AClarke

Fishing the eel

Rate this topic

8 posts in this topic

Hey everyone, just joined a few weeks ago and have been trying to educate myself with past posts and what’s available in print and in the great wide web but I’m having trouble with my eels. Specifically keeping them alive long term and the rigging process. 
 

I am relatively new to serious surf fishing but have been fishing casually my whole life. 
 

With the last new moon in August I got myself a bunch of eels and had some really nice success, a bunch of keepers and a couple well over the 35 inch mark.  I had built the 3 bucket ice/eel/drainage system which worked phenomenally keeping them alive for well over a week while I fished them. However I wanted a setup in which I could keep the eels alive indefinitely without the need for ice. In my relatively cool basement I filled a bucket with tap water, added some basic aquarium water treatment to remove any chlorine in the Newport city water, added a bubbler and added freshly bought eels. 
 

Within 24 hours the eels had all died. 

Any advice on a better system? 
 

Also, now that I have a freezer of dead eels what’s your go to rigged eel. I’ve watched the John Skinners tutorial, I’ve just recently read Surfcasting Around the Block by Mr. Zambrotta (which has inspired a block trip of my own come the new moon) and I’ve done the general googling.

 

It looks like some guys remove the bones, some use the rigging needle, some store them in a brine solution and some are just tossed in the freezer as is. 

Sorry for the long post!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got two problems. First is keeping the eels alive, eels usually only die off as you described due to lack of oxygen or because of overheated water but you introduced a third being the water treatment you added. The first possibility being lack of oxygen is easy to see before it becomes an issue. Low oxygen will cause the eels to rise to the surface in order to gulp air with their heads sticking out of the water. Something very easy to see, if you look and you understand the behavior. The second possibility is the water being too warm is also easy to discern by putting your hand in the water, if the water doesn't feel cool to you then it's too warm. I have never heard of anyone treating the water with aquarium drops and that very likely is your problem. Eels can live in the nastiest of conditions assuming the water isn't too warm and the oxygen level is sufficient. I changed the water every day regardless and have had over 100 eels at a time stored in a 48 qt cooler (which is far superior to a bucket) for very extended periods of time. You'll notice excessive "tail eating" if they are packed too closely together.

 

As far as rigging the dead ones, everyone has done it but it is a poor choice in my opinion. The dead eels are likely compromised with rot, cloudy eyes and flappy belly skin. The labor of rigging eels is considerable so I myself would rig hand selected perfect specimens of desired proportions and not whatever happened to die off. I was taught to only rig starved eels as unpurged eels bellies will tear in short order after a few casts and again (to me) the time I needed to rig an eel would not be wasted on a substandard donor eel.

 

I always used redundant air pumps, each with redundant air lines and air stones powered from redundant power sources whether it is household electrical or 12 volt battery. Never had a problem. Eels that died off I would just throw dead on a single hook and often they would tear off on the cast due to the reasons earlier mentioned. You should easily be able to blow thru an air stone with your mouth. They clog up after a bit and that is an easy test. I also always carried spare stones.

Edited by SC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

25 gal trash barrel.....dichlorination tabs at Petco (follow directions on bottle); an aquarium pump from Petco (I use 2) change the water once or twice a week....have kept eels for a month doing this.....I put barrel in garage and have kept 5-8 lbs of eels this way

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to use a small fish tank and aerator  pump.  Kept them in the garage. Never treated the water and the eels would last me for months in the fall.  I did swap out the water every so often. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I

21 hours ago, 27conch said:

I used to use a small fish tank and aerator  pump.  Kept them in the garage. Never treated the water and the eels would last me for months in the fall.  I did swap out the water every so often. 

I’m guessing it was to warm considering everyone’s input. That last heat wave kept even my basement a balmy 80 degrees. 
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a nice set up out side under the deck with an old 55 gal tank and aerator.  I even put logs and rocks in there so the could hide.  Came home to one of the those big birds herons having a meal :) I had 2 out 14 left so I think he had buddies or a raccoon had dinner the previous night.  My wife wont let me bring them in the house so I just throw plugs now hahahaha.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Reel1in said:

I had a nice set up out side under the deck with an old 55 gal tank and aerator.  I even put logs and rocks in there so the could hide.  Came home to one of the those big birds herons having a meal :) I had 2 out 14 left so I think he had buddies or a raccoon had dinner the previous night.  My wife wont let me bring them in the house so I just throw plugs now hahahaha.  

Haha that sounds about right. My better half hasn’t found some frozen ones I have saved yet. That will definitely not go over well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.