure what it was when I hooked it. I knew it was different. We had been catching hand-sized bluegill in a protected cove. However, this fish was large and strong.
I back-paddled away from the vegetation along the shoreline to get the fish into open water. At first, I thought I'd hooked a channel cat, a species I encounter regularly on Lake Manatee. But this fish was slow and strong. Channel cats are also strong, but also quick and can make lengthy runs. After a couple of minutes, I was able to get a glimpse of the fish. It was a blue tilapia -- the largest I'd ever hooked.
I played the fish carefully and was able to net it a few minutes later. Couldn't believe the size. I estimated it at four pounds.
The tilapia hit a No. 12 black, bead-head nymph under a strike indicator.
Anyone here have much luck on tilapia. Do you target them? Technique?