Headed over to Carlyle again with Rich for some night fishing, ended up catching a handful crappie and shortnose gar (no spotted or longnose yet!). I also picked up an Orangespotted Sunfish in the old river channel! Been waiting for one of those!
July 12th – Shelbyville
Ben Cantrell had been having good luck at Shelbyville catching a number of species I need, so I gave it a shot. I chummed hard with corn and an alfalfa pellet blend intended for raising mice / rats. It was pretty slow in the afternoon, but towards dark the bite picked up. I ended up catching a number of Smallmouth Buffalo, Yellow Bass and (possibly*) a Black Buffalo.
The yellow bass were biting hard, as were gar (didn’t catch any myself, some guys were fishing nearby with minnows off the bottom). Right after I caught the first Yellow, the buffalo bite kicked in hard. Caught a handful of smallmouths.
One looked a little different to me, and I am currently counting it as a Black Buffalo. The problem is, they are extremely hard to differentiate when they are under about two feet long. There are a set of guidelines on roughfish.com that establishes a way to “count them” based on various measurement ratios. This fish was the only one that came close, and had a larger mouth proportionally to the others. Ultimately, only a genetic test can prove the species until I catch one that is so large that there can’t be any mistake. So, I’m counting this one as species #46* with a huge asterisk.
July 14th – Carlyle
We got to hang out with Mallory, Rich and Weston at the Aquatic Zoo in Mt. Vernon on the 14th, and eventually Rich and I headed to Carlyle to work on some night fishing. The shad were working up hard against the rocks, and ultimately the gar, crappie and white bass too.
I was rigging for gar with minnows, but I’ve since learned some tricks to catch the big ones on cut shad. And there were big ones in there, very large longnose and spotted gar. Hopefully, we make it back there soon.
I did my classic “one more cast” and caught a Black Crappie, one of those species I know I’ve probably caught many times before, but have no photo proof.
It was hard to wait till the weekend to do any more fishing, because I was only two fish away from 50.
July 17th – Wappapello, MO
I met with an Online friend at the Wappapello Dam, after catching a bunch of Drum on the bottom and losing a bunch of tackle. The current was pretty rough.
We made our way to a small stream in Poplar Bluff, and Rapidly caught three Sunfish Species I needed, along with Green Sunfish and some beautiful Long-Ears
The Dollar Sunfish ended up meeting my goal for the year! I really love catching sunfish because of their wide variety and aggression for their size.
We spent an hour or so trying for chubsuckers, which were actively feeding but not taking the hook. The next day, another guy from the Roughfish.com website went out and caught one right away. I’ll just have to go back and try again!
We went and tried out Tyler’s secret Chain Pickerel spot, but there was a family that had just swam in it and stirred it all up. The fish were pretty spooked, so we moved on.
We headed over to Van Buren to try for Shadow Bass. The Current River was high and flowing. We tried around a spot that many other guys caught their lifer Shadow from, but had no hookups. Micros were productive though, caught lots of bleeding shiners plus three new lifers:
Next, we moved on to try Big Spring, and it seemed pretty unproductive. We fished around cover with small jigs for a while, and my bottom rig sat there motionless. When I went to reel it in, I got an immediate hook up with a fish. It ended up being a Black Redhorse, my first large sucker species.
Finally we headed back to the Pickerel spot, and after a few casts hooked up with my first Esox –
We tried to hit the swampy area where you can pick up Banded Pygmy Sunfish, but there was a massive fish kill. Lots of dead fish, and the water was oily with fish slime. I snagged a gar with a micro hook on 1/2# test, and decided to move on when it broke my line.
I dropped Tyler back off at Wappapello afterwards. We tried for gar, but it was getting late. We cast-netted some shad, and threw out a few times. Saw some silversides that I am kicking myself for not catching now on micro hooks. My rushing home didn’t pay off in the end, due to some GPS issues, bad signal and lots of construction. Ended up getting home around 2:30a.m. after starting my day at 4:30a.m.
Next time I’ll take the 5 minutes to catch the dang silversides.
While we were in Iuka swimming, I took the 4-wheeler back down to John’s Branch to see what the flow was like. The deeper pools were FULL of huge bullfrog tadpoles and a large carp. I found a couple little riffles with small darters in them, but they were too small to catch on the hooks I had. I tried to find larger ones, but I mostly caught these bad boys in possible hiding spots:
I started poking around for other fish, and my first one was a new lifer:
I ended up catching lots of fish, probably juvenile creek chub and redfins, as well as a handful of small sunfish.
It was getting close to time to head back, but I hooked one last fish, and another new lifer.
I’m getting a lot closer to that 50 mark!