The Salty Fisherman

Should I Be Throwing Live Eels?

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It's appropriate to ask these questions rather than wasting hours and $$$ experimenting. We're living in the golden age of information and efficiency after all. There's a ton of videos on YouTube from Skinner. I've never done it and I don't understand how a fresh water eel doesn't immediately die in the salt, but whatever. It definitely catches monsters from what I've seen/read.

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49 mins ago, Pad_Crasher said:

It's appropriate to ask these questions rather than wasting hours and $$$ experimenting. We're living in the golden age of information and efficiency after all. There's a ton of videos on YouTube from Skinner. I've never done it and I don't understand how a fresh water eel doesn't immediately die in the salt, but whatever. It definitely catches monsters from what I've seen/read.

While I agree that these are great questions, nothing compares to first hand experience. You can read a lot about anything but putting it into practice in real life successfully is another story

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3 mins ago, Rkfool said:

While I agree that these are great questions, nothing compares to first hand experience. You can read a lot about anything but putting it into practice in real life successfully is another story

I agree completely 

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2 hours ago, Pad_Crasher said:

 I don't understand how a fresh water eel doesn't immediately die in the salt, but whatever. It definitely catches monsters from what I've seen/read.

Funny i've caught American eels in the salt using eels as bait.  They are prolific critters. 

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I have an eglass rod that I use for both rigged and live eels. (I think it’s eglass and graphite hybrid because it’s not as heavy as an older all glass rod I used to have.)

 

I wholeheartedly agree with many of the points already covered and won’t beat those to death. In addition to ballling up,  live eels will twist the hell out of your line and leader. You can’t eliminate this completely but I have a trick to minimize it. Use a circle hook, put a split ring on it. Put a swivel on there. Use a ball bearing swivel not a barrel swivel. Then tie your leader to the other end of the swivel. Circle hook up through the eels mouth and you all set. 

 

I personally prefer rigged eels in either style described above over live eels. Convenience. 

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Biggest bass I've ever hooked up on was on a whole green crab believe it or not.  Unfortunately I was tog fishing on a jetty with the drag locked so I could snatch tog out of the rocks and it broke me off but not before I got it to the surface for a good look.  Easily a 60 pound fish.  Go figure.  Put in a lot of time over the past 25 years fishing with eels (mostly from a boat) and never hooked into anything over 35 pounds.

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2 hours ago, Fly By Nite said:

Funny i've caught American eels in the salt using eels as bait.  They are prolific critters. 

The American eel is a very interesting species! I have never caught an eel with an eel, nor one even big enough to eat the sized eels I throw. That’s crazy! I have read that they’re cannibalistic eaters.

 

I also read that they used to make up 10-25% of total fish biomass in certain/many (not specified) North American rivers connected to the ocean. 

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4 hours ago, BillHoo said:

Any success using rubber eels, or rubber worms, or even lengths of surgical rubber tubing?

aka a hogy. I haven't used them but lots of guys do with great success.  If I'm fishing something with that profile it's a rigged eel.

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IMHO, there is never a bad time to fish eels when bass are in the area.  Yes, the blues love them too and can quickly ruin a night you were planning on throwing nothing but eels.  There are plenty of threads on storing and fishing eels here.  Just do a search and I'm sure you'll find enough info to get you started. 

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2 hours ago, EricDice said:

I have an eglass rod that I use for both rigged and live eels. (I think it’s eglass and graphite hybrid because it’s not as heavy as an older all glass rod I used to have.)

 

I wholeheartedly agree with many of the points already covered and won’t beat those to death. In addition to ballling up,  live eels will twist the hell out of your line and leader. You can’t eliminate this completely but I have a trick to minimize it. Use a circle hook, put a split ring on it. Put a swivel on there. Use a ball bearing swivel not a barrel swivel. Then tie your leader to the other end of the swivel. Circle hook up through the eels mouth and you all set. 

 

I personally prefer rigged eels in either style described above over live eels. Convenience. 

That’s a great idea!

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6 hours ago, Pad_Crasher said:

It's appropriate to ask these questions rather than wasting hours and $$$ experimenting. We're living in the golden age of information and efficiency after all. There's a ton of videos on YouTube from Skinner. I've never done it and I don't understand how a fresh water eel doesn't immediately die in the salt, but whatever. It definitely catches monsters from what I've seen/read.

 

Amreican Eels are catadromous  live in fresh spawn in salt , opposite of anadromous. 

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Another fun fact about eels is that they are pivotal in the growth (and fertilization?) of  freshwater mussels. The small mussel particles (think egg) suspend in the water and are filtered into american eels gills as the eels swim by. They cling onto the eels gill rakes until a certain life stage where they can support themselves. They use the flow of water to bring nutrients and such to support growth.

 

Without the american eel our rivers would not have mussles. Mussels are a vital part of a rivers natural filtration system. 150 years ago the delaware, schuykill, and other waterwars were lined with mussel beds. Something killed them off and paired with the turn of the century, the industrial revolution, and insufficient manmade filtration systems, our rivers were incredibly toxic until the last 10-20 years. Thanks to the clean water act and such, our rivers are healthy and clean, but a reintroduction of vast mussel beds is the most sustainable way of keeping our rivers clean. 

 

I learned this on a visitation to the fairmount water works 2 years ago where they were in their first phase of a new project of growing mussels in a lab. At maturity they planned to release the microscopic mussels into the schuykill. The female researcher that was working at the time told us that they were having an extremely hard time handling the slimy eels and it took them multiple tries to find the correct topping to their pool filled with eels. She would find an occasional eel wrapped around their computer cords or stuck in drainage holes.

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