Tightlines - Redbreasted tilapia - Rudolph Venter

Species of the month - deur Rudolph Venter

Translated by J.Lessing

Redbreasted tilapia (Tilapia Rendalli)

In my previous edition, i discussed the Vleikurper or Banded Tilapia and thats why i thought to discuss the redbreast tilapia because you can easily mix them up.Its fairly easy to identify the large redbreast tilapia,but the small redbreast tilapia looks just like the vleikurpers.This is because both species belong to the tilapia family.Redbreast tilapia name says it all,because they usually have a red chest, but sometimes the chest looks white and then its difficult to tell them apart.They are usually light brown of colour with 5 to 7 verticle lines on their side.The best way to identify the redbreast tilapia is to look at their fintail.Redbreasted tilapia fintail is made of two clours, the upper part is brownish and the lower half look red to orange.

Redbreasted tilapia have, just like vleikurpers, a destinctive ‘tilapia spot’ on their backs. Redbreasted tilapia is more rounded than other species. Redbreast tilapia uses their strong jaws to burrough in the mud and to make nests.These nests is a good location to fish for redbreast tilapia.Redbreast tilapia can reach 400mm in length, but is on average about 150 to 200mm. Next to bloukurpers they are the largest of our local species. The SA record of 1,375kg was caught inDoorndraaidam . Redbreast tilapia is in warmwatersystems from Natal north to the Zambezi. Redbreast tilapia is often unlawfully put into systems outside of their natural environment. Redbreast tilapia likes reeds,trees and a rocky structure. If waterlevels rises quickly into the grass,one could expect a lot of them in there. Redbreast tilapia is the most agressive of our indiginous kurperspecies.They are often caught on small art lure when anglers fish for Bass.I believe the best lure is a silver redbreast tilapia DAM Effzett nr.1 swingblade. Redbreast tilapia will give you lots of fun on light tackle because its easy to target them.Dams like Loskop, Arabie and Doorndraai will also give you a good time when you target them.

(photo Nigel Triggs )

(source: Paul Skelton, A Complete Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Southern Africa)

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