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Pensacola area

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#1 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 09:37 PM

Hi folks, I haven't posted in a very long time but came to visit and ask for tips on an up coming trip to Pensacola in early May. I'd like to get out at least one day and do some freshwater dipnetting. Particularly interested in sailfin shiners or similar shiners I could legally collect. Also looking for sailfin mollies. I expect they will be easy to find in the brackish but if anyone has heard of melanistic populations, I'd gladly travel for them. Any general information or collecting tips greatly appreciated.

#2 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
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  • Marble Falls, AR

Posted 01 April 2014 - 01:48 PM

The only forum member I can think of who probably knows that area is Mysteryman, but he has not logged in here for a couple of months. You may just have to look on a map for access points/road crossings in the area. I could give you a few snorkeling spots within a 1-2 hour drive, but collecting is not allowed at many of them.

#3 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:17 PM

Thanks. I was afraid I wouldn't get any help at all here, although I know a number of members have collected in the area.

#4 Guest_Mysteryman_*

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 11:32 PM

* Poof *
You rang?

Hmm.. okay..my best spot for black sailfin mollies is probably lost to me, but I can ask the new owner for permisssion. It's the duck pond at the Gulfarium in Ft Walton Beach. The place changed hands last year and I don't have much rapport there anymore. Molles and bluefin killies are scattered all over the marshes, but rarely in any other places so easy to reach.
Sailfins are all over the place down here, but Flagfins aren't. The best Flagfin site I know, by far, is right here in my hometown, about 1.5 hours NE of Pensacola.
Cyprinodon varigatus is another fish you can get by the bucket all over the place.
As you leave the Gulfarium, heading east toward Destin, you'll find a spot where you can drive under the harbor bridge on it's west end. By the parking lot are oodles of briny pools full of pupfish, and if it's rained enough this year, killies and mollies, too.

There's lots of turtle grass in the water on the other side after you walk under the bridge, and if you drag a net through it, who knows what you'll find.

If you want to stay closer to Pensacola, then... your first job is to pick up a Delorme Gazeteer of Florida at Walmart. The detail is quite good, and you'll find all sorts of places you can reach by car. Almost all of them will be quite productive. I don't know how much time you'll have available, but hitting a few spots along the Yellow River Drainage should prove more than worth the effort. Lots of good stuff there, and if you somehow miss the Sailfin shiners, a little further near Crestview you'll find the Shoal River Drainage, and it's sailfin city.

I'm off from work on Mondays and Tuesdays, so far anyway, so I might be able to help if that works out.

Edited by Mysteryman, 01 April 2014 - 11:44 PM.

#5 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:09 PM

Thanks a ton Mystery Man!
I will have to look into that black mollie spot. I'm really interested in those! I have an 8 year old colony of south Florida mollies which is based on only 3 individuals. I'd like to inject some new blood. Black ones would be especially desirable.

I am staying close to Pensacola - Fort Pickens to be exact. I'm pleased to see your advice on getting a gazateer and hitting the Yellow River area. Pleased because it's what I already was planning. Looks like a good number of creeks and spring runs feed into the river.
When you say salfins are "all over the place", does that mean I have a good chance of finding them on my own following the above plan? I'd chase flagfins for a sure thing but if sailfins are easy, I'd be happy with that.

I'll be arriving on a wensday, leaving Sunday, or Monday.
PS Is there an advantage flagfins over sailfins?

#6 Guest_Mysteryman_*

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:38 PM

Well, Flagfins have shorter fins, but brighter colors until you start getting down into more southern Florida, where the sailfins start getting the nice color. It's easy to tell apart gender from body shape, and they're very zippy. Spawning them is also very easy.
The sailfins get much longer finnage when spawning season comes, but they lose a lot of their pep afterward.

They're both very hardy and eat practically anything.

Anyway, yes, Flagins are tricky to find, but Sailfins are in most of the creeks in that area. You pretty much can't miss 'em.

As for the black sailfin mollies around here, very very few of them are ever the super-dark velvety black you'd expect in a black molly. Instead they're usually a peculiar very dark charcoal color, alllmost black but not quite. They're really much cooler-looking than that might sound.

#7 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 06:21 PM

Good stuff! I'm not picky about the shiners. I'm looking for something small, colorful, easy to breed and representative of the region. Don't have time to search so the sure thing looks good to me.

I'd be so pleased to find a mollie with any level of color. I love my mollies but I'd like to see some variety at the same time adding new blood to the colony.

#8 lawkent

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  • Seattle, WA

Posted 02 January 2023 - 06:15 PM

Gentlemen, I will be visiting Destin Feb 13-17 and keen to snorkel and/or collect some native freshwater fish within a two hour drive.  Would you be willing to advise me on some nice spots to explore?  I like all dace, darters, minnows, and pygmy sunfish etc.  Also, would either of you care to join me one day for some dipnetting or seining?  Or perhaps you know someone in the area who might be willing to guide?

thank you, Lawrence

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