Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fly carping attempt yields River Redhorse

I'm sure some of you who read the title of this post are wondering...

what in the heck is a River Redhorse?

Well... it's not quite a carp, but among our native fishes it's pretty similar... and since it's native, I think it's that much sweeter... an excellent consolation prize for a failed attempt at fly carping. I also think it's prettier than your average carp, but that's just my opinion.

River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum)

The IGFA All-Tackle Record for this species of fish is only 9 lbs... so at around 4 lbs this is a pretty hefty specimen. The Redhorse was caught on a brown stonefly nymph, size 8, that I cannot take credit for tying... as a matter of fact I can't remember when or where I acquired that fly. All I know is that it was in my fly box, and it caught this fish.


I also saw a handful of small Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) in addition to a few other Redhorse of similar size to the one above, but I only caught a glimpse of a single truly behemoth Common Carp... I never even got a chance for a cast. I would estimate it to have been over 3 feet in length and easily 25 lbs... probably closer to 35. It saw me before I saw it due to the intense glare from the riffles, and it bolted upstream like a freight train... reminiscent of a scene from Jaws... with it's dorsal fin and "shoulders" literally sticking above the shallow 8 inches of water running over the rocks. It ran up the entire series of rapids and riffles without slowing down or stopping, a distance of literally 100 feet or more, before it disappeared into the deep pool above the swift shallow section.

I think the carp in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge are extra spooky thanks to the bow fishers. Kelly and I have seen them a few times now, and the big carp are what they're after... and I think the big carp have learned this. Kelly also had a similar experience with a large carp "running" away from her upstream on the same outing.

This is not the first Redhorse that has made an appearance here on The Naturalist's Angle. On both Christmas Day 2010 and Christmas Day 2012, I caught a Golden Redhorse (M. erythrurum)... I guess it's sort of becoming a holiday tradition. If you want to see more Redhorses and other interesting roughfish species, check out Moxostoma.com.

21 comments:

  1. there are so many redhorse species, i never know what I'm catching. I caught a boatIoad of them in may though. All on spinning gear and jigs.

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    1. Nate, you should check out the ID guides at Moxostoma.com to help you figure out which species you're catching. I'd love to catch a boatload of them.

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  2. I think that is a great catch. Those bow hunters sure like to chase them here. What size rod did you use and how long did it take you to land that fish?

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    1. Josh, I was using a 7 wt and it took approximately 1 minute to land. I was able to keep the fish in the shallow water which I think helped land it more quickly. If it had made a run to deeper water, I may not have landed it at all. It was a pretty strong fighter, but I imagine a carp of equal size would have more fight in it.

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  3. Are a sucker and a Falfish the same thing?

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    1. No, but they're both "trash fish" to most anglers. In Arkansas, you have several species of suckers, but Fallfish are an east coast thing.

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  4. Jay
    You have redeemed yourself, and I have to say that the Redhorse does look some better than the carp. Congrats on a great catch. thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Bill. I still have to redeem myself on Smith with the Spots. I'm just hoping we get a break from the rain and the rivers get back down to normal over the next few weeks.

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  5. Niiiiiiice! What a cool fish. I've tried to catch Redhorse on few occasions and have yet to stick one. Guess I'm kinda jealous. Well done.

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    1. Ty, no need to be jealous... I'd be happy to take you to the spots on the Cahaba where they appear to be fairly numerous. I casted to several before I got this one. They seem pretty similar to carp behaviorally- especially the way they feed. I'm not sure if they're any more or less selective or spooky... but I'm sure if you get a fair chance in the right spot you'll get one.

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  6. Nice catch buddy! Looks like I need to make a trip down there and toss a line with you.

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    1. Jason Long, old buddy, we have some pretty good spots to fish down here. Anytime you want to come fish, play golf, whatever, just give me a holler.

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  8. I know that fish. I have caught Redhouse in the duck river. Fun to catch.

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    1. Larry, we only have a few species in the Cahaba River. I think you've got several others (plus the ones we have) in the Duck River. It's nice to live in the land of incredibly biodiverse watersheds.

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  9. Nice going Jay. I'd settle for a redhorse if I was carp fishing. Hope everything is going well your way.

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    1. Howard, I can't wait to see you catch a carp. Things are going well around here, but I've been too busy to do much blogging lately. I'll try to be a better blogger in the coming weeks.

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  10. Caught a few of those, all by accident, but never one close to that size!

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    1. Kevin, even though it was a pretty quickly won battle, it was a big strong fish... and I actually did catch this one intentionally. I sight casted to it... but I admit being pretty surprised that I got a take. The Buffalo I casted to had absolutely zero interest.

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  11. Replies
    1. Atlas, thanks for stopping by!

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