Friday, September 16, 2005

Generations of Fish


This photo shows my Dad and his brother, (my Uncle Richard). In the photo, my Dad is on the right in the lighter clothing, Uncle Richard on the left. This was a day's fishing back in 1959...I was almost 1 year old and not invited on this trip.

When I look at this picture, I see the obvious, a great catch of mostly redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus), a black drum (center right with stripes...Pogonias cromis ), and a flounder (the flatfish on the left....
Paralichthys lethostigma).

The reels are the older baitcasting type and the rods are calcutta cane. The tackle tells me they were fishing live shrimp beneath floats, you can see the floats on the rods.

This catch was the result of a day fishing in a simple plywood skiff...no fiberglass boats in 1959. You can bet the outboard motor was American made by OMC.

The other thing I see in this picture is a view of two young men in their prime, confident and a little cocky after one great day of fishing. Even by 1959 standards this was a very good day.

If I listen to the photo, I can hear the exclamations of their pretty young wives when they arrived home as the "fish conquering heroes". I can hear them at work the next day telling the story over and over again to anyone who would listen.

I can smell the fish frying that night or soon after. Even today, when I mention this picture, my dad will describe the day's events as if it were yesterday.

Fish and fishing runs through my family, my friends, my memories, and sometimes I think....my genes. I know there's nothing unique in that fact. Fishing is popular in millions of families, but we tend to think our own histories are special somehow.

Today, you can still catch these fish, but there are a lot more people fishing, and so today you could never keep so many redfish. Even though I grew up in those past times of "fish-a-plenty", I live in the present world of less fish and tight bag limits.

Although I'll never cover the garage floor with redfish, I still get to chase them through the marshy creeks and grassy flats. When I do catch a red these days, odds are I'll let it go.

I guess more than bag limits have changed, my attitude towards the fish has changed too. Not such an adversarial relationship anymore.

After all, I run through their families just as they run through mine.

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7 comments:

thingfish23 said...

Funny - I thought "O the days before limits and over-fishing..."

Amen brother.

I still haven't gotten my first redfish yet. But I will.

Hick said...

Fishing does not run in my family, even though I love to eat fish. Nerd Boy, however, may change all that. He recently returned from his second fishing expedition with a fisher family from our church. They all go up to a lake in the High Sierras (over 8,000 ft.) and camp/fish for a week. He brought home 4 fairly good size trout this last time...they were very yummy. One of the fish was tagged, so he got $10.00 from Fish and Game for calling that one in.

I think my husband has gone deep sea fishing out of San Francisco Bay, but he didn't catch anything.

farmer john said...

I am not much for fishin'. In my younger days, I lived in Alaska for over three years. There is no limits or not much to speak of there and I could not catch anything. I went charter fishing for halibut with my wife and she caught evry one. I have not been fishing since! But I loved reading you thoughts about the memories of fishing and your father.

Zanne said...

This is a wonderful picture, and believe me these kinds of things will interest the anthropologists/scientists of the future.

My grandfather was blessed/cursed with lots of granddaughters. If you wanted to spend time with grandpa, that meant you needed to learn to fish!

Years later I accompanied my husband on a trip with top executives from his company...mucky muck stuff...a fabulous resort in Silverton, Colorado...horseback ride up to a clear mountain lake for a day of fishing. Executives - 0. Farmers Wife - Enough fish to feed the whole party at dinner that night. Thanks Grandpa!

And thanks to the Cracker for jogging all those good memories loose!

rick said...

What a great picture I called dad and read him the story that went with it

Floridacracker said...

Rick,
Thanks!

tmart said...

nice red fish i wish me and my dad could get into a mess of them like that, the only thing i like about winter is the red fishing is great