by Leon Archer
This is the time of year that fishing a place like Sandy Pond is a real crap shoot.
The bullheads will still bite if you are in the right spot, but before you get one of them on your line, you are more likely to end up with a rambunctious sunfish or small perch.
Sometimes rock bass or even a black bass may find your night crawler to their liking. Of course, once night actually closes in, the panfish and other interlopers gradually quit biting, or at least they slow down greatly, but if you are in the wrong spot the bites will end entirely with no bullheads to replace them.
My father didn’t like to keep all the panfish when we were fishing for bullheads, but I usually put the biggest sunfish and any perch over 9 inches into my bucket.
Dad would give me a disapproving glance that could be translated as “What the heck are you doing?”
He would also remind me about the time I had stowed away my fifth or sixth panfish that it was going to be my job to clean the perch and sunfish, because he wasn’t going to do it. I noticed later on, however, that he wasn’t opposed to eating some of those same fish. I preferred bullheads just like he did, but I wasn’t ready to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Bullhead fishermen catch a lot fewer eels now than they did back before the big power dams went into the St. Lawrence River and the turbines began chopping up the mature eels as they migrated to the ocean to spawn.
My grandfather really liked eels and when dad or I caught a good sized one it went into the bucket for him. We caught a fair number of mud puppies at times, but they got a free pass back to the bottom. We never killed them, and we tried to unhook them without doing any more damage to them than we had to.