June is my favorite month, and has been ever since I discovered roughfish.com and the annual Spring Species Contest. This will be my 9th species contest. I won’t win (probably) but I’ll catch a lot of fish. If all goes well, I’ll beat all my previous totals by catching more than 30 species between 12:01AM June 1st and 11:59:59PM June 30th.
For the third time, I was allowed to design the button (and shirt) for this year’s contest. I went with an election year Black Buffalo:
The buffalo is based on a photo I took years ago of a fish I seined with Uland Thomas in a tributary of the Illinois River. I’ve never caught one on hook and line, but my secret reason for putting it on the button this year is that it will provide the mojo I need to catch one.
Two weeks until June. I’m starting to shake and I’m drooling just a little more than usual.
Here is the Bowfin I did for the 2014 contest (http://moxostoma.com/bowfin-for-june-species-contest/):
and here’s the Pumpkinseed I made in 2013 (http://moxostoma.com/2013-roughfish-com-june-species-contest/):
A few years ago, I created (in photoshop, not pumpkin flesh) a Norther Hog Sucker jack-o-lantern. I’ve felt like a bad person ever since, knowing that a real fish geek would have carved a real fish pumpkin. No longer! This year I bought a pumpkin with the right shape, I kept it inside so squirrels wouldn’t damage it, and I studied gar anatomy. Last night, I hooked up the electrodes to the lightning rods atop the castle and unsheathed the rusty scalpel.
I present the skeletally semi-accurate Jack-gar-lantern! (click for larger version)
For the curious, here is 2009’s faked Northern Hog Sucker:
(I even made a stencil template for it all those years ago. If you’re weird, download the pdf:
hogsuckerpumpkinstencil.pdf (353 downloads)
And, for added geekery, a gen-u-ine Halloween fish: Percina crypta, the Halloween Darter. It lives in the Apalachicola River drainage in Georgia and
Alabama. It is listed as threatened in Georgia and you can’t mess with it in Alabama (see links below). With a name like that, it should be listed as threatening.
Halloween Darter (Percina crypta). Photo by Nate Tessler. http://tinyurl.com/p786nr9
More info: http://www.fishbase.se/summary/Percina-crypta.html, http://fishesofgeorgia.uga.edu/index.php?page=speciespages/species_page&key=perccryp, http://www.outdooralabama.com/nongame-vertebrates-protected-alabama-regulations
I got to draw the button (and t-shirt) again this year for the roughfish.com June species contest. Last year I did a pumpkinseed. This year I made a bowfin. (Last weekend I was fishing with Garman and asked what kind of fish he thought I should draw. He said a bowfin would be cool. I ran with it.)
To enter the contest, get an account at roughfish.com, buy the button and/or t-shirt, wait til 12:01AM on June 1st and go fishing. Stop fishing as little as possible. You’ve got 30 days. Each time you catch a new species of fish, take a picture of it and make sure the button (or t-shirt) is in the shot. Post the photos to the site.
Whoever catches the most species wins. (In 2013, it took 43 species to win, while 50 did it in 2012.) The prize is a custom-built fishing rod. Sweet, eh?
There’s also a kids’ division. So far it’s been won by girls both times and I see no reason that will change. My daughter Iris won it the first year and has pledged to fish hard this year in hopes of another trophy.
There is a new redhorse design for sale in the zazzle store, created in response to a few people who told me that they like the pyramid of redhorse lips, but don’t want to have to explain it all the time.
This time the word REDHORSE is prominently featured (along with an unblinking redhorse eye). I don’t know how much it will help, since I’m asked all the time what “redhorse” means.
Wear the insignia of that most selective branch of the Forces of Truth and Fishing: The Redhorse Army!
Show your allegiance with shirts, water bottles, phone cases, hat, etc.: http://www.zazzle.com/chinookdesign. (True roughfishers start young, so there are baby and kid sizes.)
(I made this a few years ago with Photoshop, not with a knife and real pumpkin. Next year I’ll do a real one.)
I’ve been working on several posts for the moxostoma blog, but none seemed worthy of being the first. This old sucker is just the thing to break that barrier.
From Les poissons d’eau douce du Canada (1897) by A. N. Montpetit. More to come from this book.
(This image is in the public domain because it is too old to be under copyright.)