NANFA-- Chasing F. bifax

Rose Lawn Museum (
Wed, 14 Aug 2002 12:05:52 -0400

Hi All

On Saturday (8/10/02), I slipped across the border into AL searching for
the hard-to-find stippled studfish (Fundulus bifax). This one is a
"tweener" that exhibits similarities to the Northern & Southern studfish,
but has an extremely limited range. Although they occur in GA as well, they
are listed as rare over here. I wanted at least a good photo for my
records. They proved to be far more elusive than I imagined (I'm not used
to getting skunked!), but the chase was fun.

On the way over via I-20, I noticed that my AL license had expired on 7/31.
I took the first exit inside AL, and drove north on Co. Highway 49 into the
Tallapoosa River drainage. The river was nearby, and I crossed several
little creeks along the way that looked promising. I headed west on US 78,
passing through several little townships that seemed to have only one store
each, none of which sold fishing licenses. In Edwardsville, a very large
lady told me, "We cain't get 'em 'til the fifteenth. I heard the only place
that's got 'em right now is the courthouse."

Having no idea where the courthouse was, I contemplated my options as I
pulled back onto the highway. The very first vehicle I passed was that of a
ranger. I took it as an omen and continued my search. Three miles further
west I finally found a store that sold licenses and I was soon legal once
again. After my recent visit with the GA, SC, & US Forestry officials, I
had no inclination to stretch the rules!

I backtracked to the main body of the Tallapoosa. I thought about breaking
out the snorkeling gear, but it was already late afternoon. My daylight
time in the water was going to be too limited for that. Normally, beneath
each highway bridge there is a stretch of rip-rap or at least a path to the
water. However, at this location (on both sides of the bridge) the rip-rap
ended abruptly at a thick stand of short trees (willows?) overgrown with
mean ol' blackberry brambles.