Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Mummi: # 35

It was Sunday and we had only 30 minutes or so to see if I could catch a fish for the Quest.  On the list is a banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), which sometimes lives in brackish water. We thought we would give it a try in the Hampton-Seabrook harbor area.  We ended up going to The Depot, an old railroad bed and boat launch onto the Hampton Falls River maintained by the Town of Hampton Falls.
Hampton Falls River, view looking up river towards Rt. 1
Low tide at the old muddy boat launch.

Along the shore during this low tide, we could see schools of fish feeding near the shore. We decided to try the trusted piece of garden worm on a #24 hook under a small float.  As soon as the rig hit the water the float was attacked.  After twitching the worm a bit, it too was gobbled up.

Success! Been a while since Dave had caught a fish.
The first fish in was the smallest to date, 1 7/8 inches.
The first fish was a very small one that did not even get hooked. It was simply hanging onto the back half of the worm. It did not stay in this condition long enough for a photo unfortunately.  Another cast in deeper water scored a 3" monster. Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus)

There were many fish schooling and so we caught a bigger one to help with identification.
  Supposedly the name mummichog is a Native American name meaning "They go in great numbers". We are sure that a white settler asked about the fish once and a native simply said, "yeah those fish are everywhere in those big schools".

The blunt, broad head, and thick-lipped mouth were clues to the mummichog's identification. 

The two catches of the day.

Now mummichogs were not in the original list of Catch-M-All fish, but they are listed in the Freshwater Fishes of New Hampshire (a great book from NH Fish and Game).  They can be found in fresh, salt, and brackish water. When we caught these fish the Hampton River was low, on the out going tide, meaning the water was pretty fresh.  Given these conditions and reviewing the rules, we decided to add this fish to the Quest.  Mummichog #35!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Golden opportunity for fish number 34 the Goldfish

We were driving through Brentwood NH and went past "the Castles" and Clay remembered that 18 years ago he was the cook at the Whistling Swan Cafe and pond there was loaded with goldfish.

The castles are now a small community school and the pond is surrounded by a fence with lots of no fishing signs. So Clay stopped into the office and asked for permission to "Eat a goldfish" after they got done laughing at him they realized he wasn't joking....And yup they gave permission.

The fishing was fast and furious, but it took quite a long time to land a goldfish. The pond had brown bullheads and loads of golden shiners.

The technique was simple a #20 hook fished on the bottom with a little bit of worm, try to avoid the catfish and wait for the goldie to pick it up. Goldfish can be found in a lot of water bodies in New Hampshire, these are no more native than bass, rainbow trout or carp and are likely here due to people releasing their pets after they decide they no longer want them. 

Carassius auratus auratus

Fish Number 34

Killing this fish felt a lot like killing someone's pet, it was kind of sad.
We haven't decided how to cook it yet, so feel free to share your ideas with us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tales from the Quest: CT River Monster

As the quest begins to focus on the last hard-to-find species, we thought we would start a series called "Tales from the Quest" that recounts some of the more memorable moments of the year.

This one occurred while we were on the CT River fishing for northern pike.

The river looked good that morning near the Cheiftain Motor Inn.

We had a nice mist on the water, the sky was overcast and the crocodile was out for his morning swim.

 When we first saw it we laughed and said that really looks like a 20 foot croc. Crikey!

After closer inspection we were reassured it was a section of pine that had washed in from the hurricane.  Or was that what he wanted us to think?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Every story needs a hook, we got ours with fish number 33 the walleye!

We headed out to Beautiful Hanover NH in search of Walleye and Pike on the Connecticut River.

Our friends and new site sponsor, the Chieftain Motor Inn, hooked us up with some great rooms and a little motor boat. If you are in the Hanover area and looking for a great place to stay with your family give them a call and tell the Catch-m-all sent you!

We spent a good deal of the morning fishing on the beautiful sculling dock with Clay's kids before heading out.

We motored upstream a little ways and tried to fish the backwater for pike, but less than five casts in, Sue our guest angler and Clay's mother-in-law, caught herself. So most of the day was spend in the emergency room.
Uh Oh!
That's in deep!

Clay let his mother-in-law get hurt he's taking getting to the ER very seriously!

Four hours later we geared down and fished for walleye. The technique was super simple, a tiny white jig with half a crawler was sank to the bottom while the boat drifted downstream.
She's no quitter

Clay caught his mussel

Sue is taking no prisoners and her finger is not keeping her down

In a very short time, Sue got her fish and we deputized her into the quest. Welcome to the quest and stay tuned for tips on filleting this fish!

72 Hour Kit Book