A short guide to catching eels. Is it worth going through the trouble?
Eels are arguably the most unique type of fish a practicing angler might go for. It’s long, snake-like body is unmistakable even to complete beginners, which contributes even more to the challenge of catching one with spinning rods.
The truth is, you need to carefully prepare in order to have a chance as well understand the basics of eel behavior. Because of this, we’ve written this article to tell you more about just that.
Here’s everything you need to know about eels and angling them.
Typical eel features – How to recognize and distinguish one?
As mentioned, the most noticeable feature of an eel is it’s long body, reminiscent of that of a snake, along with a similarly shaped head as well as round, clear eyes. It’s teeth are small in size, but very effective when combined with their strong upper and lower jawlines.
In terms of the skin, freshwater adult eels typically have an olive-greenish type of color with a light yellow colored belly area. Meanwhile as the eels grow older and begin to migrate towards the sea the skin gets darker to an almost black tone on the back and gets silvery on the belly.
Last but not least, there’s the distinct set of finds which again, can be seen on both the back and belly sides running through the majority of the body, meeting up at the very tail end.
Lifespan of eels
The average lifespan of an eel is around 10-20 years with half of its life being spent in freshwater, before migrating to seas to procreate.
Female eels can take up to 15-18 years to migrate, while their male counterparts leave much sooner after a period of about 12 years.
It is thought that eels stay around in these sea areas. Until the day they with their larvae usually being brought back towards the coast thanks to the active water currents.
The Sargasso sea is an especially famed spot for adult eels since it provides the necessary habitat. Required for the species.
Best practices for catching eel
Stillwater is considered the best place for eel angling, even though eels can be generally found in all waters. The same applies for the fishing time. While eels can be caught during the day, many experts recommend going for them at dusk or dawn.
Since they feed throughout the year as well, there are plenty of chances to plan your fishing trip. Although the later half of the year – July to October period is typically considered the best time.
In terms of fishing methods, again, multiple can work well. Including float fishing, ledger as well as feeder fishing. Float fishing is typically considered to be the most effective of the bunch.
As eels respond very effectively to the use of groundbait, being heavy on your bait is a good thing when trying to catch eels. Various worms, maggots as well deadbait can work perfectly well here.
Also, don’t forget a strong mainline and a few large hooks can complete your setup.
Why going for eels might not be that good of an idea after all
As more experienced anglers might already know, eels have been on a severe decline, especially in Europe. Because of this, many environmental and government agencies have imposed strict laws for eel angling.
Most of these documents follow the idea that it’s illegal to remove the eels from the body of water. That they’re caught in and anglers must either return them to the water as soon as possible. Without any injuries or keep them in a net until again, they are returned.
Whether these laws are justified or not, remains to be seen. However for now, catching eels is mostly for those that enjoy the process.
Al in all
Today we’ve talked about the basics of eels. While heavily restricted, this type of angling is still heavily appreciate throughout Europe, mainly because of the difficult challenge that it is to catch one.