This past week I stopped and fished a few of the tributaries of the Escambia River just north of Pensacola FL. I was driving Highway 29 on my way to Birmingham, AL and had plotted out a few creek crossings to check out. My favorite was the crossing at Canoe Creek which had free flowing clear water over a light colored sandy bottom. It had typical riffles and pools and provided multiple habitats for me to explore. Unfortunately, I did not have much time so I stayed close to the overpass. I will be back for a better look!
I caught the familiar Weed Shiner, but in a completely different habitat than I find these fish close to home. Here I caught them in bright sunshine in a shallow riffle, using a presentation technique very similar to nymphing with a flyrod. I was using my 6’6″ Soyokaze rod and about that much 7x tippet as line, terminated with a Tanago hook with a tiny piece of bait and a very small piece of lead about 1″ above the hook. These Weed Shiners were very much lighter colored than my home water fish, but I’m convinced they are Weed Shiners as they have the typical pigmentation, although much lighter, on the last 3-4 rays of the anal fin. They also show spots of pigment below the darker mid line. I was hoping for a Coastal Shiner or Mimic Shiner, but it was not to be.
A new species to me was also found here, the Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella venusta). I found smaller ones in the shade of the overpass and caught a larger one in the deeper water of the pool in the shade of the bushes beyond the sand bar in the first photo. These turn out to be quite common as I caught them in several places along the way to Birmingham. These fish can get to a bit over 7 inches and put up a nice fight on the light Soyokaze.