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Johnsfolly

Livie's Species Countdown Has Started

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One of my main fishing goals this year was to help others achieve their goals (where possible based upon proximity and scheduling). The main focus has been to get my daughter's goals met. She has goals to catch five new species that she has never caught before, to catch two new species of sculpin, and to catch a total of 40 different species for the year. Up to this point her life list was only at total of 34 species. So we would have to work on getting her on new species. With my travelling between Missouri and Maryland, I have been able to find species that she has not caught previously and fish those spots when she is in Maryland. I have posted about those trips previously. When in Missouri, I have focused on getting her in front of some of the more difficult species either due to their resistance to being caught or more likely the distance from our house.

I have been also thinking about trying to fish a spot where I have seen and caught plains topminnows previously. This is a small creek just south of Rolla. With that in mind, I planned a trip first to a creek and a small river that are "on the way" to Rolla. At the first creek there was the opportunity to catch several minnows, darters, sunfish, and bass. Since she had not yet caught a smallmouth bass this year, Livie was fishing a 1/32 oz tube jig with a green pumpkin body/chartreuse paddle tailed slider. We were upstream from an overpass and I had her try to cast near the rip rap on the far bank. I tied on a perch colored whopper plopper and cast under the bridge. Livie immediately got bit by a decent small stream green sunfish. Then another. At that point I made my first cast and as the bait "plopped" a few feet got bit by a 8 inch smallmouth (my first of the year :)), which for this creek was not a bad sized fish. Some 12 to 14 inch could be caught here, but with the low water, weren't likely to still be in this tributary. Livie made a cast to a shaded part of the water and caught her first smallmouth of the year.

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I made a couple of more casts with the WP and got slaps at the bait by sunfish and smaller bass. I then switched to the micro rig with a #26 Tanago hook with a tiny piece of redworm. I caught the first western mosquitofish of the day and my first of the year. I had seen a couple of male northern studfish that had some of their breeding coloration. I caught one on the micro rig. Not as colorful as some that I have seen or received photos of from other OAF members, but a nicer one than I have caught previously.

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While looking for those guys I noticed a small school of minnows that did not look like the schools of bleeding shiners swimming around us. I dropped the bait and caught a bluntnose shiner. Livie was catching green and longear sunfish and at least one more smallmouth. I got her to take up the micro rig and she caught her first mosquitofish of the year.

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She never did catch any of the bluntnose shiners, since they kept dispersing when she got close to them.

A little discouraged by not catching on the worm she resorted to what she does best - hand fishing :rolleyes:! She caught the following critters by hand.

Maybe HD Tackle will replicate these guys (@Mitch f @Hog Wally)!

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Northern studfish

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Unknown minnow

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Longear sunfish

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We got to the confluence of the river and I could see smallmouth in the big pool below the confluence. We threw a few things at them but only landed a couple of small smallmouth bass and sunfish. Had a 16+' smallie look at the WP but not commit. Upstream from the confluence I had a huge blow up on the bait. I made a second cast and nothing until the bait was about 25 feet from me, It was passing right through the transition from the deeper channel to a shallow ridge and got blasted by a nice chunky 13" largemouth (yes we Follys can catch bass as well).

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Livie swithed from hand fishing to a Trout Magnet trout crank and got into a thick bunch of large green sunfish. You just can't stop the selfies!

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With the heat, Livie was wearing down. So we headed down to Rolla to get something to eat, drink, and try for plains topminnows. Livie was feeling worse, so I went out and scouted the creek to see if I could locate any of the topminnows. I found a couple only. The water was really low and most fish were really spooky. Our redworms were dead and breaking down in the heat. So I put a small piece of chartreuse plastic from a trout magnet jig on a #16 hook and let Livie fish in the shade of the bridge while I went after the topminnows. I also had on a much smaller piece of plastic on the #26 Tanago hook. I could only catch northern studfish. The juvenile topminnows were too small to get hooked and the one adult that I now saw avoided this bait. I switched to a white/pink piece and found a pod of three topminnows further down the creek. They avoided the plastic bait. Meanwhile Livie was catching bluegill, longears, and small green sunfish on most every cast. She found one of the redworms that had not fully liquefied and brought it to me as I stood near that pod of fish trying not to move and spook them. As soon as I got the worm near them they took interest and I caught one of the three.

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Livie then switched positions. That spooked the fish and it took about 5 to 6 min for them to return to a spot where she could reach them and not spook them. She got bit and once again we were not able to hold onto the fish for a photo. She did not want to try to catch the last one from the bunch or to look for others. Called it quits! Livie caught three different species that put her total for the year at 32 species. So now we are in the countdown phase towards her 40 fish goal. She also has caught 16 new species so far to add to her life list! Just need to find some new sculpin. I am looking hard in Maryland and may think her best bet is going after some marine species.

 


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I went to a local stream in Columbia last Sunday and saw a madtom swimming in a pool in the early afternoon. I also saw a couple of blackstripe topminnows which is a species that Livie had not caught yet this year. She was not willing to go out with me, so I went back there that evening  on my own and saw that fish again but could not get it interested in a bait. Another hole just above this one held several. I saw one that looked like a small bullhead. I dimmed my light and dropped the bait. It turned and bit, but I only lifted the fish out of the water on the hook set and it dropped off. I pulled two others out of the water, but I knew that those were slender madtoms. I did end up beaching this slender madtom (it dropped off over the bank).

Slender Madtom - Grindstone Creek - 29Jul18.jpg

This morning I convince Livie to go back to this creek to try to catch a few more new species for her goal. The first target were the blackstripe topminnows using the #26 tanago hooks and tiny worm piece. I saw three the brush on the opposite bank. Just about two to three further than Livie could reach with the rod. She was able to tap the water surface with the sinker and got one interested. It readily hit the bait once it was close enough to see it. Bagged a blackstripe topminnow!

Livie Blackstripe Topminnow (1) - Grindstone Creek - 04Aug18.jpg

Livie Blackstripe Topminnow (2) - Grindstone Creek - 04Aug18.jpg

Just Seven more fish to her Goal!

She took her rod with a #18 hook with a small piece of chartreuse plastic and went after some larger species while I looked for a topminnow to catch (I hadn't caught one yet this year either).

Livie caught a common shiner. Six more to her Goal!

Livie Common Shiner - Grindstone Creek - 04Aug18.jpg

While she was getting this photo, I caught a small central stoneroller my second of the year.

Stoneroller (1) - Grindstone Creek - 04Aug18.jpg

These can be one of the most skittish fish to try to catch. There were several in a school near Livie that were feeding and she was able to get a few interested before she landed her own central stoneroller - a new life list species for her.

Livie stoneroller (1) - Grindstone Creek - 04Aug18.jpg

Just FIVE  more to GO!

We both caught s few sunfish, Livie longears and I caught a green. Western mosquitofish were readily caught and we both caught a few more blackstripe topminnows. All within an hour and a half.

Blackstripe Topminnow - Grindstone Creek - 04Aug18.jpg

 

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Now in Maryland, but Livie's quest continues! I pre-fished a new spot in anticipation for My Betterhalf and Livie heading out to Maryland this last weekend. I had heard that the pilings around the fishing pier at Bill Burton state park on the Choptank river would be a good spot to catch a novel fish, an oyster toadfish. I thought that I should give it a try. I headed down last Thursday evening and all I could find for bait were nightcrawlers. I rigged up a bell sinker and tied in a long shanked bait hook about 5" above the sinker. Pulled up to the first piling, put on half a nightcrawler and dropped it back towards the piling. The tide was coming in and I was fishing the down tide side of the bridge so that my bait and scent would drift towards the piling. As soon as I tightened the line, I go bit by a white perch. I caught a couple more perch and the bite stopped. I moved out to the next piling and repeated the process. I got bit by a heavy fish and saw that I was on a chunky catfish. I pulled it up and it looked different than a channel and did not look like a blue catfish.

In the sunset the photo looks more green, but this fish was more gray than green and no spotting like I would expect from a channel catfish. It had a short tail and anal fin. Also  did not bite the crap out of my hand as i was holding it (a clear indicator that this was not a channel ;)). Looked it up later and confirmed that this was a white catfish, a first for me.

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I ended up catching four others that night. All were released. Good thing that these were not the invasive blue or flathead catfish which have a no release recommendation by the state.

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As I worked the pilings I caught more white perch as well as a few spot like this one. If i had a heavier rod with me this guy may have been freelined for stripers. instead back into the river.

Spot (1) - Choptank - Bill Burton Pier - 09Aug18.jpg

At the third piling I pulled up what I had hoped for the fish that only a mother could love or a Folly multispecies fisherman :D - the oyster toadfish!

Oyster Toadfish (1) - Choptank - Bill Burton Pier - 09Aug18.jpg

I ended the night with a small striper, seven white perch, five white catfish, two spot, and the toadfish. So with a pattern that I was comfortable that would work, I couldn't wait for Livie to give this a try!

My Betterhalf and Livie showed up on Saturday and we got the vehicle unpacked yesterday morning. After dinner, I took Livie out with the hopes of getting a few more new species for the countdown. We got to the pier and there was a big thunderstorm heading down the river toward us. It looked to be passing to our east, but we kept an eye on it anyways.

Since we were right at high tide, there was a lot more people on the pier this evening and we had fewer pilings to choose from. I got her rigged up and showed her what she needed to do. I took her a little while to get the feel for when the sinker was on bottom. She got a couple of quick bites and missed on the hook sets. Then stuck her first fish of the evening, a white perch.

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She followed that up with a feisty channel catfish - her first for the year so the countdown continued - FOUR to go!

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Her next fish was a spot, a new species for her - THREE to go!

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She caught another spot as the storm got too close and ran us off the river. So she still needs three more different species to meet her goal for the year. We will be back to try for some white catfish and that toadfish!

 

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One more night at the Choptank river and another storm ran us off before we were able to find a toadfish for Livie. She did catch a spot, white perch, and a couple of different catfish.

Another channel catfish that got a bit hard to hold :o!

Livie Channel Catfish - Choptank - Bill Burton - 14Aug18.jpgLivie Channel Catfish - OOPS 14Aug18.jpg

Then she hooked a new life list species - a white catfish! No spots, only 22 anal fins rays (I can hear @Ham rolling his eyes on that comment), not a deeply forked tail, and best of all not biting the crap out of her thumb :D!

Livie White Catfish - Choptank - Bill Burton Pier - 14Aug18.jpg

Even with the rain pushing us off the pier only TWO fish to go!!!! Will have to wait for a chance in the ocean!

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I had requested a few vacation days from work. We were originally going to head up to Vermont to visit a friend, then fish Vermont, New Hampshire, and a charter out of Portland Maine. Those plans fell through. I had to suffer through another cancelled charter for the year. Through the coaxing of my Betterhalf last Weds, I tired again to book a local party boat trip out of Ocean City Maryland. I saw that they had evening trips and found out that they had spots for that night. I quickly booked the trip and with Bonine in hand the Follys headed to Ocean City. No bad weather forecasted, actually we could not have had better weather.

We were full of anticipation as we headed out to fish some wrecks for sea bass and flounder.

Ocean Princess - 15Aug18.JPG

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The water was calm for the whole trip. We fished 8 oz weights and tandem rigs. We used clams and silverside minnows as bait.

I hooked the first keeper of the evening, a nice summer flounder or fluke. (picture taken at the dock).

Fluke - Ocean City - 15Aug18.JPG

Livie caught the next fish, a small sea bass - another new life list fish for her. ONE to GO!

Livie - Sea Bass - Ocean City - 15Aug18.JPG

My Betterhalf caught a scup or porgy, but we did not get a photo before the mate released the fish :unsure:. Then Livie caught one as well - this was another new life list fish and her 40th different species of 2018!! She was able to meet her goal for the year.  She immediately stated that she wanted to go for 42 species.

Livie - Scup- Ocean City - 15Aug18.JPG

As the sun set, we headed closer to shore to try for Atlantic croakers. Still amazed at how nice of a night it had been.

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I was the first to catch a croaker (added to my life list!). Livie and my Betterhalf had trouble getting the feel of the bite to set the hook on these fish. Lost of lost baits with no hook-ups. Livie did catch a few croakers - now here 41st different fish and again another life list fish. She would squeal with delight as they croaked while she held them.

Livie - Croaker (1) - Ocean City - 15Aug18.JPG

It was a great night and I was proud that she was able to achieve her goal. She still wants to catch two new species of sculpin, which will be a challenge, but we have time to get that done.

 

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