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More on Eels

When I was a kid, growing up on the Chesapeake Bay, I used to catch eels
(A. rostrata) all the time.  I have a few tips for those who are
interested in them:

1.  Eels are VERY strong.  A large adult can easily push its way out of
a poorly covered tank.  Covers must fit tightly and/or be very heavy.

2.  If you want to keep eels in a tank, you may want to start out with
juveniles.  The best way I know to get elvers is to find a shallow muddy
cove with lots of logs and smaller pieces of wood near the shore.  Walk
around and flip over every piece of wood you can.  Be ready with an
aquarium net to scoop up the elver as he tries to head for cover.  In
tidal areas, you may even find them hiding under objects that have been
exposed at low tide.

3.  If you want adult eels, you can use eel traps or hook and line.  If
you go with the hook and line method, I would suggest using barbless
hooks.  Also make sure you have a good hook disgorger or needle nose
pliers.  Eels are very slimy as well; you will need a rag or paper towel
just to get a grip on them, and they are not easy to subdue!  Eels put
up a heck of a fight on light tackle.

4.  Eels eat a wide variety of live and dead food.  In the tributaries
of the Chesapeake, we caught them on everything from worms and minnows
to grass shrimp.  By far, the best bait I know of is a juicy leg from a
soft shelled Blue Crab.  Eels REALLY go for it!

Adding to Garold's remarks:  

American eels are know to spawn in the Sargasso Sea.  Once the larvae
develop into elvers, they head up into the rivers where they stay until
maturity.  It is believed, however, that only females make the trip

Striped Bass love to eat eels, as do Bluefish.  Many fishermen in the
Chesapeake use eel-imitating lures to catch big stripers and blues.


Christian C. Burke

Email:      cburke.fish-head at worldnet_att.net
Home Page:  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/2640/