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European Eel, Anguilla anguilla

Irish Record Fish:
Boat Specimen:
Shore Specimen:
Photo Credit:

Johnny Jensen

JJ Photo 

Introduction: A truly remarkable fish that makes a reverse transition between fresh to salt water in comparison with the more famous salmon, Freshwater or Silver Eels are commonly caught in tidal estuaries and at river mouths, often in almost totally salt water.  Having spawned in the Sargasso Sea, several thousand miles across the Atlantic ocean from their freshwater homes, the elvers and occassionally the adults make their way back via routes that are still unchartered...  The tiny ribbon-like translucent elvers are often caught by the thousand in specially designed traps on rivers on dark nights as they make their ascent.  Freshwater Eels can reach a substantial size, although nothing by comparison with the monster saltwater Conger Eel!  Once mature, they make the return journey back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.  Eels have been known to slide across damp fields at night if a river has been blocked in any way.  Was that an eel in your tent or... !?! 

Boat tactics: Freshwater Eels are the equivalent of strap Conger Eels and as such they are scavengers and opportunist feeders - they will happily take most legered baits, from worm to fish strip, including cocktails however smaller hooks are required, perhaps 2/0 being the maximum.

Shore tactics: Most Freshwater Eels are caught from the shore, typically in the weedy margins of estuaries or even very small creeks leaking out onto beaches by anglers seeking flatfish.