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Go Fish: Unique Campus Asset Offers Relaxation and Learning

Did you know, the ESD Quarry holds a variety of fish species, including Blue Gill, Catfish, Largemouth Bass, and even Carp! And, rain or shine, the Middle School Fishing Club can be found casting lines in the water during lunch. Their focus: relaxing while catching, studying, and releasing Largemouth Bass.

Open to all students, some join the club experienced while others come to fish for the first time. All build and improve their skills and knowledge. Topics of discussion during club time include knots and nomenclature, facts about the fish, techniques like casting safety, bait, hook removal, and proper care when holding a fish.

What’s more, under the direction of Assistant Director of Outdoor Education Davis Felder ’06 and Academic Dean Dr. Boberg, students study and document what they catch. “We are tagging fish and weighing, measuring, and making a note of the weather,” said Felder. “Yesterday, we caught two fish for the second time. One had lost weight, and the other had not.”
A unique school asset, the Quarry offers incredible opportunities for study. Felder noted the changing of the water and environment over a school year. Right now, the water is crystal clear, and the Bass are easy to spot. Club members are able to practice “sight fishing” by casting their lures in front of Bass. Watching a bass strike a lure is almost as exciting as feeling one!

The Quarry and its inhabitants have long held the interests of students and teachers alike. “When I was a student, every fifth-grade student got to come early to school a few times a year to record the weather and watch the wildlife with Mr. Lutken,” said Felder. “Mr. Eason still has all the Quarry logs, and I was able to find a couple of entries I made from way back when!”
Fun Facts About Largemouth Bass (Micropterus Salmoides) 

  • Largemouth Bass are a species from the genus Micropterus, which is in the Sunfish family (Centrarchidae). Largemouth Bass are found in Eastern North America and is the state fish of Georgia and Mississippi and the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama. 
  • Bass can be found in lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks. They are known for being strong fighters and are sought after by fishermen for sport. 
  • Largemouth tend to jump more than other bass species and fight aggressively near the surface.
  • Bass are opportunistic, extremely aggressive, predatory feeders that will try anything they can fit in their mouths. They will lay in wait in or around cover and utilize water suction that their mouth creates when they open it to pull the prey into their mouths. 
  • Bass often spend their lives following schools of baitfish, such as shad or bluegill. They have been found with snakes, birds, small rodents, other Bass, crayfish, frogs, and various other items in their stomachs.
  • Largemouth Bass can have many different color patterns based on the water qualities, habitat, and time of year they are caught. Their first and second dorsal fins are barely connected. Largemouth Bass’ mouths hinge well behind the eye and do not have a tooth patch on the tongue.
  • Largemouth Bass Record: maximum recorded length of 29.5 in., and a maximum official weight of 22 lbs. 4oz. 

Students, do you want to learn more? Come on out to Middle School Fishing Club! Send Mr. Felder ’06 an email or talk to him during lunch out at the Quarry.