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!

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