Lake, River, Backcountry, Swamps, Canals, Drainages, Estuaries
1 - 6 pounds
12" - 15"
The Mozambique Tilapia is a small brackish water game fish. It has a grey to black color with a tinge of grey-blue. It has a deep compressed body, its dorsal fins are long, and the front part of the dorsal fins have spines. Its underbelly has a pale yellow or cream color, and its scales are large.
The biggest Mozambique tilapia was 15 inches long and weighed up to 6.8 lbs. On average, they can weigh between 1 to 2 lbs and usually grow up to 12 inches long. The Mozambfique tilapia is an omnivore. They will almost eat anything, from algae, rooted plants, small invertebrates, younger Mozambique tilapia, and even the feces of other animals.
Despite having a large number in the population, the Mozambique tilapia can be hard to fly fish since they can easily get spooked. First, check the water condition and try to spot tilapia nests. If the water is murky, then it is safer to cast near them but if the water is a bit clearer, then cast farther from them. So, cast slightly away from the spot to avoid scaring the fish and slowly entice it along their way with a figure 8 retrieves.
Here are the recommended gears by anglers to fly fish in a Mozambique tilapia. Use a 7 to 9 foot 5 to 7-wt fly rod equipped with a 4 to a 6-wt floating line. For the leader, you can use from 4 to 8-lbs monofilament line and a #6 to #4 hooks for their small mouths.
Good flies to use are popping bugs, fritz, nymphs, or bug-type flies. According to anglers, the effective colors to use are white. For the baits to use, the recommended are minnows, worms, and nightcrawlers. You can also use easy access baits such as corn, bread balls, and peas.
The Mozambique tilapia is an invasive species in the US. Originally, they are native fish from central and southern parts of Africa where they thrive in rivers, lakes, swamps, estuaries, inshore and coastal waters. Sometimes they can even be found in open seas. In the US, they are mainly found in Houston, Florida, and even in Hawaii. They also thrive in manmade structures such as canals, drainages, creeks, and ditches.
They prefer warm tropical water temperatures ranging from 63–95 °F and where the waters are shallow. You can catch Mozambique tilapia any time of the year, but their peak season is during spring and fall.