Eel

If you want to discuss Catfish, Perch, Zander, Ferox Trout or Eels, this is the place for you
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ThePikingEcologist
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Eel

Post by ThePikingEcologist » Mon Aug 07 2017 13:42

I've been seeing quite a few eels knocking about recently. I'd like to learn more about this fish and catch some nice ones.

What is the best way for me to go about catching a nice specimen eel?

Steve

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Re: Eel

Post by delboy » Mon Aug 07 2017 14:13

Not much help boy,but any eel I have caught has been by accident(but much appreciated )but if you wanted to fish for them seriously I should think you would have to night fish for them,I had one the other week on red maggots dead/live,the last one before that was on bacon grill and the last on before that was on a bit of liver.
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Re: Eel

Post by mark salt » Mon Aug 07 2017 17:23

Have a look here: http://www.nationalanguillaclub.co.uk/ and maybe join the NAC. The forum is a good place to ask questions.

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Re: Eel

Post by delboy » Mon Aug 07 2017 19:02

F**k me boy,how big was that one in your picture,what a rare beauty .
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Re: Eel

Post by Duncan Holmes » Mon Aug 07 2017 20:54

Steve, I have whiled away a few August nights after big eels over the years and they are a very worthy target.

The biggest eels I personally know off, 8lb, 7lb, 2 x 5lb's have come from small waters that are very high up on small water courses, and I have done reasonably well fishing this type of water with several 3's and a pb of 5lb 15oz. So if I was planning a campaign for them these are the type of waters I would look at, but all sorts of waters have turned up big eels over the years,

I have tried lots of baits and tactics, but for the bigger fish I have found one method stands head and shoulders above the rest, which is half a dead roach/rudd on a size 2 hook, infront of a 2.5/3 oz running lead. with a couple of chopped up small fish scattered in the area. I have always fished with dropoff alarms and open bail arms, to give minimum resistance.

I have tried worms and livebaits but they haven't been productive for me, but one of my fishing buddies had the 7 mentioned above on a livebait (deliberately), and another friend only fishes for them with worms and has had the other 5 mentioned.

Gearwise I used my P1's which are 2 3/4lb test, and 0.35mm line and quicksilver hooklinks, and size 2 Drennan SS, which has been fine, although I did have a fish "flat rod" me one night and straighten the hook :afraid:

If you get one, don't try and lift the net too soon make sure the tail is in and then lift and slacken the line.

If you have a go, good luck and post a Pic. :thumbs:
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Re: Eel

Post by cookiesdaughtersdad » Mon Aug 07 2017 22:15

Dont bother asking Lumby lol
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Re: Eel

Post by Mick Cobb » Tue Aug 08 2017 00:05

Don't ignore the daylight hours, I had some cracking times on a 'No Night Fishing' venue to my surprise. I used about a 4'' length of stiffish silicone tubing positioned over the single hook eye on my wire trace as I have seen heavy braided hook lengths demolished in the past. :smile:
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Re: Eel

Post by ThePikingEcologist » Tue Aug 08 2017 13:56

Thats for all the 'eely good advice.

Mark salt...thank you for the link.

Dncan...thanks for describing that rig setup....I am going to give it ago. If I catch a nice one I will post a picture. I've seen some large dead ones near my house, and my mate caught a 6 lb eel in the same place, so might be worth a try there.

I do catch eels, always by mistake. Whenever I get them on the canal they swallow the hook as I fish waggler. But on ledger they are always in the mouth. Slimmy little buggers, but I like them!

Most people I speak t have eaten them and say they taste great...but I don't think we are allowed to any more.

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Re: Eel

Post by Duncan Holmes » Tue Aug 08 2017 17:12

ThePikingEcologist wrote:
Thats for all the 'eely good advice.

Mark salt...thank you for the link.

Dncan...thanks for describing that rig setup....I am going to give it ago. If I catch a nice one I will post a picture. I've seen some large dead ones near my house, and my mate caught a 6 lb eel in the same place, so might be worth a try there.

I do catch eels, always by mistake. Whenever I get them on the canal they swallow the hook as I fish waggler. But on ledger they are always in the mouth. Slimmy little buggers, but I like them!

Most people I speak t have eaten them and say they taste great...but I don't think we are allowed to any more.
"I've seen some large dead ones near my house"

That's what put me on to the water I had my 5 from, if there are other lakes on the same watercourse then give them a go too :wink:

I have eaten fried eel, caught in saltwater when I was a teen, tasted really good, not sure I would eat them now (waste of a good bait)
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Re: Eel

Post by Mike J » Wed Aug 09 2017 07:53

Do not kill eels they are a protected species.

Eel Anguilla Anguilla Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Its worth bearing in mind that a eel around 4lb can be as much as 60years old so they deserve our respect and consideration when we are catching and handling them.
Still annoying when the snaffle my precisly set maggots though :cry:

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Re: Eel

Post by cookiesdaughtersdad » Wed Aug 09 2017 08:04

Mike J wrote:
Do not kill eels they are a protected species.

Eel Anguilla Anguilla Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Its worth bearing in mind that a eel around 4lb can be as much as 60years old so they deserve our respect and consideration when we are catching and handling them.
Still annoying when the snaffle my precisly set maggots though :cry:
The most fascinating of all our species and certainly 10 years old for every pound in weight is a good guide.
Fish have been aged a over 90 (got to kill them and sample the otoliths) at just over 8lbs in weight, even the little boat laces of around 10oz will be a decade old.
Haven't fished for eels since I was a kid, is there any way of reliably getting you hook back, had two the other night and unfortunately both kept the hook :sad:
The amount of eels I have had from the marina indicates a bit of a come back, hope so and would help the with the whole otter predation issue.

Cheers Alan
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Re: Eel

Post by dannytaylor » Wed Aug 09 2017 08:05

Mike J wrote:
Do not kill eels they are a protected species.

Eel Anguilla Anguilla Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Its worth bearing in mind that a eel around 4lb can be as much as 60years old so they deserve our respect and consideration when we are catching and handling them.
Still annoying when the snaffle my precisly set maggots though :cry:


An eel of 4lb isn't always 60+ years old, bit of a common misconception. If the eel gets into a food rich water it's growth can accelerate. Take a look at some of the big eels that have been coming out of relatively young commercial fisheries, and the monsters that have been coming out of crayfish waters..........

I agree though, eels deserve our outmost respect :cool:

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Re: Eel

Post by dannytaylor » Wed Aug 09 2017 08:07

cookiesdaughtersdad wrote:
Mike J wrote:
Do not kill eels they are a protected species.

Eel Anguilla Anguilla Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Its worth bearing in mind that a eel around 4lb can be as much as 60years old so they deserve our respect and consideration when we are catching and handling them.
Still annoying when the snaffle my precisly set maggots though :cry:
The most fascinating of all our species and certainly 10 years old for every pound in weight is a good guide.
Fish have been aged a over 90 (got to kill them and sample the otoliths) at just over 8lbs in weight, even the little boat laces of around 10oz will be a decade old.
Haven't fished for eels since I was a kid, is there any way of reliably getting you hook back, had two the other night and unfortunately both kept the hook :sad:
The amount of eels I have had from the marina indicates a bit of a come back, hope so and would help the with the whole otter predation issue.

Cheers Alan
I'm afraid the 10 years growth for every pound isn't always true........

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Re: Eel

Post by cookiesdaughtersdad » Wed Aug 09 2017 08:11

dannytaylor wrote:
cookiesdaughtersdad wrote:
Mike J wrote:
Do not kill eels they are a protected species.

Eel Anguilla Anguilla Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Its worth bearing in mind that a eel around 4lb can be as much as 60years old so they deserve our respect and consideration when we are catching and handling them.
Still annoying when the snaffle my precisly set maggots though :cry:
The most fascinating of all our species and certainly 10 years old for every pound in weight is a good guide.
Fish have been aged a over 90 (got to kill them and sample the otoliths) at just over 8lbs in weight, even the little boat laces of around 10oz will be a decade old.
Haven't fished for eels since I was a kid, is there any way of reliably getting you hook back, had two the other night and unfortunately both kept the hook :sad:
The amount of eels I have had from the marina indicates a bit of a come back, hope so and would help the with the whole otter predation issue.

Cheers Alan
I'm afraid the 10 years growth for every pound isn't always true........
Nev pulled me up on that once Danny so I looked into it and showed that 10 years for every pound is a very good way of estimating their age although it wont be accurate to the ounce or month and you have to kill them as said to be sure to be sure :grin:

Cheers ALan
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Re: Eel

Post by Mike J » Wed Aug 09 2017 08:34

Hi Danny,
I never said it was.
I wrote "could be as much as" which is true.

Back in the early '80's an eel around that size was examined after is died and that was the age wrtten in the specialist angling press.

As for potential size, like Duncan I to have been flatlined by a monster eel, I was catching around a fly shoal using 3" livebaits this 'thing' just slammed down my 3lb tc rod and tangled itself in some boulders then spun my 30lb trace up and broke away.
I have also seen the body of an eel (no head) that would have probably weighed 9+lbs recovered a few years earlier, from the same water. I seem to remeber Vic B also thought the water had 'potential'.
Something around 15lbs would my top estimate and whenever I have a go these days that the size I set up for!!

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Re: Eel

Post by dannytaylor » Wed Aug 09 2017 09:48

Agreed, eels from relatively poor waters such as glacial lakes, meres, ponds and canals will probably have a slow growth rate. However eels found in commercials that see loads of high oil pellets and small fish, the eels will grow much faster. Same with waters that have Cray's.

How are commercials which are only 20 years old producing fish in the 7-9lb bracket?

Length of an eel is probably a better age indicator than girth and weight of an eel. Have a look at the 8lb + specimens caught by ricketts and McConnell. They are very short, fat and "young" looking fish. I would be surprised if these fish are 90-100 years old..........

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Re: Eel

Post by mark salt » Wed Aug 09 2017 12:13

Danny's right about growth rates; they vary dramatically depending on the environment. Generally speaking, however, the eel does have a slow metabolism and growth rate. Without wishing to start a row, I would ask that you consider using smaller hooks. It is easy to deep hook an eel, and even an eel that is hooked at the back of the mouth is in danger. The major organs and blood vessels are all situated just behind the head, and sticking a size two or 4 in there is a recipe for disaster. Prior to changing exclusively to small circle hooks for eels, for the last 7 seasons I used size 6 and 8 barbless hooks for all types, and sizes, of bait, attaching baits by a very short hair to leave the hook fully exposed, and using very short hook lengths for immediate bite indication. Reducing hook size did not seem to affect results (a couple of 8s, a couple of 7s and many 6s attest to that), and it certainly reduced the damage that can occur through deep hooking. Any eels that were hooked inside the mouth were left sacked until morning, the hook length having been unclipped. In almost all cases the hook link, and often bait, were in the bottom of the sack in the morning. The use of circle hooks has reduced deephooking dramatically, and I have found that it is not necessary to leave the take for any longer than when using a conventional hook. As soon as I reach the rod I engage the bail arm, gently tighten up, and allow the fish to hook itself against the rod. Don't wait for runs to "develop". They've either got it or they haven't!

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Re: Eel

Post by ThePikingEcologist » Wed Aug 09 2017 15:34

Mike J wrote:
Do not kill eels they are a protected species.

Eel Anguilla Anguilla Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Its worth bearing in mind that a eel around 4lb can be as much as 60years old so they deserve our respect and consideration when we are catching and handling them.
Globally rare, locally very abundant.

Mark salt...thanks for advice about hook size.

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Re: Eel

Post by Mike J » Wed Aug 09 2017 18:23

The river Im on has seen a large infux of eels in the past few weeks, something we haven't seen for over a decade or more.
I thought our otters would have a field day but they've continued to exploit the jack pike population with gusto, watched one eat an 8"er like a stick of rock a few days ago, amazing.

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Re: Eel

Post by ThePikingEcologist » Thu Aug 10 2017 21:35

Mike...there has been a recent spike in eels on a river near me. My dad has been pulling in lots, which he doesn't like.

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Re: Eel

Post by cookiesdaughtersdad » Fri Aug 11 2017 06:15

I have been catching more over the last few years, in fact they are a bit of a pain night fishing the marina even though I think they are great!

Re growth rates, eels will grow at varying rates due to temperature, food availability and genetics I suppose but there is load data out there indicating that a fish of around 10 years old will actually be less than a pound, maybe just 10 oz and large fish have been aged at 85 years or so.
Eel as a species are very slow growing even if they are in a warm lowland lake let alone a cold water.
It would be interesting to age some of these large commercial fishery eels Danny but who would want to kill them eh so until then its only a conjecture as to how old they are.

Cheers Alan
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Re: Eel

Post by dannytaylor » Fri Aug 11 2017 07:04

They must be time traveling eels alan :smile: :laughs:

Seriously though, try and get hold of a copy of steve ricketts book "chronicles of an eel angler" theres some very interesting stuff in there and its a bloody good read :thumbs:

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Re: Eel

Post by davelumb » Fri Aug 11 2017 08:28

If eels grow so slowly how do eel farmers go about things?

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Re: Eel

Post by Mike J » Fri Aug 11 2017 10:25

davelumb wrote:
If eels grow so slowly how do eel farmers go about things?

They grow them on trees, like spaghetti.

:lumby:

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Re: Eel

Post by davelumb » Fri Aug 11 2017 10:29

Mike J wrote:
davelumb wrote:
If eels grow so slowly how do eel farmers go about things?

They grow them on trees, like spaghetti.

:lumby:
Showing your age there. :wink:

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Re: Eel

Post by Mike J » Fri Aug 11 2017 10:32

davelumb wrote:
Mike J wrote:
davelumb wrote:
If eels grow so slowly how do eel farmers go about things?

They grow them on trees, like spaghetti.

:lumby:
Showing your age there. :wink:


Who was it, Cleese and Co?


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Re: Eel

Post by davelumb » Fri Aug 11 2017 10:44

You know it was Dimbleby on Panorama.

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Re: Eel

Post by martin godliman » Fri Aug 11 2017 12:21

davelumb wrote:
You know it was Dimbleby on Panorama.
I remember it :red:
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Re: Eel

Post by ThePikingEcologist » Fri Aug 11 2017 14:01

davelumb wrote:
If eels grow so slowly how do eel farmers go about things?
If you ask a pedantic geek, he may say this:

Farmers in Europe farming the common ell, buy glass eels from hatcheries (I do not know where they get the glass eels from...whether they breed them or catch them). They may then go into tanks to raise them to a size where they can hack outdoor life without being mode modycoddled, and eventually they enter a grow-out of some description (perhaps a pond??), where they will be grown until they are large enough to sell..I doubt this size is anywhere near as big as the size they are capable of reaching.

If you take Salmon farming as an example ..the average harvest weight of an individual salmon varies, but about 4-5 kg is currently about right...thats a lot smaller than the size they are capable of reaching.

Say you have a total harvest weight salmon of 1500 kg from one fish cage. It is quicker to produce that total weight by stocking the cage with lots of smolts, stuff them with high quality feed so they grow fast, and then harvest at a medium size. That is the quickest way to produce 1500 kg of salmon. The idea is to produce consumable biomass, not to produce large, individual fish.

I would assume it is the same with eels. If commercials want big ells, they will have no choice but to either pay extra to cover rearing costs, or to, perhaps, catch them.

I dont know why people think these big eels are up to 60 years old, because they leave the freshwater stage at an age between about 6 years and 17 years, and they never come back, as is the case with most emigrants who choose to leave our rainy, muddy island.

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Re: Eel

Post by mark salt » Fri Aug 11 2017 14:03

In "Eels: A Natural and Unnatural History' by Christopher Moriarty" mention is made of an eel of 7.13 from the Lough, Cork whose otilith reading showed an age of 13 years. Growth rates of eels found in estuarine environments or waters with high stock densities will be much slower than those of eels that have travelled farther inland and inhabit low stock density stillwaters. The former will be predominately male, and the latter predominantly female, as stock density determines sex.

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