Where did they come from? And how would their presence in some of Australia’s river systems and impoundments impact on my fishing? As I explored information available to me my suspicions were confirmed: Tilapia are not good news for rec fishos.
A little while back I was exploring the Mulgrave River in the Cairns hinterland while holidaying up north, flicking little lures around in the hope of enticing a few sooties. I noticed a couple of small fish taking refuge in the shadows, and from a distance I guessed them to be archerfish. Given the quiet afternoon I was having, light tackle and small surface lure I was using I decided to see if I could generate any interest from them, but despite a few accurate casts and lure changes, was unsuccessful.
I moved to a new vantage point to enable me to get a better look at them, and noticed that these fish looked quite unfamiliar. As I sat there watching them I realised that they weren’t archerfish, or indeed, even anything natural to the river system – I was looking at a spotted Tilapia (Tilapia mariae). As I started to scan the pool more carefully I began noticing more of them in the shallows, amongst the bankside vegetation and snags. I continued to flick lures at them for a while (unsuccessfully) before calling it a day and returning to my car.
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