Brook Silverside of Silver Creek

Brook Silverside - Labidesthes sicculus

Brook Silverside – Labidesthes sicculus

I grabbed a few minutes this afternoon to fish the close “swimming hole” down on Silver Creek.  I wanted to try the Marukyu tanago bait I recently purchased.  This is a pink/red gel in a tube and is used extensively in Japan by Tanago fishermen.  I’m looking for other micro-fishing bait alternatives that will travel well.  I have no doubt the tube will travel well, but I sure could not get the small blob of gel to stay on my hook well.  I quickly resorted to a small piece of Berkley Gulp Earthworm.  I have been using this bait with some success when I do not have real earthworms.  Real earthworms perform the best though.

This pool is known to hold a variety of sunfish, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Bulheads and Weed Shiners.  On my first cast with the Gulp earthworm I caught a scrappy little bluegill that made the 7x tippet line on the Soyokaze 20SR sing.  Even with his small size, he sported a striking orange chest. Mind you now, this piece of bait is significantly smaller than a match head and the hook is a micro tanago hook.  Luckily I hooked him in the lip, so hook removal was non eventful.

Silver Creek Bluegill

Silver Creek Bluegill

With the quick action of the Bluegill, I thought I was in for a fast paced afternoon.  It was not meant to be….  Nothing.  Usually, the Weed Shiners eventually find me and keep me busy, but they were no where to be seen.  This water is not clear, has a black bottom and the surface is almost entirely obscured by canopy.  Sight fishing is not an option, but I usually fish without a bobber/float while micro-fishing here.  I use a single #6 (.1 g) split shot about an inch and a half above the hook, and flip it out, letting it slowly sink.  This normally is where I’ll get the activity, but not today.

The swimming hole in Silver Creek

The swimming hole in Silver Creek

It seemed like an eternity, so I decided to change up my presentation a bit.  After letting the bait sink, I began twitching it, much as I do my soft bait jig while fishing for Speckled Trout.   On my second cast with this technique, I had a “strike”….fish on!  I must have aggravated the 3 inch Brook Silverside (Labidesthes sicculus), as he inhaled the bait.  His face showed hints of red which the males get when in breeding condition.  This is the first Brook Silverside I’ve caught in Baldwin County and was quite surprised to find him in Silver Creek.  Other Brook Silversides I’ve caught have generally been sight fished while they are on the surface. Even on the surface, action to the bait seemed to be key to success. After a brief photo session, he was returned to the creek.

Silver Creek Checkup

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It has been several months since I made the effort to fish the neighborhood creek.  After rototilling the garden this afternoon, I went down to Silver Creek with my 6’6″ Soyokaze  20SR rigged with a 6 foot piece of 7X tippet, a quarter of a BB split shot and micro hook.  I cut a tip of a red wiggler, probably about the size of half a match head, and pierced it with the Tanago hook.  I’ve found that leaving the hook tip exposed greatly increases hook ups.  A piece of worm lasts a long time while microfishing, and if I start missing “hook sets”….to use big fish terminology!….I most often find that the bait has moved on  the hook, covering the hook point.  A quick adjustment of the bait has me back in effective business.

My goal this evening was to see how the local Weed Shiners (Notropis texanus) were doing.  They are the only microfish I’ve caught in this stretch of water and are usually present and cooperative.  This evening was no exception.  I also wanted to see how my new (Christmas) camera would handle the photo tank.  The new camera is a Nikon CoolPix, which is much smaller than my trusty Canon PowerShot Pro 1, but as of yet, unproven in its ability to clearly and accurately document my “on the water” adventures.

It seems that the Nikon needs a solid background upon which to focus, thus the white towel in the background.   I have less control over the pictures, but I think the CoolPix’s small size and convenience will win a spot in the travel bag.  The Canon takes pictures that are clearer and with more detail.  It will still be used in situations where small size and portability are not critical.

The above picture of the Weed Shiner shows its typical coloration from the dark local waters.  All the rays of the dorsal and caudal fin have pigmentation and the last 3 rays of the anal fin are usually prominently pigmented.  The dark lateral band extends around the face with pigmentation on both the upper and lower jaws.

I was quite surprised when this beautiful Bluegill sucked in the tiny bait.  The tussle with the light Soyokaze was delightful, with the fine line singing as it raced through the water.  The tiny Tanago hook, hooked in his upper lip held long enough for me to land him for a photo shoot.  Quite a handsome guy!

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It don’t get no purdier than this…

Caught this Spotted Sunfish from Silver Creek in the City Park in Silverhill, AL  last night while searching for Micros.  I was sight fishing with my Soyokaze micro rod when I spotted him cruising in a small pool.  He was very hard to see against the black bottom and tannin stained water, but the slight white edges of his dorsal and caudal fins stood out as they gently rippled and waved. What a delight on the light rod and 6 feet of 7X tippet as line!  He was carefully released so he could spread those handsome genes!