Saturday, October 26, 2013

VA / NC trip part 4 - Sandhills Region

In the afternoon of day three we arrived at Fort Bragg to meet up with Levi, a microfishing legend in his own right. Levi is working on a microfishing book that we are all very excited about. Once on the base, we headed out to fish several streams flowing through the Sandhills. The first creek was small with darkly stained water. It was full of one of the most beautiful shiners I've encountered, the dusky shiner.

Dusky Shiner (Notropis cummingsae) - new hook & line species #132

The next stream was slightly larger and had clear water. The first pool we came to was full of chubs and suckers. A few of the chubs were willing to bite!

Sandhills Chub (Semotilus lumbee) - new hook & line species #133

With the sun getting low in the sky, we made our way to a pond on the base. In the shallow boat ramp area we caught two new fish, dollar sunfish and lined topminnow. I have to say, the lined topminnow was probably the funniest looking fish of the trip. The one pictured below is a female.

Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis marginatus) - new hook & line species #134

Lined Topminnow (Fundulus lineolatus) - new hook & line species #135

You might think we that had caught enough new fish for one day, but you would be mistaken. With the sun long gone, Levi took us to a few of his night fishing spots. We put on our head lamps, climbed down a ravine to a creek flowing under a bridge in town. Tessellated darters were hanging out on the sandy flats, and even with a bright light shining on them they were willing to bite.

Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi) - new hook & line species #136

In fact, nearly all the fish we encountered were willing to bite despite having a bright headlamp shining directly on them. We were pretty impressed with the results. Now that the trip is over, we're brainstorming how to apply this method to our waters back home. This technique should be useful for catching nocturnal fish like pirate perch and madtoms.

Comely Shiner (Notropis amoenus) - new hook & line species #137


Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) - juvenile


Redbreast Sunfish? (Lepomis auritus) - juvenile


I admit my nighttime photography skills need some improving.  The pictures above were taken using my headlamp without flash from the camera.  If anyone has suggestions for taking good nighttime photographs of up-close objects, I'd love to hear about it!

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