First throw-- splash! Uh, oh... the net was dry, and it took several
seconds to sink. Nuts..no Ironcolors today..you only get one shot at
I dragged the net in and came up with a few pounds of sand.
Hmm.. looks like I'll need some finesse to keep the thing from digging
in the sand so much. As I got ready for my second toss, I could see the
fish were still in place, which I thought odd.
I made another toss, and swiftly dragged the net through the
swarm..well, sort of..Okay, maybe next time.
It took me about a dozen tries to start to get the hang of it, and those
goofy fish just stayed there the whole time, mocking me.
Finally, I just set the net on the bottom and waited. In about 45
seconds, there must have been 30 fish right over it, so I made my move.
A few seconds later I had about 20 fish flipping in the mesh.
Well, I looked down-in-them to make a quick ID, and I nearly dropped the
net! Orange bodies..reddish orange fins, conspicuous caudal spot,
distinctive diamond-shaped scales... I had a net full of Taillights!
Taillights aren't supposed to BE here.
I had brought some containers, but I didn't bring them down with me
because I "knew" I wouldn't catch anything I wanted. I kept two
specimens and let the others go. By the time I got to the top, in about
one minute, the two I kept were already very dead. Fragile little
I bagged 'em up and brought them home. In death, their colors started to
change dramatically, and I could tell that they were not taillights
after all. I keyed them out, and it turns out they were Weed Shiners in
full breeding color, which makes them look an awful lot like Taillights.
It turns out that Weed Shiners also tend to take on a rosy/orangey color
if they are living in darkly stained and tannic water like they were in
So, all in all, I learned that common Weed shiners CAN look quite
colorful, and that I need a little more practice before I can be called
a mighty shiner scooper-upper. I DID manage to stay bone-dry though,
which in that spot has previously always proven utterly impossible. It's
a pretty wide spot, about 20 feet or so wide, and there is quicksand
everywhere. In a narrow stream, it's plain to see that the Shinerscoop
would have been devastatingly effective against the fish which would
have had a lot less room for evasive action. Luckily, most of the creeks
around here are only two to four feet wide. I can also see that dragging
the scoop along the vegetation line along the bank should be very
effective, since many fish hang out there and would have nowhere to run.
I'll try that next when it stops raining.
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