History of Snakehead Fishing
Florida Snakehead Fishing…Asian fish commonly known as a snakehead is the most recent addition to Florida fishing list of reproducing exotic fishes, scientists report. “However, it’s far too early to know or even speculate on what effects the presence of this Snakehead will have mean while Florida Snakehead fishing is a great sport fish to have fun with.
There are now 31 documented exotic fish species reproducing in Florida’s fresh waters with the addition of the Florida Snakehead. Some of the better known exotic residents include the walking catfish, Asian swamp eel, and oscar. The Florida Snakehead is an air-breathing fish similar in appearance and behavior to the native bowfin (or mudfish). Anglers have been Snakehead fishing and catching them since 2000, while Snakehead fishing is restrained to residential canals and ponds in Broward County for now. Most anglers initially think there a bowfin until noticing the ocellus, a distinctive dark spot rimmed in brilliant orange near the base of the tail fin.
Florida Snakeheads are native to parts of tropical Africa and Asia occurring in China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and India, according to the FWC. All snakeheads are distinguished by their torpedo shaped body, long dorsal and anal fins without spines, and toothed jaws. This snakehead typically has red eyes and is gold-tinted brown to pale gray in younger fish while older fish are generally dark brown with large black blotches. The most distinctive marking is the black spot rimmed with orange near the base of the tail fin, known as an eye-spot or ocellus.
Florida Snakehead fishing can only be described as being extremely aggressive and voracious, but based on our personal observations the species collected in Florida appears to be one of the more aggressive species of snakeheads. The species got to Florida by a illegal introduction of exotics in the first place, it is really the only viable tactic along with educating anglers, aquarists, and others about the illegality of dumping and/or transferring exotic fish from one water body to another. The Florida Snakehead is in freshwater and are contained in Florida’s numerous lakes, streams, rivers, canals, and impoundments throughout South Florida.
“Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes once an exotic fish begins reproducing there’s no stopping it, the bright side of things Florida Snakehead anglers have a new an very aggressive species added to the long list of fishing opportunities for anglers. Some of the literature on the Florida Snakehead fishing suggest this fish can reach lengths of five feet, although we are skeptical.”
Is Snakehead Fishing a Asset
There is no question, however, that the Snakehead fishing is highly valued asset throughout Asia for its food value and taste. “We have eaten a several snakeheads since we began our quest of fishing this species, and can attest to their excellent taste”. “Their popularity as food within the Asian cultures and now in South Florida may even explain the presence of the Snakehead in Florida waters.” Some customers apparently believe that in addition to tasting good, snakeheads have a medical benefit. All species of Florida Snakehead are illegal to possess live in the state of Florida. Possession of live Snakehead is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.
Florida law also makes it a crime for anyone to release any exotic fish into state waters.
The snakehead (also once called the “serpent headed fish”) has inspired various other beliefs and myths through the centuries. Because of its serpent-like head, some oriental cultures ERRONEOUSLY believed the snakehead had a poisonous bite.
A western scientist studying these species in 1878 wrote how the Karen people of Burma regarded this fish with “superstitious awe” and refrained from eating them.
Another source stated in 1822 that the religious people of Bengal Province in India believed it was unlucky to regard the snakehead as either bad or good.
Since there arrival we have spent years targeting these fish in our local waters. We have caught as many as 40 on one trip and usually average around 15 per outing. It is fun fishing with lots of explosive topwater strikes and hard runs. Not too mention that you will probably catch plenty of other species as well. You have to love South Florida, the melting pot for everything including fishing. With all of our native and non native species, we consider where we live South Florida to be the most exciting freshwater destinations in the World. It’s a fish that many anglers try fishing for and end up returning again and again.