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A new species for Tenkara (maybe)

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 8:03 am
by solocanoe
First off- I KNOW the internet rule: "pics or it didn't happen". I know, I know. :roll:

But, I did post early sat. morning that we were at the hotel- waiting out the 3 hour rain delay to start the baseball tournament. The boys went to a Denny's type place and once my son was squared away with a ride and money, I asked the front desk for some ideas to fish close by. The rain delay ended up being a "tournament cancelled", but that's ok, I got in some fishing. :D

I was directed to a dam on the Arkansas River - and told there were backwaters, wading chances, as well as the usual big-boat stuff at dams. When I got there I found a few guys with long surf rods and typical catfish stuff....and then a few guys right up by the base of the dam, fishing the rip-rap with light tackle - catching this fish they called a "SKIPJACK".

Apparently, the skipjack is not good for eating (but I bet someone does by their numbers) and they are used for catfish bait very effectively. Guys seemed to 'fill their 5 gallon bucket' and head out catfishing. Not unlike using a net to catch shiners I suppose.

So I spent an hour-ish and caught 8-10 skipjack on a beadhead bugger...just "something to get it below the froth" I was told. I used my Yamame with the pink level line. The locals used tiny mepps spinners. The key was running water and I probably would have stayed, but when the dam stopped, so did the skipjack and I wandered away to other areas.

The fish ran from a tiny 5 inches to 10-12 inches and were pretty light in coloring - almost like a ghost white. I'd guess I witnessed the 'bucketing' of over 100 fish in my hour there, but one local said he'd been doing this for 30 years and he's never seen the skipjack population suffer for it...so I guess that's cool.

Here's a link I found with a few pics - these fish are bigger than what I saw, but it seems to back up all I learned on Saturday:

http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/tv/c ... n_skipjack

again, sorry no pics - but thought I'd at least add to the 'species caught' on Tenkara.
(that should be it's own thread, huh?) My experience was within 3 hours drive from my house, so I may go back sometime - my son seemed interested in the skipjack too.

Also, I have no idea of their "range" - but maybe asking your local game and fish or DNR or whatever...maybe you will find skipjack near you too. heck, I never heard of them before this - and catching somthing new isn't something I do every day. :)

Re: A new species for Tenkara (maybe)

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:26 pm
by rsetina
Thanks for the report John. I've heard of them before but never seen them nor have I fished for them. I thought they were a saltwater fish, but I guess I was wrong. I read that they are used for stripper fishing too.

Re: A new species for Tenkara (maybe)

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 9:58 am
by solocanoe
Agreed, Rick - I heard "jack" and thought saltwater too! but I'm glad I walked over there.

I've seen hybrids boiling in the middle of deep lakes - early on summer mornings - and that action is pretty wild (and the fish WAY too big for Tenkara) but these little dudes seem ready to pounce on anything and they are of a size for us to enjoy with Tenkara.

Incidently - I didn't say this before - they get their name from the way they "skip" (dance, tailwalk, flip) above the water...it's pretty cool - even if they aren't a preferred species.

If anyone finds out they have some near them...it's a hoot for a change-up. :)