Saturday, July 4, 2015

Neshaminy Creek Microfishing

NEWS UPDATE: My family will be moving to Bucks County, PA in August, so prepare to see more reports from there. I will also be going to a Private College Prep school, so there will be less reports in total for the next 4 years.  

Today my family and I headed over to visit our new house in Bucks County. After looking around and dropping off some things, we headed to the nearby (and popular) Tyler State Park. It has great facilities, and best of all, Neshaminy Creek runs right through it.

While most of my family went canoeing, my grandpa and I went fishing in Neshaminy Creek, in the pool directly downstream of the pedestrian bridge. With some size 10 hooks and redworms, I immediately caught plenty of small fish.

Green Sunfish, Creek Chubs, Redbreast Sunfish, and Rock Bass were among those caught. There were also some nice smallmouth in this creek, but I didn't bother with them, giving my more limited time. Anyways, I would have plenty of opportunities once I move!

I switched to a tanago hook with a tiny nub of worm to try microfishing. By the way, If you want to try Microfishing, Chris at tenkarabum is your guy. It is the only place in the US with specialized microfishing gear, (from japan) and the service is excellent. My stuff arrives in 2 days with a free sample of fly tying yarn!

The first fish I caught, after some research, was deemed as a Swallowtail Shiner. (species #45)

I caught tons of what I thought were also the same species, so I only took photos of one other, which also turned out to be another lifer, the spottail shiner! (species #46) In hindsight, I should have examined each one carefully, they could have been bridled, ironcolor, comely, or another tiny, hard to identify shiner.

The spottail:

I also landed a lot of unidentified Cyprinella (either satinfin or spotfin shiner), that I didn't bother to ID because they were juveniles. Luckily, I didn't need too, as you find out shortly.

The highlight of the trip was some larger micros that were darting around in the small pool. There was only about 8-12 of them, but they had brilliant white fins and blue-purple iridescence. I thought that these were all satinfin shiners, and I got really exited, having never had the opportunity to catch colorful/ spawning micros. They were not especially in feeding mode, unlike the hordes of smaller shiners, and they would often attack the split shot. So I put a larger nub of worm to try to catch one, with a group of excited six year-olds with dipnets shouting that they saw a "white fin shark" at my back. I hooked some 3 times, but they fell off the hook each time as I was lifting it up. On the fourth try, I finally landed one!!!

The pictures really do not capture the iridescence of the fish. It positively glowed with purple, blue, silver, and turquoise. Also it you look closely, you can see small tubercles on its head - it felt like sandpaper when I touched it!

Upon further investigation at home, I counted 8 anal fin rays, making this a Spotfin Shiner!!! (species #47). I spent the rest of the time targeting the white-fins, and landed one more. This one had more white fins and a stronger blue hue. Counting the anal fin rays, (9) I determined this one was a Satinfin Shiner!!! (species #48)

These Shiners ere absolute beauts in the hand. I got both Cyprinella species in the Delaware River drainage, so I didn't have to bother with identifying the tiny juveniles. Now, when I move, catching all the fish in PA instead of NJ may be impossible... :)

Meanwhile, My gramps was putting a beating on sunfish and chubs, catching more than 50! Other micro species caught but not photographed were banded killifish and common shiner.

In between tiny micros, I felt a tug and set the tanago hook, and after a lengthy fight, I landed the largest fish I have caught with a tanago hook; a redbreast sunfish. I'm still amazed that the tiny hook held!!!

If you look closely (and click the pic to biggenize), you'll see a microscopic hook and .75 lb test.

Where I fished the Neshaminy... God I love summer!!!

I'm getting awfully close to 50 species...

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