NANFA-- River Reef

kahley (
Sun, 01 Jul 2001 19:11:30 -0500

My river has slowed to the point where I was able to go out today,
Not clear yet but this afternoon I could tell by the hour that it won't
be long. The bass I named Left Eye was still there and eager for
a treat. The minnows survived the flooding as well and many of the
bigger ones have really high opalescent breeding color! It seems
the reef has at least two dozen fingerling bass that I'll get to watch grow.

And a delightful surprise. One of the catfish came today. Not the one with
the curled dorsal though. No matter how often it happens, I still get a kick
out of looking down a catfish's throat.They get so aggressive for treats that
they come right up to your face and say "ahhhhh". He was pretty rough
with Left Eye though....just pushed her out of the way.
The day the catfish first came around, they scared me. I had not yet caught
on to the magnification factor of the goggle/water and they looked sooo huge.
I jumped up onto the reef and watched as they circled around looking for
Only then did I realize their true size. Now they truly are huge, but no
longer scary.

Another day of surprises! Curly returned (the catfish with the curled
Actually, the dorsal is gone, and an angry pink sore remains. It doesn't look
good. You may wonder how I know it's Curly without the fin. He is the only
one of my catfish that mussels at the treat pocket like some hungry
puppy. Now
he and Larry are back so the minnows better be alert. Will Whitey return
as well?
Even in the still murky water, I can tell when a catfish is around before I
see it.
The cloud of minnows that follow me around minnows.

Two firsts to add to my list! A really good look at a four inch
catfish. I was
moving a rock and there it was. And it didn't scoot away as they usually do
so I got a good chance to check it out. This one was very pale and I
wonder if
that's typical or if this one was ill. Also, I finally saw a young
clam. The reef
area is covered with the shells..millions of them, from 1/8 in up to four,
but I rarely
see live clams and never a juvenile. I cruised all over the area, looking
for them,
but didn't realize they lodged on their edge. I was looking for them to be
flat. One day about five years ago, I was doing a drift by on the shallows
near by
and saw one "clam up" as my shadow passed. Maybe that was just coincidence
since I'm not sure how they would perceive light change without an eye? In
any case, this young one should be safe, tucked into a sand pocket at the
edge of the deep reef so maybe I'll get to see how much it grows in a
season. Must
remember to take a ruler. No sign of Leftie. Not unusually, since she's
not a greedy
feeder and there were a lot of boats out. She lays low during the weekends but
I always worry about fisherman. She's getting big....about 16 in.

Yesterday there were T Storms in the evening so the water is no clearer today.
I hope this isn't a repeat of last year. T-storms all the time and the
river only cleared
for a couple weeks in August. Well that's why I built the reef. If you
can only see
four feet, there better be neat things to watch less than four feet
away. Today,
there were two new catfish. Hmmm...Curly, Larry, Moe and Shemp? They all must
be part of the pack that were raised on the reef because they are totally
of me. A bit too accepting...constantly in my face begging for a hand out. I
brought a half cup of left over macaroni and cheese and dumped it to occupy
while I slipped some of the good stuff to Left Eye. She's getting
increasingly shy
about the commotion on the reef. It always seems to happen that way. When
get big, they keep their distance. I did catch a glimpse of Blackie
though! Blackie
is a very dark bass...way beyond the olive that I'm used to seeing. I have
built a
couple of "windows" in the big reef to watch without being seen and I saw him
whip past the window and settle down under the log. He was my personal
two seasons ago and I thought he was looong gone. I'm surprised he hasn't
caught. He must be near 20 inches. Also, while I was window watching I
saw one
of the fish I don't know the name of. They are sunfish shaped, green with
spots that
gleam brilliant blue in some light. They are perennial reef residents, but
this one must
be 10 in. long...twice what I'm used to seeing. They usually build a
pebble nest between
the logs and the big reef and watching them guard it is a constant
amusement. No nest
yet this year. I have to do some maintained in that area to clear up sand
build up but
the water is still to deep and swift to work with a snorkel. They probably
will wait till I decide
to dig out the area and then build their nest so I can't work!.
I haven't been able to connect with any of the next generation bass
yet. Like Lefty,
they don't like the commotion of all the minnows. I know I said I miss the
minnows when
they are gone but there are so many of them this year and I'm getting tired
of their
mini piranha act on my legs. Not only is it annoying, but when they hit
the tender
skin on the back of my knees it borders on hurting. No more mac and cheese
for the
catfish. They can thin out the minnow herd. It's not a good way to go but
good for the breeding stock. Only the minnows that learn to fly
survive. It's amazing
to see them leave the water like that when the catfish get
aggressive. Soaring through
the air like a skipped stone by the dozens.

It's been a decent three days even if today was cut short by yet another
T-storm. I
have to work tomorrow and then I'm off til next Monday. Hope the water

Question of the day? where do bass lay their eggs?

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