Beaten but not defeated, we made one more attempt today. We
had kind of planned on going earlier in the season, but there were
reports that the water was way high and the water lilies hadn't even
come up yet. Nothing seen except bowfin. So we waited and
gambled that this would be the day.
When we got to our spot, the water was way DOWN. We both had
close encounters with non-venomous snakes, leeches, and
gambusia the size of mummichogs. A couple of F. dispar and F.
We decided to move across stream where the water was deeper. I
had chucked my minnow trap into a promising-looking area, and
after striking out a ways downstream, we went to retrieve the trap
and scout out other possible bluehead locations. But THIS time...
It's very rare that I have seen BG excited. But I swear he came
within a handsbreadth of a heart attack when he yelled out
"HUBBSI"! They were all around a stump near where I had thrown
the trap. A quick swish with the dipnet yielded three blueheads!
After a couple of scoops the water was churned up and really
muddy, and that's when all hell broke loose. Soon, we were finding
the dipnet filled with as many as 8-10 blueheads in each swipe!
We know without looking if fish were in the net, because they
made a sound like frying bacon. No matter how many ended up in
the net, there were twice as many to take their place. We netted
males this time too - both first (young) and second stage (terminal)
males. I am truly embarrassed to admit how many fish made their
way into the coolers. We both got all we needed to satisfy our own
needs (and those of others on a waiting list). These fish were
I had mentioned that I wanted to see some bowfins in the wild,
which would be a first for me. We stopped at a backwater to look
for Elassoma, and BG quickly located a pod of juvenile Amia. One
swoop and the net was filled with a grapefruit-sized ball of
squirming bowfins. I kept some because BG assured me that they
were good "trading material". So, anybody need a bowfin?
Anyway, when I got the fish home and settled, I quickly found out
that the large, secondary males will fight! They circle each other
and develop several vertical bars along their flanks. I have high
hopes for breeding these shiners since they come from very warm
water (in the mid to high 70's), and here in MS even my indoor
tanks get hot.
All in all, a very exciting and productive trip.
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