Lined Topminnow from Horse Creek – Lumber River Watershed, NC

Lined Topminnow - Fundulus lineolatus

I had a few hours before darkness the night before my meeting in Southern Pines, NC to check out a few creeks south of Pinehurst.  One road crossing provided nice access to Horse Creek. Upstream, this creek is dammed to create Pinehurst Lake.  The water was quite clear with a dark bottom, though flowing very slowly through this area.  Among the surface vegetation along one edge I could easily see Mosquitofish scurrying around.  After catching a couple of the Mosquitofish, I spotted another surface fish, but it had a much different behavior.  First, he was solo, and second, he swam in a more deliberate fashion with distinct pauses as he seemed to carefully observe and search his surroundings.  I was able to place my tiny piece of bait close to him on the surface and he directly approached within an inch and stopped and stared.

Now, mind you, I was using my short, 6’6′ Soyokaze rod and had to lean out over the water carefully with my arm full extended to get this presentation to him.  As I patiently waited for his decision, it became more and more difficult to hold the bait steady as the tremors of my arm were magnified by the extremely light tip of the Soyokaze.  The small movements of the bait may have been too much for him as he briskly moved forward and took the deceptive morsel in front of him.  Gotta love those surface takes…..especially from a new species!