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The Rest of the Story - Behind the Push to 100 2021


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I wanted to set up a thread where I can talk about the rest of the trips while trying for achieving 100 species in 2021. Fortunately both Livie and my Betterhalf have been very supportive of this fishing journey. The best way to get Sue's support was to take her along as an active participant on several of these fishing trips. I have posted about our NJ trips back in the late winter and early spring. In this thread I will touch on other trips that we have taken and fish we did or did not catch.

Seabass trip aboard The Angler out of Ocean City MD - 28June21

Livie is a black seabass magnet. She seems to be able to catch them in any saltwater location, but had not ever caught a 12.5 inch keeper. With COVID restricting the number of folks aboard any of the local party boats, the seabass reports were outrageous in terms of the size and numbers of fish being boated. This year I wanted to have at least one solid seabass trip to try and get Livie a keeper or many and to bring home some fresh seafood. We might catch some new species for the year which would be a bonus.

Beautiful morning in the marina on the OC inlet.

OC Harbor - 27Jun21.jpg

OC Harbor housing - 27Jun21.jpg

The seas were only going to be 2 to 3 foot swells. Most of the time it seems like the swell was 2 feet or less. Very clean water and the fishing was on fire for most of the drops that we fished. We got into a lot of keeper seabass. Livie caught her first keeper 😁 and a few other over the day. 

Livie 1st Keeper Sea Bass - On Angler - 27Jun21.jpg

She even caught a double on striped searobins for a new species for the year. She ended up catching 19 seabass and 2 searobins.

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A lot of the keepers were large males. Here's a couple of the knuckleheads that were caught.

Seabass - Angler - 27Jun21.jpg

Black Sea Bass male - On Angler - 27Jun21.jpg

I ended up with a total of 22 seabass and a northern searobin.

Northern Searobin 2 - On Angler - 27Jun21.jpg

I wish that I had more photos of Sue's fish. She was a machine hauling up one fish after another. So the only photo was a fish that she threw on the ice in our cooler 😉. She ended up only catching seabass and brought 25 over the rail.

Sue's Keeper Seabass - 27Jun21.jpg

We had a shark following the boat for an hour or so. It never got close enough to identify but it was at least 10 feet long. Also saw a school of cownose rays and a couple of sea turtles. We kept a total of 8 keepers, but we released at least ten or more keepers. It was a great day on the water and ended too soon.

20210627_140743.jpg

OC Beach 2 - 27Jun21.jpg

 

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32 minutes ago, Quillback said:

Never have caught a seabass.  They look like tautog.  

Surprised Jeff that you haven't caught them. We used to get a few when we fished for porgies out of Cape Cod when I was a kid. They are related to grouper. A lot easier to pull out of the rocks than togs.

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Passage Creek, Blue Ridge Mountains Virginia - 03Jul21

Every year I look for a few interesting life list targets and I do some research as to where I could go that would put me in the best position to actually catch one. Early last year I found a cluster of bluehead chub observations on Fishmap.org in Passage Creek within the Elizabeth Furnace recreation area of the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia. This location is a 3 to 3.5 hour drive from us in Maryland. Due to COVID and other obligations we never got a chance to go and try to catch a bluehead in 2020. So it has been on my mind this year. Finally on the 3rd of July we headed out to the mountains. It was a pretty neat ride once we got outside of the DC metropolis areas and into the mountains. Once we got close to the park, I pulled over and took a look at a couple of spots where the creek came up to the roadway. The creek in this section was running over hard bedrock. It was going to be difficult to find fish in some of those spots. So kept going up to the park. Once we crossed the stream in the park I saw water that I felt would hold some fish. We all got the rods ready and put on our wading boots for some wet wading.

I was lagging behind after retying up the rigs on my rod, Sue had already caught a common shiner. We quickly got the fish in the bag, photo taken, and released. 

Common shiner CP - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

Livie caught a redbreast sunfish and then Sue caught the first chub.

Sue Bluehead chub - Passage Crk - 03Jul21.jpg

We looked closely at the head of this fish looking for tubercles (bumps) or scars to help id the fish. This fish did not have any scarring or tubercles. Possibly a young male or female. As part of my research on this creek I found a paper that looked at fish and invertebrate popluations at 14 sampling spots along the creek. Bluehead chubs were the only chub species found in the location we were fishing and they made up ca. a quarter of the species found in the creek. So I was fairly certain that this was a bluehead, but still wanted more proof. I finally got to fish and caught a common shiner and a couple of redbreast sunfish.

Redbreast Sunfish - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

Livie was able to find and catch a couple of chubs as well. Still no well defined males to confirm the species 🙄.

20210703_115056.jpg

Livie gave me her rod for me to target the chubs while she used the tanago to probe rock crevices for darters or sculpin. I finally was catching some chubs (still no males) and Livie called me over to say that there was a dark fish in a small crevice under a rock in the creek. It was no longer interested in her small bait. So I dropped the larger hook and worm and caught a northern rock bass from that small crevice.

N Rock Bass (#92) - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

We moved downstream to a deeper pool. I was talking with a local guy trying to get some fishing intel while Sue and Livie were into fish. Sue caught the first smallmouth bass of the trip and it was small enough to get into the microfish photo bag.

Sue 1st smallmouth bass - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

In the same pool Livie would catch the only spotfin shiner (I know it was one of her push for 100 fish, but it's so cool of a fish).

Livie Spotfin Shiner (#76) - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

Also in that same pool we finally caught some male chubs that had tubercle scarring only on the top of the head and that did not go below the nostrils or on the side of the fishes face confirming that these were bluehead chubs. Again posting a photo that was part mine and of Livie's push for 100 species total - an adult male bluehead chubs with tubercles and with the scarring.

Livie Bluehead Chub CP - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

Bluehead Chub CP - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

A little further downstream, Sue would show us again that there were some smallmouth in this little stream 😉.

Sue Smallmouth bass - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

Not a bad size smallie from a stream this small.

Passage Creek VA upstream - 03Jul21.jpg

More redbreast sunfish were caught.

Livie redbreast Sunfish - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

 Livie caught a decent fallfish and I caught a couple of bluntnose minnows (that I originally thought might have been juvenile chubs until further editing of the photos). If I had properly id'ed them then I would have pushed Livie to catch one since it would have been a lifer for her.

Livie Fallfish - Passage Crk VA - 03Jul21.jpg

Bluntnose minnow - Passage Crk - 03Jul21.jpg

None of us caught any more smallmouth bass. It was another great day on the water and we caught a few fish and especially we all caught the target species making it well worth the trip. We have a great dinner at Pave Mints smokehouse in Front Royal VA. after dinner I had to look in the creek by the restaurant (Happy Creek) and saw lots more fish including a couple of darters to catch. Just trying to figure out when to go back 😁.

Drove through some heavy rains while crossing the Bay bridge made us glad of the great weather we had in VA.

Bay Bridge Weather - 03Jul21.jpg

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ocean City Inlet - Oceanic Pier July 25, 2021

To be honest this was a pretty poor trip. The tide was falling hard which made it difficult to keep baits in position. Lots of pier googans crossing folks lines. Pretty limited selection of fish biting - we caught nearly all black seabass and spot croaker. These were not new species for Livie or myself.

What made this remarkable was that my oldest daughter actually fished with us for the first time in over a decade and she caught fish! Even admitted that it was fun. 😉

Now she still may not have wanted to touch any.

20210725_111513.jpg

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Dad's notable spot double.

20210725_120440.jpg

After a couple of hours we went to the boardwalk.

 

 

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Kiptopeke State Park Pier - Virginia 31 July 2021

We made the drive down to the southern point of the Delmarva penisula right before you need to get on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Pretty sure that this area is almost full strength saltwater. I headed down this way since we have had success in catching a variety of species last year. We were going to be fishing high/low rigs with bloodworms and fishbites. Hope was to catch some sea robins, maybe some flounder, lizardfish, etc.

We set up near the pilings. Fishing started slowly. A couple of spot were caught. I was worried that we just wouldn't catch anything but spot. 

The Pilings - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

Sue was the first to break the ice on a new species by catching her first ever pigfish.

Sue holding Pigfish - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

Sue Pigfish - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

Livie followed with a mixed double - a northern puffer and an inshore lizardfish!

Livie mixed double - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

Then it was on with each of use catching a few different species. Sue caught the smallest puffer we have seen so far.

Sue N Puffer - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

We found that lizardfish do like strips of other lizardfish. Caught a bunch with that bait instead of any flounder which we were targeting at the time.

Inshore lizardfish (#102) - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

Sue finally got a striped searobin with a face only a mother could love. We enjoyed the trip and the great weather.

Sue Striped searobin (CP) - Kiptopeke STP - 31Jul21.jpg

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tred Avon River - Bellevue MD - 07Sep21

After having to work on the holiday and cancelling a trip to try for banded sunfish, we stayed local and fished one of the rivers leading into the Chesapeake. Really not much to report. Just microfished mostly since we had seen some potential fish, including some possible menhaden, Monday evening. When we go to the ferry landing and marina, we didn't see the number of fish that we had the night before. I trimmed down a Sabiki rig to two hooks to match MD regulations and fished that while Livie fished a #24 hooks with a worm piece.

She caught some mummichogs around the ramp. I caught a surprise juevenile black drum (my first for 2021) on the sabiki rig.

20210907_181705.jpg

We moved to deeper water and were only able to catch a few Atlantic silversides. None of these fish were new lifers 😔.

20210907_185400.jpg

Still nice to catch a few.

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Tour of Delaware 14Sep21 - Prefishing to prepare for Ham's DE visit

So I took the day off and planned to fish several of the targets that I have looked at in preparation for a visit by @Ham to DE next week.

Silver Lake - Dover DE

My first spot was the spillway below Silver Lake. This spot should have white perch, white catfish, and brown bullhead. All of these would not only be new species for 2021 for Ham but also Lifers.

Silver Lake_St Jones river - spillway - 14Sep21.jpg

I had two rods, a light rod with a mini trout magnet jig with a small piece of redworm below a float and a high/low rig with nightcrawlers. Started by fishing the hole in front of the car seen in the lower left of the photo. Caught a bunch of bluegill and this white perch in just a hand full of casts.

White Perch - Silver Lake_St Jones Rvr - 14Sep21.jpg

Headed up to the spillway. Only caught bluegill on the high/low rig and lots on the minijig rod. Also a little black crappie came to hand.

Black Crappie - Silver Lake_St Jones Rvr - 14Sep21.jpg

I then checked out the lake and it held a lot of promise. Lots of fish were seen along the rocky bank and a I caught more bluegill and a green sunfish.

Silver Lake bank - 14Sep21.jpg

I cast the high/low rig out towards an overflow structure. Missed a heavy bite while reeling in another bluegill. rebaited and made another cast and was able to land a white catfish.

Silver Lake above spillway - 14Sep21.jpg

White Catfish - Silver Lake - 14Sep21.jpg

Caught quite a few fish in the 50 or so mins that I fished the lake and river. Feel confident that a couple of target speices can be caught at this location.

Moore's Lake - Dover

Less than a few miles south of Silver lake was Moore's lake. I checked out the spillway and the lake, but didn't fish.

Moore's Lake spillway - 14Sep21.jpg

Moore's Lake - 14Sep21.jpg

I talked with the locals that were fishing that spot. They were catching mostly bluegill. Looking at this spot, there was shallow water below the spillway and would likely have similar species that could be caught at Silver lake, but less bank access. I did see lots of eastern mosquitofish near the boat rampl that I did not see at Silver lake. Maybe I overlooked them. However Moore's lake's proximity to Silver would not prevent us from fishing both to get that new lifer species.

Lebanon Landing - St Jones River

This spot is a tidal river that is fairly brackish. There were loads of mummichogs (#24 hook with worm) and I caught a dozen in the 15 to 20 mins that I was trying for bigger fish on the high/low rig.

Mummichog - St Jones Rvr_Lebanon Landing - 14Sep21.jpg

Chogs a plenty St Jones Rvr_Lebanon Landing - 14Sep21.jpg

This could be the spot where Ham is able to catch an eel since they have been caught further downstream from this location.

St Jones Rvr_Lebanon Landing - 14Sep21.jpg

Red Mill Pond - Martin Branch/Sweetbriar access

20210914_152430.jpg

Very small clear creek going into the upper portion of the lake. Caught half dozen bluegill and one lone pumpkinseed sunfish. Only fished for 20 mins or so.

Hit a couple other spots but did not fish them. Have some ideas now on where to focus for Ham's trip.

 

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