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Fishing/Freshwater mystery fish


QUESTION: Recently I was fishing in a small lake (about 150yds x 40yds) in New York, the lake is fed by a swamp, feeds a brook, and has a bit of a legend. I've seen this fish three times, it leaped 3-4ft into the air, rolled over, and landed with quite a splash, this was two days in a row last year. About a week ago I was back at the lake, this time it wasn't just myself but to friends who got a close up of the fish near the bank, it was about 36" long, 7" wide, black with a single white stripe down the side, and had short barbels on its face. I can't find a fish matching the description anywhere and I'm looking for an answer.

ANSWER: Paul. I am not an fish biologist by any means and your mystery fish is a mystery to me too. However I am going to take your question and send it to a friend who is a fisheries
biologist.  I am not certain he will answer your mystery but maybe he can give us some
leads.  This may take a while but I think he can get back to me in a week and I can get
the information to you.  What you will need to do is in about two weeks send me a follow
up question and hopefully I can have some information for you.  If I still do not have the
information I will tell you to try again in a couple of weeks.  If My friend can not
give us information I will answer your follow up and tell you what I found
This sounds like an interesting challenge.

Jack L. Gaither         (JackfromSeminole)
Lake Seminole,  Georgia

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am beginning to believe that the fish is actualy two, the jumping fish being a very large pickerel ( as the pickerel in the pond can grow to be 30", i caught a 24" one the other day) and the fish near the bank being something else. The bank fish may be a large sucker, (as the pond has an abundance of those aswell) which has an odd mouth possibly mistaken for barbels in stained water. Is this a possibility?

Paul,  The two fish you mention, the Pickerel jumping and the sucker seen near shore sounds like a very possible situation.  I do not know a great deal about the habits of pickerel but
I have caught a few up to around 30 inches.  They sometimes jump when hooked and there is no
reason to think that they might not jump at other times although I don't remember seeing them
do this. But again they may be jumping and I not see them well enough to tell what they are.
The sucker certainly could be the other one and If I remember right some suckers do have
barbels which might make one mistake them for catfish.  Not being truly knowledgeable on the
kinds of fish in New York (I have never had the honor of visiting New York. "YET ANYWAY." I
would contact the game and fish department in New York.  They probably have books or fliers
of the fish of the waters of that state that you could obtain.
Thanks for the follow up and I hope you do find out for certain what they are.   I hope I have
been of at least a little help in your quest.  If you find out from the fish and game people
I would appreciate a follow up to tell me what they are.  Thanks for calling on me to try
answering your question.  I welcome any other fishing question you may have in the future.
Good fishing to you and keep the waters clean.  Take a few to eat if you wish but return
the others to the water to spawn and  keep the fish plentiful in your waters.

Jack L. Gaither          (JackfromSeminole)
Lake Seminole, Georgia


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Jack Gaither


PLEASE, PLEASE, READ THE FOLLOWING BEFORE ASKING YOUR QUESTION. THANK YOU. PLEASE, I HAVE BEEN GETTING MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ANTIQUE RODS, REELS ETC. I hate to refuse questions but I really can not be of help in this. If you have an old rod, reel, lure etc. try contacting the maker if still existing or try antique fishing tackle on the web. I am genuinely sorry that I CAN NOT ANSWER SUCH QUESTIONS. I have been bass, crappie, brim and catfishing for over 70 years. Most of my recent experience has been on the Apalachicola R. in Fl. panhandle, and Lake Seminole. I can answer many questions on places to go and some ideas on tactics especially for largemouth bass in these waters. I can`t tell you what fish will bite but can give some lures and methods that have worked well for me over the last 33 years in this area. I am also well versed on boating safety and small boat handling.


I am not a guide nor a writer or publisher of any magazine on fishing. All of my ideas would come from my experiences and those of fishing partners in local bass clubs in Panama City, Florida or from reading many books and magazine articles over the years.

Basmasters. Past member (25 years) and instructor in boating and navigation classes in the United States Power Squadrons.

ST. Andrew Bay Power Squadron local publication "Stuffing Box"

United States Power Squadrons courses in Piloting and small boat handling, celestial navigation, trouble shooting on outboard engines and other non eletronic equipment in boats.

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