NANFA-- Toms River, NJ Collecting 5/12/01 (long)

Henry Deford (
Sun, 13 May 2001 10:50:42 -0400

My father, my friend (Carl Ebeling), and myself left Baltimore, MD on Friday
night around 6:30pm heading for Toms River, NJ. We were heading up on a
collecting expedition on the hunt for Black Banded Sunfish.

Well we started our collecting the next day, Saturday, and went to one of
the locations that was recommended for me to go to. Well we arrived at the
location and the river was about I'd say 60 yards wide and at least 12 feet
deep in the middle. With only 3 of us we couldn't really maneuver the seine
around the thick brush on the shore while wadding up to our arm pits. We
decided to then move more up river so we got back in the car and headed back
up 37 a thinner part of the river. It was about 40 yards wide here but the
water was at max only 3 feet deep near the bridge. Farther down from the
bridge it went way past our long dipnet so we didn't even want to try to get
in there. After an hour and a half collecting and finding not one fish at
that one location in the river we packed up the stuff and went down to the
local fishing shop and bought a small Ultra-Lite fishing rod and a fishing
license and went back to that location to see if they would bite. No luck.

We then drove all the way up 37 to Lakehurst where Horricon Lake is. We
arrived at the lake while there was a children's bike rally happening on the
road that curved around one side of the lake. We couldn't get the car up to
the site we wanted to collect at in the Lake because of the children on the
road and that the road was coned off. We then asked some fire fighters who
where keeping cars out if we could possibly take the car up to the dead end
in the road and park it and they let us go through.

We parked at the dead end, got out all the stuff, and got in the lake. We
tried to seine a part of the bank on one side of the lake and we caught a
nice 5" Pickerel. We let him go and went on collecting. No luck with the
seine. We then used the dipnets all along that bank and didn't get any luck
either. It was about 4:30pm and we were packing up to head home when I
thought that we should try one more bank of the lake. So we drove back down
the road a bit and I got in the lake with just a dipnet and started scooping
up towards the bank from about 3 feet from the bank. Finally, a fish. A
small, 2" Bluespotted Sunfish. I eagerly put him in the cooler and went on
doing what I had been doing. About 20 feet farther down the bank I caught a
big fat Brown or Yellow Bullhead about 8" long. I released him immediately
and didn't really I have time to ID him correctly. I then went farther down
the bank scooping up towards the shore and got a very very small, less than
an inch, Black Banded Sunfish. He instantly slipped through the holes in the
net and into my hand below the net. Before I could move the net to see my
hand he fell out and into the water. I kept on going and ended up with 2
more 1" Black Bandeds which I kept. Oh and I also caught a 3" Pirate Perch.

So altogether I wouldn't say that the trip was much of a success because I
was planning on getting a nice little group of adult Black Bandeds for my 75
gallon. Maybe I got my hopes up too much. The reason I think that I didn't
find any adults was because of the season. I think that this was the wrong
season to be collecting for these fish. I know more than a few NANFA members
have gone to Toms River to collect, could anyone give me some feedback as to
if it was the wrong season or not?


Henry Deford
Owings Mills, MD

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