Species #112 — Yellow Bass

For a fish with “moron” in its scientific name, this fish was hard to catch.

Species: Yellow Bass (Morone mississippiensis)
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: November 19, 2017

When I first started planning my trip to Phoenix, I knew my fishing time would be limited because I was there for work. So as I made a list of species I wanted to catch, and I reached out to Chris Moore (@arizona_anglers) on Instagram.

He proved to be a wealth of information and was my first true experience with the generosity of Species Hunters in sharing their spots. He helped me find and add Rio Grande Cichlid, three species of tilapia, and my Grass Carp. That’s not to mention all of the carp (including koi), channel cats, bass, and sunfish I caught.

Though I struck out for Sonora and Desert Sucker in the middle of nowhere, I was pretty thrilled with my success. The only problem was that Yellow Bass were supposed to exist in a small pond I’d fished several times that was just a short drive from my hotel.

It was theoretically an easy fish to entice with half of a nightcrawler; you just had to find one of the relative few fish present.

I spent all of my spare time on the last few days of my trip trading penny stocks (I made about $3000 that trip) and reading about fishing for Yellow Bass.

I learned they tend to like deeper channels and feed in rotating circuits along the bottom, though they can be found up in the water column, as well.

With less than an hour to fish on my final day, I forsook the the side of the pond that had been so productive and moved to a narrow channel that seemed to be deeper. It was a longshot, but I threw out my worm and waited.

Less than 15 minutes passed before I began counting down the clock. I had a flight to catch, after all, and I still had to return my rental car.

Just as I began to think it was time to admit defeat, my rod bounced, and I pulled in a single, eight-inch Yellow Bass.

Six species in three short stints of fishing in an inland urban area smack-dab in the desert during the winter, and I’d managed three species.

I didn’t even mess with micros. I’d wanted to, but I left my newly-purchased Owner New Half Moon micro hooks at home, so I had to sit and watch Western Mosquitofish and what I think were some species of silverside swarm the waters all around me as I stood there, powerless to do anything about it.

Packing up my rod, I felt pretty good about myself and the new species I’d caught, having know way to know my next new species would be a monster that I’d catch with incredible luck/skill on my very first cast.

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #113 — Lake Trout.

Species #86 — White Bass

White Bass are closely related to Striped Bass, and much like Stripers, they’ll eat anything they can fit in their mouths.

Species: White Bass (Morone chrysops)
Location: American Fork Marina, Utah Lake, Provo, UT
Date: June 22, 2017

As I drove across the West on my way to Commissioned Officer Training (COT) in Montgomery, Alabama, I carefully planned my route to include stops at places I wanted to see. From Klamath Falls, my first long day of driving ended at Salt Lake City, and I stopped in at Utah Lake in nearby Provo for an evening of fishing.

Utah Lake is home to several species of Utah natives, including the endangered June Sucker, and though I hoped I might luck into one of these embattled fish, I realistically hoped to catch both a White Bass and a Channel Catfish — two invasive species that I’d never hooked into before given that the former doesn’t exist at all in Oregon, and the latter is very rare.

I found myself at the mouth of the American Fork where I hoped the flowing water would congregate fish looking for respite from the summer heat.

All I had for bait were worms, and I set up my first rod with a crappie rig that included two small baited hooks on dropper loops.

Before I could even tie a lure onto my second rod, the first dipped, and I was holding my first White Bass.

The spunky little dude was what I had hoped for, and it came so easily that I expected something bad to happen that night.

I landed several more White Bass that night, but the two other species I landed were what made the stop so worthwhile.

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #87 — Channel Catfish.

Species #68 — White Perch

If ever there was a fish so frustrating for me to catch as the White Perch, I sure can’t remember it.

Species: White Perch (Morone americana)
Location: Potomac River, Maryland
Date: July 16, 2015

Why are they called White Perch? Well, White Bass is already taken. Though they’re in the Moronidae family with White, Yellow, and Striped Bass, they’re far from stupid. They should be called “Ass Pains” because they’re nothing more.

***

Fishing the Potomac River had long been a dream of mine, but finding access in and around Washington D.C. proved almost impossible.

When I did find access, it was on National Parks land with Lewis and Clark in the name, but I honestly don’t remember the specifics and a five-minute Google Maps search came up empty, so here we are.

Anywho, I fished from a public pier that was rife with the type of people who usually find solace at Denny’s or Walmart or the DMV. People who kept Pumpkinseed three to four inches long like it was nothing.

Probably 20 people share the pier with me, but since the Potomac is so shallow and muddy in this area, I didn’t really have a choice. I saw a few Pumpkinseed caught, then a Blue Catfish (an invasive that has been destroying this fishery) and finally a White Perch. It wasn’t mine, but I held out hope.

I had tons of bites and even got a fat Pumpkinseed, but the White Perch just kept nibbling and not getting hooked.

Eventually, persistence won out, and I got my own little six-inch White Perch. I tossed it back and proceeded back to my car, hoping to try some of the nearby streams for anything else.

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #69 — Brown Irish Lord.