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How to catch eels?


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#1 Ryan D

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:18 PM

I posted this in bottomfeeding as well, but as I'm unfamiliar with eels and their feeding patterns, I figured this might be the better place...
Is there any way to fish for eels? The only ways I've seen them caught are with lobster/crab traps.
But is it possible to get them on a fishing line? I managed to get a lobster on one last week, so now I'm thinking anything is possible.
I have seen a few BIG ones at my nearest boating dock late at night with a flashlight. They will eat squid I drop to them, but never seem to touch it when I have the hook and line attached.
Also, I plan on eating these, not using them as bait. So the bigger the better.


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#2 adkfreeridex

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:23 PM

i remember my father telling me a story about how he caught one (three footer) in a local reservoir.....i'll ask what lure he used next time i talk to him!


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#3 pablo147

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:25 PM

i used to catch them in the hudson all the time on worms, old chicken, other eels, chunk bait, anything really. i pulled one out the size of my arm one time.


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#4 Ryan D

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:29 PM

These are saltwater ones, correct? Never seen a FW one, but have heard of them recently.
What size hook? Just bait like I would for a scup/sea bass/fluke/skate?
I have seen them around 3 feet long, and pretty thick. A few live/hang out around the boating dock near my beach house.


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#5 fishinambition

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:31 PM

Eels are good eats. Ive only gotten em as bycatch on clam, squid and bunker. That's everything I know! Good luck.


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#6 Charlie2

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:34 PM

I posted in the bottom feeder forum but will repeat it here.
We used to catch them with a piece of bacon wrapped in nylon stocking.
The eels would try to eat the bacon and catch their teeth in the nylon. No hook required. C2


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Pay it Forward- George(Gowge) Pope RIP

#7 Eric_S

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:34 PM

In NJ I've caught a lot of eels on hook and line, some nice sized ones, too. Night is better but they definitely eat during the day as well. Small creeks and marshy areas are great places. Anywhere you'd throw a killie trap. Just fish a good sized killie or peanut bunker on the bottom and wait. That's it. As kids we would cast out a killie in the evening, hide our rod in the reeds and come back in the morning. More times than not there was an eel on the line. They were never strong enough to pull our rods in luckily.


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#8 FoliFish

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:35 PM

We used to catch them in Hyannis harbor when fishing for scup off the neighborhood docks. We always used seaworms, squid and clams.
We used to spear them around the pilings at night. We made our own spears with broom handles and forks taped (electrical tape) to the ends...real high tech. My grandfather and some other neighborhhood dads/grandfathers would eat them.


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#9 fishinambition

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:38 PM

We boated a 48" one a few years back at the shrewsbury rocks. We couldnt knock that thing out for nuthin. Puked up a small lobster.


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#10 Ryan D

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Posted July 11 2009 - 5:48 PM

We boated a 48" one a few years back at the shrewsbury rocks. We couldnt knock that thing out for nuthin. Puked up a small lobster.

Wow. Any pictures? Bet it made one heck of a meal!

We used to catch them in Hyannis harbor when fishing for scup off the neighborhood docks. We always used seaworms, squid and clams.
We used to spear them around the pilings at night. We made our own spears with broom handles and forks taped (electrical tape) to the ends...real high tech. My grandfather and some other neighborhhood dads/grandfathers would eat them.

I have been using sea worms and squid for the last few years....only to catch small fish, crabs, a lobster, and sharks. Never any eels.
But I was thinking of using a bow or a hi-tech spear like you mentioned

Anywhere you'd throw a killie trap. Just fish a good sized killie or peanut bunker on the bottom and wait. That's it. As kids we would cast out a killie in the evening, hide our rod in the reeds and come back in the morning. More times than not there was an eel on the line. They were never strong enough to pull our rods in luckily.

I apologize for the ignorance, but I'm unfamiliar with the term 'killie'. Is that just a small fish you can catch with small crab/minnow traps? And would you just use smaller hooks than most other fish or what?
I live on a bay less than a 1/4 mile from the ocean. I assume that'd be a good spot. I've seen them in the water at night all the time.

We used to catch them with a piece of bacon wrapped in nylon stocking.
The eels would try to eat the bacon and catch their teeth in the nylon. No hook required. C2

Good idea, I will give it a try. Just tie the nylon to a hook/swivel/line I assume?
Thanks a lot guys, and please try to forgive my ignorance. Still learning.


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#11 speedracer

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Posted July 11 2009 - 7:08 PM

I used to have an eel trap as a kid. It was a rectangular metal mesh cage with a hole in it . The hole was covered by a sock with the toe cut off. The eels would swim in through the sock, but they had a hard time finding their way out. I would bait it with any crab or fish parts I could find lying around. I would wait about a day and go empty it. It worked very well. I also caught lots of minnows with it as a by-catch.


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You're getting sleepy. ....very sleepy.....

#12 LI BeachRat

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Posted July 11 2009 - 7:30 PM

Ok at first I really surprised at the question. I guess I've been fishing to long. Caught my first fish when I was five, it was an eel. Used a tared hand line with a sinker and a flounder hook. So if you want to catch one, blood worms or sandworms work well. Now while I use to eat them fried or smoked, (loved them smoked). I would think twice now do to the PCB's in their systems. Best place to fish for them is in muddy bottom places, brackist water areas were freshwater empties into saltwater. Use to pot my own eels for bass fishing that way. By the way I've seen eels in eel potters holding tanks as big around as your leg, no joke. The freshwater eels are the same as the saltwater ones they both breed in the same place. The freshwater ones get into lakes over land though small streams and even wet grass.


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#13 rocket500

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Posted July 11 2009 - 7:49 PM

Absolutely! Rivers that flow into the sea are a great place to catch them.
Sea worms work great, clams work, smaller chunk bait. They eat most anything. A piece of hot dog would work just as well I'll bet.
Use smaller hooks, 2/0 baitholders would be fine. Use a fish finder rig with enough lead to hold bottom. That's about it! They do bite more at night.


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#14 Piscasaurus

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Posted July 11 2009 - 7:52 PM

Eels LOVE dead horseshoe crabs as bait in an eel trap.


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#15 The Lure Washer

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Posted July 11 2009 - 7:53 PM

I caught one in a freshwater river that was close to 40" on a chunk of hot dog.


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BranfordJeff - I'd hit it like a drumset in the special ed classroom.