Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coffee breaks over...

Ahoy. I am back from the field. I actually returned 11pm Sunday night, but have been recombobulating. Normally I recombobulate faster, but I went right back to work Monday morning. So here is the field recap.

I collect all my fish for research from the Gulf Coast. A few of my sites are really in deep dark bayou country...but I'll get to that in a moment. My sites are Port Aransas, TX; Port O'Conner, TX; Hackberry, LA; Leeville, LA; Bay St. Louis, MS; and two sites around Mobile, AL. For those obscure names, I recommend entering them in google maps....they're pretty small, especially Leeville and Port O'Conner and Hackberry. I start my collection in TX and then hit the rest on my way back east, and we rent a van and drive to do this collection. Oh, and did I forget to mention, we drive 24hrs the first day, all the way to Port Aransas from Miami. I didn't make that clear to my drive mate before we left, but it turned out all right because she drove a good portion of the day, so I could drive all night. Sadly we left on Tuesday the 20th, so we couldn't watch the inauguration on television, but the van was handily equipt with Sirius sattelite radio, so we did get to listen to it live. We stopped in New Orleans for dinner. This is my second trip back since the big hurricane, and while it is slowely coming back, it is still nothing like it was before, even the downtown is still pretty empty. We drove and drove and at sunrise, we hit the first site.

I was able to get locally caught fish from a local baitshop, so within 30 minutes of arriving, we were back on the road headed Northeast to Port O'Conner.

Port O'Conner is a tiny town, mainly peoples weeked fishing houses, with a few locals in farming, commercial fishing, and the oil industry. Years ago a local gave me directions to "boggy bayou" which is where they all catch bait, so here we trap, so I have a lot more photos. The Bayou is also the local offroading and general weekend party scene so its.....intersting....Lets just say there are a lot of body parts (birds and feral pigs) and shot-gun shells and trash and beer cans. But, all the locals are cool, super friendly, and happy to help if you need something.

Our trapping spot is a local channel, that at high tide connects the main bay, with the bayou, and at low tide, traps the fish in its deeper center.

You can see our traps in that last photo, and the flotsam across the way is an oyster bed. Those are all over, and you catch the most minnows around the oyster shells. It took us several hours to trap, so in the mean time, we hung out, explored the local marine life and watched the tankers go by.

We successfully caught all the fish I need, and were off again (are you getting that we spent a lot of time in the car). We drove to Sulfer, LA and spent the night, gearing up for trapping in Hackberry, which is just to the south. I have to say, Kat, my companion for this madness is a great fish collecting companion, because she is totally game for the long drives and waiting around for traps to fill.

I am off for now, will post more on the rest of the trip either tomorrow or saturday

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