A somewhat unusual fish for the majority of the population, both in appearance and in lifestyle. It has an elongated body, a bit like a snake. Otherwise, this is a typical fish, the back of the body is flattened. The abdomen of young eels has a yellowish tint, and in sexually mature it is whitish. European eel is a migratory fish (catadrome), a significant part of life lives in fresh water, and spawning goes to sea. In this, it differs from most fish that are familiar to us, which also have a passing way of life, but go to spawn in fresh water.

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European Eel Fishing

Overview of european eel

Dimensions can reach 2 m in length and weigh more than 10 kg. But usually these fish are much smaller. An ambush predator that prefers nocturnal lifestyle. Cases of eels creeping into other bodies of water on the ground during rain or on wet grass are known.

In the world there are about 19 species of fish belonging to the genus of eels, some of them can be dangerous to humans (electric eel). But eel, common in the rivers of Europe, is not dangerous and can be a wonderful fishing object. European eels of the genus Anguilla anguilla, despite being quite widespread, belong to the same species. Included in the IUCN Red List. In the case of fishing in natural reservoirs where this fish lives, it is necessary to clarify the rules of recreational fishing.

Reproduction habit of european eel

In nature, European eels breed in the Sargasso Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, in the area of the Gulf Stream. After 9-12 years of life in the rivers and lakes of Europe, eel begins to slide into the seas and move towards spawning grounds. The color of the fish changes, becomes brighter, during this period, sexual differences appear. Fish spawn at depths of the order of 400m, mashing a huge amount of caviar, up to half a million or more.


After spawning, the fish dies. After some time, fertilized caviar turns into a transparent larva – leptocephalus, which begins independent life in the upper layers of water, then, under the influence of the warm Gulf Stream, is gradually carried away to places of further residence. After about three years, the larva turns into the next form of development – glass eel. When approaching fresh waters, a metamorphosis occurs again in the fish, it acquires the usual color and already enters the rivers in this form.

European eel fishing techniques

The fish leads a near-bottom, twilight lifestyle, prefers areas with calm water. Often lives in reservoirs. Related to this are fishing methods for eel. For fishing use various bottom, float gear; sometimes the old ones are “on a needle”, or the analogues of “circles” are “on a bottle”. An even more exotic way is to catch eel on a snap with a rope loop from planted worms – crawling out and an umbrella instead of landing. The eel clings and hangs on a bunch of worms on hooked teeth, and is picked up by an umbrella in the air.

Catching european eel on bottom gear

The main requirement for tackle for European eel fishing is reliability. The principles of equipment do not differ from ordinary bottom fishing rods or snacks. Depending on the conditions and desires of the fisherman, fishing rods with “blank equipment” or equipped with reels are used. Eel is not particularly careful, so the use of thick, durable snap-ins is important not so much because of the resistance of the fish, but because of the fishing conditions at night and in the evening.


European eel is excellently caught during the day, especially on cloudy or rainy days. Donka rods are better equipped with double or triple hooks. The most important condition for successful eel fishing is knowledge of the place of residence and food, as well as knowledge of the habits of local fish.

European eel fishing bait

Fish is taught to the place of fishing by bait, but, as is the case with other fish, this is not recommended on the day of fishing. For the most part, European eels are caught on animal bait. These are various earthworms, taking into account the greed of this fish, either crawl out or are tied into a bunch smaller. European eel is perfectly caught on live bait or pieces of fish meat. Many Baltic eels prefer small lamprey, but at the same time they catch eel practically on any local fish.

European eel fishing place

The spread of European eels reaches the White Sea basin in the Northwest, and in the Black Sea basin are occasionally observed along all tributaries to the Don River and the Taganrog Bay. Northwestern populations of eel spread over many reservoirs of the region’s inland waters.

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