Micro-Fishing the Tamiami Canal

My business travel this week found me with meetings on both the east and the west sides of southern Florida.  This seemed the perfect opportunity for some micro-fishing, so I packed accordingly! ( this means my two Soyokaze rods and a small plastic box containing 7X tippet material, small “Tanago” hooks, small split shot and a small jar of Berkley Gulp “earthworms”.)  After my meeting in Fort Myers on the west side, I drove east on US-41 along the Tamiami Canal.  I was anxious to get in some long anticipated fishing.

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My first stop was near the eastern border of Collier-Seminole State Park.  I quickly caught a small bluegill, the smallest Dollar Sunfish I’ve ever caught and a Brook Silverside.

Bluegill

Bluegill

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Dollar Sunfish

Brook Silverside

Brook Silverside

The rest of the trip consisted of numerous stops and a quick sampling of the resident population.  By far, the most numerous species caught was the African Jewel Cichlid.  They were very wide spread and caught at most stops.  Many were very dark, almost black with light blue spots, while others were lighter colored with the same light blue spots and three dark blotches along the side, the first on the gill plate,sometimes encircled with orange, the second about mid body and the third at the base of the caudal fin.  I don’t know if these differences are sexual, dominance or age related.

African Jewel Cichlid - Hemichromis bimaculatus

African Jewel Cichlid – Hemichromis bimaculatus

African Jewel Cichlid

African Jewel Cichlid

African Jewel Cichlid

African Jewel Cichlid

The surprise of the day was the one stop where all I caught were Crested Gobies – my first 2013 Lifelister!  I didn’t think the Tamiami Canal is even a little brackish, although this location did have extensive Mangroves growing on the opposite shore and I did see an Atlantic Needlefish, which I almost hooked!

Habitat of the Crested Goby in the Tamiami Canal, FL

Habitat of the Crested Goby in the Tamiami Canal, FL

The Crested Gobies were thick in this spot.    I thought they looked pretty handsome with the lighter green spots on their faces.

Crested Goby - Lophogogius cyprinoides

Crested Goby – Lophogogius cyprinoides

Crested Goby

Crested Goby

Crested Goby

Crested Goby

....a smaller Crested Goby

….a smaller Crested Goby

Along the way I caught a single small Spotted Sunfish and took one picture of the ever present Eastern Mosquitofish.

Spotted Sunfish

Spotted Sunfish

Eastern Mosquitofish

Eastern Mosquitofish

Here are pictures of a couple fish I did not attempt to tempt with the gear I had.

Florida Gar

Florida Gar

Florida Gar

Florida Gar

I was all re-charged and re-juvinated for my meetings in Coral Springs and Bocca Raton……

Multi-State Sunfish

While driving through the countryside of Michigan last week, I stopped at a bridge crossing the Shiawassee River near Byron, Michigan to give my Soyokaze 31SR a try.  The water here ran clear and I managed to get access in an area with tall grass edges and floating aquatic vegetation.  I could see small fish and with the 10 foot pole, easily reached them with my 7X Tippet line.  By sight fishing I could see the take and set the hook appropriately.  I caught several small sunfish before I had to get back on the road.   The 31SR did give me the reach advantage for this situation, but it’s backbone renders it less sensitive in the hand than the 6 foot 6 inch 20SR.   Here are a couple of the baby fish from the Shiawassee.

Pumpkinseed

Pumpkinseed Sunfish - Lepomis gibbosus

Bluegill

Bluegill Sunfish - Lepomis macrochirus

Green Sunfish

Green Sunfish - Lepomis cyanellus

A couple months ago I bought a boat from my wife’s uncle’s estate and have been struggling getting it to run right.  It had been setting inside for about 15 years without being run.  I just got it back from the shop yesterday so wanted to run it a bit to insure all was finally well.  I took it out on Fish River this morning before the thunderstorms built too much.  It ran great, so I stopped and fished the river’s edges for some sunfish.  I caught a couple Bluegill and a Spotted Sunfish.  Here is a nice shot of the Spotted Sunfish in the water.

Spotten Sunfish - Lepomis punctatus

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!

Spotted Sunfish

I live in an area of transition between two subspecies of the Spotted Sunfish (Lepomis punctatus).  To the east of me the Spotted Sunfish (L. punctatus punctatus) predominates and to the west of me the Spotted Sunfish (L. punctatus miniatus), often referred to as the Redspotted Sunfish,  predominates.  The Redspotted Sunfish supposedly does not have any dark spots on its sides, though will have some dark spots on the operculum or gill cover.  As its nick name indicates, the Redspotted Sunfish will have much red on the sides of the males.   Both subspecies will have a beautiful turquoise blue crescent on the lower edge of the eye.

Here is a Spotted Sunfish I caught while in southern Florida, along the Tamiami Canal adjacent to the Everglades about a month ago.

And here is a Redpotted Sunfish I caught yesterday while fishing the tannin stained water of the Fish River, here in Baldwin County, Alabama.  This fish has only a very few dark spots on its side, but shows clearly the deeply melanistic character of fish taken from these southern “black” waters.  I think this guy is striking!