NANFA-- My Collecting Equipment

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Wed, 29 Nov 2000 01:55:08 -0500

Native Fish Enthusiasts

I am very basic when it comes to collecting locally - mostly for feeder
fish. I have a couple green five gallon buckets with yellow snap on bait
lids (with a hinged translucent plastic flap in the center plus opening
for airline tubing). I don't usually use aeration unless I'm holding the
catch for a while to feed garter snakes or turtles.

A 4 ft seine of green 1/8" delta mesh cut from a 14ft length ordered
from Memphis net and twine. I used some yellow nylon cord to stitch it
onto peices of parachute cord and recycled the lead weights from my
older 1/4" green mesh seine that was killing too many small shiners &
bluntnose minnows that were gill netting themselves! The poles are
plastic broom handles from the local farm outlet.

A revamped long handled dipnet which the bag attaches to the pole via a
threaded screw made by Lotus Water Garden Supplies- this too was
origionally gill netting small fishes so I made a new bag out of
leftover material after making my seine and seines for a few friends.

Various small aquarium and bait tank nets for sorting and transfering

And a valid PA fishing license!

For road trips farther afield - like when Mike Quispe & I join up with
Mike Thennet or Mark Binkley - or my recent foray with the two 'Ray's of
Wisconsin' I bring at least 2 big cooler which have a hole for airline
tubing poked in the lid with a wood burning pen. The aeration system
consists of a dual outlet air pump that plugs into a cigarette lighter
adapter. This runs two air stone driven sponge filters that are
preconditioned by running them for a while in my pond to get them well
colonized by aerobic bacteria. This idea is a combination of BG
Granier's "minner hauler" and sponge filter idea from Konrad Schmidt. As
done by the latter I seal the filter in a plastic bag to keep it moist
until the system is in use.
The coolers are usually set up at our "base camp" - ie hotel room to run
on outlet power and fish are collected in the feild using the standard
routine for collecting back home. When it's time to depart- the coolers
move to the back seat of the car and the holding facility becomes a long
range live-haul system!

Trips to really far away lands such as Florida require a slightly
different approach.
We handle our catch essentially the same as the long distance road trip
but bag our fish and ship them either priority mail or air cargo. The
latter is expensive but is a convenient way to get the fish home the
same time as I do!
Getting equipment down there is a bit trickier. When Mike was still
living there it was a simple matter to just leave a few buckets and nets
there with him so I wouldn't have to be troubled by dragging alot of
stuff with me. I would even take my seine sans handles and get another
set locally. Also I could send a few fish boxes down or have him scout
the local pet shops and scrounge up several before hand.

At times Florida trips have been logistical nightmares. Especially on
the day just prior to departure which we could easily spend running all
over Orlando - to the pet shop for fish bags and oxygen - sometimes the
pet shops would keep the fish boxes on hand but throw away the cardboard
jacket - which then meant running to the post office - which had none -
then to a specialty packaging store that had to custom make one since it
seems fish boxes have rather unique dimensions that no other cardboard
boxes will fit properly. One night I even stayed up late making my own
shipping containers out of cardboard - packing tape and styro coolers
from a supermarket!
Luckily they have overnight post offices down there!

I've learned since that fish boxes are valuable resources and do my best
to conserve and recycle them!

Also another important element is a rental car unless you drive down -
which has it's advantages but also is a long haul and not a good idea if
your vehicle is getting old!

Other items that I may or may not take are dipnets made from black mesh
replacement bags for landing nets srteached over a frame of plastic
coated coat hanger wire. These are nice portable hand nets for traveling
light - mostly good for going after small sunfishes and the like hiding
in weeds. Plus minnow traps.

> - - minnow traps from Walmart, (~$10 each). I am still looking for something
> better but this is clearly the best I have found so far.

I just got two of these to trap surplus fishes from my pond. These are
the metal ones with a black plastic coating - excellent for collecting
bottom oriented fishes like mudminnows & N. redbelly dace as opposed to
my floating plastic traps. I use either the plastic cord or chain from
an old fish stringer to anchor the traps.

It can be fun to fashion some of your own gear as many of us have.
Somehow these artifacts can bring as much joy as the fishes we go after.
Also they aid in managing my own ponds and outdoor tank setups. In the
future I plan to make a large 10 or 14 ft seine so I can just take out
all the potted plants and inventory my largest ponds in a few sweeps!
This one will of course have to stay home since it would be illegal to
use in public waters in PA.

Almost forgot attire. I am for the most part a warm weather collector.
That's sneakers and shorts. I do have a couple pairs of chest waders -
cheep stocking foot ones that I wear with 'slipper/socks' with the light
tread on the soles for gripping the slick biofilm on pond liners at home
and regular heavy boot tread soled waders for the feild in colder
weather. In my own ponds I like to have thinner soles so I can better
avoid crunching snails or puncturing the liner.


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