Thursday, June 21, 2018

Start of Summer

In accordance with tradition, June began with my annual participation in the Spring Species contest. Although I have yet to have winning aspirations (this year especially), it's always fun to see what local species I can scrounge up within a month. 

Of course, I had to kick things off with the obligatory golf course session, which provided 2 species in short order, the largemouth bass and the bluegill. While I would have loved to stay and have fun with these guys, the big bull bluegills in particular, I had some other easy fish to check off the list.  

To find some more, I headed down to the outlet of the pond, the tiny creek through the golf course. Creek chubs came easily with a small jig.

Followed by a pretty, albeit small, pumpkinseed. A species is a species. 

The green sunfish took slightly more effort. Technically an invasive species in New Jersey, they are definitely established in the local creek but for some reason never attain large sizes or numbers, as they are outcompeted by the various other Lepomis species occupying the same niche. Eventually, though, I found a small one in the shallows and sightfished it with a jig. Since greens have proportionally larger mouths than their Lepomis counterparts, this tiny specimen had no problem inhaling my presentation.

It fit the button perfectly, replacing this years contest mascot: the mooneye.

A trip to another section yielded further staples, the redbreast sunfish and the rock bass. 

Those targets, caught relatively fast, would end my contest endeavors for the time being, since I had other matters of interest to pursue.

Most infuriating of which would most definitely be my (many) futile attempts to capture a creek chubsucker on hook and line. These notoriously spooky and finicky fish showed zero regard to any of my strategies, and not for lack of effort on my part.

To save you from the incredibly exciting tale of me perching motionless in the summer sun for hours on end, I'll cut to the notable bits, of which weren't especially notable.

Suffice it to say, the closest I got to a creek chubsucker was a half-eaten dead individual.

And from a angling standpoint, I found it amusing to catch a tiny green sunfish on a blade of grass I accidentally hooked. 

My futile efforts towards the creek chubsucker did yield several enjoyable finds: a green frog and a northern watersnake, two commonplace inhabitants of the local microhabitat.

And while no catches were particularly exciting in any fashion, the effort was a good way to kick off the summer by returning to my roots.

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