Species #164 — Hardhead

Species #164 — Hardhead

I worked so hard for this first Hardhead. The irony was once I switched to lures, it was nonstop action…

Species: Hardhead (Mylopharodon conocephalus)
Location: Pit River, CA
Date: July 23, 2018

I wrote about this trip. It’s kind of an interesting read. Check it out here if you missed the last post about my Sacramento Pikeminnow.

If you read it, you’ll remember I talked about going to fish the Pit River in hopes of massive, world record pikeminnows.

I caught what I thought was a nice pikeminnow. At just over a pound, it was a far cry from a world record, but it was a big fish. I took measurements for the world record, got a mediocre-at-best picture, and let it go.

My world record Hardhead. It weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce, and I thought it was a Sacramento Pikeminnow until I posted it on Facebook, and a friend enlightened me.

At the time, I was using an old rod because I was already packed for my trip across the country to Texas. I left that rod in the holder and forgot about it.

Forgetting about it for weeks, I traveled to Texas for Health Services Administrator (HSA) School, the Air Force Tech School attached to my AFSC (Air Force Job).

On that trip, I added dozens of lifers, caught over 1000 fish, and had a great time. This further buried that fish in my mind.

***

In September, I returned and slowly started uploading the summer’s photos. I put everything I wanted to share in my Facebook albums, and a few days after posting, a friendly guy from the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA) who’d friended me sent me a message.

His name was Brandon Li.

“Hey man,” he wrote, “couldn’t help but stalk your photos a little. Western natives are incredibly fascinating.”

“This is in fact an adult Hardhead. When they get this size, they look more like pikeminnows.”

I was stoked.

He included a picture of a large Hardhead a flyfisherman had caught, roughly the same size as mine.

Hardheads are opportunistic feeders, apparently. Photo isn’t mine.

When he messaged me, I realized I’d probably missed out on a world record because I didn’t have a line sample. Then I remembered: I’d never touched that rod. I check the rod rack, and sure enough, it was sitting there untouched.

I was freaking stoked! The lure was still attached, so I cut off the sample. I already had measurements and pictures because I had thought it was a pikeminnow, and I submitted that world record.

***

Fast forward to spring 2019. Steve Wozniak and his wife, Marta, came to visit and fish. We were targeting a few California natives when he hooked into a massive fish.

It was a Hardhead twice the size of mine, and he shattered my record. It was his 100th or 200th (can’t remember which), so at least that was a small consolation for me losing my 3rd.

The rich get richer, I suppose.

His was a lot bigger. Thank God it was a Hardhead and not a chub of some sort, or this caption would be even more shameful.

He told me that his laundry list of records included current All-Tackle and Line Class records as well as “Retired” records, the term used to describe records once held but now broken.

So I guess I still have three world records, but only two of them are current.

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #165 — Western Mosquitofish.


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