11/20/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
3.    Needle Stoneflies
4     Great Brown Autumn Sedge
5.    Midges
6.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Fish Tales
When I started to write today's article early this morning (which I said I would write
about some of the baitfish and minnows that exist in the Smokies), one of the first fish
that rang a bell in my head that was on the list was a redhorse, which I have always
called a redhorse sucker. In the streams of the Smokies I noticed there are
Catostomidae, or River Redhorse, which has the scientific name,
Moxostoma
carinatum.
Then I noticed there was a Black Redhorse, a  Moxostoma duquesnei; a
Golden Redhorse,  a
Moxostoma erythrurum; a  Sicklefin Redhorse, a Moxostoma n.
species;and
a Shorthead Redhorse, Moxostoma macrolepidotum.

Instantly, a story came to mind that I will never forget. Back in the mid 1980's I was
visiting my daughters in Hoover Alabama and ran into an old friend of mine named Bo.
I didn't know Bo as a fisherman. I knew him as a very funny guy who liked to pull tricks
on people. He had worked for my construction company years before that and knew
that I liked to fish.

After we spoke for a few minutes, Bo asked me if I wanted to go fishing with him. I
knew someone wasn't exactly right and laughed as asked "what kind of fishing". The
very idea of fishing with Bo seemed funny. He replied that he was going to lasso
Redhorse Suckers. I laughed and he quickly explained he wasn't kidding.

This was the deal. There was a small tributary (creek) that flowed into the Cahaba
River near Hoover with spawning Redhorse Suckers. By the way, I do not know if the
fish were any of the above species or not, because I found out those listed above are
only a small part of a big family.
Bo claimed you can't catch horse fish, that you
can only lasso them.

There's a small bridge that crossed the creek near Bo's home that was absolutely full
of these fish. They are not small. They probably averaged a pound or maybe even
larger, if I remember right. It was springtime and the water was not over a foot deep
and flowing fast from previous rains into the Cahaba River. There was a red tint to the
water that reminded me of spawning salmon because the fish, which have a red tint
and sucker-like mouth, were side by side and head to tail in the water.

Now, according to Bo, these fish won't bite a bait or lure. I assume that's correct since
most spawning fish won't. Bo was fishing (lassoing) straight down under the bridge
which is about ten feet above the water. He had rigged piano wire in a lasso shape
with a slip ring to where you could get a coil of the wire around the fish and tighten it
up to "lasso" the fish just behind their heads. You stood on the bridge with a short
casting rod in hand, but instead of a hook tied to the end of the line, it was rigged with
Bo's infamous piano wire fish lasso. Before that, Bo and company had been betting
who could lasso the most fish. That particular day, he wanted to entertain me by
holding a big fish fry and inviting all of our old friends. I asked if he had ever eaten a
Redhorse Sucker and he replied "no, I don't eat fish James".

We caught (lassoed) a large cooler full of redhorse, took them to Bo's house and
cooked them by boiling them in a big pot of water on the barbecue grill. If it had not
been for the Shelby County Sheriff,  the one and only famous "Red Walker" being
invited to and attending our party, we all would have probably ended up in jail from
stinking up the entire county. It was terrible. The meat fell off the fish just as Bo
predicted, but no one in their right mind would have eaten it. That included those that
were approaching inebriation. I'm glad I don't drink.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh